Semester Abroad in CSUC


I keep the organization procedure rather brief, as it is already well explained in most of the experience reports and MicroEDU accompanies you perfectly through the entire application . At the beginning of the semester in August, I sent off my completed documents at the beginning of January. I wanted the semester abroad as early as possible in the dry cloths, but in principle it is easily enough at the end of February. If you are going to the consulate in Frankfurt, then it’s best to make an appointment so that you don’t have to wait unnecessarily. But plan at least another half an hour extra for admission to the consulate, as you have to register there first and then go through a security gate. With a corresponding queue in front of it, it can take a while, especially since there is no distinction between people with and without an appointment in this queue. However, once you are inside, the procedure only takes 10-15 minutes. Hand in fingerprints, briefly talk to the officer (what you are up to in the USA, what you are doing in Germany, etc.) and then it says: “Your visa comes in 1-2 weeks by post “. This conversation was in English, one switch down I heard that German was spoken. In general, however, the people are very nice, so don’t be afraid of it.

Arrival & apartment search in Chico

Before the semester started, I went on a three-week road trip and thus only arrived a week before the semester started. During the past few days I had already made a few appointments through Craigslist, so I started the viewings straight away. Overall, I was very lucky. The first appointment immediately led to the desired success. In the end I lived with a young couple (27 & 29 years old) as well as a dog and cat in a really nice house used. In addition to the two of them, another American student also lived there. It was clear to me from the start that I wanted to live with Americans. For me, the decision was definitely the right one, because Tara and Andy were really super easy-going and nice roommates, who also gave you tips in Chico that you wouldn’t necessarily have received otherwise. In addition, the room was furnished and I didn’t even have to pay the full rent for the last month. Rent including all utilities was $ 550. The only disadvantage was that, by Chico’s standards, it was quite a long way to the university of 25 minutes by bike. After a while I found a great route over the Chico Bike Path and through parts of Lower Bidwell Park and always enjoyed my way.

So would do it again anytime. Many German students have lived in Redwood Cove. There you could mostly only make contracts for one semester and you could also organize them from Germany. The Redwood Cove was in a fairly central location and was okay in terms of price, facilities, etc., it could only happen that you only live among Germans. Everyone then has to assess for themselves what they prefer.

In general, I would recommend you move in with Americans. It’s just better if you speak English habitually and at the parties you can hang out with whoever you want. If you want to look for accommodation on site, it is best to use Craigslist and preferably two weeks before the start of the semester to avoid the greatest stress.

Living (and partying) in Chico:

First of all, you should be aware that Chico is a small town. On the one hand, this naturally has many advantages, such as short distances within the city and lower living costs . On the other hand, Chico is of course not a metropolis and San Francisco is about 3 hours away, that means you can’t get away from Chico easily. For me, the advantages clearly outweigh the advantages (especially since you have enough time to travel), but of course everyone should include that in their criteria for choosing a place to study. According to AbbreviationFinder, CSUC is the abbreviation of California State University Chico.

Chico has a beautiful campus and downtown with a number of restaurants and bars is within walking distance.

Restaurants & food

In my opinion, the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico towers above it all. It is basically a brewery, bar and restaurant in one. The brewery tour should definitely not be missed. This is free and in addition to the good tour you can also try a lot of beer and also take some free merchandise with you. The bar also has a great restaurant, which is best known for its burgers (Beer Cheese Burger, tip: order medium-rare, because the meat tastes best. You can also enjoy the countless (and most excellent) beers on tap However, plan enough time when you visit the restaurant, tables cannot be reserved and it is usually very full in the evenings.

Another highlight is the tea bar: Exotic tea creations and delicious, fresh food (definitely try the wraps). Extremely full even at lunchtime.

The steak house on 5th Street is also said to be very good, unfortunately I never went there.

If it is a bit of fast food, Chico offers in and out burgers in addition to the usual chains: This is located near the mall and offers great burgers for little money (tip: google the secret menu beforehand). Furthermore, the Taco Truck near Burger King is good and cheap and Tacos Tonaya also has a good reputation. Tres Hombres is more something to sit down on, but it also offers solid TexMex food.

Parties & Bars

As a student town, Chico naturally has a lot to offer in terms of bars and parties, and also a corresponding reputation, became clear to me at the latest when I arrived at the airport in San Francisco when I was immigrating. The officer in charge happened to have also studied in Chico and first gave me tips on where to go before entering the country and said goodbye with the words: “Oh boy, you gonna have fun.”

