Hello dear future Cal East Bay students. My name is Anika and I studied Spring Quater 2011 at California State University East Bay. I had an unforgettable time there and met a lot of nice people. In Germany, I am studying International Business Administration at a dual university, so the trimester rhythm was beneficial to me. In addition, the university convinced me with its good reputation and good price-performance ratio.
However, before you can enjoy California and get to know American student life, there are many organizational matters that need to be taken care of in advance.
The preparations take a long time. If you decide to do a semester abroad, you should start the preparations about half a year or even earlier.
MicroEDU is a great help during the preparation phase. I received an answer to questions very promptly and generally received very advisable tips from you.
The first step is to put together the necessary application documents for the CSUEB. These consist of a registration form, a financial confirmation from the bank, an overview of your previous grades and a DAAD language test on your English language skills. These documents are sent to your MicroEDU and they check them for completeness and accuracy before forwarding the documents directly to the university. A response from the university is not long in coming, I think about 4 weeks. The university will send you a confirmation letter, the I-20 form (which you need to apply for a visa) and a registration form for the “International House” dormitory. You then use the I-20 form to go to the embassy and have a student visa issued. You shouldn’t put off the appointment at the embassy too long, because you may have to wait a long time for a free appointment. Visiting the local embassy also takes a lot of time. However, you have your visa in your mailbox just a few days later.
Before you start your journey, you also have to take out international health insurance and present a receipt at the on-site introduction days. Furthermore, you should have your family doctor check whether you have received all the necessary vaccinations and have an international vaccination card. It is worth considering whether to get vaccinated against meningococci. I’ve done it, but I’ve met a lot of people who didn’t have this vaccination. So it’s not a must.
Also, book a flight as early as possible to get a very cheap flight to San Francisco. In this context, it is advisable to organize the accommodation for the first few days in advance, because after the long flight you just want to fall into bed. I lived in a hotel right in the center of San Francisco for the first few days and wanted to gather first impressions and explore the city before I moved to the dormitory on campus.
I decided to live on campus. The accommodation can be combined with different meal plans, which cost $ 3200 together for a trimester. I had decided on Mealplan C, with this you can have meals in the Dining Commons in week 11 and $ 250 Flexdollar for the Quater. With the Flexdollar you can pay anywhere on campus (except in the bookstore), which is very practical so you don’t need any cash on campus. All lecture buildings can be easily reached from the dormitory and there is a fitness studio with a wellness center directly opposite. In the dormitory you can quickly make friends and meet a lot of nice people and if you want you can have a party almost every day =) So it won’t be boring! When I was there, only international students lived in the International House, but since this quarter the American freshmen will also live in this dormitory. All other American students live in neighboring buildings called “Pioneer Heights”.
In the dormitory you live in an apartment with 5-7 other people. The apartments thus consist of 3 or 4 rooms, a living room with a shared kitchen and balcony as well as two toilets, a shower, bathtub and two sinks. There are no single rooms, but you share the room with a roommate. The bedroom consists of its own bed, desk, chest of drawers and closet. There is also a laundry not far from the dormitory, which can be used at low cost. During my stay at CSUEB, I also got to know a lot of people who rented an apartment near the campus.
The CSUEB campus is very beautiful and, above all, laid out with lots of green spaces. What I especially miss now back in Germany is the indescribably beautiful view from the campus over the Bay Area. Whether by day or by night, it is a beautiful view that you should enjoy.
On campus there is a Starbucks, a Mexican, Panda Express, sandwich stand, Einstein ProBagels, a POD (for everyday things – small supermarket) and a Jamba Juice, with which you can pay with Flexdollars. There is also a bookstore where you can buy various plain clothes and materials. Sports activities are not neglected either. For example, the campus has tennis courts, baseball and basketball fields, and a swimming pool. It is also advisable to visit the fitness center, which can be registered for a fee of $ 85 dollars.
