LA tour addresses

People asked me multiple times where I took all the pictures from Los Angeles.

To count out every single location is impossible but I can give you the addresses I used to put in my GPS.

Like this it might be helpful for people like me that can’t find the closest supermarket without even after half a year living at the same place. :P

Here the addresses which I used…

Hollywood Sign: 3204 Canyon Lake Dr., Hollywood

Walk of Fame: 7018 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles

Famous Sunset Boulevard: Sunset Blvd & Crescent Heights, Los Angeles

Diamond Supply Co. Store (there are several other street brands in this street like OF, Pink Dolphin or Dope): 451 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles

Amoeba (largest used CD and other stuff shop): 6400 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles

Venice Beach: 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice

These information should be enough for your GPS to bring you to each destination.

Have fun and enjoy California!

 

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EF SD: campus dorms

You chosed to live on campus during your stay in San Diego? Congratulations! Here I present you some impressions about our campus dorms.

A flat on the campus (EF shares it with Alliant University) consists of one living room, two bedrooms with two beds each and 1 bathroom. So you have to share the flat with three other persons maximum. It might be that there are less persons in your flat or that you even live alone. If you are not good with the people in your flat it is most of the time no problem to change to another room, just as in the office.

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my room

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our boring living room

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bathroom

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toilet & shower

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As you can see on the pictures the flats are not luxurious or something like this but in my opinion there is all you need to live. Here are also nice guys called cleaning staff who make the rooms weekly free from all your trash. Be thankful with them, even if they wake you up at 8am. They have to do their job which they do good!

Some dorms may already have a fridge, TV, microwave and other things that make your campus life more comfortable. But all this stuff was bought by other students, EF don’t offer it. So you might have to spend some money if it is important to you to have a fridge for example. But you should get everything you need for cheap. Leaving students often sell their stuff for not much money. Craigslist.com is also a good platform for all kinds of used products. And maybe you can split the costs your room- and flatmates.

I hope you have a nice time on campus and always remember that it might not be as comfortable and clean as at home but you come to San Diego to have a good time and not because the dorms!

EF SD: shopping malls

There are four big, famous shopping malls close to the campus. There you can shop clothes till your credit card is dead! Have fun! :D

LAS AMERICAS

Biggest outlet in the area, located directly at the mexican border. So if you go by car don’t miss the last exit, otherwise you drive directly into Tijuana, Mexico. In Las Americas you find all kinds of clothing brands but not all sell their products to real outlet prices. Anyway a must go if you love shopping. By car around half an hour from campus.

Las Americas Premium Outlets
4211 Camino de la Plaza
San Diego, CA 92173

http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=76

 

FASHION VALLEY

Big mall with all important clothing shops. Also some luxury brands and the closest (to campus) Apple Store is located there. Nice Mall to spend an afternoon with friends. By car around 20 minutes from campus.

Fashion Valley
7007 Friars Road
San Diego, CA 92108

http://www.simon.com/mall/fashion-valley

 

MISSION VALLEY

Another shopping mall 20 minutes from the campus in the same style like Fashion Valley. Plus they have a big sports store where you find almost everything for doing sports. Prices in some stores are a little bit higher compared to other shopping places.

Westfield Mission Valley
1640 Camino Del Rio North
San Diego, CA 92108

http://www.westfield.com/missionvalley/

 

HORTON PLAZA

Shopping in the city. Mostly the same stores like the other malls but the location is perfect if you want to visit the downtown the same day. By car maybe 30 minutes from campus.

Westfield Horton Plaza
324 Horton Plaza
San Diego, CA 92101

http://www.westfield.com/hortonplaza/

EF SD: what to pack for SD

here my opinion what to take with for a stay at EF San Diego. I put my thoughts in a list of 12 things together which are in my mind the most important.

– clothing: Pack your clothes wisely, depending on your budget and the duration of your stay. Don’t bring too much stuff, our luggage weight for the flight is really limited and you can buy a lot of nice clothes here in the US. Remember, most of your favorite brands are american and compared to most other countries cheaper here. For example, I arrived in San Diego with just three shirts, one pair of shorts, one jeans, underwear, socks and five hats. which was enough for the first few days.

