Study in University of California San Diego (9)

First of all, I would like to say that the stay in San Diego was absolutely worth it, unreservedly and in every respect! It was amazing.
In my report I will rather focus on the “do and don’ts” because the city with its wonderful facets has already been described in great detail in the reports before me.

In advance

Registering through MicroEDU couldn’t be made any easier. (Many thanks to the great MicroEDU team!) The deadlines are all quite generous. You should still take your time for the toefl test. For this purpose, preparatory courses are offered by language institutes. These are very helpful because, on the one hand, you are provided with tips and tricks for the test and, on the other hand, you have already developed a little routine. You should definitely prepare for the test and with the preparation course it goes more smoothly. The embassy appointment was actually a joke. The clerks there seem to be busy with exchange students and are very relaxed. They didn’t want anything special from me either. When you finally have all the forms together, MicroEDU sends the application for one. As long as you are well positioned and have not built too many mistakes in the motivation disc, the acceptance should almost certainly come…

You should book the flight as early as possible, as you can save a lot as an early bird. Unfortunately, you also have to know when the flight is going back home. Rebooking costs around $ 250 plus a surcharge if the new return flight is more expensive. With the flight I would also book a place in a youth hostel in SD (Banana Bungalow). It is important that you take your I-20 form with you in your hand luggage. When entering the country you have to fill out an I-94 before (!) You get in line for passport control, otherwise you can queue up at the back again. The I-20 form and the demolition of the I-94 are both vital! You mustn’t lose them under any circumstances. The visa is only valid with the I-20 form and the demolition of the I-94 must be returned to the airline’s boarding counter when leaving the country. It costs several hundred dollars to apply for a new I-94 after a loss! Read more student reviews on Anycountyprivateschools.

In general, it is better to land in SD in the morning, as you still have a little time to get to your accommodation. There are buses from the airport to Pacific Beach and La Jolla. The ride is $ 5. You have to (!) Have it with you, otherwise you are not allowed to get on the bus. You cannot pay with a card. A taxi to PB costs around $ 30.

I lived in Pacific Beach. In retrospect, that was definitely the best option. In terms of costs, it makes no difference whether you take an apartment in PB or in La Jolla. You should plan around $ 900-1100 warm rent. Finding an apartment is not easy. You can find a lot of offers on Craigslist. But many of them are quite questionable and there are also many shacks offered at an inflated price. When you have found a nice place, around 50 others are also interested in it. Ultimately, you need a bit of luck and you mustn’t look at every penny. It makes no sense to look for an apartment from Germany, you can really only do that there. You should plan about 1 week for looking for an apartment, better more.

Both in La Jolla and in PB there are quite a few apartment buildings where you can rent a furnished room on a monthly basis. Often you share the apartment with 1-2 other students (mostly other foreign students). These offers really offer an all-round service with BBQ, pool, fitness room and whirlpool; but also have their price. Many houses are rented out directly by agencies. Especially the houses near the beach in PB are actually only holiday homes. I found my apartment through Craigslist. As it turned out in retrospect, it was provided by Mission Beach Management. ( I lived there in a 3 room apartment with a Norwegian exchange student who also went to UCSD. Actually, the apartment wasn’t a bad grip, although it wasn’t cheap either. For this it was furnished, with TV, internet etc. but also fully equipped.

I would recommend everyone to stay in PB. There is always something going on there, you are super flexible and live right on the beach. It couldn’t be better. Most of those who lived on the campus in La Jolla always had to take a taxi over there because nothing was going on there. Some even moved to PB because La Jolla was unsuitable for them.

