What is life like in Chico CA
Experience reports: Studied at California State University, Chico
Experience report from marc s .:
Details on studying abroad: 2013 academic year
Type of study: a semester abroad
Before you even plan anything, you should of course first clarify with your home university whether the possible achievements will be recognized. Since the differences in the education system between Germany and the USA cannot be seen out of hand, some universities get in a weird way with the recognition or conversion of units to ECTS. However, this is usually not a problem.
After you have clarified everything so far, you can start preparing. The visa, finances and travel should of course be organized. Here magoo_international helps you very well, so that there shouldn't be any problems. Just take enough time, follow the instructions and keep track. In particular, the visa should be taken care of immediately after receiving the I-20, the official acceptance form for international students. Because this can sometimes lead to longer waiting times. In addition, you should work exactly according to the specifications of the respective consulate. Who can read has a clear advantage.
The best way to get to Chico is to fly to Sacramento and then drive to Chico with a rental car. The travel time is approx. 1-1.5 hours and is manageable for everyone thanks to the simple American traffic management. If you find a tempting deal, you can also fly to San Francisco or Oakland. However, this extends the journey to Chico to approx. 4 hours. You can find cheap connections from Frankfurt, Munich or Berlin. At best, you should arrive in Chico two weeks before the start of the lectures, because looking for an apartment takes a lot of time, as most landlords only rent for one year. But this can usually be clarified through consultation. Just look for Chico on Craiglist. When looking for an apartment, it is best to live in one of the many affordable motels, ideally right on Main Street or in the immediate vicinity. The night costs around 40-90US $ and often includes breakfast. I lived in the Timber Creek Apartments, better known as The Zoo, on 1253 West 5th Street. Here you will experience the "real Chico Experience". The name says it all, because this is one of the numerous "gated communities". Also, almost only Chico State students live there. You can make friends incredibly quickly, be it at your own pool, jacuzzi, volleyball court or in the fitness studio, and you are quickly invited to one of the many house parties. Just dare to speak to people. A simple "toast" is usually sufficient.
Life in Chico
With around 80,000 inhabitants, Chico is comparatively small by American standards, but unique in its nature. You notice the modern influences of the Bay Area, be it in sustainability, environmental protection or just cosmopolitanism. In addition, the city lives from its many students. During “homecoming” you notice how the city suddenly blossoms and a sleepy nest almost turns into a flourishing metropolis. Since Chico lives from his students, as I said, they also want to be entertained. The city center is full of bars, restaurants and places to stay. Everything tailored to the needs of the students and with new specials every day. Only Sunday and Monday are among the "quieter" days. Chico is known across California for its lively nightlife and has made it to the top of many party rankings. Tuesday is Buck Night at Rileys, Wednesday Buck Night at Crazy Horse, Thursday Power Hour at Rileys, followed by fishbowls at Franky's, Friday Pitcher Night at Rileys. The list goes on and on, these were just my favorites. The prices are incredibly cheap and by no means representative in the USA. As I said, everything is geared towards the students. Look forward to days like Labor Day or Halloween, Chico escalates for a few days and is unrecognizable.
To get straight to the point: the CSU Chico has the most beautiful campus I've seen in my life. Everything is green and more like a university that was built in a wonderful city park - beautiful! The relationship with the professors is mostly friendly and close. People address each other by their first name, talk about private matters or even have a cup of coffee from time to time. The study system is very scholastic and in no way comparable to the German system. The exams you write are 1-3 midterms and a final per subject. In addition, papers have to be written and oral participation is important. The level of difficulty is to be classified as low. Those who can cope with the largely independent German study system will have no problems in the USA. As an additional added value there is the "WREC", the university's own fitness studio. I promise you, you've never seen anything like it in Germany. Several indoor basketball fields, soccer fields, climbing wall, Olympic swimming pool, running tracks and state-of-the-art fitness equipment. Incredible! Unfortunately, as an international student you have to pay US $ 190 for this, which is still a bargain in the end and you have a pleasant place to get to know people here.
Chico is located in Northern California, close to many natural parks and other attractions. Sacramento as the capital of California can be reached in an hour by car, San Francisco in 3-4 hours, Los Angeles in 8-9 hours and Las Vegas in 12 hours. Sounds daunting, but there's a lot to see on the tracks. California is amazing! Unfortunately it is almost impossible to see everything. If you like nature, you will love California. Bidwell Park, Lassen Volcanic Park, Humboldt Park, Yosemite Park, Lake Tahoe etc. etc. All in under 4 hours and incredibly beautiful. You can rent a car from US $ 25 a day and gasoline is known to be outrageously cheap. Use every free moment and explore this wonderful country!
As mentioned earlier, Chico is very affordable from its cost of living. A beer at happy hour costs US $ 1, eating out US $ 5-10, considerably cheaper than in Germany. The rent amounts to US $ 300-400, however, groceries are a little more expensive if you shop at a German quality level. With traveling and the usual Chico lifestyle you should expect US $ 1200.
Chico is amazing! I've been grieving every day since I came back. The weather, the people, the nightlife, the university ... an incredible experience !!!
A few more tips
- First official act after arriving at the hotel: buy a bike. This is the typical means of transport in Chico and makes it a lot easier for you to find an apartment. Just visit one of the countless bike shops on Main Street
- Try to get to know people from day one. Don't be closed and just start talking randomly. Americans are very open and happy to have a chat, especially with Europeans
- Go to one of the numerous fraternity parties, Hollywood has not exaggerated for once
- Explore the surrounding area, you will not regret it
- Get rid of your German habits for a few months
- Look forward to Labor Day and Halloween
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