Before the semester abroad
The preparations are very complex and time-consuming. Your website takes care of the registration at the university and is at your side with advice and action . The documents for registration are quickly collected : English transcript, proof of language proficiency , proof of finance and a registration form with personal data. The acceptance from the host university came very quickly and the visa could be applied for. To get a visa, you have to come to the American embassy for an “interview”. The interview consisted of a single question: What do I want to do after the end of the quarter? After I replied that I would of course like to go back to Germany, my visa was approved.
Now you have to get a foreign health insurance care that covers several months and meets the requirements of the CSUEB. Attention: The CSUEB specifies exactly what amounts of damage etc. the insurance should cover. I was insured through Mawista (a subsidiary of Allianz). The Mawista is relatively cheap and meets the requirements. After all, the CSUEB wants to have numerous proofs, such as proof of insurance and proof of vaccination for various vaccinations. In addition, a tuberculosis test will definitely be done with you on the first day of orientation. A product is injected under the skin and a check is made to see if a reaction occurs. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been tested for tuberculosis several times in your life and always reacted negatively, the test will be done anyway.
The tuition fees can also be paid within the first week of the lecture period, so you have enough time. In any case, it is worth paying only the exact amount you need to your CSUEB account, because to get excess money back, you have to pay a processing fee of 10 dollars, which you can also save. It should be noted that International Business Diploma courses are cheaper than normal courses. It is also impossible to miss the deadline for tuition fees, because the ALP sends everyone what feels like 100 “reminders”.
The search for an apartment turned out to be more difficult than expected. After we were told that the chances of getting a place in the dormitory were very slim, and that it was also very expensive as it could only be rented in combination with full board, I decided to rent somewhere else. Unfortunately it was very difficult to get a flat share from Germany. On the one hand, many landlords want to get to know you personally and, on the other hand, many are looking for a roommate who will stay there for more than just 4 months.
So I got together with other international students on Facebook and rented an apartment for 4 months and thus founded a shared flat . We stayed in the City View Apartments used to what I can only recommend to everyone! The apartments are beautiful and the complex is well-kept. There are also three pools, a gym, a communal room with pool tables and footballs, and barbecue areas. The apartment can also be rented from Germany, although emails are not always answered and communication is sometimes a test of patience. The rent is very high, especially if you only want to rent an apartment for three months. In our case it was even cheaper to rent the apartment for four months instead of three. When paying the deposit you should take into account that you will never get everything back. City View completely renovates the apartment after moving out at the expense of the previous tenant. So the six of us shared a 2-bedroom-2-bathroom apartment.
The class crashing in the first week is a huge mess! The ALP also causes panic by repeatedly reminding you that there are not enough places for everyone, etc. Do you want a master’s course?prove like me, you have to contact the Graduate Office. Unfortunately, they had no idea and gave completely wrong information, which made the chaos perfect. In retrospect, it’s actually quite simple: get the professor’s signature (you always get that), collect the notes and hand them in at the end of the week in the graduate or undergraduate (depending on whether bachelor or master) office. The permission codes are sent to you by e-mail and can then conveniently enroll in the courses from home (how this works is shown in the first three orientation days). Ultimately, everyone got the courses they wanted, So don’t get infected by the chaos and stay relaxed. The professors were very nice and were always happy to see Germans in their courses, as they like to make comparisons between different countries and appreciate having international knowledge available. That is why some professors retrospectively increased their maximum occupancy for very popular courses so that the “internationals” also get a place.
You can register for the International Business Diploma courses in the first week at the ALP. Simply fill out a form there; finished.
I was very satisfied with my choice of course. I have “ Executive Leadership ”, “ Business, Government & Society ” and the Business Diploma course “ International Business Finance”“Chosen. With “Executive Leadership” I had to keep a diary of what I learned every week and how it helped me in my life. In the end, all reports have been linked together, handed in and an “A” received. “Business, Government & Society” was the most demanding, you had to analyze a current newspaper report twice with regard to a discussed theory and at the end write a research paper in partnership. However, if you showed a rudimentary scientific approach, as you are used to from Germany, then you had the “A” here too. Personally, I found the Business Diploma course the most complex: a chapter from the book (10 min) and a newspaper article (5 min) had to be presented, A short share report had to be submitted every week and you also had two exams (tip: the exams are the same every year ;-)). Ultimately, I have to say that I was pretty lucky with my choice of course, some of my roommates had more to do. Nevertheless, one can say that the courses are much easier than in Germany and that it is mainly the quantity that counts.