The crash of the courses at the university was actually pretty relaxed. Unfortunately, you are treated with lower priority: first all the “right” UCSD students are allowed to choose the courses and only then those who are at UCSD via the “Concurrent Enrollment” program. If the course is already full, you are unlucky. If you want to attend economics courses, you will get an email from the Department of Economics and the Rady School of Mgmt. In the third week of lectures you could then register for the courses that were still open. One was called according to the list; In other words, those who were at the top had the full choice, while the others had to hope that there would still be places available in the course when it was their turn. At first, of course, I had ignored the email and was ranked 76th out of a little more than 100. In the end, that wasn’t a problem at all. On the one hand, there were still quite a few places available in the courses. You could see on the Internet how many “real” UCSD students had already registered for the course and how many places were still free. So you had a very good overview of the chances of being accepted into the course. On the other hand, there were mainly Asians on this mailing list who were in a similar exchange program. But these are simply not shown. Of the first 40 people on the list, around 35 were Asians, 36 of whom did not show up … On the other hand, there were mainly Asians on this mailing list who were in a similar exchange program. But these are simply not shown. Of the first 40 people on the list, around 35 were Asians, 36 of whom did not show up… On the other hand, there were mainly Asians on this mailing list who were in a similar exchange program. But these are simply not shown. Of the first 40 people on the list, around 35 were Asians, 36 of whom did not show up…

So, ultimately, I got into the courses I wanted to get into:

  • International Trade:
    The course was led by Marc Muendler. He also comes from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich and has been in beautiful Cali for almost ten years. The course was top notch because the professor and his instructors were very committed to the matter. The amount of work was ok. We had two mid-terms and a final, as well as three problem sets. If you’ve put in some work, you’ve been rewarded accordingly. Especially since the grades were “curved”, i.e. given according to a percentage distribution. Fortunately, however, the feeling of “the worse the others are, the better I am” did not arise, which was quite pleasant. But you also have to add that apart from a few superbrains, the Americans were way behind the European students.
  • Financial Risk Mgmt.:
    The course was led by Carol Foster. A slightly older but really funny guy. The course was very mathematics and proof / deduction-heavy by American standards. Compared to what one is used to in Germany (or at the LMU), it was nothing breathtaking. All the Americans whined quite a bit anyway. Perhaps one of the biggest differences is that here you place much more emphasis on the derivations and the background, whereas in the USA the focus is on practical relevance. We only had to write a midterm and a final.
  • Financial Markets and Investment Strategy:
    The course was offered by the extension. To be honest, the course was very easy. Sure, we covered quite a lot of material and sometimes more demanding things, but because God and the world were inside, the professor just couldn’t get started. The exams and assignments were pretty easy. Sure, those credits were simply earned, but it wasn’t really worth it. In general, I would think twice about taking a course at the extension. When I realized that the course was really bad, it was too late and I couldn’t change.

Car or not?

I can only recommend everyone to rent or buy a car. Actually, I wanted to buy a cart for $ 1,000-1,500. But I quickly realized that this was nothing. At the price only dubious and rotten boxes are really offered. You would have to have at least $ 3000 in hand to find something serious. In addition, you usually have to do a smog test. Cars that do not come from California immediately fail because they do not have a catalytic converter. Retrofitting is then correspondingly expensive. Insurance would cost around $ 80-100 (liability) for such a grinder. If you stay there for two or three terms, I think it’s worth it. There are also some used car dealers who do not make a better impression but offer better cars.

I got a car from Dirt Cheap Car Rentals. Costs around $ 380 a month with all-round service. Again, it’s worth reserving one in advance. When all the students come in August / September, the cars go away like hot cakes. I was then offered the slightly larger car at the price of the smallest car.

The first car did not start after the first drive (no joke!). I got a new one 30 minutes later. That then collapsed the next time. The cooling was in the ass and the thing is completely overheated. A small call to Dirt Cheap and 20 minutes later another speedster was in front of me. They know that their cars are the last scrap mill and break down every now and then. Accordingly, they are pretty relaxed. They also don’t mind if there is one or the other dent in the sheet metal. The car was already pretty badly worn. With the knowledge in the back of your head you drive accordingly… So in the price of $ 380 everything is really included. They even asked me to drive over there every 3-4 weeks so they can check the car. The complete washing and cleaning is then available as a bonus on top. In addition, you are fully insured with zero deductible.

