UCSD Reviews (2)

UCSD Reviews (2)

Because of the many positive reviews and the wide range of partner universities , I decided to spend a semester abroad in San Diego . In retrospect, I can say that the path via CC was absolutely the right one . It was a huge help to have a competent contact person at your side in advance . You were reminded of all possible deadlines and the information materials and checklists in particular were very useful.

I made my decision for San Diego primarily because of the outstanding location in Southern California and the city itself. I then have between the UCSD and the SDSU wavered and decided to go to UCSD mainly because of its better reputation. In retrospect, I’m really happy that I made this decision. My biggest concern was that the leisure factor and social life at UCSD could be neglected due to the higher demands. I can reassure anyone who asks similar questions here. Compared to my home university, RWTH Aachen University, the claim is strikingly lower. It was not a big hurdle to complete the subjects with an A / A +, I only had to go to university twice a week on relatively long days. The SDSU, on the other hand, adheres to the image of the party university, which is certainly very attractive – especially if you just want to spend a cool time in SD. However, from an academic point of view, the university does not have the best reputation, both in SD and in Germany. So I’ve heard stories that some German universities no longer recognize SDSU’s services across the board. That really put me off and the UCSD was the perfect compromise in that respect.

The life in San Diego, specifically in Pacific Beach (PB), was absolutely amazing ! During my entire stay, I had three rainy days and in December it went down to 15 ° during the day;) I made a lot of acquaintances and made new friends with whom I still have contact three months after my semester abroad. San Diego has a lot to offer in terms of leisure time and I am glad that I enjoyed the SoCal lifestyle, even if only for four months .


I think enough has been written about general things like visas , flights , credit cards etc. in the other experience reports, which is why I only deal with a few specific points here. Regarding deadlines etc., “the sooner the better” applies, although you ca n’t really go wrong as long as you stick to the CC plan . If you are privately insured, you should check whether your insurance is valid abroad . For me (DEBEKA) this was the case, so I had the confirmation signed for the university and saved around 100 euros.

Since you can only enter the USA with the visa for the university from the 30th day before the start of the semester, but I wanted to travel a little longer, I flew to Toronto in mid-August and explored Canada on my own. Then I took the Greyhound bus from Toronto to NYC to the USA and then flew to SD in early September, three weeks before the semester started. It is important that it is not possible to enter the USA with an ESTA / tourist visa and then back to Canada or Mexico with the F1 visa to enter the US to spend more than 30 days in the US prior to the start of the semester. Don’t ask me why, but somehow they have a problem with that. So, if you still want to travel longer beforehand: Canada or Mexico.

Arrival, car and living situation

I decided to look for an apartment on site and booked a week in the Banana Bungalow in PB. I also decided to live in PB, which turned out to be spot on. UTC or La Jolla were haunted around as alternatives. If you intend to spend your life in Cali exclusively in the bib, don’t know what to do with beaches, bars etc. and like to be quiet, this might be the right thing for you. But if you want to enjoy the southern Californian way of life in addition to university, PB is the only option. You will be attuned to this in the banana bungalow. There are events here every evening and you can quickly get in touch with people from all over the world. That’s how I got to know my future roommates at the BB, two Danes and a German, also UCSD students, with whom I went looking for an apartment together.

The search for an apartment was definitely the most stressful part of my entire stay in North America and – in connection with the beer pong excesses in the BB every evening – can be quite exhausting. The drug of choice here is Craigslist, which sells just about anything. After about a week of viewing the apartment, we finally decided on a furnished apartment about 1 km from the beach. PP we paid 770 USD / month here and had three bedrooms, which were arranged one behind the other. So the whole thing was more of a compromise and not the optimal solution. However, you have to be prepared for the fact that the SDSU students have already grazed the housing market and that it is only for a limited time, so that was okay.

In the testimonials, a large number of people are absolutely convinced that a car is a must. When looking for an apartment at DirtCheap, I treated myself to a rust gazebo for the first four weeks for 400 USD and otherwise I think that (as long as you live in PB) it can be done without a car . Line 30 takes about 45 minutes from PB to the campus, is free for students and runs every 15 minutes. Apart from the dodgy passengers, that’s bearable with two university days a week. The rest of my life has been entirely in PB, where everything can be reached by bike (I bought it from Craigslist for 50 UDS). But I have to say that one of my best friends in SD had a car, so that I could often go to joint activities in SD here.


The UCSD campus is beautiful! The rooms, especially at the Rady School of Management, are in top condition and the lecturers are very motivated. Although that should be a matter of course for the tuition fees . However, the system is generally completely different from the German university system. There are significantly more small exams (essays, midterms, tests, journals, etc.) that can be passed with little preparation but with the top grade, an A. It just has to be done. Since the UCSD is one of the best public universities in the USA and is doing relatively well in various rankings, I was very surprised how easy it was to get good grades. Fortunately, my home university has them all too courses recognized in my master’s degree , so that I was able to polish up my grade point average. I noticed negatively the many fees that one has to pay as a second-class extension student. I don’t really understand why extension students have to pay double the price for printing and copying with higher tuition fees (as with many other services) and why access to many facilities (e.g. sports) is charged with extra costs or even completely is denied. There are a lot of horror stories about class crashing in the experience reports. This did not happen for me because I had my courses together after three days. Check andyeducation to see more reviews from current students.

