I was at UCSD from September to December and it was a great time! Here are the key points:
Since I had heard from many and also read on the Internet that it was very easy to get an apartment in San Diego, I did not deal with the topic in Germany, but came to San Diego a week beforehand and started looking on site. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy as expected. Either the apartments / houses were cheap, but super shabby and far away from the university (not to forget: San Diego is the second largest city in California and the public transport network is just bad. There are only a few bus routes that For example, stop working at 10 am on the weekend … But at least free bus travel is included in the university student ID, if you want to extend it to the entire San Diego network, you have to pay an additional fee. But the bus routes around the university and the bus route to downtown are free.) So I looked around at www.craigslist.com and found a nice house near the university with lovely roommates. Of course the prices in La Jolla (where the university is located) are of course much higher, but the time you save because of the bus trip alone makes up for it. I would recommend a car to anyone who stays over there for more than a quarter; in America it is simply annoying without a car and you have to organize a lot. If you only stay in a quarter, it is too much effort and the cost-benefit is not always profitable. (I met many who were ripped off when buying a car and had to pay a lot more. In addition, the parking on the university campus looks very bad, On the one hand, you have to buy a parking ticket for the entire quarter and then there are not always enough parking spaces at peak times). So if you only stay a quarter it works without a car, you just have to get to know a few lovely people with cars and know how to organize themselves.
- Check topschoolsintheusa for more about University of California San Diego Rankings.
The university campus is very big – I got lost all the time in the first few days, but it all works out over time. Since I’m studying political science, I got all the courses I wanted straight away, only the economists all groaned. The local students have priority over us, so you have to “crash” the courses, ie go to the professor after the course and say that you absolutely want to go to his course. Then you get your signature and you have to get a confirmation from the department and you are registered. In economics, the courses are always overcrowded and there is a fight for the last places (including standing in front of the faculty at 6 a.m. to get accepted). But when you study another subject
It wasn’t difficult, to be honest, I found it much easier than with us. It is therefore essential to take a graduate course! In undergraduate you feel even less challenged. The only thing that is a little stressful is what has to be done all the time. I had an essay to write in every course, a midterm and the final – all in 10 weeks. So you always have something to do, but it’s not that demanding in terms of level, ie they don’t expect as much in your homework essay as they do in Germany. For example, I only had to write 7 pages, in Germany the minimum is often 15 pages. So you have a lot of time for other things and so I come to my third point:
Living in San Diego
San Diego is really a sunshine city and there are so many great things to do! It is also very conveniently located, meaning you can be in Mexico in half an hour and LA in 2 hours!
A couple of things I would definitely recommend:
- Visit Coronado Island
- Making a bonfire on the beach
- Downtown San Diego
- La Jolla Cove
- Drive to LA and best of all to Santa Barbara
- Las Vegas (approx. 5 hours away by car)
- Cheescakefactory – mmh, the best cake in the world is there 🙂
To the night life:
You can either go downtown, where there are many bars and clubs, or go to PB (Pacific Beach). In PB everything is much more relaxed, more alternative, you can go to a club with flip-flops. Downtown, on the other hand, is more “fancy”. So, try both and see where you like it better.
About the costs:
I was very lucky because the euro is so strong at the moment, so I didn’t think the cost of living was very high. I also met a few Germans and they complained, but that was probably also because I come from Munich and we pay 9 euros for an ice cream sundae, which the Berliners, for example, found terrible 🙂 I think on average you need just as much Money like at home, of course it costs more if you travel around a lot (and shop a lot;). I would definitely recommend that to you, because if you are ever in California, you should take everything with you. For nature lovers: start a round trip in Las Vegas and visit all national parks in Utah, Nevade and Arizona!
All in all, I can only say that it was a wonderful time and everyone who is still a little unsure: Do it! It will be a great experience, you get to know very nice people from all over the world and live for a few months in a great city where the sun is always shining!