During my studies, I had the idea of taking a semester abroad. Since I always wanted to go to the USA, I decided to study in the USA for 7 months. I finally decided on California State University East Bay near San Francisco. Since I partially financed the semester abroad with student loans, I had to complete two quarters, namely the spring and summer quarter. It took me about 7 months to organize everything for my stay (student loan application, financial evidence, language certificate, health insurance, credit card, visa application, etc.) and I have to say that I got along well with the 7 months of organization. It may seem like a lot of organization, but in the end everything was feasible and was definitely worth it!
- Health insurance: According to my research, Allianz health insurance was the cheapest for a 7 month stay. Age also had an impact on costs. They also have a 24 hour hotline and the CSUEB did not cause any problems when showing them.
- Credit card: I decided to use the DKB credit card. There are no charges for account or credit card. With the credit card money can be withdrawn for free (unfortunately every US bank charges a fee of 3-5 $ for withdrawals, with the exception of Commercia Bank!), But there is a fee for every credit card payment. On site I also applied for a credit card from Bank of America, since almost everything in the USA runs on the credit card (home insurance, electricity, car insurance, etc.) and I didn’t want to pay a bunch of fees, I got the idea.
- International driver’s license: Cost 15 € and didn’t want to see anyone, neither when buying a car, during police checks or when renting a car. Maybe I was just lucky.
- Visa application: After receiving the I-20, I was now able to apply for a visa. The application via the Internet took a lot of time, it is very important to read through all the questions carefully! I also had to have a photo taken with the US criteria. You can then choose the date at the embassy yourself online. The on-site interview ran smoothly and was short and sweet.
Now we finally went to San Fransisco. The first few days I stayed with a friend who lives in San Francisco. So now it was time to find an apartment and car. The dormitory was out of the question for me as it is very expensive and you have to share a room with 3 other people. So it was time to live off campus. Anyone who thinks that there are furnished apartments in Hayward is mistaken, none of the 5 apartments visited was furnished, everything has to be purchased yourself. In the end, my girlfriend and I were lucky with the search for an apartment, we got the last available 1 room apartment in the City View. The apartment complex is great: has securities is therefore very safe, 2 pools, 1 jacuzzi, 10 minutes’ walk to the university, but unfortunately also expensive.
The car search turned out to be very time-consuming. The first thing we did was look for used cars on Craigslist for a long time and didn’t come across any serious offers, as most of the time the vehicle registration is missing or the smog check has expired. After two weeks of searching, we bought our car from a car dealer in Hayward. During the entire time we had no problems with the car.
Like every university, the CSUEB also has its advantages and disadvantages. The university started with an orientation day that was pretty boring. Westlife songs were played to which we were asked to sing … Everyone had to take an online alcohol test that lasted several hours. Information about the course crashing was given. The course crashing week was pretty nerve-wracking, as many courses were overcrowded and even the waiting list was endless. So you should be flexible when it comes to choosing a course. Out of a total of 6 courses, I only received 3. I can only advise everyone to take the marketing courses with Tommy Watson, a super dear professor, he designs his courses in such a way that you can get an A with very little effort. Check toppharmacyschools to see more reviews from current students.
Since there is absolutely nothing going on in Hayward (no student parties, clubs, etc.), we mostly went to San Francisco or Oakland to celebrate. Celebrating in Berkeley is also a good option, be it in the bars or student parties, there was always something going on. When we had enough of the Bay Area, we simply flew or drove to Vegas for a cheap weekend. Since I was mostly traveling with a friend and not in a large group, I came into contact with Americans very quickly. The Americans have always been very open, friendly and talkative.
The time I had there was unique. I had the best time of my life in Cali and I can only recommend doing a semester abroad.