Tag Archives: san diego

San Diego Must-Do’s

For our international exchange students, visiting researchers, and anyone who is looking to explore San Diego’s main attractions, here is a list of a few things to do in America’s Finest City! For a more comprehensive guide to what San Diego’s neighborhoods have to offer, please see TripHappy’s Where to Stay in San Diego.

  1. The Beaches:

San Diego’s beaches personalize the lifestyle of local residents. If you are looking for a place to relax and watch local surfers catch powerful waves visit Windansea Beach in La Jolla.

Windansea Beach in La Jolla

For a real Southern California (So-Cal) feel, take a walk at Pacific Beach’s boardwalk and watch locals ride their bikes, skateboards, and roller blades right in front of the beach. P.B. (as the locals call it) is also where College students and young adults live the California Dream – the neighborhood offers a variety of night attractions that go beyond the miles of its sandy beach.

Pacific Beach Boardwalk

Nightlife in Pacific Beach

 

2. Fish Tacos

While in San Diego you must try fish tacos – a local favorite! Pretty much every restaurant in San Diego offers fish tacos on their menu. To try local’s favorite fish taco spot head to Oscar’s in North PB (http://oscarsmexicanseafood.com/).

For a taste of the very first restaurant that brought fish tacos from Baja California to this side of the border go to Rubio’s and order their Fish Taco Especial.  Rubio’s opened their first store in 1983. They have now more than 200 restaurants in 5 states and have served over 160,000,000 fish tacos. (http://www.rubios.com/menu/)

Local tip: You can buy fish tacos for $0.99 – $2.00 on ‘Taco Tuesdays”.

 

3. La Jolla

La Jolla is the jewel of America’s finest city (as San Diego is known). It has wonderful beaches, great restaurants and outdoor activities.

La Jolla

You can spend the day snorkeling, swimming and kayaking at La Jolla cove; you can go for a walk at La Jolla Children’s Pool (as the seals beach is officially called) and watch the wild seals play; you can have dinner is beautiful fine dining restaurants that have the most astonishing view of the ocean.

La Jolla Children's Beach

For La Jolla restaurant tips click here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g32578-La_Jolla_San_Diego_California.html

 

4. Old Town San Diego

Located only a few blocks from our University, Old Town San Diego is the birthplace of California, where the first Europeans settled. This historic neighborhood, which includes many historic buildings from the 1800s, is the perfect place to enjoy some Mexican food and explore many Mexican handcraft shops and museums.

Shops in Old Town San Diego

Old Town Fun Facts:

  • San Diego’s first newspaper office is located here
  • Old Town offers an evening ghost tour every night (click here for more info)
  • According to California State Parks, Old Town was the most visited park in California during 2005 & 2006

 

5. Balboa Park and Museums

Balboa Park San Diego

Balboa Park is an urban cultural park that is among the main attractions in San Diego. It has natural vegetation zones, gardens, and walking paths as well as more than 17 museums, several theaters, and the world-famous San Diego Zoo (biggest Zoo in the world).

Must See Gardens:

  • Japanese Friendship Garden – An expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city Yokohama
  • Botanical Building  – largest wood lath structure in the world when it was built in 1915 and home to 2,100 permanent tropical plant specimens.
  • Desert Garden – 2.5 acres of succulents and drought-resistant plants from around the world

Must See Museums in Balboa Park:

  •  San Diego Natural History Museum
  • Centro Cultural de la Raza – Preserves Mexican, chicano and indigenous art and culture.
  • Museum of Man – Anthropology museum

For more information on Balboa Park museums, gardens, and etc.  click here.

 

6. Gaslamp Quarter

At the heart of downtown San Diego, the historic Gaslamp Quarter combines Victorian charm with urban living to create a lively dining and shopping district. This area that used to be home to San Diego’s “red light” district in the 1800s has been revitalized in recent decades, and is now home to more than 100 restaurants, 40 bars and clubs and over 100 shops.

San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

San Diego’s Gaslamp quarter is the perfect place to visit if you are looking for dining, dancing or simply people watching.

We hope you enjoy your stay in San Diego!

Accounting Program in Paris, London & Rome – Spencer Andrews

Spencer Andrews, USD accounting major, traveled to Paris, London and Rome to participate in the summer 2016 MACC/ACCT study abroad course on International Accounting Standards and European Accounting Business Environments.  Spencer discusses his international experience and its impact on his life:

“I would like to start by thanking the Ahlers Center for the scholarship I received. Without it, I may not have been able to go on this amazing journey to London, Rome and Paris. This trip was truly one of the best experiences of my entire life. I’m not going to lie, before this trip, I was probably one of the least cultured people I know. For that reason, I was eager to have the opportunity to go on this voyage.

ColoseoThe class leading up to the trip was great. It really prepared me for things that I might see and experience abroad, but there is nothing like learning from experience. As accounting majors, we all knew about the prestigious Big Four, we all had at least some semblance of an idea of how they functioned in the States, and some of us even had jobs with these firms. So, I was very excited to have the opportunity to meet with these firms overseas.