In general, teaching in the USA differs greatly from that in Germany. You have to give presentations, work in groups, take part orally and do homework. The teaching system is more comparable to the upper level in Germany. Furthermore, there is often not just one exam at the end of the semester, but several during the semester. However, this form of teaching is ideal for learning English. You are practically forced to talk in class and within a few weeks you lose your inhibitions and in the end you are surprised at how well you can actually speak English when you’re not constantly afraid of saying the wrong thing. The relationship with the professors is also different. Many professors would like to be used and offer a friendly relationship. At the end of the semester, one of my professors even hosted a barbecue at his home, to which he invited all international students.
The ALP organizes various “fun trips” for the “internationals”, for example a wine tasting in Napa Valley, a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge, a pumpkin carving competition or a trip to the mall. You shouldn’t expect too much from these excursions, but they are actually quite nice and mostly free. The fun trips give you the chance to get to know students from different countries. The Thanksgiving dinner in particular was a highlight and the buffet was really good. Otherwise there is everything you need at the university. There is a super modern gym that I signed up for. Different sports courses such as Zumba, yoga or boot camp are offered there every day. The cost is $ 65 per quarter. There is also a mini supermarket and numerous fast food chains as well as Starbucks. In the health center you get free medical treatments as a student,
Otherwise the university is relatively dead, hence the bad rating. There are no real student associations, there are only groups that are mostly divided into ethnic groups (Latinos, Greek, etc.). The university doesn’t even have its own football team. Only a fraction of the students live at the university, most of them commute and immediately disappeared after the lectures, which is why it was very difficult to maintain contact with Americans. So if you want to see student life like in the film, with lots of parties, you should definitely go to another university! What is perhaps also very good to know: During the semester you have to do an alcohol online seminar and an online seminar on sexual harassment / rape. Both end with a “test”, in which you have to achieve at least 70% of the number of points, otherwise you can do everything again. Both courses eat up time and are simply unnecessary, each course takes at least two hours.
Many students live in the City View Apartments who, like us, have set up shared apartments. It was therefore very easy to make contacts at the pool or at the barbecue areas . Americans are very open and so it happens quickly that you play a game of pool together in the clubhouse. Also nearby San Francisco offered numerous bars and clubs for an amusing nightlife. However, the drive home is always a problem. The last train leaves at midnight and after that there are only night buses, which take you forever. You shouldn’t rely on the timetable of the university shuttle either! Actually drives when he wants. The cinema in Hayward is great and can only be recommended. On Tuesdays you can watch the latest films there for $ 6.50 regardless of whether they are too long or not (free seating). On Mondays and Wednesdays there are karaoke evenings in the “Turf” which are also very nice. Beer prices are quite high in the Bay Area though, $ 7 for a pint is the normal price.
Depending on the schedule, you can see a lot in California over a long weekend. In the fall / winter, however, there are also many American holidays that can be used for an excursion. For example, I’ve looked at Los Angeles, Death Valley, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Big Sur, and Lake Tahoe. For a day trip nearby, I can recommend Point Reyes and Point Lobos State Park. Another insider tip is the Jelly Belly Beans Factory , which is only half an hour away from Hayward. There you can take a tour for free and get a few jelly beans for free. What is particularly great about California is that so many different landscapes and climates can be reached within a few kilometers. While the first snow falls on Lake Tahoe in November, you can fry in the sun in shorts in Death Valley at the same time. You have pure variety!
Overall, I’ve only really had good experiences. The country is beautiful and varied . The university is very different from my home university and therefore offers a welcome change. However, if you really want to party like you know it from some American films, you should go to another university.