I spent my semester abroad at California State University East Bay from September 2016 to March 2017 and would like to tell you a little bit about my experiences:
When I decided to do a semester abroad in the USA at the beginning, the question naturally arises: Where should I study ? You can only answer this question if you determine for yourself what is most important to you. Do you focus on studying or do you want to have fun and live in a nice place?
Both were very important to me and that’s why I decided on CSUEB. This is due to two things:
- A: The university is in a great location, very close to San Francisco, and thus also offers the perfect starting point for road trips and other trips. In addition, with San Francisco you have one of the most beautiful and famous cities in the world.
- B: The course is really easy to manage and if you are not so clumsy, you get really good grades !
What should you study
Personally, I have decided on the International Business Diploma Program, which gives you a certificate (diploma) after graduation. I found it quite advantageous to end the semester abroad with something presentable, which does well on the résumé. However, you should know that you will only get the International Business Diploma if you have your bachelor’s degree. I mean to say that it is possible for both Bachelor and Master students to take part in the courses, but you only get the diploma after showing your Bachelor’s degree. In my case, I received it after a few weeks because I was doing my master’s degree. Before I decided on this program, however, I also had doubts, because although it is cheaper than other courses and you get a diploma, you only sit in the course with international students – most of them from Germany. That doesn’t sound very appealing at first – after all, you want the USA experience,To experience culture. However, I do not regret my decision at all, because you will quickly notice that Americans are not the best when it comes to making a difference. Americans just know their country and are therefore not so motivated to travel around with you and go uphill. Of course there are exceptions. The great advantage of an international course is that you meet like-minded people who are also keen on travel and adventure. After all, they are here for the same reason as you. And after a certain time you will get to know enough Americans anyway, if you are open.
How is the university?
Well, if you imagine university life like in films like American Pie, High School Musical, 21 Jump Street, Project X etc. (like me), then unfortunately you will be disappointed. The CSUEB is unfortunately not the coolest university with the most fun university life and the most intense university parties. But it’s also nowhere near as bad as some reports describe it. I mean sure, you can forget the town of Hayward. Absolutely nothing going on. According to andyeducation, there are a few bars and very good places where you can eat, but otherwise absolutely uninteresting. But it’s not far to San Francisco. The university actually has everything to offer that you need. Bib, gym, restaurants, bank, supermarket etc. The campus was also really nice and, above all, very nicely located, very high up, where you have a wonderful view of the Bay Area. The sky there also takes on colors that I’ve never seen before. Simply fantastic!
Otherwise, I thought it was great that everything was in one place. You could go to your course, then eat, then to the bib to study, then to the gym. So you get a great rhythm in. However, there is one thing I have to criticize about the system. At the beginning you have to take an online course against sexual harassment, which takes a lot of time and is just plain annoying. In addition, everyone has to go to a medical exam, where a small protein is placed under the skin to test for tuberculosis. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt that much, but overall the whole thing is a bit strange – after all, I don’t come from the jungle, but from civilized Germany, but that’s bureaucracy. Overall, however, I have to say that I was very satisfied with the university and the program and that I basically didn’t miss anything.
How about having fun?
That depends on you and what you do with the time there. For me, traveling was clearly in the foreground and this location is really the perfect starting point for that. In addition to San Francisco, there are also many other beautiful places that are not that far away. For example, the Yosemite National Park. Otherwise, this place is the perfect location for a road trip along the coast (Highway 1) to San Diego. For me the most beautiful city in California where you can experience a lot. I went down there 3 times. And the way there is just wonderful and eventful. Otherwise, travel wherever you want. Domestic flights are not particularly expensive. I have also been to Las Vegas and New York, among other places, and to top it all off in Hawaii. You should definitely do Hawaii. My absolute highlight and you will hardly have the opportunity to get there cheaper and faster again because it is relatively close to California. Otherwise you try a lot to connect with people, go to the gym and do sports with people – that’s the quickest and easiest way to get to know people who are sure to invite you to a cool American house party, but maybe you will also find good friends, the great love!? Everything is possible. It’s up to you!
Accommodation and car
A guest does not need her certainly, a car essential. Accommodation there is not cheap and be prepared to share your room with 1-2 people (depending on your budget). For this purpose, there are the so-called City View Apartments, the University Village or the On Campus Villages close to the campus. It’s best to team up with a few people you can get along with and set up a flat share. Most do it that way.
When it comes to the car, it depends. If you live directly on campus, it is not absolutely necessary because you spend most of the time at the university. For smaller errands in the area, you can simply order an Uber or take a ZipCar from the university. If you want to go to San Francisco, you can take the “Bart” (like our regional train). However, if you know in advance that you live further away and will / want to drive around a lot, a car makes perfect sense. However, you then have to make sure that you find a sensible one, because if you are unlucky it will break and you will be left with your money. So I wouldn’t buy a junk truck for almost $ 1000, but nothing too expensive either. Personally, I bought a solid car for just under $ 3,000 and was even able to sell it for a little profit.
All in all, I had a wonderful time, during which I learned a lot and developed myself further. I experienced unique people and moments and visited one of the most beautiful spots in the world. I don’t want to miss this experience and I allow everyone to have the same experience. You will not regret it!
I hope I was able to give you a good insight and I wish you a great time, whatever you decide to do. But do yourself a favor and say yes to the semester abroad!
Thanks also to MicroEDU for the great support. Absolutely to be recommended. A cool, friendly team that accompanies and supports you from step to step on your way abroad. Great praise!