In the following I would like to tell you about my experiences of my trimester abroad at California State University East Bay.
I came across the MicroEDU page by chance while looking for information about a semester abroad. It quickly became clear to me to organize my stay abroad privately, as my German university did not attract the most attractive partner universities. Read more on Educationvv.
My final choice was California State University East Bay. Why? Well, the university’s location on the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most beautiful locations in the United States. In addition, the university offers a wide range of business administration / economics courses at a very good price-performance ratio. A stay of 3 months was also important to me, compared to a semester abroad of 5-6 months.
The application to CSUEB went smoothly thanks to the help of MicroEDU. The organization of this trimester was not exactly easy. There were several things that had to be sorted out before I started my term. The receipt of a visa for entry into the USA (numerous documents), TOEFL test and learning agreements (guarantee from my German university that the credit points obtained in America can be credited to my studies, but not necessary at some German universities) were necessary.
The CSUEB is not far from San Francisco (to reach SF you need about 1.5 hours by bus and train). The campus is very large compared to German universities and offers a wide range of sports.
Before starting the courses, everyone has the opportunity to attend various courses in an orientation week without obligation and to gain first impressions. Unfortunately it was sometimes not easy to get into the desired courses. Regular students had the advantage that they could choose the desired courses two weeks earlier and register for them.
Students who attended the so-called Open University program could only hope to get into the desired course. It is best to find several alternative courses if you cannot get into the desired course.
Ultimately, I was unable to attend one of my 4 courses (3 courses are included in the price. Another course cost an additional $ 250). However, this was not so tragic as I found an alternative course after all.
All of my 4 courses (Business Administration / Economics) were easier in terms of difficulty compared to the German courses. The American study system requires constant commitment from the student in the form of homework, midterms and presentations. If you try something here, very good grades shouldn’t be a problem. Fortunately, almost all midterms were multiple-choice questions.
Most of the classes were very manageable in size and I particularly liked the close contact with the professors. The textbooks were also clear and people were encouraged to participate in class, especially in the small courses. Although it was “only” three months, I also learned a lot about the subjects during this time.
The cost of living in America is unfortunately a little higher than in Germany. The cost of living should be around $ 700 per month. Students staying for several quarters should consider getting a car. The university is located on a hill in Hayward and the nearby supermarkets and malls can only be reached by car or bus.
Unfortunately, textbooks are also very expensive in America. In the university bookstore, a new book can cost $ 170. Many students have therefore bought second-hand books on Amazon. I did it that way and in the end kept all my books because if the books were sold at the end of the quarter you would only have received a fraction of the value.
During my time in Hayward I lived in the International House. At first I thought about moving into a shared apartment or renting an apartment. However, I would personally advise against it. Apartment listings on sites like www.craigslist.com may sound good. You can only find out on the spot whether they will comply with everything and whether you get on well with your roommates in the end.
The flat shares in the International House usually consist of 6-8 people. You share a living room with kitchen (unfortunately no oven, very limited cooking facilities, but a meal plan is available in an excellent cafeteria) and 2 bathrooms. In turn, you live with a neighbor in each room during this time. I had no problems with my flat-share partner. However, I heard from other people that sometimes it didn’t work out. The rooms have WiFi.
Free time activities:
The city of Hayward is really not a city worth seeing. There are only a few shops here for shopping. The surrounding area, on the other hand, offers a great variety. During the week you are almost always busy with the university. At the weekend (many had another day of the week off Saturday and Sunday) you can take the train (BART) to San Francisco and enjoy the city there. Other weekend destinations include: Nappa Valley, Silicon Valley, Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park… as you can see, the possibilities are endless!
The best thing to do is to rent a car with a couple of fellow students and travel around as much as possible, as long as you have time alongside your studies.
The leisure activities at the university are limited to various sports such as swimming, fitness, tennis, football or dormitory parties.
I am very happy that I decided to study at CSUEB and I really enjoyed my 3-month stay. Professionally, I have learned a lot of new things and also improved my English a little. But it was much more important to get to know the country and its people. I especially liked the mentality of the people in the Bay Area. The people are very helpful and dealing with other people is open and friendly, even if some of it may be played out.
I miss California!