Spring Quarter at CSUEB
When I started looking for a semester abroad and I had to exclude the usual organizations and funding aids such as ERASMUS for various reasons, I had almost discarded my plans when I found out about MicroEDU by chance. Together with the possibility of receiving foreign student loans, the semester abroad should still be given a chance. When choosing the university, price, course offer and gut instinct were ultimately decisive. I decided to do the Spring Quarter at CSUEB first and then do a 12-week summer session at UCSB. After much back and forth, the Bafög office finally agreed to recognize this somewhat unusual period as a 6-month semester abroad. At this point I would like to encourage all those who are desperate when submitting the application and urgently advise you to persevere! It is worth it!
The all-clear also for the visa application: the good man behind the counter didn’t want to see a single one of my great certificates. But of course you better play it safe anyway!
MicroEDU was a great help with the preparations. In most cases, I received an answer to my email on the same day, so that I could clarify almost all questions from the comfort of my desk.
While the majority of international students had consistently positive experiences, I unfortunately have to admit that the course selection did not go to my satisfaction and I ultimately had to choose “alternative alternative courses”. I found it particularly unfortunate that the university did not inform me that the courses I wanted to attend with the application documents either take place on a campus outside of the city that is barely accessible by public transport, or that they are not offered at all in the Spring Quarter. So I had a nasty surprise on site, had to look for new courses within a very short time, had no more opportunity to clarify creditworthiness with the German examination office and also bad luck to end up on waiting lists that were much too long.
Aside from these complications, the main thing I had to get used to is a different way of “studying”. While in Germany I can take it easy for the first time and then pull myself together in the examination phase, papers and homework, tests and a little later the first mid-terms are due from the first week. Nevertheless, it was never a problem to meet the requirements and keep up.
Campus and International House
I had been told before my arrival that Hayward is not a beauty and since there is absolutely nothing to be shaken about this fact, it is not surprising that I saw nothing more than the supermarket, the cinema and the car rental from Hayward. In addition, the campus is pretty isolated on a hill and you can’t just stop by Hayward. On some evenings we would have liked to be able to walk to a nice bar, but overall the fact that you can be in San Francisco within an hour by bus and BART makes up for it.
Anyone who hopes to be able to lead a typical American student life in the International House will surely have to be disappointed to find that 90% of the residents are of Asian origin. An apartment consists of 3 or 4 rooms with 2 residents each, of which about 1-2 Europeans.
Nevertheless, I would choose the I-House again at any time and accept that parties will be blown up at 11 a.m. The close proximity to the campus and, above all, to the other comrades-in-arms is simply priceless. I got to know a lot of great people at I-House and really enjoyed being able to just meet one door further down for a cozy evening. And even the “studyrooms” were really used during the examination phases…
We ate in the Dining Commons, which are right next door. In addition to pizza and burgers, there is also a salad and fruit counter, a large selection of main dishes and of course a lot of desserts. According to the “all you can eat” principle, you can really eat your fill, so that with your meal plan (I recommend “10 meals, 250 flex dollars”) you don’t have to buy any more groceries. Since the I-House kitchen only has a microwave, but not a stove or oven, this is actually very practical.
Weekends and trips
Since Hayward doesn’t have much to offer, as I said, it makes sense to go to San Francisco as often as possible. I really fell in love with this city and couldn’t spend enough time there. Just go exploring and explore the many different neighborhoods… I promise you won’t get bored of San Francisco! Berkeley is also quite easy to reach and a nice alternative for a little stroll through town or an evening in a bar. On the weekends it is of course also possible to go on longer excursions. Unfortunately, it is then necessary to rent a car. Popular destinations are, for example, the beach in Santa Cruz, Yosemite National Park or Stanford University. In addition, the ALP program offers so-called “FunTrips” on the weekends, where you can go to the outlet center, to the baseball game or to Sacramento for free or for little money. The nightlife in San Francisco is of course an absolute must. Regardless of whether you opt for an evening in the Castro district or a good club, the skyline of San Francisco at night alone will make you happy. Read more on Act-test-centers.
In addition to the fixed costs for the tuition fees and the I-House (including the meal plan), the costs that you will have to face depend primarily on how you want to organize your stay abroad. I’ve spent most of my money on trips and things to do and I think every single dollar has been worth it.
If I address a few points of criticism in my report, then I am only doing so because everything else was really perfect. I firmly believe that a stay abroad is definitely one of the most enriching experiences one can have in one’s life. I was very fortunate to be able to make some great friendships that made these three months an incredibly beautiful and certainly unforgettable time.
So if you ask me for advice: pack your suitcase and off you go!