I chose California State University East Bay because there is a quarter system here. Many universities have a semester system. These were all dropped in advance, since the semester starts at almost all universities at the beginning of February, but I myself write exams in Germany until mid-February. The second decisive reason for the CSUEB is the location. In about 35 minutes with the “beard” you are in the middle of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, San Francisco in beautiful California.
To the beginning / application
I started my preparations about a year before I started studying in the USA. After a little research, I came across “MicroEDU”. After I received advice from the staff, I sent my application to MicroEDU about three quarters of a year before the start of my studies, who then sent it to the university in the USA after review. I had applied for the Spring Quarter in Hayward, where I wanted to take Open University courses. These are looked after by the “American Language Program”, as they look after all foreign students.
To apply yourself
The application consists of several documents, whereby you only need some preparation effectively for the language test. You can choose from TOEFL, IELTS or the DAAD language certificate. The DAAD certificate can be completed in many universities. For example, I did it at my university because it is the simplest variant. Only a speaking, reading, writing and listening test must be completed, which must be completed with a minimum level of B2. The rest of the documents, such as a money overview, grade information, etc., are not a great deal of effort.
I received the confirmation a few weeks later with the enclosed information about credit cards, directions from the airport to the university in Hayward, a housing application for on-campus living and a checklist from MicroEDU with important tasks to be carried out before the start of the stay abroad had to work off. MicroEDU has listed all important organizational milestones in advance in the checklist (e.g. visa, vaccination certificate, etc.)
At the university itself there was an “Open University enrollment”, where you go to class on the first day of the lecture, ask the professor whether there is space in the lecture and then collect the decisive signature from the professor.
To the accommodation
We teamed up with several people in advance with the help of MicroEDU to create an apartment together because we didn’t want to live on campus. On campus we would have ended up in the International House. The apartment search turned out to be more difficult than expected, so it took a lot of calls to come to a common denominator with the landlords, as you had to specify in advance how long you would like to live in the apartment and accordingly pay more. The next problem was that in America you can only rent apartments shortly beforehand, which is why we shook for a long time until we finally got the apartment safe. The next problem was that we still had to take care of electricity and water suppliers on site, which turned out to be more difficult than expected. We moved to the City Center Apartments, which are in Hayward downtown, an der Bart and a supermarket.The complex has a small gym, a pool, a jacuzzi and is fenced, which exudes a piece of security.
Studies / chosen courses
As already described, I wanted to take Open University courses. Here came the shock !!! Two courses that are offered online were no longer offered on site, which went stupid because I have to have all courses approved in advance at my university in Germany. I couldn’t take the third course that I wanted to take because it is a graduate course. And according to CSUEB, I lacked a lot of previous knowledge, which actually doesn’t really count as a reason, as I had already taken courses with similar content at my home university. So the bottom line was that I couldn’t take a course that I had chosen in advance.
After careful consideration, I decided to take the so-called ” International Business Diploma ” courses, which go in a completely different direction from my actual studies, but I wanted to enjoy my time in California and still do something meaningful.
For the future, I can only recommend everyone to find out in advance which courses are offered in the respective semester! I had many courses online, including the one that I chose. In the end, only 10 of the original 30 courses were offered in the quarter.
The International Business Diploma courses were something completely new to me. On the one hand, as is usual in America, one had manageable class sizes (up to 20 people), the “other” grading systems, which means that you only get about 55% of the overall grade through the midterm and final term. The remaining 45% is obtained with attendance, presentations and participation in the lecture. This system ensures that all students who are present are always on the ball.
We were looked after by the ALP – American Language Program. At the beginning they led the greeting and welcomed us. We had a permanent contact person there who we could always approach and who always answered all our questions. At the beginning they showed us the campus, but also had a test about sexual abuse and alcohol consumption answered, which we had to pass in order to be allowed to study.
The ALP organized a lunch every Wednesday, which was free for us foreign students. They also organized several excursions such as to Santa Cruz, Point Reyes or one of the most famous festivals in San Francisco.
Campus and surroundings
The campus is quite spacious with lots of green space, which is an absolute dream given the beautiful California weather. The university has a huge library with almost every textbook you can imagine, many learning opportunities, computers and several printers on which you can do copies and printouts for a few cents. Typically America, there are also many dining options on campus. You can find your own Starbucks, Panda Express, Pizza Hut, Subway, Tacco Bell, Go Greens and much more, so no hunger is neglected. There is also a bookstore on campus to buy campus clothing or the necessary teaching material. Read more on Mcat-test-centers.
Hayward is located in the middle of the Bay Area, probably the most beautiful area in the USA. We had a nice destination almost every weekend. For example we were in the south, ie San Jose, Silicon Valley and also the world-famous Stanford campus. In the north we looked at Tiburon, Sau Salitos, Angel Island and Berkley. The easiest way to do this is to rent a car for a day or two, as that way you are the most independent and can go anywhere you want.
With the beard, you can get to San Francisco in just a short time, where we spent a lot of time, be it at the hotspots like Fischerman´s wharf or Lombard Street. You can just as easily enjoy the day in one of the numerous parks and end it in one of the numerous bars.
Another good goal are sports events, for example we were at the NBA because the Golden State Warriors were only a few minutes away with the beard. (They also won the J title) At baseball and soccer in San Jose. It’s just a shame that there is no football in the jumping, but nevertheless it was cool to see the atmosphere live.
Afterwards I went on a road trip with friends, we were on the road for 4.5 weeks in a rental car. Our first destination was Eureka on the Oregon border, where we visited the Redwood National Park. Then we went on to Lake Shasta and the Burney Falls, where we stopped for a few days before we drove to Yosemite National Park, which in my opinion was the most beautiful national park we visited. Here you can run many trails and the really beautiful view. Then we drove back to Big Sur on the coast and from there via detours to Santa Monika, as Highway 1 was closed due to damage. Then we spent several days in Santa Monika, Santa Barbara, Malibu and Los Angeles which was really nice. Then we drove to Arizona to Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. From there our journey continued over the Grand Canyon, which is really gigantic when you stand in close proximity to the abyss. Then we drove on to Vegas via the Hoover Dam. Las Vegas is by far the craziest city that I can recommend to everyone. From there I flew to Miami, where I spent a week with one Excursion to Key West, which is really like paradise. After that I was in New York for a week before it was again… back to good old Germany.
My semester abroad was by far the coolest and best experience of my life. If I had the chance, I would do it all over again. California is a very expensive place, but the 5 months were definitely worth it. The level of study itself is not the easiest, but due to the weekly work, the exam material was quite easy. The location in the middle of the Bay Area is fantastic and I can only recommend it to everyone. San Francisco is the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to without lying.