University: University of California San Diego
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: urban and spatial planning
Study type: semester abroad
The application process might be a bit confusing at first. There are endless things to fill out and apply for, and it gets even more complicated with the visa. Nonetheless, I felt that I was always in good hands with MicroEdu’s advice. I often called the counselor or emailed her at the last moment and she always tried to help me. See mcat-test-centers for Vancouver Island University.
MicroEdu gave us the opportunity to get the phone numbers of the other students who go to UCSD with MicroEdu, so we were able to create a WhatsApp group and exchange ideas before our trip. In addition, a Facebook group was set up by the university, in which all “Extension Students” are. Events are regularly posted there and you can contact other students with questions. That all helped a lot and you were able to get to know your fellow students beforehand.
Courses and class crashing:
Finally we went to San Diego. First there is the orientation event, where you are officially enrolled at the university, you get an e-mail address and a student ID. In addition, “class crashing” is explained in detail there. And you meet the other foreign students for the first time. So don’t miss it!
I’m studying urban planning and that’s why I’ve mainly attended courses in this field. My statements therefore only apply to this department. Since this department is very small and the courses are usually not overcrowded, it was no problem for me to get places.
The whole thing works like this: On the orientation day you get blue slips of paper, which you then take with you to the lectures. At the end of the lecture, you simply speak to the professor and explain that you are an extension student and that you would like to attend his course. The professors are actually all really nice and hard-working and they all signed the slip of paper for me right away. Some professors refer you to the Department Office. When I was there, all of a sudden I got signatures for all the courses with the statement: “They come from so far, then they must at least get the courses they want.”
The choice of course was very easy for me and completed after the first week.
UCSD truly has an amazing campus. I haven’t seen nearly everything. The campus is like a small town. You have residences, classrooms and halls, a movie theater, a huge food court (serving mostly fast food) and many more scattered cafes and restaurants (Goody’s has very good burritos) and of course the famous Geisel Library.
In the first few weeks, many events take place on campus. Free movie nights, parties, free pizza, bonfires on the beach… keep your eyes peeled!
I myself chose Kamo Housing in Pacific Beach. I would recommend everyone to move to PB because it’s really a great area for young people. Depending on where you live, you can walk or cycle to any supermarket, restaurant, cafe, bar, club and beach. There is always something going on here and you have everything you need.
Kamo Housing is in the Bay Pointe apartment complex and is actually a nice development. There is a pool, hot tub, tennis courts, basketball courts and a gym. Kamo Housing rents individual apartments there, furnishes them and then makes them available to foreign students. However, in my opinion the rooms are overpriced and not necessarily in good condition. The elevators don’t work, the water is often turned off for no reason, etc. The house rules are also pretty strict: for example, there can’t be more than six people in the apartment at any one time. This means that if the apartment is fully occupied by four people, you can only have two visitors. And no one is allowed to stay overnight. In the event of a violation, relatively high fees will be charged.
I would still choose Kamo Housing over the apartment buildings near UCSD because of the desirableness of living in Pacific Beach.
San Diego truly lives up to its reputation as “America’s Finest City. ” The city is made up of different neighborhoods, each with its own charm, and you really should take the time to look around.
Pacific Beach is popular with college students and internationals and has many nice bars. The beach is really nice and you’ll find a lot of surfers there, although most surf in La Jolla. You can also find real sea lions on the La Jolla Shores, especially when the weather is good. Known as a more affluent area, La Jolla has a very different crowd and more expensive restaurants. You should definitely go to the Mnt Soledad Memorial and enjoy the beautiful 360 degree view over the whole of San Diego. Mission Bay is beautiful and I recommend everyone to take advantage of the campfire sites dotted around the Bayside.
Downtown, most of the clubs are in the Gaslamp Quarter, with something for every taste in music on the weekends. Hillcrest is known for its gay scene and has many small pubs and bars. Ocean Beach has great restaurants and cafes and a beautiful boardwalk leading to the Sunset Cliffs which is not to be missed! A trip across the border to Mexico is also worthwhile.
I can only recommend everyone to go to UCSD and experience a perfect semester abroad with a great balance between academic quality, great weather and lots of leisure activities.