University: California State University Chico
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
My semester abroad started quite early because I had to plan where and when I wanted to go. So in September 2016 I started checking back and forth to find out about different universities and opportunities. During my search, I came across MicroEdu and was immediately impressed by the site because you can find everything here at a glance and filter information according to your needs. With the only wishes, in any case California and not where all Germans want to go, I searched the site and then found a university that corresponded to my wishes. It should be the California State University Chico will. I then emailed MicroEdu for more information about the university and what I still need to do to gather my application papers together. The employees helped me so much that everything went super fast from that moment on. I searched and organized all the paperwork and sent it to MicroEdu who then handled my complete application and contacting CSUC. See mcat-test-centers for vocational education in Norway.
After the acceptance for the university came around in March, I was able to take care of all other things, such as flights, health insurance, accommodation, etc. I found a room relatively quickly and it was relatively easy to get in touch with the residents. I struggled a bit with the flights because I wasn’t so sure when exactly I wanted to fly. I didn’t want to arrive too late so that I had a little time to settle in and not start university right away, but at the same time I didn’t want to fly away from home too early because that meant I had to leave my boyfriend earlier. I then decided on a flight that would land me in Chico three days before the start of the program.
Flight and first days on site
In August 2017 I traveled from Hanover to San Francisco, where my uncle picked me up at the airport to drive me to Chico. I was super excited and didn’t know what to expect. It was about a three-hour drive from San Francisco. We drove past Sacramento and continued north. When I arrived in Chico, I first went shopping so that I could get groceries and all other things that had to stay in Germany due to the limited suitcase weight, as long as my uncle was there with the car. One thing can be said at this point, it is worth knowing where you can go shopping cheaply.Safeway is all well and good, but you can get the same stuff a lot cheaper at the Bargain Outlet and 99cent Store. Trader’s Joe also has good deals, but again, keep an eye on the prices.
When I arrived at the house, my roommate was already waiting for me and gave me a very warm welcome. My roommate wasn’t home at that time because he also had to get the last things from his move. After I checked out my room and put my first things in, my roommate showed me and my uncle the way to the university. Unfortunately, I lived a little further away than expected and so I was still a little nervous about whether I would be able to do it by bike every day. When we got home I said goodbye to my uncle because he was heading back home towards Sacramento.
After he drove, I met up with a girl who had already arrived in Chico and was also scheduled to do a semester at CSUC. I was in contact with her via the contact list that we received from MicroEdu about a month before the start of the program. We had already written a little while we were still in Germany and exchanged our concerns and fears and also made a date for the moment when we both arrived in Chico. So she came to me and we rode our two bicycles back to the university. From that point on, we actually did something together every day and were best friends. In the evening I got to know my roommate, who was also really nice.
Welcome week and course selection
Three days later, CSUC’s “Welcome Week” began. During the week we had many lectures on the different things you needed to know for the semester and we went on excursions. It was really great because you got to know all the international students from the semester here. The first friendships developed and you no longer felt so alone. At the same time, you could talk about which courses you had chosen, so that you didn’t have to be so nervous because you might already know that you knew someone in the courses.
A week later the courses started. It was really exciting to see how the American lectures work. I would say it’s more like school for us Germans. You have to participate orally and you get grades for it, at the same time you get homework or write shorter tests during the semester. BUT to allay fears here: The level in the courses is very low. Even if you don’t do anything extra and don’t deal with the material that much, you can still get good grades. The professors are also super nice and help wherever they can.
Besides my normal lectures, I also played in the university’s club soccer team. To get into the team here, you had to go to the try outs for two days over a weekend and the coach then decided whether you could get into the team. I was lucky and was allowed to have this experience. Once in the team you actually had quite a lot to do. We had training four times a week, Cross Fit twice and on the field twice. Then on the weekend we had the games. It’s a little annoying when you’re there in the summer semester, because that’s just the “pre-season” for football. So you only have four or five games and then it’s all over. But you can say it’s worth it, because you get to know super nice people and you make so many new contactsLots of things to do with on weekends when there are no games. However, there is a negative aftertaste in the entire history of sports, the fun costs 250 – 350 dollars per semester. The investment is worth it, but you should consider whether it fits into your budget.
On all weekends when there was no football, we actually went out or went on an excursion. For example, we were in Santa Cruz and Sacramento. For the Thanksgiving holiday, we took a friend we met to visit her family in Orange County. With all these experiences, I recommend planning them, but also going on excursions spontaneously, because otherwise you simply miss too much.
Chico itself is really beautiful. It’s a cute little town in the middle of ‘desert’, but there’s also plenty of great hiking at Bidwill Park or swimming in the summer. In Upper Bildwill Park, the park is a bit rockier. Lower Bidwill Park, on the other hand, is very green. Both are super beautiful and definitely worth more than one visit.
All in all Chico was really nice and an experience I wouldn’t want to miss. I’ve met so many great people and developed myself further. I would recommend anyone who would ask me to plan a stay abroad. It is a time that no one can take away from you and from which you learn an incredible amount.