Preparation for the semester abroad:
It quickly became clear to me that I wanted to do a semester abroad in America. However, at first I didn’t know where exactly it should go …
From your website’s experience reports from a wide variety of universities, one could see that actually all had had great experiences, so that I had set myself the main criterion to find a university that offers IT quarters and that is inexpensive. Ultimately, California State University East Bay was chosen.
In order to get to know the country and its people, I decided to go to a host family. In addition, the costs for the International House are no less than those of a host family. The International Student Placements organization sent me the details of my host family a few weeks before my flight to San Francisco so that I could get in touch with them quickly.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky with my choice of course. While in Germany I had looked at some courses in the field of computer science that sounded very interesting, but either they weren’t offered at all or the regular California State University East Bay students were given priority.
Since I am studying business informatics in Germany, this was ultimately not a problem … So I decided on subjects that are typical of business administration. The International Office also accommodated me by offering me a pre-MBA course.
I was then enrolled in:
Computer Science – Software Engineering I
Economics – International Trade
Pre-MBA – Data Analysis and Decision Modeling
I also took aqua fitness, because as a student of the Open University program you could take a dance and / or sports course. It should be noted, however, that you do not register online, but can only do this using a form from the International Office!
California State University has a very large library with computer rooms that I used a lot between lectures.
There is also a free shuttle bus that takes students from campus to the Bart station. In the core times, however, this is very well attended, so that you sometimes have to wait for the next one. This means that you have to wait another half an hour or take the public bus and pay $ 2 for it or $ 2.25 with transfer. It runs every 20 minutes and, unlike in Germany, the bus drivers don’t have any change. Since I always had to travel by bus because of the host family, I got a 31-day ticket from the student office (but it has not been available since December 2010).
The International Office organizes free or discounted excursions for foreign students on weekends, which I have always attended. As an option, there was an excursion to San Francisco, Sausalito, Half Moon Bay, etc. For this, between one and four buses were always organized. What one could quickly see, however, was that these excursions were noticed more by Asian than by European students.
Life in the host family:
I was placed with a Filipino family in South Hayward through the International Student Placements organization. As a result, there was not always fast food, as expected, but instead a lot of rice and special Filipino dishes.
In the family I had my own room and bathroom, so that one could relax and study. There was also a Chinese guest student who also had her own room and bathroom.
In the family itself I was able to learn a lot about American culture, but also about Filipino culture. So I was able to experience Halloween, Thanks Giving was celebrated twice, once on the side of my host mother and once on the side of my host father. We also went on a family trip to Lake Tahoe and we camped in the National Park.
In addition to the organized excursions at the university, I used the time before the semester to get to know San Francisco. Since I sometimes had lectures very late, I also drove to San Francisco a few times in between, for example to use the museum days, that is to say, one had free admission. I also went to Stanford and Berkeley universities. These offer group tours for those interested, in which the university, history, etc. are explained.
I also did hiking tours and sightseeing in Muir Woods, Point Reyes, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Monterey etc. To get to the individual sights, I mostly used public transport. Some of these do not drive very often, but they are very inexpensive.
After the semester, I went on trips to San Diego and Los Angeles. You can get there inexpensively if you book flights from Oakland via Southwest and take the airport in Burbank instead of Los Angeles.