APPLICATION AND VISA
The application went smoothly. I actually applied relatively late and the application deadline for some universities in the USA had already expired. Still, I still had a good choice.
As is well known, to study in America you need a visa. To get this is actually not particularly difficult, at least if you don’t intend to sell drugs there or force women into prostitution (you are asked really seriously when filling out the visa). It is quite time consuming to fill out the visa application on the Internet. The stay at the consulate, on the other hand, was quite short for me (about 30-45 minutes), I’ve heard that differently. All in all annoying, but in retrospect it was worth it.
The on-site support is very good. Megan Schuck, the supervisor for exchange students is very committed and always has an open ear.
The campus is beautiful, located in La Jolla, a pretty wealthy part of town (Mitt Romney lives here), and it’s huge. From campus you can walk to the beach in about 15 minutes if you want. The Price Center, quasi the equivalent of the cafeteria in Germany, is furnished in a typically American style, Subway, Burger King and several other fast food chains have set up camp here. The highlight of the campus is certainly the Geisel Library, the main library of the university, so to speak, which was built in an extravagant architectural style.
The mode of course selection was a bit strange compared to German universities. During the introductory week (here you also get to know exchange students from other countries, especially Norway), you receive forms that you then have to confirm by the professor or the relevant department. In principle, however, it is not a problem to get the desired courses, at least I have not heard from anyone who could not take the desired courses.
In my opinion, the level of the courses varies greatly. In the introductory week, the supervisors tell you that so-called extension courses (courses that both regular students and professionals attend in a certain type of evening school) are of the same level as normal lectures by professors, but I cannot confirm this at all . I have listened to a few regular courses at the university and have to say that at least the master’s courses were of a very high level, but the extension courses were extremely easy. There was also a challenge in the extension courses, but it was easy to get an A. For students who want to improve their style and still want to have time to travel, the extension courses are a blessing.
Like many others, I found my accommodation through craigslist. This is the easiest way and everyone will find something here. Personally, I lived in University City, but I would recommend staying in Pacific Beach. Pacific Beach is about 30-40 minutes from campus by bus, and about 20-30 minutes by car during rush hour. Pacific Beach is, as the name suggests, located directly on the Pacific Ocean, and downtown is the party hotspot of San Diego. While leaving downtown is very expensive, PB’s bars and clubs tend to be more affordable. Furthermore, PB is the absolute surfer’s paradise of the city, if you live here you just have to be surfed. The cost of a room in San Diego varies, but averages around $ 800- $ 1000 per month.
I highly recommend everyone rent a car and drive around California. Even if you have to raise a not exactly small amount to tour the country for 1-2 weeks, it is worthwhile and you are not in the USA every day of your life. We visited Las Vegas, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco and LA on our tour. Except LA everything was just amazing and you just have to see it. Some of my fellow students also flew to Hawaii for a few days and can definitely recommend it.
In San Diego itself there are of course a number of attractions. I went to the zoo and I honestly have to admit that for the proud sum of $ 46 I was a bit disappointed, because I liked the even more expensive Seaworld a whole lot better. Sights that you have to see from my point of view are: Mount Soledad, Sunset Cliffs, Caves of La Jolla, Balboa Park and Coronado Island.
San Diego is an absolutely fantastic city, the climate is simply hard to believe for a German, the people are mostly extremely friendly, even if a bit superficial. I will definitely come back and enjoy San Diego again. The stay was a very expensive affair, but it was more than worth it. I miss San Diego very much.