University: University of California San Diego
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business administration, medical technology, industrial engineering
Study type: semester abroad
Preparation & application process
It had been clear to me for a long time that I would like to spend a semester abroad in North America during my master’s degree in order to get to know the type of college there, with its personal contact with the professors and the unique learning culture. However, since my home university has no contact with any of the top universities in the USA or Canada, I had to apply myself. To make the process a bit easier and to have a direct contact person, I turned to MicroEdu. See jibin123 for Semester Abroad In California State University Northridge.
From the large portfolio online, I quickly decided to stay at UCSD, as its renowned reputation and appropriate course profile perfectly suited my needs. All application documents are put together relatively quickly and the visa applied for (in Munich it was even particularly uncomplicated and fast). MicroEdu is available to you really quickly and with precise answers.
Shortly before my arrival, I read about the Solana Beach Host Family program and applied. A few days before my departure, I received confirmation that I could stay with a host family for the first few days of looking for an apartment. I highly recommend the program as my host parents were far more than just a starting point. Throughout the semester, I visited her several times in Solana Beach (about an hour by bus north of campus) and made good friends with the other students on the program. However, I would recommend an Airbnb or Couchsurfing stay to students who are only looking for a place to stay for the first few nights and are less interested in close contact afterwards.
The cheapest way to get to San Diego is via flights to LA. As a tip: You are also welcome to specify Scandinavian cities as the place of departure. With no airport fee, it can be a lot cheaper to take a budget airline up north and fly to Los Angelesfrom there. While there are buses from LAX to downtown where the Amtrak trains go to San Diego, I would definitely recommend the relaxed and only slightly more expensive alternative of renting a car and taking the fast route down the freeways.
I made a conscious decision to first look for an apartment on site and would recommend this step to everyone (!!). The housing market in San Diego is very volatile and there is always an apartment waiting for you somewhere. Especially since about 80% of all students live in shared rooms, it is advisable to get to know your roommates personally before committing to anything. I teamed up with three Norwegians and a German from the UPS program and rented a house in Pacific Beach, for which we in turn found two other American roommates. The normal rent for a shared room is between 600 and 700 USD.
In San Diego, most students face the question of whether to look for an apartment in Pacific Beach or in University City. Although the answer is certainly individual, I can make a strong case for “PB”. Especially the short way to the morning surf and the evening beer in one of the numerous bars pays off. Here, Californian life shines a little brighter. And don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to focus on college. This is about an hour away by bus or 30 minutes by car (including parking). I quickly got myself a bike and in 40 minutes I was able to avoid traffic jams every day.
Choosing courses as a UPS student certainly seems confusing at first and doesn’t get any easier as time goes on. I looked at various courses at the beginning and seriously took five courses over the first two weeks. Although this means almost double the effort, it can pay off. Due to the status as a UPS student, you are usually the last person to enroll in the courses. Unfortunately, this system prevented me from taking two of my favorite biomedical engineering courses, forcing me to switch to business courses at the Rady School of Management. Ultimately, however, I can fully recommend this, as the professors have a broad practical knowledge and are really interested in teaching their students something new with relevant practical relevance (I took Project Management, Supply Chain Management and Business Analytics ).
I can recommend everyone to establish personal contact with the respective professor. Not only because this is unusual (at least for me) in Germany, but also to benefit from the expanded network. So I was able to organize my next internship in Germany through a contact through my professor. I can also advise applying to a student initiative, which will present itself on the Library Walk in the first few weeks of a quarter. I have the feeling that the American students are much more open to new acquaintances in contrast to the courses in these.
San Diego and Pacific Beach offer incredible opportunities to explore Californian life. In particular, the purchase of a surfboard is a great advantage. Personally, I’ve spent very little time downtown, although there are plenty of nightlife options in the Gaslamp Quarter. However, the area surrounding San Diego is particularly recommended. During my time I was able to do various hikes from Potato Chip Rock to Anza Borrego State Park, the Three Sister Waterfall to Joshua Tree National Park. Flights to Hawaii are also affordable from San Diego. Other trips to northern California or a weekend in Tijuana are of course also possible. The possibilities are almost inexhaustible (the wallet, on the other hand, is).
Overall, I can draw a very positive conclusion from my time at UCSD. For me, the result was a perfect mix of a very good education, many new local and global friendships and the right amount of Californian leisure activities, which I can recommend to everyone. MicroEdu was a great help with the organization so as not to be overwhelmed by the many applications.