There is a large variety of food on offer in the Dining Commons, but after a certain time the food repeats itself. So you are happy if you can buy a burrito from the Mexican or a bagel from the Einsteinsbagles, for example. You are also happy to eat away from campus from time to time.
The CSUEB offer a wide range of courses. The student visa gives you to reach 12 units, this usually corresponds to 3 courses. If you want to take further courses, you have to pay an additional fee.
Since I study business administration, I have personally chosen the following courses: Marketing Principles, Introduction to financial Accounting and Elementary Spanish. The professors try very hard to convey the subject matter effectively and are also very helpful with questions and problems.
Unlike at my dual university in Germany, at the CSUEB you have to write midterms and a final in the individual courses. The number of midterms varies depending on the course and you can usually cancel the worst midterm. In addition, homework has to be done for the courses. Depending on the course, these must be drawn up in writing or submitted via an online portal. The whole trimester is concerned with the content of the individual courses, which makes the preparation for the final a lot easier. There is more effort for the individual courses than in Germany, but you can get good grades with a little diligence. In addition to studying, there is still enough free time to explore San Francisco and go on various road trips.
However, it should be said that enrolling in the courses requires a lot of patience and perseverance. The American students are allowed to take their courses first and as an international student you have to attend as many courses as possible in the first two weeks. You will then receive a so-called permission code from the professor, which you can use to enroll later. That means after about 2 weeks a portal will be opened early in the morning, on which you have to try to register as soon as possible. Since you may not get the desired courses, you should try about 6-8 permission codes in advance. Once you have completed this complex step, you can begin to enjoy your studies at CSUEB.
Since the university is located in the middle of the California Hills, the university offers a free shuttle service. According to liuxers, this shuttle bus runs every half an hour directly to Hayward, where you can go shopping for various shops such as Walgreens, Walmart, etc. In addition, you can easily reach the BART station. With the BART you drive about 40 minutes to the center of San Francisco and you pay $ 10 for the round trip. It is also advisable to take the BART in the direction of Fremont, because there is a large outlet shopping center there. The BART can also be used to get to the airport, from the BART station in Hayward it is about an hour and a half to San Francisco Airport. You can also order a taxi to get to Hayward from campus. These are very inexpensive.
To-do in San Francisco
- Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park
- Pier 39 and Fishermen’s Wharf
- Excursion to Alcatraz
- Lombard Street
- Union Square
- Little Italy and Chinatown
- Russian Hill
- Ride a cable car
I also used the time at CSUEB to explore California a little. I did a road trip to Los Angeles and visited the beautiful beach towns of Pismobeach and Santa Barbara. It is also advisable to rent a house in Santa Cruz (approx. 1 hour from San Francisco). There you can relax on the beach or ride various roller coasters on the Broadwalk =)
If you prefer to fly, you can get cheap flights if you book in good time. I visited a fellow student from Germany in San Diego and the gambling and party city of Las Vegas. Vegas is really a MUST when studying in California =)
Not far from San Francisco there are numerous national parks that can be explored. You can also visit a wide variety of companies in Silicon Valley, such as Apple, Google and Facebook.
The residence also offers various excursions such as a baseball game with the San Francisco Gians, a wine tasting tour to Napa Valley, a trip to the Great America theme park, and a trip to California’s largest outlet center. You should definitely visit this Gilroy shopping center, there is really everything from Fossil and Converse to Roxy and Billabong to Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Laren.
The semester abroad at California State University East Bay was an indescribably wonderful time and enriched me with some experiences. I got to know a lot of nice people and the “American way of life”. I have improved my English skills and also expanded the range of my wardrobe considerably =) Furthermore, I got to know many different cultures and experienced numerous parties =)
San Francisco is a beautiful city that has a lot to offer. Generally in California there are so many diverse cities to visit.
I don’t want to miss the time at CSUEB and can really only recommend a semester abroad to everyone!