California State University, East Bay 1

Preparation

The preparations take a lot of time and organizational skills. Since I only received the final approval from CSUEB in mid-January and left for California two months later, this time was already quite stressful and time-consuming. Collage Contact can be reached here at any time and offers some tips. First of all, the visa must be applied for and “picked up” at the American embassy. Both the filling out and the appointment at the embassy take a few hours. In addition to flight booking, looking for accommodation, international insurance and the visa, the choice of courses is also on the program. As a master’s student, it was anything but easy for me this semester. When I started to find out more about the courses, there were enough interesting and sufficient marketing courses to be found on the CSUEB homepage. But unfortunately that changed two weeks before departure and there were only two possible courses to be found online. Since I definitely had to take two courses (which is part of the visa agreement) and knew that American students would be preferred when choosing a course (that is, foreign students can only register when all Americans have chosen their courses), I panicked. Collage Contact couldn’t help me here either and recommended that I get in touch with the American professors and other contacts. So I did, but I kept getting the answer that foreign students are always welcome, but that they cannot yet give me final permission. So it stayed exciting until the end. Since I was quite pushy in advance, After all, the professors and the contact person for foreign students already knew me when I arrived at CSUEB. They were all very helpful. With a lot of luck and nice professors, after another two nerve-wracking weeks, I was able to take my two master’s courses.

When looking for an apartment, I relied on the tips from Collage Contact and opted for the i-House. This dormitory is on the edge of campus (like all other dormitories for American students), right next to the Dining Commons (cafeteria) and across from the brand new fitness studio (RAW). If you opt for the i-House, you can also choose between three meal plans. As an example, Mealplan C contains 11 meals in the Dining Commons and 250 Flexdollar. The food in the DCs is varied (cornflakes, pizza, pasta, burgers, soups, salad, fruit, sandwiches, grilled, Mexican, Asian,…) but repeats itself after a few weeks. The i-House itself is run by Asians and a lot of Asians, some Germans and a few other Europeans lived in my quarter. From the coming winter quarter, however, American “freshmen” are supposed to be living in the i-house alongside the internationals. The apartments consist of 3-4 double rooms, a living room with kitchenette and refrigerator, two toilets and two bathrooms (with shower or bathtub). You won’t find any luxury there, but it’s ok. The common rooms are cleaned once a week and are therefore relatively clean (unless they have been devastated by roommates). The two residents are responsible for their own room. Of course, it takes getting used to sharing the room with one person and living together with six or eight people in one apartment. Privacy suffers, but I would choose that again. For one thing, it is difficult to find another apartment for a quarter, which is furnished and not too far from the campus. On the other hand, I already met a lot of new people on the first evening and the first party wasn’t long in coming. There is always something going on in the i-House and a few people quickly found each other with whom you can spend the weekends or your free time. However, if you have high demands, like to be alone and sensitive to noise, you should look for an alternative to this “party house”.

Campus

The beautiful campus of the CSUEB in Hayward is located on one of the California Hills from where you have a wonderful view over the Bay to San Francisco. There are a few options such as Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Panda Express, Einstein Bagel Bros and a small supermarket to get rid of your Flex Dollars. There is also the bookstore including a post office where you can stock up on merchandise items, computer equipment and of course books (unfortunately you can’t pay with Flex there). The basic needs can definitely be met there, for larger purchases (and especially alcohol) it is advisable to go to Hayward to Lucky’s, Kmart & Co. There are also a number of sports options from the gym, baseball and tennis courts to an outdoor swimming pool. Monday to Friday a free shuttle bus takes students to the BART station in Hayward. From there, the “City” of Hayward can be reached quickly, which is not too exciting and also has a very high crime rate. But San Francisco can be reached in 25 minutes by train and this city has a lot to offer! Whether shopping, a pub crawl, museums, tourist attractions or just a walk – it won’t get boring!

University / courses

As mentioned before, it is an uphill battle to get all the courses. Unfortunately, all of the internationals I met had a similar experience. But after an exciting couple of days, most of them were accepted into the courses. In the two courses (Marketing Management and E-business Supply Chain Management) that I took, it was easier to get a good grade than I am used to from Germany. Every week (online) homework, assignments or case studies were due, and there were two midterms and a final. written. But the effort every week was manageable and so you were permanently familiar with the topic and the exams were easy to master. The professors were nice and happy about foreign students.

Leisure

You can spend your free time in San Francisco or all of California very well. The university organizes “fun trips” which include a discovery tour of SF, wine tasting in Nappa Valley, the rollercoaster park “Great America”, a Giants baseball game and a shopping trip to an outlet in the quarter. If you are old enough to rent a car, this is a great way to explore the state (and neighboring states). In addition to the diverse cities of California such as San Diego, Los Angeles and Sacramento, a drive along Highway No. 1 is also worthwhile to enjoy the breathtaking nature. On the route from SF to LA there are also some smaller (surfer) towns such as Monterrey, Santa Cruz or Pismo Beach where it is worth stopping. On the way to the neighboring state of Nevada you should definitely stop at Lake Tahoe before you get a breath of Las Vegas air in Reno (approx. 4 hours from SF). You definitely have to see the big gaming city. I combined that with a big tour of Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon, Death Valley and the Grand Canyon after the end of the semester, but there are also cheap flights or package tours from SF. As a “special tip” I can more than recommend Hawaii. The beautiful island nation is a five-hour flight from SF and absolutely worth the trip! On the beautiful beaches you can relax perfectly from the stressful semester 😉 I combined that with a big tour of Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon, Death Valley and the Grand Canyon after the end of the semester, but there are also cheap flights or package tours from SF. As a “special tip” I can more than recommend Hawaii. The beautiful island nation is a five-hour flight from SF and absolutely worth the trip! On the beautiful beaches you can relax perfectly from the stressful semester 😉 I combined that with a big tour of Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon, Death Valley and the Grand Canyon after the end of the semester, but there are also cheap flights or package tours from SF. As a “special tip” I can more than recommend Hawaii. The beautiful island nation is a five-hour flight from SF and absolutely worth the trip! On the beautiful beaches you can relax perfectly from the stressful semester 😉

Conclusion

All in all, a quarter at CSUEB is very expensive. Compared to other universities in the USA it is still one of the cheaper alternatives and the experience was worth every penny. I haven’t spent a lot of money on groceries thanks to the DCs and flex dollars. I used my free time to go on many excursions or weekend trips and also used the many shopping opportunities. I had an incredibly exciting, eventful and beautiful quarter in California, improved my English, met a lot of nice people and I definitely don’t want to miss any of that.

California State University, East Bay 1