Obviously, there are many similarities to how businesses function in Europe, the UK and the US, but I was fascinated to learn about how the differences in culture are able to affect the operations of a business so dramatically. The speed at which work flows in Europe is substantially slower than the pace in the United States. In France, employees are more likely to constantly question why things are being done. This is not necessarily because the employees feel the work is being done incorrectly, rather the employees want to understand it more thoroughly, as well as think through other possible alternatives and find better solutions. Another issue of doing business in France is the education structure. Depending on what level of degree a person earns, their job will be very specific to that degree. For example, Larry Lemoine, a partner at KPMG in France, described the difficulty of asking his secretary to perform a task for him. All Mr. Lemoine needed to know was how to work the computer in the conference room, but he could not simply just ask her to go set it up for him. Mr. Lemoine came to her asking if she could do him a favor, rather than telling her to do something. In France, the people are very proud of their job positions and can be easily offended if they are asked to do work or tasks that fall outside their job description.

LouvreHaving the ability to experience these cultures firsthand, not only in the business aspect, but also in everyday life, was huge to my growth as a business person and as a member of society. If I am ever fortunate enough to be able to work abroad or do business with a foreign company, this trip really gave me the tools to be successful. Regardless of whether I were to do business in Paris, London, Rome, or elsewhere, I learned some very valuable lessons in doing business outside of my home country. One thing I learned was do not expect other cultures to operate as people in the US do. In order to be successful, one must come in with an open mind and the willingness to adapt. As I mentioned earlier, things tend move more slowly in Europe, so you need to be prepared for that and get things rolling earlier than you might be accustomed to. The biggest thing, though, is to go in prepared. Research whichever culture you are doing business with before you begin business. It is important to understand people’s tendencies and to align yourself accordingly, rather than expecting them to accommodate the American way. Other cultures will greatly appreciate the effort, if they notice that you are trying to adopt some of their work habits.

I can truly say that I had a life changing experience on this trip. The opportunity to visit these beautiful cities, not only to see the sites, but immerse myself in the culture from a business perspective, is something that is very unique about this study abroad program. It is a fantastic experience that may lead to the opportunity to work abroad for a couple of years or the rest of your life. I could not be happier with my experience, and I thank the Ahlers Center again, for helping to make this possible! Merci!”Big Ben

To check out more student experiences, visit our Study Abroad blog page.

Information on international opportunities can also be found on our website.

Ahlers Fellow Jon Bocketti: Hong Kong Intersession 2016

Jon Bocketti, a USD junior majoring in International Business, traveled to Hong Kong this January to take a course in International Economics.  These are his reflections and takeaways:

“During Intersession 2016, I took a whirlwind of an adventure to Hong Kong. With little knowledge of the Chinese territory, I packed my bags and hopped on the plane with high hopes of being fully immersed with new foods, smells and unique culture that defines the island nation. My decision to go to Hong Kong, as opposed to the other intersession study abroad programs available, was based off my increasing fascination in Asia as an economic entity and trade partner to the United States.

After a sixteen-hour direct flight from Newark, I landed in Hong Kong International Airport tired, hungry, but above all ecstatic to be starting my adventure. Arriving a day earlier than the start of the program it was up to me to find my way to the NTT House on the Hong Kong Baptist University campus. After a quick trip to the airport McDonalds, I took the airport express to Kowloon station. My excitement was clearly demonstrated as I was constantly shifting to the left and right of the train trying to get a glimpse of Hong Kong whizzing by in the night sky. After departing at Kowloon station, I frantically pulled out my directions to give to the taxi cab driver. His thick accent and limited knowledge of English solidified that I was no longer in familiar territory. After a few fast stops, turnarounds, and direction clarifications, I made it to a yellow painted, slender high rise that I would soon call my home away from home.

The next morning, I woke up to the sound of rain tapping the window. I got out of bed and quickly tore back the curtains to reveal a panoramic view of never ending skyscrapers stretching from Kowloon all the way to Hong Kong Island. I was ready to explore. I quickly got ready and took the elevator down ten stories to the lobby where I got to meet some of my fellow classmates. Our professor Dr. Gin gave us a very thorough tour of all the places around Hong Kong that might be of use to us during our stay. As we progressed throughout the day, I walked around feeling like I was separate from my body. How could I be here smelling, seeing, tasting something so different than just one day ago? This is a question I would consistently think about as I continued to experience what Hong Kong had to offer. This first day excursion set a perfect tone for the rest of the trip.

Jon HK 2

As an island nation, Hong Kong has a great connection to the sea. This picture shows the connection between the land and the sea, as well as the cultural fusion due to international trade.

After only a few days in Hong Kong, we all piled onto a bus to make our way into mainland China. After what felt like a five minute ride, due to a wonderful thing called jet lag, we arrived at the cruise ship terminal. The boat went so fast that we were gliding above the water, and this was not a small boat. In no time, I could distantly see the Macau skyline made up of the numerous casinos and skyscrapers, including Macau tower, the highest place in the world to bungee jump. Looking out the window on the bus, there were many similarities I could see between Hong Kong and Macau.

