In my last Masters semester in Accounting and Finance, I did an exchange at California State University East Bay (CSUEB). Over 13,000 students are currently enrolled at this relatively young university, around ¾ of them studying at the Bachelor’s level. The CSUEB is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and has three campuses in Hayward, Oakland and Concord. As a guest student, however, you are only in Hayward – a town with around 145,000 inhabitants. From the Hayward Campus, San Francisco can be reached in around 1¼ hours by public transport.
The CSUEB offers a very wide variety of courses. With regard to course allocation, however, it should be noted that regularly enrolled students can register in advance. During the first two weeks, exchange students can apply as part of a “class crashing” for those courses for which there are still places available. This makes planning more difficult, especially in view of the preliminary clarifications with the crediting office of your own university. It is therefore highly recommended to keep courses open for the exchange, especially courses that offer great flexibility. With regard to the academic level as well as the teaching structure, it should be emphasized that there are considerable differences between individual courses. Therefore it is worthwhile to attend many potential courses in the first two weeks.
Most exchange students take 12 units, which is the minimum due to visa requirements. At my university, 1.5 credits were credited for each completed unit, which is at the lower limit compared to other students. With regard to exams, it should be taken into account that in the USA there is often not just one final exam, but many smaller exams. For example, I had an exam in every event on two of my courses. There are cultural differences in the way the lessons are organized. Many European students feel reminded of their earlier school days, which is particularly evident in the fact that the relationship with the lecturer is more personal and the students enjoy less freedom as an expression of personal responsibility.
Costs, accommodation and meals
The tuition fees at CSUEB for exchange students are $ 3,735 per trimester, with an additional one-time registration fee of $ 100. This tuition fee applies to 12 units at the Bachelor’s level. If additional units and / or courses are taken at the master’s level, additional fees apply. Nevertheless, the CSUEB proves that a study exchange in the USA does not have to be as expensive as many think.
I chose the student dormitory on campus as my accommodation. This costs around $ 2,400 per quarter. I would recommend campus accommodation to all those who only attend the CSUEB for a trimester, as it is hardly worthwhile to take care of the apartment, furniture, internet, car, etc. for such a short time. On the other hand, those who stay longer should seriously consider the off-campus solution. The main disadvantages of the student residence are that there are only double rooms, all exchange students are housed in the International House (which is not very beneficial for learning English as there are many Germans) and the internet connection is slow. The biggest advantages are the low organizational effort, the easy making of contacts and the participation in campus life.
It should be noted that a meal plan of around $ 1,600 per quarter must be purchased for student dormitories. This finances daily meals in the cafeteria. The quality of the food was above my expectations. The cafeteria offers a large selection and allows a healthy diet, although the biggest disadvantage is the lack of variety.
The basic requirements are covered with the above-mentioned expenditure items for tuition fees, accommodation and meals. Further expenses for excursions, teaching material, clothes, etc. are individual.
Your website provides valuable assistance as an agent with advice and registration and is free of charge for students. Their services are excellent and highly recommended. The visiting students at CSUEB are in the Open University program and are looked after by the ALP Office. This is the first point of contact for visiting students and organizes regular events.
There is a popular Recreation and Wellness (RAW) Center on campus, which offers a good range of physical training options. Exchange students, however, have to pay extra for access. In addition, the CSUEB offers a good range of sports. Many exchange students regret that they do not come into contact with regularly enrolled students. In my experience, sport offers an ideal opportunity for this. A little tip at the end: On the university grounds not far from the student dormitory, there is a small hill, which offers a magnificent view of the entire Bay Area. If you visit Hayward, you should definitely not miss this view.
Personally, I really enjoyed the exchange. Many contacts and unforgettable experiences in the land of unlimited possibilities made this time a unique and very enriching experience. Since the exchange only takes a quarter, the time flies by. It is worthwhile to plan time for travel in and around sunny California before and after the exchange.