My time at UCSD was exciting and brought many new experiences. I flew to San Diego a few days before the introduction and stayed in a hostel, then looked for an apartment on craiglist.com. Some of them suggested I live in Pacific Beach. Pacific Beach is located exactly between Downtown (in the south) and the UCSD in the north of the city. I looked at apartments in both Pacific Beach and near the university, but then decided on Pacific Beach. Using craiglist, it is very easy to find an apartment quickly and it is also common to be able to move in within the next few days. During the week there is a bus to UCSD every 15 minutes and takes 30-40 minutes, depending on where you get on. In contrast to the immediate vicinity of the university, there are many bars and restaurants, shops and, above all, a huge beach promenade in Pacific Beach. It is also not far from the beautiful bay in the south and only half an hour from downtown by bus. Some students have also rented or bought a car and so the way to the university or the city is not particularly far. So if you don’t mind the drive, I would recommend Pacific Beach to everyone!
During the introduction you got to know all the other students of the UPS program and basic things about course selection and life at UCSD were explained. We also had to take a language test so that the university could check our English skills again. But the atmosphere was quite relaxed, so not like in a difficult, important stage. Then a UCSD student showed us the campus, although he only managed a small part of the really very large UCSD campus (which consists of 6 colleges and several research institutes) in 2 hours. Then we were given informational materials for programs for foreign students and information about San Diego and our program, and unfortunately that was it. The next day everyone had another one-on-one interview with our Academic Advisor about choosing a course. I found the introduction to be a bit short and would have liked a little more program to get in more contact with the people in my program. Find more review on University of California San Diego on existingcountries.
Fortunately, since I took a literature and linguistics course, choosing a course was easier for me than, for example, for the economics students. If there are still free places in a course, it should not be a problem to take part in it. If the course is already full, however, it is up to the professor to decide whether or not to accept you as a foreign student. Fortunately for me, this was also the case with the communications course that Economics students had, as there are often long waiting lists in the courses, more problems getting into the courses they wanted to take.
For me it was initially a change to study on such a large campus with such a wide range of courses. But after I made my choice of course, I got used to it pretty quickly. In the middle of the campus there is the Price Center, where you can find all kinds of fast food chains and there are also many restaurants and snack stands spread across the campus.
As a foreign student, I was welcomed very nicely in all of the courses and I particularly enjoyed the sessions during the courses, as you work in smaller groups there and thus have more of a chance to get to know the local students. At first I was a bit lost in the lectures, but with so many students it was no wonder.
Both the professors and tutors of the sessions as well as my Academic Advisor were always very nice and helpful if questions or problems arose. In the first week in particular, I would advise everyone to take several alternative courses and then choose the one in which you feel most comfortable and in which you like the professor and his requirements best.
I had to do very different things in each course. But what was the case in all courses is that (compared to my studies in Germany) you have to submit a lot of small graded tasks during the semester, such as homework, short papers or small projects in the communications course. In addition, midterm exams take place in the middle of the quarter. The final exam at the end of the quarter is sometimes only 30%. I found that very pleasant, because you have the opportunity to collect good grades throughout the quarter and so the pressure at the final is no longer so great.
The UCSD also has several sports facilities with fitness studios, swimming pools, large sports halls and outdoor facilities that can be used. For some systems you need a REMAC Card, for which you have to pay per month or quarter. I have also joined a basketball team via the REMAC homepage in order to have the opportunity to train and play a bit and to get to know other students. The best way is to simply send a team leader an email via the REMAC homepage and ask.
In addition, there are some events and trips for foreign students, such as conversation cafés with UCSD students, where you can ask questions about San Diego and the UCSD, and trips to Sea World, Universal Studios in Los Angeles, a San Diego baseball game Padres etc.
Hardly anyone from my UPS program took part in the trips, but I got to know other exchange students who, for example, took language courses at the UCSD Extension. In addition, the Academic Advisor kept you up to date on a number of other events during the quarter.
I would have found it nice to have another final meeting for the UPS students at the end of the quarter. Because after I had handed in my last paper, my time at UCSD was almost over and I received my documents with the grades etc.
All in all, campus life was very nice and San Diego is a beautiful city that has a lot more to offer in addition to the big city flair, such as the beautiful island of Coronado, the large bay and the many beach areas, which sometimes make you forget that you are lives in a big city.