After I was finally accepted into the Cusanuswerk at the end of March 2016, I began to plan my semester abroad . This should take place in the fifth semester in consultation with the student advisory service at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU).
It was particularly important to clarify the timing of my stay abroad with the WWU beforehand so that I can complete my bachelor’s degree in the standard study time. In addition, before my stay abroad, I made a learning agreement with the WWU, which was about which courses can be credited to me. These steps were very important so that there would be no misunderstandings or problems with questions about the recognition of courses after the time abroad. I felt very well supported and advised by my academic advisor at the University of Münster.
Since I already did my experimental research internship in the 4th semester, an in-depth seminar in the subject of clinical psychology and my compulsory elective were on the agenda for the 5th semester . As a result, I was very pleased that the courses offered by the university of my choice – the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) – and the curricular requirements of the WWU were a perfect match. UCSD is an excellent university that has made a name for itself within the research community , especially in the field of cognitive psychology and neuroscience . Since I wanted to work in research after my studies, it was clear to me that I would like to spend a semester abroad in America . On the one hand, this is due to the fact that the American universities are very far ahead in psychological research and, on the other hand, good English skills are an indispensable prerequisite for working in research. After further research, I decided to go to UCSD. The town of San Diego certainly played a role here, as it knows how to impress with its beautiful beaches and consistently good weather .
Another nice advantage was that proof of language proficiency via the DAAD language test is accepted as proof of the necessary English language skills. This saves you the money you would have to spend on the expensive TOEFL test . The application process as such worked smoothly and I got my approval for the fall semester 2016, which ran from September 22nd to December 10th, 2016.
In advance, I looked for accommodation from Germany and, after intensive internet research, decided on accommodation in the Kamo-Housing apartment complex . At $ 740 a month for a shared room, this was expensive, but it’s normal in San Diego. I can highly recommend Kamo-Housing because of the equipment in the apartments. In addition, there are a lot of international students living here, so it is very easy to make contacts. The location was also very good. I lived in Pacific Beach and I could get to UCSD very easily by bus.
The university campus is huge and almost like a small town . Overwhelmed by these impressions, it was a bit complicated to find your way around at first. After two well-organized and structured orientation days, however, it was a lot easier to find your way around. At UCSD it is not possible to choose your courses in advance, although you have to submit a list of 12 courses you are interested in. You get into the courses via class crashing purely by asking the lecturers for their consent to participate in their course. Since the places in the courses are limited, as long as you don’t have a place, you have to attend more courses than you really want to take afterwards. In the first two weeks this is of course a bit exhausting and associated with uncertainty. Getting the instructors’ signatures for attending their courses was no problem. For psychology, however, I still needed the department’s stamp, which I had to wait two weeks for. In the end, however, I was able to take exactly the courses I chose . I have attended the following courses .
A course that I can really recommend. This was about disorders, the development of mental disorders and therapeutic approaches. The course involved a lot of work and a lot of literature, which was not a problem due to the exciting topics. The professor conveyed the material excellently and answered questions from the students very well.
Psychological Disorders of Childhood
This course was my favorite course because the lecturer was extremely good at conveying the material and structured her lectures very well. In terms of content, it was also about disorders, the development of mental disorders and therapeutic approaches, but for children and adolescents. These two courses were then credited to me as my advanced seminar for clinical psychology.
This course was my elective and dealt with the social structures that influence us. This was about networking among friends, in the university and about the “small world problem”, which was about networking the world. I was also very satisfied with this course , as the lecturer was also very convincing here.
All of my courses took place twice a week and there were also discussion groups on extra days where you got the chance to deepen your knowledge. The quality of the courses and teaching at UCSD have deepened my knowledge and definitely helped me advance personally .
Since I got to know people very quickly and the leisure opportunities in San Diego are very diverse and exciting , I have experienced a lot and have traveled a lot.
I look back on my time in San Diego with great gratitude. I learned a lot, made new friends, improved my language skills and developed my personality. All in all, I can warmly recommend everyone to a stay abroad at UCSD !
Back in Germany, due to the ideal combination of the courses on offer and the requirements of the University of Münster , I can smoothly start the 6th semester and finish my studies within the standard period of study.