University: California State University Chico
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: literary studies
Study type: semester abroad
Organization + planning:
First of all, many thanks to MicroEdu for the good advice and the smooth process. At that time I had applied for a place at our International Office and needed a letter of motivation and recommendation and the TOEFL test. In comparison, the application is a hundred times easier and you can already save money for the TOEFL test if you choose Chico. See toppharmacyschools for vocational training in Spain.
Applying for a place in the University Village was a bit more difficult, but that worked out with the help of ALCI and Chico State ‘s IT support. It is important not to lose your nerve. Over there everything is somehow more relaxed!
I was able to move into the UV after the official Move In Day without any problems. To get to the UV, I traveled to Chico Airport and took a taxi from there. Apparently, it’s more common for suitcases to be left behind in San Francisco because the plane that flies from there to Chico is simply overbooked. So if you also take this flight, be sure to pack some laundry and the bare essentials in your hand luggage. I got my suitcase in the afternoon of the next day.
It is also important that you clarify with your bank beforehand that you are planning a semester abroad in the USA and ask whether the tuition fees can be easily debited from your account in one go. That didn’t work for me at first and I had to clarify everything from there. Anything you can do from Germany will save you a lot of stress. Sometimes credit cards are also blocked because the banks suspect misuse. That’s why your bank informs you that you are abroad!
I chose Chico because I’d rather go to a family-run small town than a confusing big city. Everything in Chico is easily accessible by bike. So I would advise everyone to get a bike as soon as possible. I bought a new one at Walmart for about $100 and resold it on Craigslist for $40. I was very happy with the bike and it has held up well the whole time.
I was told right on the first weekend in Chico that I shouldn’t drive home alone in the dark. We always drove or walked home in smaller groups, but I never felt unsafe.
Chico has a lot to offer when it comes to partying and is really cheap compared to other American cities. I also went to a few house parties, but I felt uncomfortable there because I didn’t like the partying there. It’s really exactly the way you know it from American films or series.
Chico is a student town with an excellent starting point for road trips. During Thanksgiving break, the two of us rented a car and drove all the way through California.
Campus + university courses:
The campus is exactly how I always imagined an American campus to be. There are a lot of green spaces and nice places to read or study. You are a student of ALCI and are allowed to take courses at Chico State because of the Open University program.
At the beginning of the semester you have to take an ALCI English test and then you will be assigned to an English course according to your language level. But the test is a joke. I was in the Writing 7 course, which consisted almost entirely of Germans. We were supposed to write two essays there and took a closer look at the MLA format. Since I’m studying English, I found it quite helpful to go through MLA again very carefully for the papers I had to write at university. However, in my opinion, the workload was not appropriate because I could not have this course credited and would have preferred to put more work into the courses, which then actually count. Most opted out of their second session courses because they were either too easy or simply unnecessary.
The class crashing worked extremely well for me, even though I wasn’t able to take part in the ALCI’s introductory events. You simply go up to the course instructors and politely ask if you can take part in their courses. I have taken three literaturecourses: The American Novel, Teaching Multicultural Literature and Reading Literature For Future Teacher. I really liked all three courses and they were very different from each other. You should also speak English study, definitely try to get a course with Anna Moore. Her course makes me look forward to teaching English again as everything was so hands-on. At Rob Burton, the assignments are posted online in a blog. This was a very interesting and new way of working for me, as many people responded to the blogs.
I had the feeling that it’s generally easier to get good grades in the States than in Germany. But I think that in English it’s simply because you get assignments every week and the overall grade doesn’t just consist of the final exam, but is made up of all the individual grades. I also had the feeling that the Americans approached tasks in a somewhat less disciplined way than might have been the case in Germany. I can’t judge how the whole thing works in other courses. From what I have heard from the others, however, my impression seems to be confirmed.
Housing + Dining:
I stayed in University Village and was happy with it. I had a room in a four-person cluster and was really lucky with my roommates. The room was really good by American standards and quite large. There were frequent events in the University Village, but I didn’t go to them. In my opinion, the rent was still far too high (approx. €930 per month) and I could imagine that you would quickly become unhappy if you didn’t have such great roommates.
Included in the rent was a meal plan from Sutter Hall that allowed you to eat there five times a week. It didn’t matter what time of day you went. The food was ok. There wasn’t a lot of variety, but I think it’s the same in all canteens. There were three dishes to choose from every lunchtime, plus pizza, salad from the salad bar and sandwiches. The disadvantage is that the canteen is only worthwhile for housing residents. Every other student pays $10 to get in. However, you can take someone with you on your menu for the price of a meal.
The Campus Connection Shuttle was particularly useful, as it served the UV from a number of points on campus like a bus. If you were still out and about in the evening (until about 1 a.m.), you had a free taxi.
The time in Chico was definitely the best time of my life so far! I can only recommend everyone to go to Chico State and experience American life. I really appreciated the open nature of the people and believe that living in a student town only offers advantages. The university is outstandingly beautiful and the lecturers I have met are very student-focused and willing to compromise. If you want to improve your grades, Chico is definitely the place! I hope I was able to help you with my report and I wish you a nice semester abroad!