I thought about doing a semester abroad for a long time and then decided on University of California Davis because of the UCD’s excellent reputation, its location in California and because Davis is a real college town. After this decision has been made, all application documents have to be submitted and since this topic is described in detail by MicroEDU , I would only like to start looking for an apartment here. In Davis there are no student residences available on campus for international students, so you either have to look for an apartment / flat share yourself or you can choose a host family. In the Facebook group (https://www. facebook. com/groups/ucdglobalstudy/) there is also a list of apartments of current students who want to sublet them or are looking for them themselves. Note: UCD stands for University of California Davis according to anycountyprivateschools.
Start of the quarter
I arrived in Davis about a week before Orientation Week started. In Davis you should first take care of a smartphone tariff and a bike in order to be accessible – and to find your way around the campus using Google Maps;). For the short time I recommend a prepaid tariff. Before the start of the quarter, there is a one-week orientation phase for all international students of the Global Study Program and afterwards no more questions are unanswered;) The presentations and workshops deal with topics such as cultural differences, study content and tips on leisure activities in Davis. Aside from “internal events”, the Fall Quarter also has a large welcome party for all freshmen in which the international students also take part. The numerous student clubs also introduce themselves during this orientation week. The offer ranges from course-specific clubs to sports clubs and charitable organizations.
Study and course choice
You have a lot of lecture and practice time, but the level is not as high as in Germany. The exam phase consists of exactly one week and because of midterms and homework, the final grade is not completely dependent on the final. I inquired about courses and recognition at my home university before I left, as this is warmly recommended. Once in Davis, however, everything is relatively relaxed and you can attend several lectures in the first 1-2 weeks and then decide. However, if you want to have the courses at your home university recognized, I would recommend that you have at least 5 courses recognized and then decide on site which one you will attend. My course choice was as follows:
ARE157 – Operations and Production Management
Informative course with theory and calculation examples on topics such as quality management, order quantity systems and layout planning. There are hardly any transparencies here and everything is written on the blackboard – especially unusual for German students. Homework is included in the assessment in addition to midterm and final exams.
ECON160A – International Microeconomics
A course held by a very good professor and a very helpful trainer. Here, too, a lot is written on the blackboard, but there are accompanying slides and important literature is made available online. Topics range from basic microeconomics to international trade and the effects of migration on the economy. Here, too, homework is included, but with a (negligibly) small portion and there are 2 midterms and a final exam.
DRA198 – Intro to Public Speaking
This course is specially offered for international students to improve presentation skills and I was pleasantly surprised. The approach (which seems a bit unconventional at the beginning) is very exciting and definitely helps to improve in this area. You get a lot of feedback and suggestions for improvement – and contrary to what is presented, presentations don’t have to be learned by heart and presented every week.
Tip: If you have problems achieving the required number of units, you can choose from an extremely wide range of physical education courses. These have a scope of 0. 5 units with 2 times 50 minutes of attendance per week. It is also recommended during the orientation phase to contact the professors if you are unsure about which course to choose. This is relatively uncommon in Germany, but because of this advice I went to the professors’ office hours and asked what was in store for me. The professors were very friendly and interested and were happy to report on their course, structure and effort.
Davis and the surrounding area
Davis is a real college town with around 65,000 residents and 33,000 students. So it is almost impossible to find someone who is not a student;) We recommend a visit to the Farmers Market, where regional foods are offered and there are many good restaurants and bars in the city center. Especially on Thursdays and Saturdays there is a lot going on in the bars and clubs due to the large number of students.
The location in Northern California invites you to travel and within 2 hours you can find San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, Nappa Valley, Lake Tahoe etc. To explore the south, Highway 101 offers itself and on this route from San Francisco to Los Angeles are, for example, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Malibu. As a means of travel, buses are recommended ($ 10 dollars to San Francisco) and flights ($ 65 to Los Angeles if booked in advance) from Sacramento. There is also a large ridesharing community on Facebook.
The total costs amount to at least $ 11,000 (roughly: $ 7,500 tuition fees, $ 1,000 + living expenses per month, $ 500 – 1,000 flight, leisure $? And travel $?) Depending on your preferences regarding living and personal travel planning. This is certainly a high sum, but the chance for a semester abroad only arises for a short time in life and so you should use it if you have the opportunity! Apart from the MicroEDU scholarships, you can find out more at mystipendium. de and with a bit of luck you will find something suitable here. However, it is important that the early bird catches the worm, because some scholarships are only awarded once, for example at the beginning of the year (note deadlines), even if the funding is only applied for at the end of the year (fall quarter!).
I had a wonderful time in Davis and despite the cost and effort, the effort was more than worth it – because you are richer by many experiences and take a lot with you personally from this special time. All doubts at the beginning, such as extended studies and costs, are soon superfluous and I am glad that I made the decision to spend a semester abroad.
Finally, I would like to thank MicroEDU for the very simple application process and the support! Special thanks go to Kristin, the main contact person for University of California Davis, who was always happy to help with any questions.