Exchange program at the University of California, San Diego

by Tamon Suehiro

>What this is

1st interim report about the exchange program at the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) from September 20th, 2023. Here, what I am doing in the fall semester and my life here are reported.

>Who I am

I am a senior at UTokyo, majoring in aerospace engineering. My interest is in propulsion for the spacecraft and plasma physics.

I’ve been at UC San Diego since September 20th, and it’s been 1 month since I came here.

>Academic life

I am enrolling in five courses in the fall semester. These are what I am studying.

1. Fundamentals of Propulsion: Compressible flow, rocket engines, and air-breathing engines.

2. Space Mission Design and Analysis: Space mission concepts, architectures, and analysis. 

3. Spacecraft Guidance 1: Orbital mechanics.

4. Introduction to Stochastic Processes II: Continuous-time Markov process and its applications.

5. Quantum Field Theory 1: Quantum field theory, mostly basic things, like path integral.

Fig. 1. The picture of right after the class. Everyone is going out as soon as the time comes.

What is different about the classes here and in UTokyo is that the time of one class is shorter (50 or 80 min) but there are several classes for one course in a week (e.g. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). Also, there are office hours and problem sessions. So far, the difficulties of these courses are moderate, or maybe a little easier than UTokyo.

>Life at UC San Diego

– Residence

I was fortunate to live on-campus residence called i-house. Almost all residents here are international students from all over the world. There is room for my own, but we share a bathroom, kitchen, and living room with my suitemates.

Here are the pros and cons; the pros: near the campus, safe, fun, and easy to make friends; the cons: expensive, and sometimes noisy.

– Food There is a dining plan for on-campus residents. The meals are a little bit expensive but taste fine. If we step out of the campus, there are so many good restaurants. My favorite one is In-N-Out. It is a hamburger chain restaurant mostly in California. Also because San Diego is near Mexico, tacos and burritos are so good. Tacos el Gordo is one of my favorites.

Fig. 2. Tacos at Tacos el Gordo.

– After classes

Since there are beaches close to the campus, I often go there and see the sunsets. Sometimes, university clubs host bonfires so I joined them. After that, I study for the classes or do some research. The good thing about UC San Diego is that the library is open 24 hours except for Friday and Saturday, so I can study there as long as I want.

Fig. 3. Geisel Library at UC San Diego.

– Weekends

I’ve traveled to Las Vegas last weekend to see Ed Sheeran’s concert. It was a 1.5-hour flight to Las Vegas from San Diego. The concert was so cool and fun. And the city of Las Vegas was amazing. Everything there was so unreal.

Fig. 4. Eiffel Tower at Las Vegas.

>My plans from now on

I want to get involved in some kind of research here. Also, it’s been 1 month, and I’ve got used to life here, so I want to try something new. Maybe a new language.