The diverse ethnic background in San Diego provides a dynamic cultural environment with many museums and theaters. In addition to the tourist attractions mentioned earlier, San Diego has many other cultural and recreational activities throughout the year. The Old Globe Theater in Balboa Park is the site of the annual National Shakespeare Festival, and the Cassius Carter Center Stage offers year-round plays of classical and contemporary nature. The UCSD campus has its own La Jolla Playhouse, Mandell Weiss Theatre, and Price Center Movie Theater. While being a part of a big city with all of its available facilities, La Jolla is a tranquil and serene University town.
Many of the students’ social and recreational activities involve those on the waterfront, such as surfing, scuba diving, and beach parties. Fishing, sailing and diving opportunities are plentiful offshore surrounding the Coronado Islands in Mexican waters, and the Channel Islands off the coast of California. Local lakes provide fishing and other water sports. The Laguna Mountains, located an hour to the east, provide opportunities for hiking, camping, and mountain biking. Beyond the Lagunas lies the vast Anza-Borrego Desert with its breathtaking display of wild flowers every spring. Snow skiing is available in both the local mountains and the San Bernardino Mountains located about two hours by car from UCSD. The peninsula of Baja California, one of the world’s last great wilderness areas, stretches for 900 miles southward from the international gateway at Tijuana. Visitors to the Mexico coastline will enjoy miles of undeveloped beaches, mountains and deserts.
The best sources of information regarding life at UCSD and in La Jolla are fellow students. In order to bring new students and continuing students together, an orientation meeting is held early in Fall quarter. In addition, at the beginning of Fall quarter, the Bioengineering graduate students organize a one-day seminar, the Annual Bioengineering Graduate Student Symposium, to present their research, mainly to the new students. This event, which includes luncheon and dinner gatherings, provides an excellent opportunity for new students to meet most of the other graduate students personally. It is a good chance for new students to become more acquainted with the Bioengineering Program and life at UCSD.