UCR Review

1. Arrival and mobility

I landed at LAX (Los Angeles Airport) relatively late in the evening and since there are unfortunately only 1-2 train connections online and I had to be at my accommodation by a certain time, I rented a super shuttle in advance. This was a good solution for me as the driver got to the airport on time and then took me to Riverside. It was also a lot cheaper than a taxi. But there is also the possibility to take the shuttle to downtown LA and from there with the greyhound (bus) to Riverside where the UCR is located according to act-test-centers.

Overall, the transport network is unfortunately totally designed for cars and trains / buses do not drive very much. There are already a few connections with whom I occasionally went to the beach in St Clemente for surfing or something, but these are very rare and at uncomfortable times: D

So it is very beneficial to have a car or to meet people who do. A car is almost indispensable, especially when traveling or for day trips. If you get together with several people, you can of course rent one.

2. Living

At first I looked for a flat share through a few websites such as craigslist because I wanted to live with Americans. Unfortunately, you always had to transfer the first rent and the deposit before signing the contract or before you were in the USA. This then led me to look for something more “official”. There are the possibilities:

  1. University Village Tower (that’s where I lived)
    • Like a student dorm ($ 715 per month if you have your own room with bathroom in a 4-person shared apartment)
    • Relatively close to the university
  2. Grand Marc (similar, directly opposite)
  3. Sterling Highlander (better decor, nicer outside area, but also $ 100 more expensive)
  4. International Village at the UCR (much more expensive and not as nice, without a pool: D)

Many foreign students live in the first three and you make contacts very quickly. I lived with a French and two Americans and already got to know a lot of people on the first evenings outside in the barbecue area, because there was always something going on there. The staff is also very friendly and helpful. I easily signed a 7-month contract there in advance and was even able to go to my room a few days before the official “move in”. The only thing to note is that you have to bring bedding, a shower curtain and a lamp. You can get all of this at the K-Mart nearby. It is about 10 minutes to the university and also to the supermarket. The Sterling is a little further away from the university but right by the supermarket. Overall, however, I was satisfied with the UVT. It wasn’t the best but perfectly fine for six months!

3. University

About the university I have to say that the campus is enormous and I needed some time to find my way around (so plan enough time before the first “classes” to find the building and space). But there is an information center in the middle, where you can also get a map!

There is also an area (in the middle next to the large Bell Tower, see photo) where there is food and seating: pizza, sushi, panda express and some seating! I ate there a few times for lunch.

I studied mathematics in the first quarter. It is important to clarify with the department beforehand whether you can choose the courses. This was fine in math. I was also allowed to choose master’s / doctoral courses and there were no problems when I was there and had to enroll in the courses. This was on the first day of the semester (don’t miss it!). But there is also an introduction in the Extension Center, where everything is explained. I also chose my second quarter English course there. These courses are much more relaxed than on the main campus and it was really fun and my English improved well.

On the main campus, the bachelor’s courses were also relatively relaxed (the master’s / doctoral courses were very demanding but still feasible with enough input), but the times and requirements in the Extension Center are much better / less.

Overall, however, I was able to cope with all courses relatively well! If you have the opportunity and would like to have time to travel or for excursions, you should try to choose as many courses as possible in the Extension Center and only 1-2 courses on the Main Campus.

A little tip: if you need help, contact Christian Kindschy (he was very competent and helpful in every question)!

4. Living / traveling / alimony

The weather was great from September to April! Therefore, there were often barbecue evenings by the pool or something similar. At the weekend I traveled a lot and tried to see as much of California as possible (Vegas, San Diego, SIX Flaggs Amusement Park, San Francisco, etc. . . . )

You can’t party very well in Riverside (there are a few small bars), but all the better in Los Angeles or San Diego and a weekend in Las Vegas is also not bad. There are always good offers for hotels on the Internet. In Los Angeles we ended up in a very unsafe area in a run-down hostel. Therefore you should inform yourself well beforehand or ask an American who has a clue!

Life in the US is relatively expensive. At least if you do a lot and don’t just want to eat fast food! Healthy food is unfortunately very expensive. A bell pepper costs 1. 50. But you can get cheap burgers on every corner (“In and Out Burger” is highly recommended).

The beaches around Los Angeles such as Santa Monica, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach are very beautiful and definitely have to be seen. You can also go surfing in Sant Clemente! We borrowed the things from a small shop right next to the stand.

What I did at the end of my time and which I highly recommend is a road trip! I’m only up through Arizona and Utah. There Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and visited some little things and then over the Sequoia over to San Francisco to the coast. Be sure to check out Antilope Canyon and Horseshoe Canyon beforehand (the best I’ve seen)!

The coast is of course also beautiful and it is worth spending a few days there. We had 3-5 days to get back down to LA on the coast.

I wish you a great semester abroad as I was able to experience and if you have any questions, Anja, who incidentally was an extremely good help with all my questions and problems (at this point a big thank you again), can forward you to me!

UCR Review