University: University of California San Diego
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
2 weeks before the start of the Quarters at UCSD, I and a friend from Germany left for San Diego. Before that, we had informed ourselves about reports and acquaintances who had already studied in SD on the best way to find accommodation and car matters. For the first 2 days we reserved a room in a hostel over the internet, so that after a long flight we were not left without accommodation. We flew to LA first and from there got to SD by bus and Amtrak. This means that you can save on the flight, but after 18 hours of flight and a lot of luggage it’s not really worth the hassle by train and bus, so my tip: book a direct flight to San Diego! See mcat-test-centers for Victoria University of Wellington.
Our first action upon arrival was to rent a car. Like many other students, I would also recommend www.dirtcheapcarrental.com. The operators of this car rental company are super accommodating when it comes to the cars (little scratches and dents are ignored) and the rates, if you share the car with a friend like me, are really reasonable. More or less the second action was to get an American mobile phone to start looking for an apartment (there are enough cheap providers with good rates in the German network). There are enough offers on the notorious platform www.craigslist.com, where pretty much everything is traded in the States. It is a lot of work to contact all possible providers and especially to sort out the bad apartments, However, 3-4 days of the most intensive search for an apartment should be enough to find the right property. Since my buddy and I were looking for a flat share with two free and furnished rooms, the search for an apartment turned out to be a bit more complex than expected. However, I think everyone can find something suitable on Craigslist. Eventually we found two furnished rooms in a shared flat in Pacific Beach and had the top floor of a small house to ourselves, each with our own bathroom. Our tenants were 2 Americans who were somewhat chaotic, but who were very sociable. I would definitely move to Pacific Beach again, because the relaxed, Californian attitude to life is particularly strong here and almost only young people live there.
I’m studying Business Administration & Economics at the University of Passau, so integrating management and economics courses from UCSD into my degree at my home university was no problem. As recommended by the student advisor on site, I only took 3 courses, which seems small compared to German timetables, but with weekly homework, term papers, quizzes, presentations and 2 exams per subject, it is busy. In addition to Business Project Management and Sales Management at the Rady School, I also took Human Resources as an extension course. The system of class crashing, as is common at UCSD, makes the first 2 weeks of the semester very stressful, but I was able to get 2 of my desired courses, but had to make compromises when choosing the third course. The process of registering for a course is really very different than in Germany and seems a bit strange and chaotic at the beginning, but I have not met anyone who ended up with no course at all or had to take something that did not fit their course at all. Nevertheless, you can expect a lot of stress and time at the university in the first few weeks. The courses were very interesting in their topic and the language barrier was quickly overcome. In addition, with enough effort, a good to very good grade can definitely be achieved. In contrast to German universities, regular performance queries are part of the daily schedule. Student life at the university is very impressive. Almost every day, students set up pavilions and small booths to promote their affiliation, sport, or charity.
San Diego itself was absolutely the right choice for a semester abroad. The city is divided into several districts, each with its own unique charm. Whether the beach and the nightlife of Pacific Beach, the relaxed Ocean Beach, which is inhabited a little more by locals, or Downtown SD, which convinces with many shops, sights, very good restaurants and bars/clubs, are all worth seeing. Worth mentioning here is the Gaslamp Strip Club, a restaurant where guests can prepare their own steaks. A very interesting experience and the steaks turn out as good as ever. The city of La Jolla, also home to UCSD, is also well worth a visit. Beautiful beaches like Scripps or Blacks Beach (!
In addition, no weekend should go unused to make short trips to the surrounding cities. If you surf and are looking for good waves, the best surf spot in the area called Trestles near San Clemente should definitely be worth a trip. Santa Monica, Newport, Laguna Beach and Huntington are also very nice vacation spots and each of these cities is worth a visit. Los Angeles is of course also a must, but the city is so huge that one day is definitely not enough for this trip, especially in LA’s busy traffic you need a lot of patience and time.
I went to Las Vegas twice during my semester abroad in San Diego and would definitely recommend this trip to anyone. By car, the one-way trip takes about 5.5 hours. This is definitely worth the crazy nightlife and casinos. You won’t find better parties than in Vegas anywhere and the hotels are very reasonably priced for their standards, especially during the week.
The city of San Diego and also UCSD is predestined for sports…being active is not difficult with the usually nice weather and the wide range of outdoor activities. Whether it’s beach volleyball, surfing, jogging, football or other sports, no athlete gets bored in SD.
All in all, the semester in San Diego was an incredibly great and valuable experience. The improvement in English is just a nice side benefit compared to the many other important experiences I had in San Diego. The 4 months there were among the most exciting of my life and I will definitely return there for another trip.