 

 

 

There was this unmistakable mix of east and west, not only in the buildings and the food, but in the people as well. In a city where my pre-conceived conceptions led me to believe Macau was just newly developed land, I was delighted to find and experience years and years of history in the ancient temple and maritime museum. Day quickly turned into night, and the neon lights lit up the dark sky.

Following a late night, I found my seat back on the bus and we headed to Zhuhai, China. Passport in hand, I passed through immigration once more and boarded yet another bus that was to take us to our scheduled company visit. Immediately I felt a sense of familiarity. I don’t know if it was the “California Noodle” restaurant that was situated adjacent to the bus, or the fact that, unlike Hong Kong and Macau, people in mainland China drive on the right side of the road. We soon arrived at MTU Maintenance, a large airline jet engine maintenance company. Seated at a large conference table, we were all introduced to the top management of the Zhuhai division. Being a half-Chinese, half-German company, it was interesting to witness and learn the dynamics and complexities of foreign business in China. The gentlemen giving the presentation were very knowledgeable and conducted themselves and the presentation in very German fashion. The presentation concluded, and we were led on a comprehensive facility tour, which included a venture into the wind tunnel where they test all the engines. After friendly goodbyes, we boarded the bus and made our way to Guangzhou.

Our hotel was lovely, with modern conveniences and amenities to satisfy any USD student. But, no matter how nice the hotel was in the inside, the harsh reality of a city blanketed in smog lay just outside the door. In the case of both Guangzhou and Shenzhen, I was able to put to use my Mandarin speaking skills. While these cities are located in Southern China, where Cantonese is the dominant dialect, it was not difficult to find Mandarin speakers. Walking into the Shenzhen fake market, I was in awe at the pure scale of the operation right next to the Chinese/Hong Kong border. Walking through the five story mall, you could feel the energy of the shoppers looking to find a fake designer handbag for a fraction of the cost. It was exciting to go into the markets and bargain for a lower prices using a mix of English and Mandarin. I believe the simple gesture of trying to adapt to the Chinese culture helped me score some really good deals. After sifting through all the little shops and pathways, we went traveled back to Hong Kong.

I woke up the next morning to the harsh reality that I was not on vacation that I was actually here to take a class, International Economics (ECON 333) to be more precise, taught by Dr. Alan Gin. I enjoyed taking this class, especially in a foreign country, because unlike some classes where it is all theoretical, the things I was learning in class were directly applicable to my Hong Kong experience. I learned how currency exchange rate can dictate so many aspects of international business. Hong Kong is regularly in the top three of the world’s busiest ports. We learned how Hong Kong became such an economic power, by looking at the effects of different economic policies, inflation, government intervention and how the supply and demand of currency can shift due to these factors. The material covered in the course will help me in my future career in international business, specifically when dealing with international contracts and exchange rates.

Jon HK 3

As a lover of photography, Hong Kong offered boundless opportunities to capture the “perfect pic.” The contrast between hard and soft, modern and tradition provides an outlet to take a picture that not only captures the beauty here and now in the present, but also captures the story and history of the people and landscape and how it all fuses in a way their either works or doesn’t function in today’s society.

While I could go on and on about my once in a life time experience in Hong Kong, I will briefly touch upon my top five highlights:

  1. Monkey Mountain – While this used to be a scheduled excursion for the program, it was later suspended because of potential risk.  So, naturally, that made us want to venture over and see the wild monkeys for ourselves. Stepping out of the cab, we were immediately greeted by over 10 wild monkeys. There was a large sign stating all the rules in regards to how to conduct oneself when around the monkeys, the most important being not to feed them. I soon found out that some of the monkeys were not friendly. I was viciously chased by a monkey at one point during the walk. I don’t think I’ve ever run that fast in my life. While this was a once in a life time experience, I left the mountain with my heart racing and a new found fear of monkeys.
  2. Victoria Peak– During our tour of Hong Kong with the entire group, we ventured up to Victoria Peak. On a sunny day the peak offers incomparable views of all of Hong Kong and the islands. Unfortunately for us, we could only see five feet in front of us because the peak was in the clouds. A group of us went back on a clear day to take in the spectacular views.
  3. Ozone– Being the highest bar in the world, Ozone offered 360 degree views of Hong Kong Island and a perfect spot to watch the light show.
  4. Night Markets– I went to countless night markets in Hong Kong. These offered a true taste of Asian culture. I was able to taste local street food, shop for things not found in commercial shopping malls, and truly feel transported from the modernity of Hong Kong.
  5. Singapore– While not part of the Hong Kong program, I decided to take a weekend trip to Singapore. It was amazing to see the similarities and differences between Singapore and Hong Kong, and how they both seem to be majorly successful.

Overall, I had the best time in Hong Kong. I hope to apply the physical skills I learned in my economics class, as well as the soft skills I learned throughout the interaction with the city and its locals in my future international business endeavors. Thanks to the wonderful staff, supervisors and the best group of students, I will forever cherish the memories I made in this dynamic city.”

Read more student blog posts about our Ahlers Fellowship and study abroad opportunities!

Visit our website for more information about study abroad.