Study in California State University, East Bay (5)
My high school year in the USA during my school days and my internship in Malaysia during my bachelor’s degree raised my travel bug early on. That is why I decided to do part of the master’s course abroad again. This time the choice fell on California, to be more precise California State University East Bay (CSUEB) in Hayward. The costs at CSUEB are relatively low compared to other American universities and the university has a good reputation. To be honest, the proximity to San Francisco was a decisive factor in the choice of location for the university.
My goals were to expand my language skills, develop myself further and experience as much as possible, which included traveling, getting to know other cultures and meeting nice people, as well as gaining some experience from the master’s courses offered.
The organization of the semester abroad was initially carried out via the International Office with regard to deadlines to be met, the forms to be filled in and the choice of the right university, and after this was mastered mainly via MicroEDU, an organization that places students at universities abroad. MicroEDU was extremely helpful and available at all times, whereas the International Office usually passed you on to MicroEDU and left a few questions unanswered.
The acceptance of the CSUEB was a long time coming… When the “OK” finally arrived, the planning went into the active phase:
- Proof of language proficiency
- Bank confirmation of financial resources
- Apply for a visa, make an appointment at the embassy, keep the consulate appointment and receive the visa by post
- book a flight
- Apartment Search
- International health insurance (Allianz offered itself and was “cheap”)
- Submit an application for prior recognition of the examination results
- International driver’s license / student ID
It was a bit time-consuming to plan and organize the semester abroad, but DEFINITELY worth all the effort and as far as organizational matters are concerned, you also learn a lot for your later professional life.
During the semester abroad at the CSUEB, the choice of the so-called “Class Crashing” master’s course has proven to be particularly difficult. The requirement of the visa agreement was to take at least 3 courses in order to be able to complete successfully at the HNU. When choosing a course at the CSUEB, however, the American students are preferred to the “visitor students”. In the area of master’s courses, the CSUEB offers, contrary to expectations, very limited and the fact that only master’s courses in Germany are credited did not make things any easier. Fortunately for me, the professors in Marketing and Sales were very helpful when it came to crediting the Master’s courses. They advocated a semester abroad and were extremely cooperative there.
In order to get a secure place in the courses, a process has to be followed. First you have to sit down in the respective lecture and obtain permission to participate in the respective course. You get this permission in the form of a signature from the professor. As a master’s student, you hand them over to the relevant department and then receive the “Permission Codes” by e-mail to register for the courses, which enables you to register for the respective lecture online. However, the codes are not yet a sign of a safe place, because only when you have entered the code and there are still places free you are sure to have a place in the lecture.
In the end, with a lot of commitment, effort and contact with the professors, the SIC and the contacts on site, everything turned for the better and I was able to take 3 master’s courses in marketing and entrepreneurship. On the other hand, the pre-recognition of examinations worked flawlessly and smoothly. Finally, I took the courses in New Venture Development, Issues in Marketing and Managerial Communication.
As far as the weekly workload is concerned, the CSUEB is very different from the HNU. Whereas at the HNU the workload tends to occur at the end of the semester, at the CSUEB you have to hand in several papers and assignments a week. In addition to the finals, a so-called mid-term is also written towards the middle of the semester. By continuously dealing with the topics of the individual courses, one was thoroughly familiar with the material and thus the mid-terms and finals were not really difficult. The professors were extremely friendly and very happy to have German students in their courses.
I ordered the books for the courses online from Amazon, which cost significantly less than buying them in the bookstore on campus. In general, the books for my courses were very inexpensive compared to my roommates. At the end of the semester, some of the books in the bookstore could be sold again during the buyback campaign.
The search for a place to live turned out to be relatively easy for me. I am at CSUEB with 3 other students and it quickly became clear that the 4 of us were looking for an apartment together. We then decided in favor of the City View Apartments and rented this apartment via telephone and e-mail before entering the country. The decision was definitely the right one. The City View Apartments are very nice, modern and offer what your heart desires: several pool facilities, a fitness studio and a clubhouse with sofa, TV, billiards and table football. The shuttle bus stops about 5 minutes from the apartments and the university is also a quick walk away.
The CSUEB campus is very large compared to the HNU campus. The campus offers a fantastic view of the entire Bay Area and on some clear days even allows a view as far as San Francisco. There are numerous dining options on campus. The Dining Commons have a varied offer: pizza, pasta, sandwiches, burgers, fries, soup, salad, fruit, and new dishes every day. However, the food is repeated there and it is an all-you-can-eat buffet, i.e. you always eat too much, so it is not recommended in the long term.
There are also numerous fast food chains on campus such as Panda Express, Subway, Taco Bell, Starbucks, Einstein Bagel Bros and Jamba Juice, as well as a small supermarket and bookstore. In the supermarket you can stock up on basic groceries and the bookstore sells typical university clothing and merchandise, books to borrow and buy as well as electronic items such as laptops or mobile phone chargers.
For those who do not have enough, there is the possibility to take the shuttle bus into town for free (10 minutes) to shop at the Lucky supermarket or to reach the Bart Station to go to San Francisco ($ 5 and 45-60 minutes).
The campus also offers numerous sports activities. Apart from the aerobics kickboxing course, I personally did not use any other sports activities, as I also used the fitness studio in the City View Apartment Complex, which was free for me.
According to ehuacom, leisure planning in Hayward is a bit difficult. The place is not particularly big, but offers a cinema, several restaurants (Buffallo Bills and the Asia buffet are very tasty) and bars that you can take a look at. However, San Francisco, on the other hand, offers the full range: sightseeing, shopping, dining and partying. San Francisco is the most beautiful city I have been able to visit in the world so far and it is definitely worth going to the city more than once a week, as there is so much to see and do there. My highlights were the Golden Gate Bridge, Dolores Park, Fisherman’s Wharf at Pier 39 and Baker Beach.
The “American Language Program (ALP)” also offers “fun trips” repeatedly during the semester. You should register early for this, as the list that is available in the ALP office is often full very quickly. I took part in the fun trip “Shopping” and it wasn’t really worth it. But I was told that the water rafting was very worthwhile, which was, however, associated with additional costs.
When it comes to travel options, you really can’t complain in California. Before the beginning of the semester, I rented a car with friends and made a road trip along Highway No.1 along the west coast. The trip included places like Santa Cruz, Monterey, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park and lasted 3 weeks.
I started my 2nd big road trip after the semester. During the 4 weeks I explored Maui for 8 days which was highly recommended and the rest of the time I was driving in 6 states of America. The following national parks were on the route: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Sequoia & Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Park.
I also made stops in Las Vegas, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, Four Corners and Sacramento. During the semester, short trips to Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas and Yosemite National Park are worthwhile. In retrospect, I can say that I have seen and experienced so much in these six months that it is sometimes difficult to process the whole thing. However, every single trip was worth it and all of them are highly recommended.
All in all, you should plan around 10,000 € for a quarter at CSUEB, including travel and shopping. But that shouldn’t put you off, because the semester abroad was worth EVERY penny and I would do it again in a heartbeat. In any case, you should take advantage of the funding opportunities offered by the HNU at an early stage – to my great joy, it worked with 2 scholarships. I had an unforgettable time in Hayward, met exceptionally nice people and improved my English. I hope my experience report will help you and wish you a lot of fun at the CSUEB. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.