I took part in the UCSD Summer Session from August to September. It was a really nice time! The organization, i.e. admission and preparation, took place with great help from MicroEDU.com. Right at the beginning I would like to emphasize that the service is really completely free and that the team at MicroEDU.com does everything to facilitate the organization of the study abroad. E-mail inquiries are answered satisfactorily in the shortest possible time and the team is extremely friendly and helpful. The application documents for the UCSD are quickly put together. The TOEFL test certainly makes the greatest demands. However, the required 80 points should be feasible for everyone – even with little preparation. The visa is significantly more time-consuming. On the Internet you have to answer questions page by page, which takes 2-3 hours. However, the personal conversation with the consulate is purely a matter of form and should not be a problem. Get more student review on University of California San Diego on jibin123.
Once in San Diego, I can highly recommend the USAHostel. This is a cheap option, especially if you come to San Diego a little earlier and want to spend a few more days downtown. The USAHostel is right in the center of downtown. Club IVY is recommended for those who are over 21 and want to go out downtown. Definitely one of the best locations in downtown. The university itself is located in La Jolla – actually only about 15 miles from downtown, but without a car it is a huge distance. The bus takes 75 minutes for a one-way trip to downtown.
For short trips, of course, Mexico (be sure to bring a student visa I20 with you), LA and Las Vegas, which is about 5 hours away by car. Las Vegas in particular keeps its promises and is definitely an experience.
The UCSD campus is simply huge. I still remember how I kept getting lost in the first few days. After a few days, however, this is no longer a problem. The highlight is the Geisel Library, in the middle of the UCSD. The support of the international students by the UCSD Extension was excellent. All employees are very friendly and helpful. I particularly liked the fact that the courses were already secured in advance, so you didn’t have to fight for your courses on site.
The apartments on campus are absolutely fine for the short time. Even a cleaning service takes care of the bathroom and living room once a week.
As an economics student, I took 2 economics courses. Econ 1 – Principles of Economics and Econ 101 – International Trade. The latter in particular was very interesting, but also challenging. If you want to transfer the points to Germany, 2 courses are enough. With the appropriate use, there is also an A in it. The summer session only lasts 5 weeks and so you write the first mid-term after a good 2 weeks, which often makes up 30% or 50% of the overall grade. I can highly recommend UCSD, especially for business. In many rankings, the Department of Economics is among the top 10 in the world. Overall, rankings confirm this university’s position among the top 20 universities in the world. If you choose the UCSD, you also do something for your résumé. Unfortunately, however, you have to pay for almost all services.
Overall, I can recommend UCSD to everyone. San Diego is really a beautiful city and California is easy to explore from San Diego. In any case, I would plan my stay with MicroEDU.com again.
The application process for a quarter (approx. 10 weeks) via MicroEDU.com runs smoothly and quickly. You should plan some time only for the application for a visa at the American embassy.
The tuition fees are currently almost $ 7200 per quarter (!) And are quite high. In addition, there are other expenses, e.g. for books, which in the USA can quickly amount to 100-200 $ per book. The costs for groceries etc. should not be underestimated either.
The first days at UCSD are generally very stressful, as you cannot choose the courses in advance, but go to the first dates and hope for free places and a signature from the professor. Therefore, you should attend more courses in the first two or three weeks than you actually need until you have entered your courses. This applies in particular to popular courses such as economics etc. As an engineer, you don’t have these problems, I got the first three courses straight away.
At first it was unusual for me to have to work during the semester (quarters). In principle, you get homework every week, which is also included in the final grade (between 20-40% depending on the subject). After about 4-5 weeks, the midterms are due, i.e. exams on the material from the first few weeks. The advantage of homework for me was that I studied the material regularly so that I didn’t have to prepare for the exams any further. This is very practical as all midterms are in the same week or sometimes even on the same day. The same applies to the finals that are written in the week after the end of the lecture period.
Of course, I can only compare the level of the courses for my subject area (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UCSD or Aerospace Technology at RWTH Aachen University). After two quarters I can see that the level at the American university is much lower than at my home university, although the UCSD and the MAE department are considered to be one of the better ones in California. The only difficult thing is the Imperial System which I couldn’t get used to during my entire stay.
The UCSD has the reputation of a university for “geeks”, which is also mostly true for the local students. Most of the time they lock themselves at home with their books. The best contacts are made with foreign students. UCSD is located in north San Diego, in La Jolla. If you are looking for clubs or parties, this is the wrong place. The UCSD and the surrounding area should be viewed more as a learning factory. To celebrate you should go to Pacific Beach or Downtown. There are many good clubs there. Only the taxi costs of $ 20 and $ 40 are quite high. Public transportation through San Diego is almost non-existent. There are only shuttle buses around the university, which are very practical. That’s why you should think twice about buying a car and moving to Pacific Beach.
Another highlight of San Diego is of course the geographical location on the Pacific. The surf courses from the Mission Bay Aquatic Center are highly recommended. The advantage is that you sign up for a surf course that takes place once a week, but you can go to any other course as long as there is enough space (which is actually always the case).
Furthermore, you should not miss the usual destinations (LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, etc.). I had another very nice weekend in Mexico, although the Americans warn you about it because it is too dangerous. However, if you drive a little further south (eg Ensenada, approx. 2 hours by car), you will not notice the “danger”. Very nice beaches, very nice people and very good (and spicy) food. I would do it again and again. Only the return journey to the USA takes a long time because you have to wait ages at passport control.
All in all, I can generally only recommend a semester abroad. It has helped me a lot personally and I would do it again and again. I’m not sure if I would go to UCSD again. Of course, I was able to take some material with me and the learning curve was not very high, but the social component at UCSD is not very pronounced, for example compared to San Diego State University. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether they would prefer to study at a somewhat “better” university (UCSD) or at the so-called “party university” (SDSU). No matter how you choose, San Diego is definitely one of the best places in the world!