UCSD Study Abroad

UCSD Study Abroad


The application via MicroEDU is uncomplicated, everything is forwarded in the shortest possible time and you get answers very quickly. Nevertheless, you should start preparing at the latest six months in advance (better a whole year). For example, the capacities for the Toefl test may be limited (I had to take mine in Arnhem in the Netherlands) and the time required for the visa should not be underestimated. An appointment at the American embassy should therefore be made as early as possible. Communication with UCSD was also relatively smooth and I always received an answer within a few days.

It is advisable to find out about housing options while in Germany. As an exchange student, there is no way to be accommodated on the UCSD campus. The rents in San Diego are relatively high, as are the cost of living in general. You have to reckon with a monthly rent of at least $ 600-700, I myself paid $ 1000 a month. I focused my search for an apartment in Germany via craigslist. com on La Jolla and Pacific Beach, as they are closest to UCSD. I was lucky enough to be able to organize an apartment in La Jolla over the Internet from Germany, so I could do without looking in San Diego.

From the experiences of the other exchange students, I know that a car is absolutely necessary to find a private apartment in San Diego. Due to my cheap living situation in La Jolla (5 minutes to Pacific Beach) I did not buy a car. However, the public transport connections for a metropolis like San Diego are really relatively poor and also unpunctual and slow. For a stay in San Diego that extends over more than a trimester, I would definitely recommend buying a car (also via craigslist).


Standing for University of California San Diego by abbreviationfinder, UCSD has an excellent reputation and is located in the north of La Jolla. The spacious campus offers a number of recreational opportunities. The center of the campus is the Geisel Library, which has many computers and numerous (and even cozy) study places. In addition to the numerous canteens on the entire campus, the Price Center with several food chains, a cinema, a supermarket and the book store is located near the Geisel Library (but the bookstore does not do it justice, it is more of a small shopping center, in which you can buy almost anything). The sports offer at UCSD is also really good, but not cheap either (despite the tuition fees, almost nothing is free at UCSD). For a fee of around $ 80-90 you can use certain sports activities throughout the trimester, such as

As an exchange student through MicroEDU , you are assigned to the UCSD Extension (not one of the six colleges). The foreign health insurance must be presented to the extension on the first day, otherwise one must be taken out in the USA, which is much more expensive. The contact with the extension is close, but the otherwise helpful support sometimes suffers from the fact that the university is so big and doesn’t know enough about the individual departments. You should then visit the departments yourself on your own initiative.

The extension program is more geared towards contact with other international students than with American students (almost 60% of whom at UCSD are of Asian origin). Every Friday, for example, there is an international dinner where you can get in touch with other foreign students. Contact with American students is more difficult. In the lectures and at some student events (barbecues!) I have met a few Americans. In contrast to the SDSU, the UCSD cannot be called a party university and is therefore celebrated outside the campus.

As an economics student, I limited myself to the economics course when choosing a course. There it is absolutely recommended to keep as many options as possible for different courses open (course schedule on the Internet). The undergraduate courses are much easier compared to Germany, but the graduate courses are definitely not to be underestimated (you can get into most graduate courses in economics with the approval of the professor, even if you are initially told that this is generally not possible). A good grade is also relatively easy to achieve in the undergraduate courses.

In the first two weeks of the trimester, the normally enrolled students can first choose the courses, before the course crash as an extension student at the beginning of the third week. Only the remaining places in the courses that are not yet fully occupied can then still be selected. This system is of course extremely disadvantageous for the foreign students, since the best courses are full and the foreign students compete for the few remaining places. Since these are given according to the “first come – first served” principle, it is advisable to be at the university by 2 or 4 o’clock in the morning (!!!) on Monday of the third week (5 or 6 o’clock like you) is often told is definitely too late!) to register there. Because some courses are still occupied quickly, you should have listened to as many courses as possible beforehand in order to have alternative options. For example, I have also taken political science courses myself.

For the use of course materials over the Internet, an additional $ 50 per course can be billed. The professors often recommend buying textbooks, but I can advise against them as they are very expensive ($ 100-200 is not uncommon!) And mostly not that relevant. If this is necessary, you can also buy used books in the bookstore and sell them again at the end of the term. In contrast to Germany, several midterms had to be written in addition to a final, and short essays had to be submitted in the political science courses. In addition to the courses, sections (exercises) are often offered, the participation of which is mostly voluntary in the economics courses and often mandatory in the political science courses. If you want to take more than 3 courses,

San Diego

San Diego is the second largest city in California and is considered America’s finest city. It does not have this title wrongly, because the city is simply unique. The weather is sunny almost all year round (not too hot, but always sun!) And the people in southern California are also quite relaxed, in a good mood, interested, helpful and communicative. Only the prices are very high, almost everything is expensive here! In addition to the many entertainment options, San Diego is a great starting point for trips in all directions.

Particularly noteworthy are the beaches and beach life in San Diego. My favorites are Coronado Beach on the Coronado Peninsula, Windansea in La Jolla (very interesting for surfers), La Jolla Shores (relatively close to the university, so you can even go there between two courses) and the kilometer-long Pacific Beach, which is in Mission Beach passes.

In Pacific Beach there is also the nightlife with countless bars and clubs (most of them around Garnet Avenue at Crystal Pier). Always make sure that you have your passport with you, because you will not get anywhere else. There are other ways to celebrate in Downtown. La Jolla has rather good restaurants and some great views and smaller beaches around The Cove, but is expensive overall.

Other highlights in San Diego include:

  • Visit the offshore Coronado peninsula (take the harbor ferry) and visit the Hotel des Coronado
  • the historic settlements in Old Town
  • the Balboa Park with the San Diego Zoo
  • the harbor and a tour of the aircraft carrier USS Midway
  • the Juan Cabrillo Monument with a great view of the downtown skyline
  • Mount Soledad with a 360 degree panoramic view of the whole of San Diego
  • Visits to Sea World (but costs a lot) and the Steven Birch Aquarium (directly at the UCSD)

San Diego can be used as a starting point for travel:

  • Los Angeles approx. 2 hours by car to Hollywood or Santa Monica / Venice
  • Las Vegas about 5 hours by car through the desert
  • San Francisco about 8 hours by car or 2 hours by plane
  • Santa Barbara, approx. 4 hours (definitely visit UCSB, the party university!)
  • Drive up the Pacific coast by car!
  • I refrained from visiting Tijuana because of the high level of crime and the drug war that was raging there.

I can only highly recommend a stay in San Diego and at UCSD to everyone. Despite the high costs and minor problems at the university, the experience was really unique. I took a lot of very interesting impressions with me, got to know great people, made friends and will definitely return.

UCSD Study Abroad