– sunglasses: The californian sun is quit strong and not all people are used to this. It can be very helpful if you can protect your eyes the first few days. I used to go outside with my shade son only the first few months.

– sanitary articles: Of course you can buy all this stuff here. But on the other hand you might not get to a shop immediately after your arrival. So bring the most important articles with you and the rest you can shop with the first opportunity.

– laptop/camera: Take the if you have, it’s a good way to share your experiences and stay in contact with your people at home. Some students also buy all electronics here because they are cheaper than in their countries.

– handy: It can safe your first day if you have a working phone on you during your travel. Maybe a flight could get cancelled or your shuttle could be late or doesn’t even come. During your stay it’s good to have an american number. Sometimes hotels or online shops might ask for a number to do a reservation or order.

– chargers: Don’t forget the chargers to all your electronics. Some people feel really uncomfortable if their laptop or whatever runs out of battery and they can’t recharge it.

– adapter: Remember that the energy plugs in the US are different from other countries. To use the electronics from your country you might have to use an adapter.

– personal things: It depends on the person but I have already seen students who got homesick after a few days here. Special things with a special meaning could help you getting over the homesickness.

– home food: In the beginning of your stay you have to get used to the US food. If you could have problems with this, bring some food from home for the first few days. Like chocolate if your swiss for example. But pay attention! It’s official not allowed to bring food over the border.

– driving license: Don’t forget your driving license if you have one! To rent a car it’s necessary having a valid license on you and for legal driving too of course.

– cash for the start: Have some money on you during the travel in case of any kind of emergency. You might also be happy if the first thing after your arrival is not finding an ATM-machine to take money.

large enough suitcase: To transport all these articles noted down you need of course a good bag or suitcase. Always remember that you probably will come home with more stuff than you left. Chose your luggage big enough but pay attention to not load them over the weight limit of your flight company.

This list might net be complete but maybe a little help to some of you!

thanks for reading – PEACE!

10 tips for a successful road trip!

10 tips for a successful road trip (as an  EF student)

1. plan the route

We did our trip without any specific route. That is on one side good because you can discover beautiful places you didn’t now and stay some time or maybe one night there. On the other side was it bad when the day was coming to an end and we didn’t know where we want to stay. Especially on the highway nr. 1 can it get difficult to find a place to stay if the next village or city is 50 miles away. So you don’t have to plan everything exactly but make up an idea which cities and places you want to visit.

2. organise a good car

On a road trip you are driving a lot so it’s important that you have a solid car with all insurances needed. Especially during vacation season it’s important that you reserve your car/van as fast as possible and not to wait till all rentals are booked up. We rented a Chrysler family van from DirtCheap, San Diego which had enough space for us five.

3. reserve hotels/motels/campings

If you plan your route and know where you will go is it recommended to reserve the hotels or wherever you will stay. We had problems in San Francisco downtown to get a room and also on the Yosemite Camping were we very lucky getting a cabin. As I learned are especially campings really fast booked up. Outside big cities it’s most of the time easier to find something and also cheaper.

4. go with the right people

Go with people who have same interests as you and who want to do things that you also like. Otherwise you will have a lot of disputes during your trip.

5. plan enough time

If you have like a schedule for your trip, plan enough time between two main destinations. On a road trip you will explore always a lot of unknown, nice places where you want to rest at.

6. not too much luggage

The space in a car is very limited so don’t bring too much stuff with you. Some clothes, bath stuff, camera, chargers, money and Passport (or California State ID). California gets cold in the evening even in summer, so pack at least a hoodie. Training pants are also very comfortable and safe you the night if you should sleep outside or in a car.

7. enough drinks

Not just alcohol is important on a road trip. Have all the time enough water or something else to drink available. You might get somewhere hot without any possibility to buy something. In particular for the driver’s concentration is it important too drink enough.

8. buying food

If you go camping try to buy the food in a city or bigger village early enough before you arrive. Around the campings are most of the time just small shops with high prices. If you want to do a barbecue buy also a grill because on most campings are barbecue areas but no grills. Also if you stay in a motel with kitchen can it be fun to cook together and it’s a good relief to all the fast food. And if you don’t like to cook are almost everywhere some fast food or other restaurants.

