University: University of California Riverside
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I’m glad I did the semester abroad at UC Riverside because it was a great experience and I really saw and experienced a lot.
My choice was UC Riverside because I’m doing a dual degree and therefore only had 3 months for my semester abroad. Originally I had planned an Erasmus study in Europe, but since this usually lasts 4-5 months, this was not possible. In addition, I was dependent on foreign BAföG and therefore had to study at a partner university of my German university, which further restricted the choice. Visit iamaccepted.com to get information about California State University Northridge study abroad program.
Despite the small selection options, I was very satisfied with UC Riverside. Riverside is not on the coast but very central in Southern California. So Riverside is a good starting point for trips to many different attractions in California. The various beaches can be reached in an hour and even Las Vegas can be reached in three and a half hours.
You can study at UC Riverside either on the main campus or at the Extension Center, a facility for professionals and international students. The majority of international students study exclusively at the Extension Center. There, the courses usually take place in the evenings, you study in small groups (10-15 people) and it is less demanding and involves less work than courses on the main campus.
If you want to have as much free time as possible and see the semester abroad more as a vacation semester, you should only choose your courses at the Extension Center. If you choose the courses cheaply, you only have to go to the university 2 days a week.
I had three courses at the Extension Center and one course at the Main Campus. This course consisted of 60 people and took place twice a week. I had chosen my courses at the Extension Center to take place on Mondays and Wednesdays after the campus course, so I only had to be at the university 2 days a week. My campus course “ Supply Chain Management ” required more work than the extension courses. There were 2 midterm exams and a final exam, all weighted at 25%. The remaining 25% was for the homework that had to be handed in for the exams.
There was also homework for the extension courses (“ Lean Principles and Practice ” and “ Six Sigma Green Belt ”). However, these only consisted of smaller presentations or essays. My fourth course was Social Media Marketing Strategy, a 1 unit course held over a weekend on Friday evenings and Saturdays. You have to take a total of 12 units and I was missing this one. The requirement of my home university was to choose four courses, but this is regulated differently by each university. It is also possible to choose only three courses.
I lived with 2 other German students in the “Sterling Highlander” apartment complex on Iowa Avenue. This complex is the newest and most modern of the numerous apartment buildings around the campus. With the equivalent of 600 euros rent per month, it is also one of the most expensive systems. But you live in a new apartment with TV and a facility including a pool, basketball court, fitness room, games room, study rooms, printer room and several barbecue areas. It should be noted that although furniture is included in the equipment, it does not include kitchen utensils such as plates and pots, bed linen and a shower curtain. However, this equipment is not available in any of the facilities and must be purchased separately. You can buy these things cheaply at one-dollar stores or at Wal-Mart.My advice is: don’t book an apartment from Germany, but book a hotel for the first few days and take a look at the facilities on site.
Trains and buses do run in Riverside, although the networks are not as well developed as in Germany. I always wanted to be flexible and mobile, which is why I rented a car with my roommates for 3 months from the “Rent a Wreck” car rental company. As the name suggests, this car rental company rents out old cars. We got a 1994 Mitsubishi SUV and paid $700 per person per month for a 3 month long term rental. The car rental company has several branches. We rented our car from their North Hollywood branch and were happy with it.
All the well-known fast food restaurants are represented on University Avenue in the area around the university, many of which offer student discounts. I often ate at University Village, where I particularly liked the Thai and Chinese restaurants. These restaurants are a good alternative to fast food. It is often cheaper to eat out than to cook yourself, as groceries in the supermarket are more expensive than in Germany. The good thing about the restaurants is that you always get water for free. From the fast food restaurants, I really liked the Mexican chain Chipotle. In my opinion, the best burgers were at Ruby’s (e.g. in Huntington Beach) and at Habit Burger.
In my free time I did a lot of sport. I used either the recreation center or the facilities on the apartment grounds. The recreation center is the university’s fitness center. There, as an international student, you pay a fee of $70 for the 3 months. In the recreation center there is a large weight room, cardio machines, courses are offered and you have the opportunity to play squash, racquetball, badminton, table tennis, basketball and volleyball. The Sterling Highlander condominium has a gym, pool and basketball court. We also played basketball in a park on Iowa Avenue.
To party, there is the “Marios Place”, a restaurant downtown, where (student) parties with cheap drinks always take place on Thursdays. Otherwise there is the Sevilla, a restaurant+club, also located on Mission Inn Avenue. There you can celebrate very well (sometimes there is even electric music), but the entrance fee and the drinks are not cheap and, like everywhere else, the parties are over by 2 a.m. We went to Mexicana on Spruce Street once on a Wednesday, but you have to be into Mexican music for that.
We often made day trips to the beaches. I particularly liked Dana Point, but also Huntington Beach for the good burgers on the pier at Ruby’s. A beautiful, somewhat lonelier beach is La Jolla in San Diego.
Otherwise, the Joshua Tree and Sequoia National Parks were really worth seeing. We even saw a bear at the Sequoia. The Pacific Coast High Way and the cities of San Diego and San Francisco are must-sees. You should also have seen Las Vegas.
Studying in the USA is not cheap. The apartment alone was $810 a month, the car was $700 a month and the tuition was $4300. The return flight with Lufthansa from Frankfurt cost €730. Then there are the costs for excursions and groceries. In total, I must have spent €10,000.