Study in California State University, East Bay (3)

Study in California State University, East Bay (3)

Application process

I had already sent my application for the Spring Quarter to MicroEDU about nine months in advance and received my acceptance six months before the start of the quarter. I applied for the CSUEB’s Open University program, which is supported by the American Language Program in Hayward.

The application was very simple with the help of MicroEDU and without complications. Proof of English was the only application requirement that you might have had to take care of if you hadn’t already completed it. The DAAD test, TOEFL or IELTS were accepted. The commitment contained further information on the next necessary steps from the CSUEB as well as from MicroEDU. There was a Housing Application Checklist, if you wanted to live “on campus”, information on transport options to Hayward, a checklist for the next steps and information on visa applications as well as offers for credit cards, insurance and tour operators. So everything was actually taken care of.

In addition to the courses offered, I chose the CSUEB, as it was one of the few that still offered the quarter system and therefore the beginning of the quarter did not fall into my exam phase of the previous semester at my home university. However, the CSUEB is now also converting to the semester system.

Accommodation search

The search for accommodation seemed a bit chaotic to me. I did not feel that I was being looked after by the ALP. It was possible to apply for accommodation on campus, but it is not advisable if you want to keep at least a little budget during your stay. With on campus housing, a meal option must be added, which is very expensive.

The search for accommodation outside of the university is mainly carried out via a Facebook group called “CSUEB Off Campus Housing / Apts / Rooms / Roommates”. Many free rooms are posted here even relatively shortly before the start of the semester. Exchange students mostly live in the City View or the Sunhill Apartments. I myself shared a room with a friend in the City View Apartments. They are about a 15-minute walk from the center of the campus and have a small gym, washrooms, a large communal grill, a pool and a jacuzzi. According to hearsay they are a bit more expensive than the Sunhill Apartments, but a bit more modern. The furniture can be bought cheaply at Ikea. We ourselves found German female students from the pre-quarter from whom we could buy the equipment. Most of them just sleep on a mattress on the floor anyway.

It was normal to share a room with someone else and the living rooms were also used as sleeping places. But it was safe to bear for a few months.

The Hayward Campus, the City View and the Sunhill Apartments are located on a small mountain that you certainly don’t want to walk every day. Therefore, it makes sense to live in the apartments mentioned or at one of the shuttle bus stops in downtown Hayward or in Castro Valley.


The CSUEB health insurance is compulsory, but does not cover all necessary areas. According to information from the CSUEB Health Center, dental and eye treatments are not covered. An additional negative aspect is that the insurance only runs from the first day of the quarter to the last day of the examination phase – so if you want to travel before and after, you should take out additional insurance. The offer from Hanse Merkur, which was also recommended by MicroEDU, turned out to be the best additional insurance even after comparing it with other providers.

Course choice and course schedule

The course selection was based on so-called class crashing. In the first 1.5 weeks I therefore attended all the events that interested me in principle and had to obtain a signature from the professors that they would accept me in their courses. In addition, the faculty then checked whether there were still enough places available in the respective courses and whether the prerequisites for the courses were met. It was a bit of a shame that the regular students were able to register for the courses a few weeks before the start of the semester, so many courses for the foreign students were already full and one had to hope that other students would take the courses during the “add & drop period” would still “drop” and thus a place would become free.

In the end, I only got no place in one course because I did not meet the requirements according to the CSUEB there, as I had not attended basic courses from the study program at the CSUEB, although I was not aiming for a degree at the CSUEB and the university really doesn’t care whether I have previous knowledge or not. In addition, I have to recommend everyone who goes to the CSUEB to find out which courses are in advance really be offered in the respective quarter or semester. I myself study accounting, taxation and finance and on the website of the CUSEB numerous master’s courses are listed which fall into these areas. There were four master’s courses on site, one of which I couldn’t take. In order to spare others this disappointment, especially in view of the fact that a semester in the USA is not exactly cheap and should be carefully considered, I really recommend not to rely on the information on the homepage and to ask yourself.

The courses I attended reminded me a little of my school days, as the course size is much smaller than I am used to at my home university and the teaching methods are different. I had to hand in homework every week, there was a midterm exam and a final exam, and group work is also very popular at the CSUEB. As a result of these methods, people also dealt with the lecture material during the semester and thus “stayed on the ball”.

International Business Diploma

Students in the American Language Program can also receive an International Business Diploma if they successfully complete a total of 6 courses in this program. The courses are only for internationals, are cheaper than Open University courses and are far less extensive and less demanding. Receiving the diploma entitles them to do an internship in the USA for a certain period of time and offers many an entry point into the American world of work.

