From October to December 2009 I spent a quarter on Cal State East Bay. I chose this university because I only considered an American university and the CSUEB seemed to me to be the most sensible in terms of cost / performance ratio. It was also important to me to experience and see as much of the country as possible. That’s why I chose California because you can find everything your heart desires there, from ski areas to dream beaches.
I lived in the I-House and would recommend it to others. I would try to stay in Pioneer Heights next time (the American dormitory. Located in the same building complex as the I-House, it is cheaper and you can have a single room if you want), but I still haven’t regretted it. Through living in the I-House, I came into contact with lots of nice people very quickly. It would have been more difficult with an off-campus apartment, as the university is located on a hill that one does not like to climb up.
4 Koreans, 2 Finns and next to me a German lived in my apartment. We all got along very well and I couldn’t have found it better. I got along very well with my roommate (Korean). She was always considerate and we often did something together. The apartment itself was also perfect: 2 showers (there were never overlaps even with 8 women), 2 toilets, 3 sinks, a large living room, kitchen unfortunately without stove / oven (only with microwave and refrigerator), but a large, beautiful balcony that was often used for sunbathing. The bathrooms and the living room were cleaned regularly.
Another advantage of the I-House, which I was very happy to use, are the free weekly shopping trips (outlet center, WalMart, shopping malls).
Disadvantages of the I-House: You don’t come into contact with Americans, you pay a little more for “special services” (like the shopping trips mentioned above) and parties are blown up punctually at 11/12. In Pioneer Heights, things are better in this regard. If these points bother you a lot, I would rather recommend Pioneer Heights.
Nevertheless, I have never regretted going to the I-House because, in my opinion, the advantages outweighed it.
The campus is really nice. Since it is located on a hill, you have a unique view of the entire Bay Area. The buildings and the grounds are very well-kept and we have happily relocated our learning to the meadow outside. Most parties and events take place in Pioneer Heights.
In the beginning I was completely enthusiastic about the huge and healthy offerings of the Dining Commons. There is a salad, fruit and dessert buffet and the food is freshly prepared. You can eat well if you want to, but more often succumb to the fast food offer (hamburgers, pizza, sandwiches) and the delicious cookies.
But as it is, at some point you get used to the wide range and are happy to eat somewhere else. Nevertheless, there is nothing to complain about here and you are always full (all you can eat!). I recommend the Meal Plan C, because the Flex Money can also be used well in the grocery store on campus and with my Meal Plan B I actually always had a few meals left at the end of the week (if it’s not enough, you can also use the Dining Commons to buy additional food with the Flex Money).
Course allocation and courses:
Admittedly, the choice of course and the occupancy phase at the beginning was a medium disaster. Since the Americans are allowed to vote first, you have to go to all courses that you might want to take in the first 2 weeks. The economic situation in California is unfortunately not looking so rosy at the moment and you can feel that at the universities: Despite the increase in tuition fees, many American students do not get into their desired courses because the lists of participants are full and the waiting lists are too long. So it is all the more difficult for visiting students. Unfortunately, many had problems logging in because the computer system was not working properly on the day of logging in. I was lucky, but a lot of people had to grapple with it. In addition, you need a permission code for some master’s courses in order to be able to register online. We were not told by the ALP Office, which was very annoying, as the online registration system works according to the first come, first served system and I therefore had to organize the code while the registration phase was already running. So be sure to find out whether you need a permission code! In the end, I had to take a non-subject course, but got the other two courses that I wanted (a bachelor’s and a master’s course in business administration). The level of the courses is really much lower than in Germany and it is relatively easy to get a good grade. However, you have to work continuously, as you have to master up to 2 midterm exams, 1 final exam and in between case studies or assignments. Check anycountyprivateschools to see more reviews from current students.
As for the books, I would definitely not buy new books (all costing between $ 100 and $ 200), but only order used books from Amazon. The Bookstore on campus also sells used books, but they are still overpriced. Most of the time, an older edition also works, even if the professors only recommend it to a limited extent.
Hayward vs. San Francisco:
There’s really nothing going on in Hayward. You have to go to San Francisco to experience something. The journey time is about 1 hour by bus and BART (you cannot walk to the BART station: too far and too dangerous at night). The bus is free to Cal State East Bay students and a BART round trip ticket is $ 9.10. Unfortunately, the BART no longer runs at night, which means we had to invest in a taxi back to campus every now and then (costs between 60 and 100 dollars, depending on negotiating skills). San Francisco is an amazing, vibrant city! I fell in love and in retrospect I am very happy that I didn’t end up in southern California (I liked San Francisco much better than LA and San Diego).
Sightseeing and surroundings:
I can only warmly recommend you to take everything you can with you in California and to plan regular trips to the surrounding area. The trips organized by the ALP Office are highly recommended, take place weekly and were often free: Half Moon Bay, Sacramento, Wine Tasting in Napa Valley, Basketball Game, San Francisco Sightseeing, Gilroy Premium Outlet Center …
Berkeley is also nearby and definitely worth a few visits (Telegraph Street is very good for shopping, eating and drinking).
Don’t miss the following on your own: Yosemite National Park, Las Vegas, road trip on Highway No. 1 and take Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Los Ageles, San Diego and the numerous dream beaches (Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Laguna Beach, Venice Beach) with you. If there is still enough time and money: Hawaii and skiing in Mammoth / Lake Tahoe.
In summary, I had an unforgettable 4 months in California, which I would not want to miss for any money in the world. I got to know very nice people with whom I keep in touch and saw and took away an incredible amount.
A quarter was already quite short and I had to plan everything carefully so that nothing important was left out. With 2 quarters it would have been a bit more relaxed. But you should note that the campus is deserted during the holidays and that you should definitely travel during that time.
CSUEB is for you if you don’t mind living in sleepy Hayward, but you can be in beautiful San Francisco in an hour.
I had a great time at CSUEB and I can recommend this university with a clear conscience, given the above restrictions!