UCSD Reviews (4)

UCSD Reviews (4)

Preparation and arrival

Visa: The visa can be applied for in either Berlin or Frankfurt am Main. You register on the Internet beforehand and receive an appointment. The embassy provides a checklist of the documents to be brought with you. The visa interview at the embassy in Berlin was very brief for me and essentially revolved around who would pay for my stay. I had my appointment on a Friday and the following Tuesday my passport was in the mail. Some of my fellow students told me that they were in Frankfurt, where the processing should obviously be much faster and less complicated. Especially when it comes to making appointments. In general, I would recommend applying for the visa in good time, as the next possible date that the consulate has to assign
Acceptance: I received the acceptance from UCSD within 1.5 weeks.

Means of transport: At the airport in San Diego we recommend a “super shuttle” bus, a kind of shared taxi. It’s cheaper than a taxi and runs regularly. A car can be very useful for the rest of the stay. That depends a lot on whether you live closer to the beach or near the university. Alternatively, there is a bus service to the university, which works very well. The journey time may only be a little longer.

Health insurance: It is possible to take out health insurance through the university. I decided to take out international health insurance in Germany. A tariff similar to that which would have been due for insurance through the USCD had to be paid for this. I also did not have the impression that a doctor’s visit or hospital stay or the settlement of costs
would have been easier if I had taken out health insurance through the university.

There is no accommodation for students in the UPS program in autumn on campus. However, there is the possibility of living in the CostaVerde Apartments (via AnatoliaHousing) relatively close to the university (see monthly expenses for prices). Another option is to contact an agency that arranges rooms in shared apartments and host families ($ 200 agency fee, $ 800 / month including 2 meals / day). The university provides the contact details for this agency when it sends out its acceptance.

Search apartment / room through craigslist.com. In my experience, it is advisable to either book a room in advance through Anatolia Housing (or in other complexes such as pcHousing in Pacific Beach) or to stay in the hostel for the time being and get to know the living opportunities here personally.


Flight: When and where the flight is booked has a major impact on the costs, which are between € 400 and € 1200.
Visa: approx. € 290 (€ 128 processing fee + € 8 appointment fee + € 154 SEVIS fee)
Uni: $ 7350 ($ 200 application fee + $ 7150 tuition fee). As I have learned, these costs should increase to around $ 8150 from 2013 (including the partial fees)
Living expenses: A room can be rented for $ 600- $ 900 / month (example CostaVerde: $ 750 per month + $ 200 reservation fee). The meal costs are slightly higher than in Germany. A comparable quality costs around 1.5-3 times the price in the USA. Depending on where you would like to live or find a room, a car may be advisable. You can buy it or rent it from DirtCheapCarRental from $ 400 per month. On-campus parking costs approximately $ 60 per month. However, getting a parking space is not guaranteed and is not very likely after 7.30 a.m. Books typically need to be purchased and cost between $ 90 and $ 400. At least in biology / medicine. Some can also be bought or rented second-hand.

Study / University

The campus is very beautiful, the Geisel library even served as a model for a location in the film “Inception”. If you live in the vicinity of the university, the best way to get there is by bike or bus. Students can use this free of charge. If you drive by car, you need a parking card. A parking space is not guaranteed. Depending on where you live, you are usually not much faster than the bus. The lectures are shorter (50-80min), but more frequent (each lecture 2-3 times a week), and there is usually an additional seminar per subject and per week. The lectures are designed very differently. In some you have to prepare and follow up a lot, in others it is enough to follow carefully. An essential difference is the use of iClickr: During the lecture, many lecturers throw in various questions, which are answered with the so-called iCklickr. It works like a small remote control. In this way the attestation is saved and at the same time the presence checked. For courses whose level is comparable to that at the University of Hamburg, I estimate the workload to be much higher in comparison. Check educationvv to see more reviews from current students.

Post-processing of the material took an enormous amount of time, especially the papers to be submitted (2-4 per subject) and the midterms (1-2 per subject) were very labor-intensive. I would recommend not taking more than 1-2 such courses and covering the remaining courses with introductory courses in other specialist areas or general education courses, for example. The range of courses on the whole is very good, it is just in no way certain that you will be able to take the courses you want. As a UPS student you are enrolled last after all others and therefore (in biology) you have no sure course until the third week (other faculties accept earlier or even immediately). The quality of teaching is, at least that’s what I’ve learned in biology, very high. Some of the professors are very keen to experiment in their teaching methods and so it can happen that instead of the expected lecture, one only experiences certificates. Questions about the self-developed teaching material are then clarified individually in the office hours of the lecturers or the teaching assistants. The range of courses is very broad.

Everyday life / leisure time

The leisure offer leaves little to be desired. From climbing tours to city tours over the holidays, everything is included. However, it is not much cheaper than organizing your own excursions. The use of the gyms and sports facilities on campus costs $ 98 for
the entire quarter, the sports clubs cannot be joined as a UPS student.


Personally, I have gained a lot of experience in various ways in the 3.5 months. For a semester abroad, San Diego is a recommended place. The city is very attractive and offers many opportunities to go on a discovery tour while studying. Regarding the course, it can be said that it can represent a professional enrichment, at least for students of biology at the UCSD. I take a critical view of the fact that as a UPS student you have to pay almost twice as high tuition fees as the students registered at UCSD. UPS students are also at a disadvantage when it comes to enrolling in the courses, and they cannot take advantage of any sports club offers (such as sailing). Despite these circumstances, studying at UCSD is recommended.

UCSD Department of Literature

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