The following experience report was written by me for my university. However, it should also be useful for students from other universities, as much of the content relates exclusively to the UCSD.
Name: University of California San Diego (UCSD)
Number of students: approx. 26,000
UCSD is located in the more upscale suburb of La Jolla, about 10 miles from San Diego. Depending on where you live in San Diego / La Jolla, the university can be reached by bus. Nevertheless, I would definitely recommend renting a car – on the one hand, because the buses don’t go very often and, on the other hand, because many things outside of the course can only be reached by car, as there is hardly any public transport around San Diego. Read more student reviews on Hetongdiy.
I was supported throughout the registration process by the MicroEDU institution (www.MicroEDU.com). This is an organization that helps you organize a semester abroad free of charge. They offer a guideline that contains what an application should contain and how the various forms must be filled out. In addition, this organization offers assistance with all questions relating to the semester abroad and thoroughly checks the application documents for correctness and completeness before they are sent to the UCSD. This was very helpful because it is important to send a correct and complete application to UCSD the first time, otherwise you run the risk of being rejected.
There is one person at UCSD who is responsible for all questions from exchange students. You get to know these on the introductory day. It is therefore important to take part in the introductory day in order to know who this contact person is. In addition, on the introductory day you get to know a lot of exchange students, which is important in order to build up a social network in San Diego. You will receive all information about the introductory program as well as about the university and student life after you have been definitively accepted by the UCSD.
The UCSD campus contains everything you need for daily student life: a huge library (see picture above) to study and with lots of books to borrow, a number of catering options, supermarkets, a stationery shop and a bar. that the campus is huge in terms of area. Walking distances of 20 minutes or shuttle buses from one building to the other are not uncommon. You also have to know that even with a UCSD parking card, you can hardly find a parking space at certain times. That’s why it’s better to park for free outside the campus if you’re ready to walk a 10-minute walk. You can find this free parking space if you turn left at Torrey Pines Road at Rady School. You come to a huge sand place
The IT system of UCSD is called WebCT and contains all information about the course, as well as the Powerpoint presentations and literature for the courses taken. In addition, all homework / papers must be submitted via this portal. It is therefore necessary to take care of gaining access to this system as quickly as possible from the very beginning.
As already mentioned, the easiest way to apply to UCSD is to follow the guidelines from MicroEDU. This explains in an understandable way all the steps that should be taken into account. For a complete application you have to specify which UCSD courses you would like to attend. The UCSD requires that you specify about 3 times as many courses as you ultimately want to take. The reason for this is that the regular UCSD students have priority when choosing a course. This can mean that certain courses are already full and you have to switch to other courses. This in turn means that you should check with the HSG exchange service as early as possible to see which courses can be credited. The motto here is: The more creditable courses the HSG has approved, the less stressful the first three weeks at UCSD are, in which you don’t know for sure which courses are still open. However, it is not possible to clarify the course credits with the exchange service too early, as the courses are not yet definitely fixed until about 1.5 months before the start of the course.
In the end, I took the following 4 courses at UCSD:
- Corporate Social Responsibility (4 units = 6 ECTS; credit for reflection skills)
- Personal Ethics at Work (4 units = 6 ECTS; credit for reflection skills)
- Enterprise Finance (4 units = 6 ECTS; credit towards an independent elective area)
- Human Resources: an overview (4 units = 6 ECTS; credit towards practical skills)
The language of the course was English for all courses. With English level 2 you have sufficient knowledge of English to be able to follow the professors in the lectures. Of course, you have a certain disadvantage when writing texts / exams with a lot of text compared to the Americans. But this can also be done well after a certain adjustment phase.
The workload at UCSD varies a little depending on the course chosen. Overall, however, one can say that this is about the same as at the HSG. The difference to the HSG, however, is that the effort at UCSD is better distributed over the entire semester. This is given by the fact that there are 1-2 mid-term exams per course and small papers / homework often have to be written. This means that you always have a few tasks, but the workload at the end of the semester is less than at the HSG. The UCSD courses also vary in terms of complexity. It is known, however, that the courses in the “Economics” department are among the more demanding at UCSD
The relationship with the professors at UCSD is much closer and more personal. On the one hand, the courses at UCSD are much more interactive, and on the other hand, you are in email contact with most of the professors. Overall, I can say that I was able to learn a lot in terms of content from the UCSD courses, which were all fairly practice-oriented. In addition, I think that the system with several exams / homework ultimately leaves more of the material stuck.
Information before departure
I received confirmation that I was accepted at UCSD around 3 months before the start of my studies. The Cambridge Advanced Certificate is sufficient as proof of language proficiency. All information about further requirements can be found at www.MicroEDU.com.
For health insurance abroad, I recommend that you take out international protection through an insurance company in Switzerland. Depending on the insurance, this costs around 80 CHF compared to the insurance cover of UCSD, which costs around 200 USD. What you have to keep in mind, however, is that the Swiss health insurance company only pays for emergencies after the fact. This means that in the event of an emergency you first have to pay the bills of the hospitals / doctors yourself, which can quickly become expensive.
I booked the flight via a flight search website on the Internet. I only had to pay CHF 870 for the flight from Zurich to San Diego and back with British Airways. I would also recommend reserving a car via www.dirtcheapcarrental.com before flying to America. The cars there are between 3-6 years old, which means that these cars are much cheaper to rent than through conventional car rental companies (Hertz, Avis …). In addition, at dirtcheapcarrental, insurance cover is already included and you don’t pay anything in the event of damage.