First of all, kudos to MicroEDU. Contacting and finding a place at the university was super easy and free of charge. It couldn’t be better. You are prepared for everything and get enough information material to be able to make all preparations for the semester abroad.
Since you can enter the country one month before the start of your studies with a visa, you still have time to look at a lot of things or to go on a road trip. I was with my girlfriend in New York, LA and San Francisco and then we did a road trip in California. Even during the semester, there is plenty of time on the weekends to rent a car and drive to San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, or anywhere else. Even after the end of the semester you still have time to look at more great things. If you are ever in California, it is of course worthwhile to look at everything, from San Diego to Eureka everything is worth seeing… at least nature. With the exception of San Francisco and perhaps San Diego, the cities exude relatively little charm.
I lived with my girlfriend in a 2-room apartment in a house with 3 other roommates. Our landlord was very nice and would be happy if he got some German students again. If you are interested, feel free to contact us. Generally speaking, Germans are very highly regarded in Chico and they are overwhelmed by praise. That’s why many landlords are happy to get Germans into the apartments. By chance we also met another landlady who always has rooms available for Germans. And if she has no more rooms herself, she calls the entire acquaintance through to find a free place.
Together we paid around $ 700 warm for our apartment. Compared to the prices and the quality of life in the University Village, this is almost a joke. In my experience, as an individual there you pay almost double the price for a room in a flat share in a relatively unsightly and unsafe area. I would rather look for a nice flat or an apartment in the city. They are cheaper and nicer.
Buy a bike when in Chico. Everything is relatively accessible and a good bike can be bought for about a hundred dollars. I advise against using Wal-Mart bikes… but that’s up to you.
ALCI is pretty cool except for the English classes. You can actually do something with them every day of the week and on the weekend there were always trips to an amusement park, to a basketball game or other things. The English lessons are designed a bit too easy, so that you actually only have to spend half a semester here before deregistering from the course.
ALCI also offers a football team that anyone can play in and that takes part in an internal university tournament over several game days. It’s also pretty fun and you get to know nice people from the Middle and Far East.
The class crashing went really well for me and I also got 3 of my 4 desired courses. You just have to be quick and friendly and then have a little patience and attend the course until you officially belong. It is best to approach the matter well prepared and to attend all the first lectures of all courses where you can imagine that you will find them interesting. Of course, this also means that you attend more than your four desired courses, but also maybe three not-desired-but-ok courses. It’s all a bit chaotic and nerve-wracking, of course, and doesn’t work for everyone as desired, but you just have to go through it. I also got a course by chance, which later turned out to be the most interesting. According to Abbreviationfinder, CSUC is the abbreviation of California State University Chico.
At the university you feel like you used to be at school. All the time homework and tests and projects and presentations. This is a bit annoying, but if you’re halfway normal it’s not a problem as homework and tests are more occupational therapy than a challenge. The lecture level is mostly ok, but it is difficult to draw a general conclusion, as some courses were freshman level and others were more sixth semester level.
The campus is very beautiful and green and most of the buildings, except for the College of Business, look very nice. The university also has its own modern fitness center with a pool, sports hall and lots of equipment. That costs about $ 200 per semester.
Chico is a typically American small town made up of countless city blocks. On the one hand, this is a bit monotonous, on the other hand, the city stands out with thousands and thousands of trees, which makes the whole city appear more interesting. There are a few bars and clubs, although the clubs are more like bars with dance floors. The alcohol is very cheap and there is actually something going on all week.
Otherwise there is one or the other restaurant and a cinema. All in all, Chico itself doesn’t offer any major attractions and if you don’t want to party every day, the city doesn’t offer that much.
The brewery tour in the Sierra Nevada Brewery directly in Chico, which brews very good and interesting beer, is definitely recommended. Bidwell Park is also a very large park that extends up into the hills.
All in all, it was a nice semester, which became particularly interesting because of the road trips to all regions of California. You also learned something at the university, but the level is not a real challenge in most of the courses.