1. Background information
As part of my English studies at the Technical University of Dortmund, I attended various American studies seminars and, as a result, developed my interest in studying abroad in the United States of America. As a prospective English teacher, the focus is not only on language skills, but also on knowledge of the country and culture. For this reason, I decided to study abroad at California State University East Bay from January 3rd, 2017 to March 19th, 2017. I studied the Winter Quarter 2017 at CSUEB and at that time I was in the first master’s semester of teaching.
After the decision to study abroad, the task was to find a suitable university. The Institute of American Studies at my home university in Dortmund has been cooperating with certain universities in the United States for some time, but these were out of the question for me because I only wanted to study for a quarter (trimester) in the United States of America. So I decided to be a freemover with the help of MicroEDU to look for a suitable university. MicroEDU helps students organize study abroad for free. After extensive research, I finally decided on California State University East Bay. The trimester times were ideal for me because I was able to study a trimester at CSUEB without missing a semester at my home university.
I completed my studies abroad between the winter semester 2016/2017 and the summer semester 2017, i.e. mostly during the lecture-free time at my home university. The application process went through MicroEDU, which was always there to help me from start to finish. All application documents were available on the MicroEDU website. I did not have to present proof of English language proficiency to the university, as I was able to prove a certain level on the basis of my English studies. In addition, the university was able to improve my English skills based on my transcript of records. After I sent my completed application documents to MicroEDU and they forwarded it to California State University East Bay, I received my acceptance within three weeks.
Together with my acceptance, I also got the visa (F1), with which I then had to appear in person at the embassy in Frankfurt. I then received the final visa (F1) by post three days after my appointment at the embassy. With the approval of the university and the receipt of the visa, I was finally able to book my plane ticket to San Francisco.
3. Accommodation and living expenses
Before leaving for Hayward, California, I studied the testimonials on the MicroEDU website. In the field reports, the Facebook group “MicroEDU: Semester Abroad in California ” was often recommended, where students can network and exchange ideas with other students. Through this Facebook group I got to know a girl from Germany who has already studied a quarter there and has a new accommodation for her second quartersought. Together we looked for accommodation on the Internet and finally came across a room in the Sunhill Apartments directly across from the university. We had our own bedroom and only shared the kitchen and living room with five other local students. Overall, I was very satisfied with my accommodation in the Sunhill Apartment, as it was close to the university and the rent was relatively cheap compared to other apartment complexes, such as the City View Apartment. The website “Craiglist” is a good way to search for accommodation or, similar to eBay classified ads, to put various items for sale online.
The cost of living was very high compared to Germany. My weekly grocery shopping was at least $ 50, even though I really tried to buy only the bare essentials. Eating out was also relatively expensive and sometimes very unhealthy, so I tried to cook a lot myself at home. In addition, there was no semester ticket at my university like at my home university. There was a shuttle that drove all students free of charge to the Hayward train station, where they could then take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transportation) to San Francisco, for example, within 35 minutes. The one-way ticket from Hayward to San Francisco (Powell Street Station) costs $ 5 and the return ticket is also $ 5. The well-developed BART system made it possible to get to many places like Berkeley or Oakland,
4. Study abroad at CSUEB
My study abroad at CSUEB was carried out through the ALP (American Language Program), so that I could immediately contact the ALP Office if I had any questions on site.
In the first week of the Winter Quater 2017 there was an orientation day on which all procedures were explained in detail and there was plenty of room for questions. The orientation day also enabled me to make many friendships with international students, with whom I also did a lot during my stay.
When I was in Germany, I looked at the university’s course catalog online and discussed the courses that were suitable for me with my professors at my home university. Foreign students have to attend 12 units per quarter at the CSUEB and also pay for each individual unit. In the Bachelor, one unit costs $ 304 and in the Master, one unit costs $ 339. I have taken two master’s courses, each with four units, which I will credit to my home university in Dortmund. For the missing four units, I have chosen a bachelor’s course that is interesting and relevant for me. There is also the registration fee of $ 250 and the application fee of $ 100.
The three courses I took were:
- African American Literature (Master’s Course)
- Theory and Practice of Teaching ESL (Master’s Course)
- Modern English Grammar (Bachelor course)
I attended the first session of all three courses and asked the lecturers if I could attend their courses. Fortunately, after a brief explanation and examination of my previous performance in English, I was allowed to stay in all three courses. All three courses were very time-consuming, as we had to do a lot within the quarter (essays, presentations, midterms and finals). Personally, I found the course very pleasant, as you had to actively participate from the start and you could always follow your current level of performance thanks to the points system. I passed both master’s courses with an A and the bachelor’s course with an A-. I had a lot of fun taking part in the courses and sharing the knowledge I had learned at university in Germany with my fellow students.
5. Leisure activities
According to Anycountyprivateschools.com, the city of Hayward is located in northern California and is not far from San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley. In my free time I spent a lot of time with my friends in one of the three cities, as all three cities are differently charming. I highly recommend everyone to make international friendships in addition to local students, as this gives you the opportunity to explore the area together.
I can highly recommend the “Lonelyplanet” website, as it gives a lot of tips about traveling. In addition, the ALP offers many interesting excursions within the Bay Area, which are also very cheap. In addition to the Bay Area, I’ve traveled all over California, including Los Angeles and San Diego. Driving down Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean is beautiful, making stops at various beautiful locations.
It is difficult to put these unique experiences and impressions into words. Studying abroad at CSUEB not only advanced me professionally, but also personally. At this point I would like to thank MicroEDU. Without the support of MicroEDU, I would not have been able to do this study abroad. Studying and living in California is very cost-intensive, but it was definitely worth it, as I not only made great friendships, but also really learned a lot from the courses in terms of content. Especially as an aspiring English teacher, this stay had a huge impact on me. It was a unique experience that I will never forget in my life. I can only recommend everyone to study abroad in California.
All other important information can be found directly on the MicroEDU website.