On-site support

The ALP (Academic Language Program) was responsible for the exchange students. In addition to the students who completed the International Business Diploma and the Open University Students, the ALP also looked after students who attended the Intensive English language courses. During the first two days, the so-called Welcome Days, we were greeted by the program manager, we were familiarized with the IT applications and the campus and we had to complete two online seminars on alcohol / drugs and sexual abuse. The introductory days also included a tuberculosis test.

However, the ALP was not technically responsible for Open University students.

During the semester, a free lunch was offered to all exchange students on Wednesdays in order to get to know each other. In addition, the ALP organized fun trips to Santa Cruz, Point Reyes and the Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco for a small fee.

Campus and university life

The CSUEB campus is really nice and spacious. As with us, the buildings are divided into faculties, there is also a library, a small shopping area with a book store, mini market, fast food shops and game hall, lots of green spaces, a large fitness studio with courses and other large sports facilities. There was always something going on on campus.

The university life itself comes at the CSUEB bit too short. The reason for this is that many of the students do not live “on campus” or in Hayward itself, but commute long distances. Hence, no real student culture had developed around the university.

Leisure and excursion possibilities

There were few weekends that couldn’t be used to visit California and other western states.

For destinations within California, it is advisable to travel by car if you are older than 25 years (otherwise the Young Driver Bonus applies). Since I am an ADAC Plus member myself, I booked most of the rental cars through ADAC and always got the cheapest offer there. There are also student offers at Alamo with an international student ID. Driving in the US was a bit chaotic at first and some rules are different from what we are used to in Europe, but in the end the car was simply the best way of getting around. The gasoline is also very cheap.

In addition to San Francisco (one hour away with the BART), we also visited Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Newport Beach. A visit to the national parks is an absolute must. We were in Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree and Redwood National Park, as well as Lake Tahoe. Outside of California, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon are of course worth seeing, but we were also in Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park and the Valley of Fire.

So if you want to enjoy nature, you will definitely not miss out at the CSUEB. Although we were out in the spring and summer months, it was still snowing in places, which is why a good mix of clothes is important. Camping in the national parks is relatively cheap, and the campsites are simple but adequately equipped and can be booked through a central website. However, some of them are already booked weeks and months in advance. Flights to Las Vegas are relatively cheap from Oakland and San Francisco.

Since many students have organized their semester abroad in the USA, especially in California, with MicroEDU, a visit to the CC Instagram page is also helpful, as many great excursion opportunities from other students are published here. Read more on Anycountyprivateschools.

Good to know

  • As recommended by CC, I bought a DKB credit card and was able to save a lot of euros on withdrawals and the use of the services in USD, as the DKB currently does not charge any fees for withdrawing money from the credit card abroad and that The foreign transaction fee will be reimbursed. In addition to the DBK, the Comdirect also offers a free withdrawal.
  • Before leaving for the USA, I bought a SIM card from H20, which worked with my Samsung without any problems. For 30 dollars there was 3GB Internet, as well as free calls to the German landline network, SMS and telephone flat rates within the USA. Problems caused by Huawei devices that are not used in the USA.
  • Although we have read in many forums that an international driver’s license is necessary when renting a car, we were never asked for it, the German driver’s license was widely accepted.
  • In the USA there are loyalty cards in almost every supermarket that make shopping much cheaper. All you have to do is ask for the card at the checkout, which you get immediately and you can benefit directly from the discount. In Hayward, the Food Source is by far the cheapest supermarket. The best fruit and vegetables were also available here.
  • There is a non-university organization founded by volunteers who organize a dinner and a small program for all international students on Fridays. This organization is called “International Student Fellowship” and is a great way to get to know other students and learn something about the country and its people from the volunteers. Simply search for the “International Student Fellowship (ISF) – East Bay” group on Facebook.
  • For short distances from A to B, it is best to use UBER or LYFT, whereby as a saver you will find many promotional codes when you use it for the first time and also receive credit or free trips when recommended to friends.
  • When booking through a US site or rental company, you should make sure that, in addition to fully comprehensive insurance, liability insurance is also included, as this is apparently not mandatory when renting.
  • If you want to visit many national parks, you should get the “America the Beautiful” pass. This cost 80 USD and is valid for all national parks in the USA. It is worthwhile from 3 visits.

Study in California State University, East Bay 3

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