Study in California State University, East Bay (7)
I studied for two quarters in Hayward and can only recommend it to everyone else!
Originally, I only wanted to study a quarter, but then it wasn’t a big deal to just extend it! First of all, kudos to MicroEDU, the organization is just great and makes the great initial effort really easy. I am very happy to have found this organization.
About the stay:
First of all, I have to say that everything was a little different for me, because luckily I went to California with my boyfriend (who worked there) at the same time and lived off-campus in Union City. So I can say little about student life in the dormitory. Otherwise, I continued my master’s degree in business administration and mainly took subjects in the field of supply chain management and marketing. In the beginning I was very concerned that studying might be very difficult, but in the end everything was very easy to do. The system is of course very different, but especially for people who do not like a very dry course of study, everything is very appealing: You really do a lot of case studies, projects, group work and presentations. There is always a lot of discussion in class and studying is really a lot of fun because everything is conveyed in a more practical way. The professors often don’t take themselves as seriously as they do in Germany and you communicate with each other on a more friendly level. In my opinion, you have as much learning effort as in Germany, also because you often have to write homework, etc., but the level is definitely lower and therefore everything is very easy to do.
The people from the ALP office, especially Yuri, are also very nice and help you at any time, although they are often a little overwhelmed at the start of the quarter. Which is a bit annoying that as an international you can only enroll in courses later and thus courses can simply be full. I had the situation twice and unfortunately, despite great efforts, I didn’t have a chance to get into the respective courses. That can be extremely annoying, because everyone is stubborn (at least that’s how it was for me) and you just talk against walls. Unfortunately this is a very inconvenient system. So if it is extremely important to get certain courses, then it may be more worthwhile to look for another university.
In terms of the connection, my way to the university was always a bit of a stretch, but ok. In Union City I took the BART to Hayward and from there took the free shuttle to the university. For the BART I bought a Clippercard at Walmart, which can then be topped up again and again at the counters in front of the BART. In general, I often felt very uncomfortable at the Hayward-BART stop and I can recommend anyone, if somehow possible, not to run around there alone. For me it could not be avoided and accordingly I was often called very stupid, here the Tip: it is best to ignore, look away and not engage in a conversation. With bums it is sometimes advisable to just give them a dollar, here too I’ve already seen a bum become absolutely aggressive and not shy away from it either, to run after you for 500m and curse you. These are unpleasant experiences that nobody needs. Especially at night you should definitely not go anywhere alone from the BART. It’s just more criminal there and you just have to take care of yourself a little more than in Germany.
The university itself is very peaceful and there I met a lot of nice people from all over the world! It has to be said, however, that there are also many Germans studying there, some of whom only stay in their German groups and therefore speak more or less German all day. For me, that was a reason not to make friends with so many Germans, because I just wanted to immerse myself in “American Life”. But everyone has to decide for themselves.
Besides the university it is of course absolutely wonderful to travel to California. According to iamaccepted, the ALP also offers fun trips, but I never took part because we always went on our own. Accordingly, we’ve been pretty much everywhere from northern to southern California. Which trips I found the most beautiful: Redwood National Park in the north, Lake Tahoe, National Volcanic Park, Sequoia Park and Yosemite Park. LA and Las Vegas are of course worth a trip, but personally I found it nowhere near as exciting as you might imagine. In the end we went on a week’s Hawaiian vacation on Maui, which I can highly recommend!
Otherwise California is nat. the shopping paradise, close to Hayward is mainly the Great Mall, but I think the premium outlets in Livermore are better, but the Gilroy outlets are also highly recommended. From a culinary point of view, I think California was a dream! And also totally changed the picture I had before. Of course you can eat a lot of fat and a lot of burgers (highly recommended: Five Guys), but since a lot of Asians live there, I ate the best sushi, the best Indian food, the best Vietnamese food, etc. I only went to the cafeteria once and would not have wanted to eat there more often, because I always found it very exciting to go shopping (here I can also recommend the Marina Grocery and Bharat Bazar in Union City for Asian food) and sometimes everything second product not knowing and trying it out.
All in all, I can highly recommend a semester abroad in California. In addition to the language, you get to know so many interesting people. I got to know the people there as very nice, friendly and helpful people. The nature is absolutely breathtaking and for me these 8 months were just incredibly enriching and a wonderful experience!