I attended California State University East Bay in Hayward, California from March 20 to June 14, 2009 in the Spring Quarter 2009 and lived in the International Student House on campus. The campus is located on a mountain in the Eastern Bay Area about 28 miles and about 40 minutes from San Francisco (by car!).
My major is business administration and I have attended courses in the upper undergraduate and MBA segments with a focus on finance. Cal East Bay is known for a very good graduate area with a major in business, for which the university has also received several awards. More information about the courses and the university can be found on the homepage – http://www20.csueastbay.edu/ – and via myCSUEB – http://www20.csueastbay.edu/. The course selection and registration takes place via the myCSUEB tool. The registration for the courses for exchange students takes place two weeks after the residents / regular students have registered for the courses. That means under certain circumstances the desired course may already be full. In these cases I have heard but you can speak to the professor directly, whether an increase in the number of places is possible. For master’s courses you have to contact the Graduate Office and based on the transcript of records from your home university it will be decided whether you are allowed to attend the desired course.
The level of the courses is comparable to that of German public universities, but the course content is very different. The class size is between 10 and 20 students and the atmosphere is much more personal. During the teaching it becomes clear why the USA is the country with the best response for business. The teaching is goal-oriented, complex relationships are presented much better and much more attention is paid to ensuring that what has been learned can be applied in practice. Most courses are accompanied by mid-quarter exams and regular homework, and there is a final exam at the end of the term. The weighting and frequency differ from professor to professor. Usually there are also group presentations and papers or research assignments to work on. In my opinion, mine has a higher learning effect and better results or higher recognition of the achievements in terms of grades than in Germany. The tenor of the other exchange students indicated, however, that this depends on the subject, focus and course choice. The majority of the German exchange students were also from the field of economics.
The campus has many green spaces and the range of sports on offer is very diverse and ranges from supervised sports courses that take place in the form of regular lessons to the fitness studio (one-time $ 30) or swimming pool (tickets for ten).
The radius of action on the campus as well as in Hayward is very limited. The campus is a typical “home sleeper” campus, so that the parking lots take up a very large part of the campus area. During the day the university is packed and there is a lot of activity. From 7 p.m. and on weekends, the university campus appears to be deserted. There is a small store in the vicinity of the campus (approx. 15 minutes on foot) where you can find various products at overpriced prices. If you are looking for bars, clubs, connections, larger shops, you will not find them in the immediate vicinity. You can find them in Hayward, a city with 150,000 inhabitants (more information: http://www.hayward-ca.gov). The city enjoys, like most of the East Bay Area, due to the high rate of migration and crime, a worse reputation. From the campus you can use the bus to the city for free with your Student ID.
The American Language Program, the CSUEB’s language and exchange program, offers excursions throughout the quarter on Saturdays or Sundays. You have the opportunity to visit various sightseeing points for free or for a small fee with this program.
Living in the International House is a matter of taste. You live in a shared room in a 6 or 8 person apartment. In addition to the normal Open University program, the university also offers a language program. Most language students live in the International House. It can happen that the roommate cannot speak any English. This can have advantages but also many disadvantages. Most of the residents of the “I-House” come from Asia (China, Korea and Japan) – 80%, approx. 5% come from the Arab part of the world and the rest approx. 15% are inhabited by Europeans, most of them are only there for a quarter. Life in this environment can be exhausting and from my point of view is not necessarily recommended.
According to Toppharmacyschools.org, the university provides a comprehensive range of meals. Residents of the I-House are already booking a “meal plan” in the Dining Commons. The Dining Commons are like a “first class, all u can eat” cafeteria. There is a burger, sandwich, salad and fruit station and also a variety of dishes (Asian, Mexican, etc.). The meal plan can be configured as desired between meals in the Dining Commons and Flexdollar. Flexdollar can be spent in the campus supermarket, at fast food and in the cafeteria. Cooking is not possible in the apartments as there is only a large fridge and microwave. On Fridays, the I-House organizes a “country night”, with typical food, drinks, music, films and the like. This is done by I-House residents who agree to
Exchange students are officially only allowed to live in the International House. It is also possible to stay in a normal student residence (Pioneer Hights – http://www20.csueastbay.edu/prospective/campus-life/housing/pioneer-heights.html). Anyone who has the illusion that there are parties on campus like in college films or that they have already learned a lot about campus life on US campuses from their circle of friends will be disappointed very quickly. The Asians meet the general clichés and are mostly socially incompetent, behave inconspicuously, which does not always mean considerate. The magic words in the I-House are “Noise complaint” and it can happen that after the first warning from the I-House staff (mostly Asians with sometimes difficult to understand English), the police prevent rustic smaller parties.
The importance of a car in the land of unlimited possibilities takes on a new meaning on the campus in Hayward, as otherwise monotony becomes everyday life. It is possible to reach San Francisco with the public transportation system (BART), whereby the transfer by public transport takes a relatively long time or is not possible at all at many times. Anyone who already has experience in California and other US universities should not necessarily go to the CSUEB. A very big advantage, however, is the quarter system and the very moderate tuition fees by American standards. I think the initial higher investment for a university that is more central or in a city is for students who want a varied (student) life apart from the lectures, the better decision. In general, you are richer by many positive and a few negative experiences! Hayward is not San Francisco… and not only further away, but completely different in terms of mentality and lifestyle.