… And so I decided to study in the United States for two semesters.
The arrival at SF Airport started with a little shock. My shuttle service to the university no longer existed, so I had to organize a new shuttle for 40 dollars. Many of my friends here have also used the BART public transport system, but this solution did not seem perfect to me in view of my fully packed suitcases.
When I arrived at the International House, the first thing I noticed was that I was surrounded by friendly, if more or less good English-speaking, Asians. Even the International House Office is run in Asia. Little by little, more Europeans rolled in. There are no Americans in the International House.
The International House has relatively modern, large apartments. A total of 8 people can be accommodated in one apartment (each resident has a roommate). Life in Ihouse is fun because you get to know many new nationalities. Contacts all over the world are easy to make here. However, the Chinese remain at the forefront by far. I estimate that they make up about 75 percent of all Ihouse residents. Many of them, especially the girls, are a little shy so that contact with them is difficult to establish. However, many others are also very friendly and you get on well with them (my roommate was of course Chinese too). However, there is only one problem that could lead to conflicts: Anyone who considers cleanliness to be very important is wrong here. Most Chinese seem to have never cleaned and don’t even take away the garbage when it is overdue. This is not a problem for men, no, women are not bothered by ants in the apartment either. Still, with a bit of emphasis, it is also possible to get the Chinese to clean…
Those who like parties don’t always have it easy on campus. Most of the time we had very nice evenings – but if the group of party visitors gets bigger and bigger, the party will break up. Reference is made to the police who will appear shortly. Nevertheless, there is no question that life in the Ihouse is very nice and more than enjoyable due to the cultural experiences.
The campus is in a fantastically beautiful location. From the campus you have a great view over the entire bay, from Hayward up to Oakland and on good days also San Francisco (the skyline). The campus isn’t big enough to get lost. Making many new acquaintances on campus is easy because you keep running into each other. The campus has a Chinese fast food restaurant (Panda, yummi yummi) and two other, small, restaurants. Mainly, however, is eaten in the Dining Commons, the cafeteria par excellence. The food is very good and varied. The buffet has everything your heart desires, from salad to American fast food to various menus from all possible countries.
There is also a lot on offer for sports fans. Table tennis, billiards, football, gym (small), highly recommended gym (large, $ 35 extra), 12 tennis courts (!!), and of course all kinds of sports courses, one of which you can choose for free (as a visiting student).
All in all, the campus is kept very clean and studying here is really fun. It is particularly recommended to watch the sunset from one of the small mountains behind the dormitories.
In my two quarters here I was allowed to enroll for a total of six 4 unit courses (12 units per quarter): Most of the courses were very interesting and very lively. Instead of simple lectures, the students are included here. The professors are immediately available for questions. Most courses require far less than courses at German universities. Instead of a single, large final exam, knowledge is gradually tested here (tests, papers, presentations). That sounds like a lot of work, but it is much easier and less time-consuming than in Germany. The top grade A was achieved by all international students I met, mostly without any problems.
What I heard / read badly before my stay>
The Americans are superficial
The Asians are dirty
Is that correct ?
Many Americans seek contact with international students and so it shouldn’t be a problem to get Americans around. You don’t just want to be among Germans. Nevertheless, quite a few Americans are very superficial. One day hui, another day ugh. In my opinion, however, it is an absolute must to come into contact with Americans and to really try to integrate them into the international clique. One more thing to get used to: The question “How are you?” Or “How are you doin ‘?”, Which many Americans ask as greetings, does not necessarily have to be answered. It can be equated with a simple “Hello” in good old Germany. So please don’t tell a story when “How are you” is used as a greeting…
Now the Asians. I call them Asians now, because the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese are similar in many ways. Dirty? YES-worse than assumed. Well, I’m not the only one who has noticed that both men and women are not at all careful about cleanliness in the apartment. You have to help a little and choose clear words with the people concerned.
However, almost all of them are very friendly, courteous people who are also available for fun. I made very good contacts with some Asians!
The entire international atmosphere on campus is unique. Of course, the Chinese are in the clear majority, but there are of course. also many other, different nationalities on campus – not to forget the Americans themselves.
Hayward is boring.
Excellent! You can also be on the move without a car, with Auto nat. even much better. If you stay longer than 6 months (or even 6 months), I can recommend the purchase of a car. The bus also takes you down to BART STATION in 15 minutes, after another 45 minutes you are in San Francisco. The city also has a nice nightlife (clubs), but I have parties on campus (despite one or the other complication) made more fun. Everything else about SF on various other homepages.
I can also recommend Stanford. I only went to one party (and twice on campus tour), but it made a very funny impression. However, Stanford is difficult to get to without a car. It’s easier to go to Berkeley there. I can only recommend the Bear’s Lounge on the UC Berkeley campus on Friday night (cheap and entertaining). Oakland isn’t too exciting and has a really bad reputation for crime. Oh yes, even Hayward himself is not entirely safe, there have been reports of shootings during my 6 months here (at the BART STATION). But the campus is on a hill, with the actual town of Hayward not much to do up there.
If you are into sports, you can also go to the NBA (Oakland) or NHL (San Jose). Both cities are less than half an hour from Hayward.
Overall, the bay has a lot more to offer – you can find out everything by asking all sorts of people here. For me, however, San Francisco itself remains the absolute highlight.
According to Existingcountries.com, American Language Program is the program under which you are studying here. I mention it because ALP also organizes so-called FunTrips every weekend. A FunTrip is for example Stanford University, NBA game or a trip to Sausalito. Highly recommended for those who are unable to do these trips independently.
Time of my life! It is so recommendable to study abroad, especially in California. Studying here is wonderful, campus life is really entertaining and helpful (also in view of the mostly very good weather). The business courses are (based on what I’ve heard) mostly very interesting and easier than in Germany. So there is more than enough time to explore this great area. A trip to southern California (starting with Santa Cruz down to S.Barbara and LA, San Diego) should of course be included. Yosemite National Park would also be recommended.
I hope I could help you with my report. Enjoy the time in No’Cal.
A warm greeting to everyone who studied with me here! You already know who I am…