I highly recommend participating in this program and would do it again. Life at UCSD is what you would expect at an American university. From daily link recruitment attempts to Tritons sports competitions to Red Cup parties. Everything included. In general, you have to say that it eats a big hole in your wallet. Get more information about University of California San Diego on educationvv.
I arrived a week before the welcome appointment and booked a room with a family via airbnb.com. I didn’t pay more than 40 euros per night, but could use the entire house. It’s so much more relaxed than a hostel. I haven’t heard anything good about hostels in San Diego / Pacific Beach from fellow students. Rather the opposite. In the first week I looked for an apartment on Craigslist and found it. Since I didn’t like it after 3 weeks, I moved in with Danes (whom I met on the first day). They happened to be looking for a roommate. That was of course lucky, but there were still many other fellow students looking at the apartment on the welcome day. So I would recommend you wait that long.
I had my apartment in Pacific Beach close to the beach. That was of course terrific, but you also have to say that we were there for the off-season and the apartments were accordingly cheaper. I would, however, recommend Pacific Beach very, very much. Downtown SD is way too far away and in La Jolla the sidewalks are folded up at 6pm. There is always something going on in Pacific Beach, from Tacco Tuesday in the Typhoon to the campfire on the beach.
First of all, if you work as an engineer or in the natural sciences, you will have a much more relaxed life than a business administration graduate. The courses are much less crowded and, as far as I know, not as labor intensive.
On the first day you might think “oh my god, I can’t get into a class” but that is being exaggerated far too much by the academic management of the UPS program. For example, I got all of my courses without any problems. This also applies to my fellow students, who were all scientists / engineers. The academic requirements stated online do not apply to you. At least these were not checked or even asked verbally. On the contrary, the professors are more likely to be happy when they have international input in their courses.
When you have collected all your signatures after the first week, you can start with the intermediate exams / homework. For example, I had homework right in the first lecture (yes, you read that right !!!) in 2 of 3 courses and in the third week of the lecture, the first intermediate exam. However, the American system is more likely to be geared towards hard work. So you can influence your final grade by up to 50% (depends on the course) with good homework and intermediate exams.
In general, it should be mentioned that the academic management of the UPS program will train you to become a “model student”. This is because the program does not know many on campus (both professors and students) and you represent the program as a student.
As mentioned under studying, there is a lot of homework and intermediate exams. So I really had to adapt, because in Germany I don’t do anything ¾ of the semester to learn the last ¼ for the final exam. In the USA you have to stick with it right from the start, which also steals a lot of time from your free time (I usually did it in the afternoon in the very cool university library) – as I said: a system that is designed for hard work.
On the weekends I was often out and about with my roommates. Important: Buy / rent a car with roommates. Fellow students shared a car for $ 500 / month. I bought one with my roommates. Your time slots next to the lectures / on weekends are relatively small, which makes traveling to different regions of California by public transport really difficult.
Regarding compulsory attendance in the lecture: you sign somewhere that you will attend every event, but nobody really cares. So nothing stands in the way of extended weekends – provided you don’t have any laboratory / internship appointments, etc. – Oh yes, go or better fly to San Francisco in any case. Anyone who has been to California and has not seen San Francisco has not been to California;)