The university, IHouse and other student housing facilities are located on a hill outside the center of Hayward and offer a great view of the city plus the entire surrounding area as far as San Francisco. In Hayward you can take the bus with the issued student ID, which of course also takes you to the bar station. From there it takes about 40 minutes to the center of San Francisco. You can get to Berkeley in about 25 minutes. Overall, Hayward is quite well located to reach many interesting places quickly, such as the surfing town of Santa Cruz, Stanford University or Sacramento, although it is better to rent a car for this.
University / studying
With the courses at the university it was a thing: you definitely can’t rely on getting the courses chosen in Germany, as some of them are not offered in every quarter. That means you look for new -similar- courses during the orientation week, which in my experience you can almost always get into. This may not always be the case with courses such as business administration.
I myself have attended seminars in the humanities (philosophy) and found the content to be quite simple, but I was able to learn some new things and had fun with it. It is unusual that you not only write a final exam at the end of the quarter, but also take a mid-term after a few weeks and write one or the other paper in between. All in all, you don’t have to worry too much here, because the level of learning and the effort involved cannot be compared with that in Germany.
The books required for the exams are best bought NOT on the campus bookstore, but ordered online – the price difference is enormous here.
Accommodation – International House
After a warm welcome and a briefing in the new accommodation, one or the other little horror came over the uncleanliness in the apartment, especially the sanitary facilities. It’s just not a hotel – but you shouldn’t let that stop you from moving in there.
I lived together with four Koreans, one Japanese and two other Germans in an 8-person shared apartment, which worked well. (About 80% of IHouse residents are Koreans, Chinese, Japanese or Thai.) You basically share a room with another person, which is initially quite unusual. But you quickly get used to this, especially since Asians usually think collectively and pay attention to the wishes and needs of their roommates.
In order to get to know the different cultures better, the IHouse organized evenings such as the “Korean Night” or “German Night”. So it didn’t take long to get to know the residents of the entire residential complex.
According to existingcountries, Hayward itself is rather boring and not a place to go. Here you have to be content with small apartment parties, which are broken up or disrupted relatively quickly by the House staff. But San Francisco has so much more to offer. Clubs like “Temple” and “Infusion” are just two examples that you can definitely take with you. (Don’t forget: write yourself on the guest list on the homepages beforehand and save money) However, you should keep in mind that almost all clubs close at 2 a.m. and that Bart no longer runs at that time. Therefore it is best to share a taxi with several people.
A weekend in Las Vegas is also recommended for all party-goers. It’s easy to find very good flight deals from San Francisco. (Tip: Virgin Airlines)
Finally, the FunTrips organized by the IHouse must also be mentioned, most of which are offered free of charge (otherwise for a minimal contribution towards expenses). Here we were shown, for example, San Francisco and its sights, we went to Gilroy, to one of the largest outlets or to the Giants baseball game.
Overall, I am happy with the experience I gained. I had a lot of fun and met great people from all over the world. Despite the university, you can easily plan your weekends with excursions and get to know all of California. The stay also helped me to gain more intercultural understanding, which was good for my studies.