Specifically, I have taken the following courses:

Energy & Environment

At first, Professor Krasheninikov appears quite harsh to unfriendly. Over time, however, we have come to appreciate his dry sarcasm. A total of three midterms plus final, which are not too difficult even without prior knowledge. I took the course with two Germans who are studying mechanical engineering and we passed all exams with 100%. The course is interesting and you can get a very good grade with little effort. I can really recommend this course to anyone interested in technical and political energy issues . I rented the book from the university’s bookstore for one semester for USD 20 and saved USD 100.

Electrical Energy Storage

This course was an extension course . A total of only 5 participants, three of whom are already working. The exam consisted of a personal project parallel to the course, which was presented at the end of the semester. Here, too, it is easy to get a good grade, but I would not take the course again because I took very little with me. The level was very low and the lectures were very confusing and carelessly cobbled together. The lecturer from the private sector was always very friendly, but poorly or not at all prepared, not very competent and usually did not answer emails.

Organizational leadership

I took this course in the additional area of ​​my master’s degree. It’s about leadership in companies and personal development, so a lot of psychology . In addition, topics such as networking etc. are covered. Half of the participants are internationals. Professor McKay is very motivated, has enormous rhetorical talent and has high demands on the willingness of her students to learn and work. Overall, this course is very interactive and labor-intensive (30-40 pages of reading + essay per week, as well as various tests and midterm + final). I found the course super interesting and was able to achieve an A- here, too, but with significantly more effort compared to the other courses. I can warmly recommend this course to anyone interested in the topics, but you should be aware of the amount of work involved. The astronomical costs for the course materials should also be mentioned. For a collection of articles from the Harvard Business Review in ring binder, you have to turn down $ 180. In my opinion, this is an absolute cheek, as the price cannot be justified by anything (not even the licenses for the articles). Ultimately, the only exploitation here is that you are dependent on the script and have no alternative.

Leisure & Travel

My leisure life was almost exclusively in PB. It’s very easy to meet new people and I’ve made a lot of friends. My circle of acquaintances was mostly limited to internationals and Germans. I had actually planned to look for contact with Americans in order to improve my English, but then somehow everyone remains among their own kind. In retrospect, however, that’s not so bad, as we had a lot of fun and I now have many new friends and acquaintances in Germany and Europe. Usually new acquaintances arise through friends, so that there was always something going on. If there’s no house party going on anywhere in the evening, Garnet has plenty of bars to offer. There is a special almost every day there. Particularly noteworthy are Taco Tuesday and Thirsty Thursday. There is also a huge selection of restaurants, especially sushi is very cheap compared to Germany. Insider tip:

During the day I spent a lot of time at the stand and was able to let my enthusiasm for sports run free . I jogged a lot on the beach, took a sailing course, and went to the gym or surfing every now and then. Here in cold Germany I miss the active and sunny time a lot and I really recommend you to use it!

Besides PB, San Diego also has a lot to offer, especially La Jolla, a beautiful and sophisticated district of San Diego. Before the semester, I went on a five-day road trip to OC, LA, and Vegas with a few people I met at Banana Bungalow. I also did road trips up to SF and to Vegas and the Grand Canyon during the semester. The western part of the USA, especially California, has a lot to offer and if you enjoy traveling, your hearts will beat faster ! Combined with the unique attitude to life, this was the best time of my life and I think back fondly on it.


As mentioned in the introduction, the time in San Diego was awesome and I would go back to UCSD for a semester at any time! First of all, the “American Way of Life” in the USA was the best time of my life and it was very enriching to get to know a completely different academic system than German. In addition , I have developed personally and linguistically . Even three months after returning from the USA, I see a lot of things in a more Californian way and I feel more cosmopolitan and self-confident. I have also made many lasting acquaintances and friends in Germany, Europe and the world.

The only negative aspect in my opinion is the cost factor . In addition to the 6800 USD tuition fees, there are general costs (visa, tuberculosis, flight, possibly health insurance ~ 1500 USD), very high rental prices (~ 500 to 1200 USD / month), cost of living (including leisure and nightlife ~ 1000 USD / month) , if necessary. further travel costs and many annoying extra costs for course materials and services at the university. I was dependent on my own savings and the support of my parents and luckily I received the PROMOS scholarship from the DAAD, without which it would have been very scarce. Things tend to be more expensive than cheaper as calculated.

Nonetheless, the time and numerous priceless experiences were well worth the money and I would do it again!

UCSD Student Success Coaching Program

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