University: University of California San Diego
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business Administration, International Business Administration
Study type: semester abroad
At the end of 2017 I completed my 5th semester as a semester abroad at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). In Germany, I’m doing a dual degree in business administration, and it was very easy for me to integrate this voluntary semester abroad into my curriculum. My partner company gave me full support in this endeavor. With the following report, I hope to give you an insight into my experiences and give you an idea of what to expect in San Diego. See mcat-test-centers for Xian Jiaotong Liverpool University.
At the beginning of 2017 I started thinking about the semester abroad at the end of the year. I have established certain criteria for a host university. These included, among other things: speaking English, available travel opportunities, a certain reputation and an attractive place for exchange. After I was a bit at a loss when choosing a university abroad, two fellow students drew my attention to College Contact (CC). With my criteria and the university catalog from MicroEdu, I came across UCSD. Since UCSD is not a partner university of my university in Germany, I applied there as a so-called “free mover”.
After first-class advice from MicroEdu, who was always at my side quickly and reliably with advice and action, I started working through the checklist provided for the application. These include but are not limited to: MicroEdu application form, UCSD application form, letter of motivation, passport, proof of English (TOEFL in my case), confirmation from a bank that you have a certain amount available in your account, transcript of your previous grades.
After sending the application via MicroEdu, I received the confirmation a few days later. You will then also receive all the documents you need to apply for a visa for the USA – you should do this as early as possible.
Apartment/rooms are mostly given/found via Facebook groups or Craigs List. The early search is worthwhile, although it is quite possible to get a room/bed even after arrival. Basically you have to decide between a single room ($1000-1400) or a shared room ($700-900). I shared a room and despite my skepticism it worked very well. For exchange students, I would recommend moving to the Pacific Beach (PB) or Mission Beach neighborhoods. It is close to the beach, has good shopping for everyday needs, bars and restaurants are within walking distance and the clientele is very international- there is more of a small town feeling. Personally, I wouldn’t have liked the condos and apartments near campus or in the La Jolla area, and they don’t do much there besides house parties.
University of California, San Diego
UCSD is one of the most renowned universities in the USA. It is part of the University of California network, which also includes UCLA and UC Berkely. The university has almost 28,000 students and is best known for its oceanological institute and engineering subjects. The campus is huge and also at the end still completely confusing. For business graduates, all important buildings are within walking distance of each other on campus. Before the start of the first lecture, there is an introductory day where you get to know all the other exchange students for the semester and get all the important information about starting at UCSD.
Exchange students in the USA are expected to complete courses with a total of twelve units (American credit points) per semester. This is also necessary, among other things, to maintain the status as an exchange student in the USA. At the Rady School of Management, this usually takes three courses. A course is three hours per week in one or two sessions plus homework to be completed (assignments, group projects, papers). Additional courses must be paid for again. The lectures take place in lecture halls with 30 to 200 fellow students. The professor is usually supported by one or two assistants in his lecture, and a lecture often includes group work or discussions. Attendance and participation in the lecture are included in the final grade.
The contact between students and professors is much closer than in Germany – exchanging business contacts or issuing letters of recommendation were not a problem. With a business background, I did all my courses at UCSD’s Rady School of Management.
I found the class crashing at the Rady School to be very unspectacular. I put myself online very early on the waiting lists for the courses (there is sufficient information about this process via email and in the introductory event and it only starts after this event) that interested me. In the end I got my top 3 courses with no problems. The Rady School also offers three courses that give priority to exchange students. In my courses, no previous knowledge had to be proven.
Below is a brief description of the courses I have attended:
Business project management
I can heartily recommend this course. The lecturer is a long-standing, excellent project manager who now runs her own project management consultancy and gives this lecture on the basics of modern project management. There is homework for each lecture, but it is easy to do. Getting a good grade is also doable.
Supply Chain and Operations Management
I also recommend this course. The lecture is given by a very experienced executive who shares many of his experiences with his students. If the homework was manageable, we played a simulation alongside the lecture, which was graded at the end. I definitely learned something and would take the course again.
New venture management
My third course didn’t convince me that much. The course dealt with the financing of start-ups and, above all, with communicating with and finding investors for a start-up. I didn’t learn very much in the course, there really wasn’t any homework, the exam is multiple choice.
I was able to have all courses credited to my home university without any problems.
I’ve seen a lot of cities in the USA but San Diego was the most beautiful so far.
Depending on where you live, access to a car is very important as you are otherwise very limited in your activities. Friends of mine have bought a car and resold it (apply for an “International Driver’s License” in Germany) and otherwise small cars can be rented for the San Diego area from $400 a month or for the respective trip (eg: Dirt Cheep Car Rental / Parking at the university must be paid). Uber and Lyft are otherwise unbeatable as means of transport. There is also a bus that runs from PB/Mission Beach to the UCSD campus in about an hour ($2.25 per trip). There is a separate bus system on the UCSD campus. Also, many of the cities on the California coast are connected by an affordable train (Amtrak Surf Liner).
In the end, I would estimate the total cost of my time at San Diego All-In at $15,000-$16,000.
The leisure activities are unlimited in San Diego : water sports, large gym at the university, beach, sea, hiking, jogging, surfing and much more. There’s always something going on in Pacific Beach, so you never get bored. The trips I/we have done and all of which I highly recommend:
- LA + Venice Beach/Santa Monica
- Santa Barbara
- Canyon Trip (Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon)
- Yosemite National Park
- san francisco
- Palm Springs/ Joshua Tree National Park
- Las Vegas
- Hawaii (Ohau, Kauai, Hawaii)
I would do the semester abroad at UCSD again and again and can definitely recommend it. The courses are very practical and, with the exception of one, they were very instructive. The learning effort per course is limited and leaves enough time to enjoy San Diego with all its advantages and to travel the western United States. In addition, in my opinion, it is the unpredictable and interpersonal experiences that make a semester abroad unique and unforgettable. In the end everyone is responsible for this, no matter which university you go to. But San Diego provides great framework conditions for this.