UCR Exchange Program
After I realized relatively quickly that I wanted to spend my semester abroad in the USA, the first thing to do was to decide on a university there. Not that easy with the wide range of options. What made my decision easier for me, however, was the fact that I didn’t want to study abroad for 5 months (1 semester), but only for 3 months (1 trimester). So I was able to screen out some universities right away. Ultimately, my choice on the UC Riverside a lot. A friend of mine was there shortly before and had only good reports. The location (about 1 hour from LA) was also very convenient for me (see ‘Living’). So I filled out all of the forms and sent them to MicroEDU who forwarded everything to the UCR. The support from CoCo was very good. You always had a contact person, so that everything went smoothly. According to Abbreviationfinder, UCR is the abbreviation of University of California Riverside.
After I received my confirmation of admission, I went to the embassy in Frankfurt to apply for my visa. Fortunately, that too all went smoothly. So go to the travel agency and book flights. I flew with Swiss Airlines with a stopover in Zurich. That was quite pleasant as you didn’t have to worry about your luggage, as you would with a stopover in the USA. At the end of December, shortly before New Year’s Eve, the adventure semester abroad started.
I think my living situation was quite unusual, as I knew a host family there, with whom I lived for the entire time. That saved me a lot of money but also stress. I didn’t have to look for an apartment, buy any furniture, and orientation was a lot easier. From the experience of others, I can recommend the Sterling Highlander in Riverside. It’s quite expensive and more or less unfurnished, but the location is very good and you get to know people very quickly.
- Uni & courses
The university there is huge compared to German universities. The campus extends over several kilometers. There is a basketball stadium, a fitness studio, etc.. The Extension Campus for international students is a separate building about 10 minutes’ walk from the main campus. I actually spent all of my time there, since I only chose extension courses. That was simply because of the courses that were offered there. They just fit thematically better into my curriculum. You also have the option of choosing courses on the main campus, but it is more difficult to get a place in the courses there. This does not mean a seat;)
The care of foreign students at the university I have found to be very good, very friendly and helpful. The extension courses are more comparable to normal school lessons. Oral participation also counts for the final grade and there is also homework that is graded and incorporated into it.
- Free time
The Leisure in Cali can make very comfortable. Even in winter, the weather there is much better than in Germany, so that I could even surf with friends on the beach. In general, the landscape there is quite impressive. On one side the sea, on the other the mountains (where you can also go skiing).
A trip to Las Vegas (I think 2-3 days is enough) should definitely not be missed. Las Vegas is an experience in itself, completely different from z. BLA Depending on how much money you want to spend or how well you clear up in the casino, you can have a very nice weekend there. I stayed at the Bellagio with my girlfriend, which is really impressive. I recommend the XS Club Las Vegas. Very famous DJs always play there and entry is still very affordable at $ 50. On the weekend I was there, David Guetta played on Fridays and Avicii on Saturdays.
However, you have to be aware that nothing works in Cali without a car.
- Rental car: $ 2,400 (2.5 months)
- Flight: 880 €
- Uni: about $ 5000
- Food & Drink: approximately $ 1500
- Leisure activities: approximately $ 2000
As already described above, I was lucky not to have to pay any accommodation. So unfortunately I can’t say anything about the cost of an apartment.
In summary, it can be said that my semester abroad in Cali was definitely worth the trip. It’s a great experience and Cali itself is a really great state. The people there are all very friendly and helpful. The UC Riverside was definitely the right choice for me. Even if the 3 months passed relatively quickly, I have not regretted being there “only” for a trimester.