Arrival and acclimatization phase
In my opinion, the best way to get to somewhere else is to approach the matter without expectation or to prepare for the worst in your mind.
In this case, I can say that none of these expectations or fears have come true.
But let’s start at the beginning: In order to cope better with the time change of minus nine hours, I took a flight to San Francisco four days before the start of the quarter and so also used these first days to explore the city a little.
From the airport you can get to downtown San Francisco easily and much more cheaply than with a taxi with the BART, a kind of subway and public transport in the Bay Area. Once there, I looked for a hotel near Union Square, from where you can easily reach all other points in the city, very centrally located. I can highly recommend this to everyone, because you can get your bearings and then immerse yourself a little more in city life on various excursions.
I can also say about San Francisco that it is an incredibly interesting and impressive city that combines so many differences and a visit is always worthwhile, no matter what you do. I can particularly recommend Union Square, the Port of San Francisco and Fisherman’s Wharf, Hyde Street and Lombard Street, Haight Street, China Town, Little Italy and of course the Golden Gate Bridge. From Downtown San Francisco and Powell Street you can get back to Hayward with one of the BART lines without any problems. If you reach the station during the day, you can easily take bus number 60 to the campus and a bus stop is right in front of the International House.
When I arrived there, I was greeted in an absolutely friendly manner. The management of the International House is in very good hands under Sheryl Tan: The organization is usually unproblematic and issues are dealt with very conscientiously and quickly, if possible. One of the employees, who were also international students, immediately discussed all the important points about my arrival with me, showed me my room in one of the residential units and was also always a nice contact throughout the quarter and was not just available for a chat.
I myself moved in one day earlier, which saved me the great stress of moving in on the actual move-in day and you might not be treated a bit more impersonally in the crowd of incoming students. You pay $ 30 for the additional night, but you are already there and can arrive internally and start the first exploration tours on the campus and talk to other students. The residential buildings, called dorms, are separated according to nationalities, which means that you have no contact at all with Americans in the residential unit, which is a shame on the one hand, but also intensifies contact among international students in another way. The residential units consist of a living room with two sofas, armchairs and a kitchen table, as well as a refrigerator and a microwave, but no stove or oven, whereby you are well taken care of with the cafeteria and the meal plan itself. Furthermore, there are two toilets, three sinks and two showers for the, as a rule, eight residents, who are divided into two of the four bedrooms. Through the international coexistence you get to know different cultures, such as the Chinese, Japanese or South Korean – and you will be surprised how different people actually are from the stereotypes they have experienced to date and can make new friends on the other side of the globe – highly recommended !
As you may already see, the International House is very Asian in character, which is by no means to be understood as judgmental. There are just a lot of students who come from Asia, at least in the case of Quarter, but also not a few German or European students.
A group-internal consensus to always communicate in English is probably one of the easiest ways to develop your speaking skills and also helps you to get on with better at university.
I was surprised how exhausting it is to follow the “lessons” in English for the first two weeks.
According to LIUXERS, choosing a course at the University of East Bay is extremely stressful in that you cannot be sure that you will actually be able to take a desired course in the end. The system is designed in such a way that all local students first select the courses or have already selected them at the end of the previous semester and many or even most of the courses are already fully occupied at the beginning of the quarter.
Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to attend the courses that you would like to take without restriction and to speak to the professors and ask them for permission to receive a permission code from the Student Office for the electronic one immediately after the registration phase for the local students Registration to be sent to the university via the intranet. However, this cannot be officially requested before this period has expired; but should do this as soon as possible!
In my case, despite fully booked courses and in some cases a double-digit waiting list, I still got a place in each of the courses I selected, as this allocation is then based on the first come-first serve principle. If students are still de-registering or if the professor does not appear in the first lecture, places will be free. However, you have to be a bit lucky to get one of the coveted places in some courses and in quite a few cases this doesn’t work either, which you should be aware of in advance.
Overall, the lectures at the Californian university are more similar to German school classes, which means that there are a maximum of about 70 students per professor and the professors also make every effort to address the students’ concerns and to guarantee good examination results. Compared to the German semester, I had a fairly relaxed study time abroad and there was still enough time for free time and various exploration tours.
On the one hand, these are offered by the ALP Office free of charge or for a small surcharge; also highly recommended; or can be done independently thanks to the BART connection system. For example, you can get from the campus to Hayward by bus, which costs $ 2, or during the week at certain times of the day even by the university shuttle free of charge, and on with the BART for $ 4.55 to downtown San Francisco – one way and takes an hour. As mentioned briefly before, however, it is quite uncomplicated, quick and always worth the trip.
Life and leisure
Excursions and getting to know the American culture and way of life should be in the foreground for me.
By making friends with Americans, this is also very easy to achieve; Of course you have to be able to approach people and be sociable, but then you can have a lot of fun!
In addition, a new fitness center has just been built on campus in this quarter, in which you can train free of charge on equipment or play badminton, basketball or volleyball in a hall, and it is right across the street from the International House. You can also play table tennis just a stone’s throw away and you can borrow the rackets at the front desk free of charge by showing your student ID. A heated swimming pool, which can be used at certain times for dollars at the sports department, is also a welcome change from everyday student life.
The student program also makes it possible to choose two courses from the university’s sports and dance programs free of charge, which I can also highly recommend. In any case, physical activity is ensured.
A quarter goes by very quickly and you should consider going abroad for six months. In my opinion, three months are enough to get a comprehensive impression of the region; but this is person-dependent.
I can only encourage everyone to press ahead with the preparations for this project and to take the plunge into the unknown, because it is a lot of fun and enriches you in a unique way. Abroad you not only learn something for university but really something for life!