Planning and application
Actually, I had planned to take a semester abroad during my bachelor’s degree, which unfortunately didn’t work out. When I started my Masters in Germany, I started planning my semester abroad for the third semester. Since my university does not offer an exchange with an American university, I decided on MicroEDU. UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis were shortlisted for me. Ultimately, I decided because of the comparatively “lower” tuition fees and the DAAD language test decided for UC Davis. After I had all the documents together , I applied to UC Davis through MicroEDU and was accepted shortly afterwards. Now it was time to apply for a visa, book flights, organize accommodation,discuss the courses with the professors in Germany, etc. – a lot of work, so you should plan enough time for it. Find more review on University of California Davis on hetongdiy.
It’s such a thing with accommodation. Many say that you should first stay in a hostel and look for an apartment on site. Since I liked to organize everything beforehand, I decided to start looking for an apartment from Germany. There are various possibilities here: Craiglist, UCDavis mailing list, Facebook groups, http://daviswiki.org/ and in the welcome package of the Global study program (GSP) there are also helpful tips. I personally found my accommodation through the UC Davis mailing list. You should definitely get in contact with people beforehand, have photos sent to you and, if possible, Skype. This means that you can be relatively sure that you will not fall on your nose, although of course there is always a residual risk.
The GSP is actually a bachelor’s program. But it is also possible to take graduate courses, which was beneficial to me. Registration for undergraduate courses takes place via the GSP. The registration must first be discussed with the professors. The easiest way to do this is to write a nice email to the instructor before the course starts. Exchange students are usually very welcome. If the professor allows you to attend the course, you simply forward this email to the GSP.
In my case, I can say that I find studying in Germany more difficult. The big difference is that you have a lot of homework to do right from the start. This can get annoying over time, but it is already a good preparation for the midterms and the final. So don’t take it lightly when one of the supervisors tells you: “the quarter system is very fast”.
The life of the Americans is super relaxed. The people in California are open-minded, over-friendly and even in the supermarket you quickly get into conversation when asked whether you have found everything. Davis is a small but nice town with about 60,000 inhabitants. Basically, almost everything revolves around UC Davis. Various restaurants and shops can be found in downtown. You can go shopping, for example, in the University Mall or in one of the other malls within Davis. A car is not really necessary here. The main means of transport is the bicycle. For shopping you can then use public transport, for example, which is very good in Davis (compared to other cities). The campus is really nice. Lots of meadows, individual buildings, your own football and basketball stadium and a great fitness center, in which you can let off steam until late at night and also play basketball, badminton, squash, etc.
Davis is in the perfect location for my taste. It takes half an hour to get to Sacramento and about 1½ to San Francisco or Berkeley. It also takes 2½ hours to get to Lake Tahoe, where you can ski in winter. Numerous national parks are also not far. From Sacramento there are flights to Las Vegas, Seattle, Maui (Hawaii) – all not to be despised destinations.
Overall, I can only recommend a semester abroad to everyone. Davis has his own charm here. Due to the comfortable size, the short distances, the great weather and the great location, I can only recommend it. For people who really want to party, the UCSB is definitely the better alternative. People who like to party or have a nice beer from time to time are in good hands in Davis. The “Bistro33” and “Our House” are recommended for this on Thursdays. Burger connoisseurs and beer drinkers are at the right address at “Burgers and Brew”.