The preparation and registration went very quickly. After filling out and sending the documents, you get a confirmation pretty quickly. Applying for a student visa takes more time. First of all, you have to pay some fees (SEVIS, appointment) after the confirmation of admission and create a profile online. Please do not be surprised: many questions are strange or amusing. At the embassy (Frankfurt, Berlin or Munich) everything goes very quickly and the announced interview usually takes about 2 minutes.
Please have your passport checked again urgently before entering the country. My passport was falsely reported as stolen in the German police’s system, so that I was first taken by the French police on my stopover in Paris and then couldn’t fly with them. The annoying thing was that I was allowed to book a return flight and re-apply for everything, which not only brought a lot of time but also high costs. Due to this incident, I was only able to fly 11 days later and therefore missed the introductory week.
The staff of the UCR go to great lengths to help the foreign students, but the costs are in no relation to the service. The course content is very simple and absolutely not to be compared with the German system, but a lot of emphasis is placed on “self-study”. Very little is done in the lectures, but afterwards you can be prepared for the fact that a lot of free time has to be spent on homework, online quizzes and group work. In some subjects, weekly tests were common either at the beginning of each lecture or at the weekend (online). Those of you who decide on a Main Campus course, i.e. a course with the local students, should inform yourself beforehand about the professor and the effort after the lectures and then consider.
- Check topschoolsintheusa for more about The A Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management at University of California Riverside.
Basically I noticed that there are a lot of German and Asian students and because the foreign students usually have lectures in another building (Extension Center), it is rather difficult to come into contact with the locals. Nonetheless, there are some activities and events that are definitely worth taking with you from the UCR. Organized trips to Disney Land and events (festivals) are not always cheap, but definitely worthwhile.
The city of Riverside itself is rather quiet and actually only lives from students. Many locals also say that the city can be compared to a donut. There is nothing in the middle, but you can quickly get to great places and beautiful cities that are outside the city. I would therefore recommend everyone who wants to experience something and travel to rent a car with several people, as the infrastructure in most cities in California is not really developed. Long-term car rental is priceless, so I would advise you to go to San Diego (about 1.5 hours by car) and have a look around there. In San Diego, many car rental companies are geared towards students and offer good cars for humane prices.
If you choose the USA and are used to eating very healthy food in Germany, you have to bring a lot of extra pocket money with you. Eating healthy is expensive!
Should you decide in favor of the UCR, then it is best to look around for housing options on site. There are some private landlords who live a little off the campus, but there are also residential complexes that are specially designed for students. We recommend Sterling and University Village where University Village is more expensive. I would advise anyone against the residential complex “The Palms on University”. The complex looks very nice from the outside, but the inside is very neglected and dirty. The apartments are all very shabby (old and dirty furniture, smelly carpet, dark, etc.) and definitely not worth the monthly rent of $ 655. In addition, you have to be prepared for constant additional payments, such as electricity and water (even if you are almost never there).
All in all, my time at UCR and in California was an experience. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the UCR itself, and Riverside isn’t particularly exciting either. However, you should take the time to travel, because there are so many beautiful things to see. I think if I had the chance to do my semester abroad again in California, I would choose San Diego or San Jose.