UCSD Reviews (1)

UCSD Reviews (1)

The UCSD is located in the northern part of the city, just a few meters from the Pacific Ocean, between the beautiful Torrey Pines State Park and the villa district of La Jolla. In addition to the SDSU, it is one of the two largest universities in San Diego with over 35,000 students . The university campus is huge and in the 3 months I haven’t nearly managed to explore all corners. The heart, however, is undoubtedly the price center with the food court, bookstore and a cinema. The architecturally impressive Geisel Libary (model for the mountain fortress in the film Inception) is also just a stone’s throw away. The UCSD Extension Center is about 10 minutes away, where two extremely nice study advisors are available to answer any questions you may have. There is also a PC room and one of the three large fitness rooms nearby.

The first two days there will be orientation days, in which you will receive a ucsd.edu e-mail address and a student ID, which enables many services and discounts all over the city (outlet centers, restaurants, supermarkets) and online (Amazon, pizza delivery services) . Unfortunately, there is no buddy system, and otherwise contact with local students is rather moderate.


Choosing a course is a bit tedious because the international students have to crash the courses, i.e. they have to get permission to attend the course from the respective professor or department. How this works, but explained in detail on the orientation day. In addition, there is usually enough space for all students at the end .

Courses usually have 4 units (corresponds to 6-8 ECTS), but there are also some with 2 or 3 units. Basically, you can attend courses at the Undergrad and the Grad School, whereby the level at Undergrad is likely to be well below the European university level, while Grad courses correspond more to the Swiss university level. It should be noted that the effort during the semester is much higher than, for example, at my home university, despite the lower academic difficulty. You usually get grades for attendance, participation, homework, course quizzes, presentations, and key exams. But if everything is done conscientiously, a grade between B + and A is absolutely possible. Check act-test-centers to see more reviews from current students.

I attended two courses at the Rady School of Management (Business and Organizational Leadership / Project Management) and a Politics course (The modern Presidency).

Before the exchange

Linguistically, only a TOEFL of 90 points is required.

Foreign students have to obtain an F1 visa from the American embassy, ​​which can be tedious and tedious. However, I had no problems at all when entering the country.


San Diego has a very dynamic housing market and there are countless offers on a wide variety of platforms. In addition to craigslist, we particularly recommend the university’s Facebook groups, for example “off-campus housing UCSD” or “UCSD free and for sale”. However, I would not recommend getting an apartment without viewing, as many fraudsters are on these platforms. In my opinion, it is therefore worthwhile to spend the first two weeks in a motel, hostel or Airbnb and search on site. As I said, the market is very dynamic, you can always find something .

On-campus housing is not possible for internationals, but the university has a program for host families and a private organization offers rooms close to the university for very high prices. Otherwise the prices are significantly higher than, for example, in St. Gallen. For a shared room you have to calculate with 400-700 dollars, for a single room 900-1600 $. Since the university is located in a residential area, the prices in the vicinity of the university (everything within a 20-minute drive) are significantly higher. However, if you are willing to drive longer than 35 minutes to the university, you can expect significantly cheaper prices.

I can recommend the Solona Beach Program , a program where exchange students stay with a host family for 3-10 days and during this period they have the opportunity to look for their own accommodation .

Tips for San Diego and the surrounding area

As already indicated, San Diego is a rather expensive city, so expect an average daily cost of $ 30-40. There is a bus system, but it is hardly possible to get through the city in a useful time. It is therefore almost essential to rent a car. If you only want to drive it in San Diego County, the offers from Dirt Cheap Car are worthwhile, where as a student you can rent a fully insured car (scrap box category) for $ 375 per month. Otherwise, Uber and Lyft are widely used. The best restaurants can be found in Little Italy, downtown offers the most exclusive clubs and Pacific Beach has a variety of bars and discos. Especially in Pacific Beach (Pb), you can get some bargains, legendary, for example, is Taco Tuesday, where tacos, beer and tequila are available for massively reduced prices. Monday and Wednesday there are also all-you-can-eat chicken wings for $ 15 or on Thursdays at McFadden Beer for $ 1.

In addition, the city offers an enormous selection of varied beaches for swimming, relaxing and surfing . For the latter, I recommend La Jolla Shore and Pb for beginners and Del Mar for advanced students.

Furthermore, there are an incredible number of excursion destinations around San Diego , LA, Phoenix and Las Vegas can be reached in a few hours. In the immediate vicinity, the Temecula wine-growing region with its many tasting rooms, the tourist western town of Julian and the strenuous but worthwhile hikes to the Three Sisters or to the Potato Chip Rock are recommended. A cross-border excursion to Tijuana is also worthwhile, but the city is the center of the drug war and should therefore be visited with the necessary caution. After nightfall, I would only use Uber to get around Tijuana’s city center outside of Avenida Revolucion.


San Diego is a dynamic and diverse US city that is sure to fall in love with if you stay there for a long time. The university fees , however, are quite steep and in addition, exchange students are discriminated against in many areas (additional fees for gym and parking spaces, disadvantages in course occupancy and library service). Therefore, I cannot give an unconditional recommendation for the university myself, but you will certainly not regret the time in San Diego, as the California lifestyle is nowhere lived as intensely as there.

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