University: University of California Riverside
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: English / American Studies
Study type: semester abroad
Earlier this year I flew to Riverside with 2 friends. We planned our stay abroad there. The application and organization went quite smoothly. It was important that everything was organized early enough, as the American authorities required many completed forms, signatures and applications! The flight there was also much cheaper, the earlier you booked it. So remember to plan and organize everything early enough. There are a lot of things to get for such a stay abroad. Visit iamaccepted.com to get information about Universitat Autonoma De Barcelona study abroad program.
When we arrived at the university, we moved into our dormitory. We lived in the International Village. It was horrifying. In the brochure we had about the university and the dormitories, the dorm looked quite nice and wasn’t overpriced in comparison. (You should know that somehow there is nothing really cheap in Riverside!)
We had to rely on the brochure as we didn’t know Riverside so didn’t know where to go. That was the mistake. The hostel is generally quite clean and the location is really good, but the service and life there is a pain. When we arrived everything was supposed to have been cleaned by professional cleaners. Unfortunately that was not the case. So it was time to clean. The fully equipped kitchen is empty except for the oven and microwave; you have to buy the rest yourself!
Other than that, the decor is VERY basic and the rooms are very uncomfortable. What I found worst, however, was that no Americans lived there and we lived completely among Asians. Also the rules there in the home were not bad. There were so many rules, laws and prohibitions that I don’t even know where to start. The ladies at the front desk are very incompetent and unfriendly. Every opportunity is tried to get money out of your pocket. That’s really incredible. I’ve never spent that much money before. Everything has to be paid for and the service is bad. So it definitely doesn’t stop with the costs that are in the brochure. If you can, look for another place to stay!!!
There’s no pool, parking is extra, and public transport isn’t great either. This is not due to the dormitory but to the public transport system in general. As you may know, bus and train travel is not very common in the United States. There are buses and a metro link in Riverside, however bus travel is not free for exchange students. Each trip must be paid for individually. In addition, the buses only run until 4 or 6 p.m. on weekends, making it impossible to come to a party. Apart from that, some of the people on the buses are really really disgusting. It stinks and is dirty.
Going to university is very nice. It is surrounded by greenery and is very well maintained. The buildings are air-conditioned, not brand new but clean. Most of the teachers are friendly, committed and helpful. Registering for the courses is not that easy as you cannot use the local online system. You have to talk to each lecturer individually and it can happen that you don’t get into a course because it is already full because Americans can register about 2 weeks earlier. In general, however, this should not be the problem. The courses are ok, not that demanding but a LOT of work. There is a lot of homework, tests and a LOT to read. (At least 4 books per course.) The books can all be bought by yourself and often cost 50-100 dollars! Otherwise, the university was actually quite a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, we didn’t experience that much in our free time. To see things or to get to the beach you definitely need a car. Nothing works there without a car! The direct environment is not so nice. The beaches around LA, on the other hand, are really beautiful. But the road to get there is also quite long. Because of that there is ALWAYS a traffic jam, you need about 70-90 minutes to get to the beach. It’s worth going to Vegas or San Francisco. We didn’t even do anything in Riverside. Nothing is going on. The people at the university are also kind of useless. Most are only 19 or 20 years old and can therefore neither in bars nor in discos. Many of them therefore have parties on the weekends. however, these are over by 2 a.m. at the latest, because then the police are at the door. The very young people are drunk from 11 a.m. and have very idiosyncratic ways of dancing. (It’s more like a mating dance!) Otherwise the Americans are very superficial. In the beginning you find a lot of “friends” who offer you many things, give you compliments and are generally very exuberant. If it gets serious then, they don’t know you anymore! So take care!
Overall the stay was a good thing. Somehow nothing really convinced us, but the thing itself, to have been abroad for half a year and to have experienced a completely different life is somehow cool. You need a lot of money, tolerance and patience, then it will be a success!
Despite everything, enjoy the time, nobody can take something like that from you. The memory is only YOURS!!!