I was at University of California San Diego from January to March. I lived there with a friend from Germany.
Since my girlfriend and I wanted to be well prepared, we searched for apartments weeks in advance on www. craigslist. com and saved our favorites. After 2 weeks, however, we had to find out that the majority of the apartments were no longer available. Therefore, I find that looking for an apartment early on through Craigslist makes little sense. We were lucky enough to be able to stay with a friend for the first few days after our arrival. Many students also look for a cheap motel for the first few days. The advantage is that you can see the apartments in person. I still think that this was the better option.
Standing for University of California San Diego on abbreviationfinder, the UCSD is in La Jolla. A beautiful place with an incredible number of apartment complexes. We drove from facility and facility and after two days of intensive search we found our apartment. Since we were looking for accommodation for three months, we had some problems. Many of these apartment complexes have a “minimum living time” of 6 months or even more. The shorter you stay, the more expensive it gets. In addition, La Jolla is more expensive than the area anyway.
Nevertheless, we opted for an apartment in which everyone had their own room and bathroom. In addition, the bus stop for the free UCSD bus was right on our doorstep. So it took us about 5-10 minutes to get to campus in the morning. At the beginning we drove to UCSD by car, but that turned out to be a big mistake, because after 2 days we had the first $ 65 ticket. To be able to park on campus, you need an extra ticket, which is very expensive. A valid parking ticket is only allowed to stand on very few, competitive, selected spaces. And if the parking ticket has expired a few minutes, then it gets expensive (by the way, this is not only the case on campus. . . ) So I really recommend taking the bus, which comes every 10 minutes anyway.
The campus is huge and you will definitely need the campus map that you will receive on the introductory day. You get lost very quickly, but after 1-2 weeks you have settled in a little. Crashing the courses was really exhausting. As the local students are preferred, as an international student you only find out after about 3 weeks after the start of the lecture whether you are in the desired course or not. The nice lady in the Extension Office will not be able to help you get into the courses, as she only recommends to watch the waiting lists online. I would advise you to go to the individual departments and speak personally to the people who decide who is officially in the course and who is not. They are usually very helpful and make sure that you find courses, which the university in Germany also recognizes. It is best to put together a list of alternative courses beforehand, which you can show your university here so that you have alternative options.
The workload is quite high, but the content is not difficult. All you have to do is submit a lot of essays, essays, reports, analyzes, etc. The deadlines are set and nothing can be changed, otherwise points will be deducted immediately. However, you always have enough time. . .
Of course, in San Diego there is a comparison between UCSD and SDSU. I noticed that the University of California San Diego has a much (!) Better reputation than the SDSU.
For the first week I had booked the “BEACH BUNGALOW HOSTEL”, previously: “BANANA BUNGALOW”. The location was really perfect, you could walk to everything in Pacific Beach (PB) or take the bus. It’s also right on the beach and you have a lot of fun there with flunkyball tournaments, flip cups, etc. You also get to know really cool people. Unfortunately, I only met one boy there who also studied at University of California San Diego and unfortunately he had already reserved Kamo Housing.
The hostel wasn’t the cleanest or nicest (at least that’s what many other Germans I met there thought), but I really liked it. You’re outside all day anyway, looking for a flat or on the beach and only coming home to sleep. It’s also quite expensive, or you can definitely find cheaper ones, but I think the location is ideal. There is also breakfast until 11 with pancakes and toast. Since looking for an apartment turned out to be quite difficult for me, I extended my time in the hostel to 10 days.
After 10 days and a very stressful and disappointing time, I then rented a house in Mission Beach (about a 20 minute walk from PB). I met a Dane on a Facebook page and then we got a boy and a girl (all on Facebook). In general, I would recommend joining the FB groups: Craigslist San Diego, Off-Campus Housing SD, Roomies SD, House-Hunting, etc. Most of the advertisements are placed there.
In the end we paid 770 pp for a house 50m from the beach. We had a small holiday home, 2 bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen-cum-living room and a garden / terrace with a grill. It really was one of the cheapest houses. Even if you get a shock from the prices as a German, you have to go through it. I also never wanted a shared bedroom and at first I was very reluctant to have it, but the price didn’t allow it. A single room in PB and the surrounding area costs over $ 1000 and everything shared costs around $ 900-600.
If I went to SD again and wanted to save myself stress, I would have booked something in advance, like Kamo Housing. The location is okay, you also have a shared bedroom, kitchen, balcony – but in the complex there is a jacuzzi and a pool (which we often made use of when we were invited), as well as fitness incl. I think most of them also pay $ 750 there. The rooms are definitely more old-fashioned than my house and the roommates mostly took some getting used to (many Italians, Saudi Arabians, Chinese, etc. ). If you want something a bit more luxurious, you can also check out offers for Avalon Housing. Right next to Kamo Housing, only a little more expensive ($ 880) but very modern.
But if you have enough stamina, you can easily do it like me and search from SD. Many do that, so don’t panic. In addition, the offers are cheaper if you only look in September, as it is still the main season until August and many families rent the houses in, for example, Mission Beach.
3. Free time
I designed my schedule so that I had a lot of free time. To celebrate, you go downtown to the clubs and appear a bit fancier there. But you can also go partying in Pacific Beach. There are more restaurants and bars there, but they also have a dance floor. Here you tend to wear everyday clothes, even flip flops and the like. You will quickly notice that every weekday has its own motto (“Taco Tuesday” -> The Typhoon in Pacific Beach is a must) etc.
During the day you mostly lie on the beach and enjoy life. The beach areas in La Jolla and on Coronado Island are gorgeous! You have to go there urgently.
The time in San Diego was really great and I’m glad I chose it. I’ve experienced so many new things and met really nice people. I am very sure that you will have a lot of fun.