9. enough music

Driving without music can be boring, so make sure everyone take some music that he/she likes and play it. So you avoid some conflicts and all music wishes are considered.

10. RESPECT

Respect the people you go with and their wishes. Don’t try all the time to make them do what you like. Compare your notions together and find a solution which everyone can live with. Otherwise your trip could escalate into a big dispute.

enjoy your trip – thanks for reading!

transportation in SD

A lot of people who come here doesn’t calculate enough money for the transportation here.

The guys in the EF office in Switzerland, and in other countries too I heard, told me that everything in San Diego is really close and the public transportation works well compared to other US-cities. That might be true but as a student in EF is this just the half of the truth.

The campus is not in downtown but in a neighborhood called Scripps Ranch which is away from downtown and the beaches. There is a bus available which drives every hour to campus. A lot of students use this bus to travel between their host family and the school. With this bus it takes one hour to get to downtown! If you go by car you need maybe 20 minutes.

EF San Diego offer their own shuttle bus which brings students every day a week to different locations like downtown, the beaches, shopping malls and more. Which is a good option to see some important things from San Diego.

Before I came here they also told me that a shop to buy food and the most important stuff is really close to where I live. Without car the only way to get there is on foot what takes also 20-30 minutes for one way!

As you can see a car is really helpful here if you live on the campus or in a host family. Most of the people here I know who live in a host family come to school by car. Some host families here have their houses a little bit farer away from the school and I heard from EF students who need at least one hour or more for coming to school, both on foot or by bus.

There are two ways to get a car here, to rent or buy one. If you are lucky you might find a good car for around $3’000-5’000. But you need knowledge about car things and after buying you need to do a registration and insurance what will cost again.

The other way is to rent a car and if possible you can share the car with your friends to split the costs. A lot of people here do this without problems but to avoid fights it’s better to share the car just with people you spend a lot of time together and you like, of course. Here are several car rentals which rent cars to students. The guys in the school office (building M4) will help you to find a good rental and everything else, just ask them! They are really friendly, by the way :) The monthly rent for a normal car is around $400-600, it’s a little bit more expensive if you are under 21 because the insurance is higher.

I rent a car from a rental called Dirt Cheap from where a lot of students here rent their cars. Friendly people and a wide range of cars. I’ve driven here now for five months and I can’t imagine to be here without car because for me it’s really important for fishing. On the other hand I know a lot of people here who can live good without one. I think it’s not absolutely necessary but you are definitely more comfortable with a car.

EF SD: the campus

I was asked to write more about my experiences with EF San Diego during my stay here.

So from now on I will try to write more about my life here on campus and everything else about EF and me.

Let’s start with something about the campus.

The campus here, where I actually live on, is included in the one from the Alliant International University in a Neighborhood called Scripps Ranch, CA.

Which means that we share the campus with some students from the University. Most of their students are already older and not the average age of the EF students. But it’s no problem because we are kind of separated from each other. They live in the buildings on the upper side of the campus area. EF students are located in the lower area. Sometimes later in the night some of them complain about the EF students because they want to sleep and we are still doing party. So the campus-security shut down our parties. But otherwise there is no problem to live with each other.

The life on campus is friendly and you will meet a lot of nice people and make easily a lot of new friends. You can have a lot of fun here but you have to be careful all the time. Alcohol and drugs are not allowed on the campus (even you are over 21 and reached the legal drinking age here in the US). So pay attention that you hide your stuff any time, sometimes the staff might check your room even if you are not i the room. If the security or staff find something illegal in your room you will get a punishment from a fine up to get kicked out from campus.

All night long there is security patrolling on the campus and looking for parties to shut down. The only way to have a party in your room is to not produce to much noise so the security don’t pay attention on your room. If it’s too loud the security will come sooner or later to your room.

The only way to do a party with loud music during the night is in the students lounge, a room with a lot of space, TV, pool, ping-pong table for all students. But after 12pm (sometimes 1am) the security will also here shut the party down. Alcohol is not allowed there either so just bring it in a cup. A few weeks ago they installed some cameras too there the watch us all the time.

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different views on the campus

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balcony of the students lounge

But the life here is not so bad as it might sound now! You can have a lot of fun here, just be careful!