When we started a road trip, on the way back, a fat pick-up drove into the back of a Starbucks parking lot. It was definitely not my fault because my car was standing still when old grandpa drove into the back of me with a truck. Of course, he portrayed it in a completely different way. The damage was pretty severe, especially because the rented car was one of the good ones. (With these cheap things from Dirt Cheap you can only drive around in San Diego County, for a road trip you have to take one of the better ones) Well, long story short, Dirt Cheap accepted the car without a murmur, wanted a brief description of what happened and Grandpa’s dates and the thing was scratched.

A friend who had a car from another rental company wasn’t so lucky. On the contrary, it was pretty much deducted because the rental company submitted a horrific bill after an accident, even though the car was repaired with two blows of the hammer (in the truest sense of the word).

It takes about 50 minutes by bus from PB to the campus. Depending on where the lecture is, you have to walk another 5-15 minutes or change to the campus shuttle. PB is not that far away, the problem is that the bus makes huge detours and stops at every mailbox. If it’s really nice and warm outside, it’s arctic 15 degrees on the bus. In addition, the windows are tinted because advertising is stuck outside. It’s really not a hit with this thing even though it comes every 20 mins. The buses that go to or from the campus are free, provided you have a sticker on your student ID card. You can get the sticker in the same office where you get the parking licenses for the parking lot.

It takes about 12-13 minutes by car from PB to campus. Just take Freeway No 5 north. The campus has its own exit! The problem then is finding a parking space. For the parking spaces on campus you need a parking license (cost approx. 90 $), only the parking spaces are already occupied after 8 a.m. At the northeast end there is a huge sand parking lot for free. From there it takes another 5-15 minutes to get to the lecture hall. With the car, however, it is simply much more chilled out: when you drive towards university in your beloved junk mill in mid-November with 27 degrees and sunshine in your t-shirt, shorts and an open window and turn up the radio, you know that it’s right The decision was to get a car!

It’s going to be legendary!

There is a lot to celebrate in PB. Tuesday is Taco Tuseday at Typhoon with tacos and margaritas in abundance. Wednesday is Wings Wendsday and Thursday is not called thirsty Thursday! In the Beachcomber or just “Comber” you can get everything for 1 $. The shop is quite small and tailored to the Californian lifestyle. Beer pong included. So we had by far the best nights there.

Generally one should behave well in front of the cops in the USA and especially in SD. One is not allowed to drink in public, not to drain water and not to stumble around while drunk. You should definitely not cycle or drive a car after a beer. The cops aren’t kidding at all. At a late hour, countless of them are also in use, which is very reassuring. The best thing to do is to save some change for the taxi ride home, then you are always very safe on the way, unless the taxi driver tries to pull you away by taking a detour…
Downtown is 20 minutes and $ 35 from PB by taxi. You can forget the bus. The clubs are all trimmed for “noble”. Most of the music is hip-hop and the charts. Stingaree, Ivy and Fluxx are solid clubs where you can have a lot of fun. However, it is quite expensive and at 2 o’clock the party is over again.


You should definitely try it at least once; the Mission Beach Aquatic Center offers discounted courses for students. A used surfboard is available for around $ 200 and a wetsuit for $ 130. In the evening, just when the sun sets over the Pacific and the whole beach promenade is bathed in a reddish shimmer, dolphins swim south from the bay in La Jolla towards the harbor. If you are in the water and waiting for waves, they come by every now and then to see what the surfers are doing. The dolphins pass you up to 2-3 meters and jump out of the water from time to time. You get a real goosebumps feeling…

Road trips

You should definitely do it. At the end of the semester there is still enough time to rent a car and have a nice lap. It’s actually no problem that it is already mid-December. Sure, Yosemite National Park is partially closed and there could be snow at the Grand Canyon. It didn’t bother us, on the contrary. We went in order to LA, Malibu, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Sequoya National Park, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Area 51, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, San Diego. Takes about 10 days and is priceless! We slept in motels on the way. There are lots of them everywhere. There were four of us and we always took a room for two people (and only specified two people). In each room there are then two double beds, which is sufficient for four.

In conclusion, I can only warmly recommend everyone to go to SD for a term or longer. The whole stay is unfortunately quite expensive, but it was definitely worth it. The fellow students I met there were simply brilliant. We all had a lot of fun together. It was simply outstanding!

Study in University of California San Diego 9