A tip in advance: The age is controlled relatively strictly, so either take your passport with you or order a California ID early from the DMV (up to 60 days waiting time). In addition to the omnipresent house parties (be careful: the police tend to break them up early) there are a whole bunch of bars you can go to. Most of the time we hung around Riley’s. The Rileys is a small Irish pub with a dance area, crowd and drink prices are okay, so you can’t go wrong with Riley’s. The Madison Bear Garden offers a good combination of food, celebrations and a few cozy beers. Downstairs there is actually a beer garden and a relaxed pub atmosphere, and upstairs there is a dance floor. The Beach is the only club in Chico (which is still relatively cheap) and has a separate dance area where you can smoke. This is pretty much the only covered area where this is possible in Chico. There is also the LaSalles (I have never been there though, it doesn’t have the best reputation in Chico), the Crazy Horse Saloon (bull riding) and numerous smaller bars. Almost every day there are specials somewhere, just keep an eye out. Also worth mentioning are The Graduate (only sports are broadcast here) and Bella’s Pub, where you can watch Champions League games at 11 a.m. There is also the LaSalles (I have never been there though, it doesn’t have the best reputation in Chico), the Crazy Horse Saloon (bull riding) and numerous smaller bars. Almost every day there are specials somewhere, just keep an eye out. Also worth mentioning are The Graduate (only sports are broadcast here) and Bella’s Pub, where you can watch Champions League games at 11 a.m. There is also the LaSalles (I have never been there though, it doesn’t have the best reputation in Chico), the Crazy Horse Saloon (bull riding) and numerous smaller bars. Almost every day there are specials somewhere, just keep an eye out. Also worth mentioning are The Graduate (only sports are broadcast here) and Bella’s Pub, where you can watch Champions League games at 11 a.m.

In addition, the clubs start to knock people out at around 1:30 a.m., if you want to have a drink afterwards, you can only have private parties. The liquor stores sell alcohol until 2 a.m., after which the bulkheads are tight.


Since I lived relatively far away, I mostly shopped at WinCo. WinCo is definitely the cheapest store out there. It is best to buy more centrally at Safeway, which is better sorted, but also significantly more expensive. In any case, get the free Clubcard there. In general, however, food is more expensive than in Germany and the quality, especially the meat, is often not that great. Every Saturday there is a Farmersmarket Downtown (in summer also on Thursday evenings). Here you can buy cheap fruit and vegetables, often organically grown, directly from the farmer.


Chico also offers Lower and Upper Bidwell Park. You can swim, bike, and jog in Lower Bidwell Park in summer. In Upper Bidwell Park you have the opportunity to hike, swim in certain places and of course mountain biking. I did that during my time with Adventure Outings and I can only recommend it.

Otherwise, Chico has a mall where you can shop in various shops. There is also a regular bus from downtown.

If you would like to use the opportunity to go to a shooting range, the down range is recommended, here you can shoot everything from pistols to assault rifles (but only semi-automatically).

The well-equipped WREC fitness studio is also part of the university. Unfortunately, it costs $ 180 for the semester for ALCI students, which is absolutely worth it. In addition to a pool and the weight area, it offers indoor soccer and basketball, as well as a climbing wall.

Courses and learning content

In general, most courses are quite easy compared to Germany. In any case, I brought an “A” home with me everywhere without exhausting myself completely. Nevertheless, the courses are generally not uninteresting. In addition, the CSU Chicoattaches great importance to presentations. I actually had at least one presentation in each of my courses, usually several. While you are a bit nervous at the beginning because you are of course not a native speaker, in the end it is just normal. The lessons are generally a bit more school-based than ours, that is, participation is also assessed, for example.

On the subject of class crashing: I mainly chose upper level bachelor courses and since these are elective subjects, it is generally easier to get into them than the lower level compulsory courses. So if you get credit for such courses at your home university, then you should try that first.

Sports Marketing (Prof. Aiken):

A subject that you will rarely find in Germany. Probably the most interesting subject for me. Prof Aiken is probably the coolest professor I’ve ever had. For the subject, for example, a book was recommended as a textbook (even if there were seldom questions that one had not learned in the lecture). After the first lesson and a first short conversation, Prof. Aiken said: “You can have my book until the end of the semester. You’d better save the $ 100 and go have a few beers ”. Otherwise he was always very interested in what you as a German had to say on certain topics and always involved you well when necessary. Of course, the learning content included sponsoring and advertising in the field of professional sports. However, Prof. Aiken has always supplemented the subject matter with his own interesting concepts and sometimes simply incorporated current events.

The tests consisted of a group work (sponsorship proposal), six small tests and six homework, of which only five were assessed, or if you were satisfied with the first five, you could give yourself the sixth test or the sixth homework. Grading very fair, mostly he narrowed down what was to be included in the tests. Another tip: Officially, Prof. Aiken has no compulsory attendance, but it can happen when he sees that many are missing, that he discusses content that is not in the slides and is relevant to the test.

Retail Marketing (Prof Blanshei):

Prof. Blanshei is the owner of the tea bar in Chico (or very recommendable, great wraps). He also teaches a few subjects. This subject is about retailing, so everything from supermarkets and shopping malls to small shops where Lance has often shared his experience is discussed. All in all, the fabric doesn’t really tear you off your feet, but it’s not completely boring either. In addition, it is sometimes through small case studies and group work loosened up. The heart of the course, however, is the working paper. In a group work, a company (e.g. Toys Ur US or Sears) is selected from each group and first of all fundamentally analyzed. In phase 2 you draft one or more strategic changes for the company and present them to the class. In addition, 3 tests are written, which, however, are again quite easy for German standards. In theory, you also need a book again, although in my opinion you can finish well without having it. You can also borrow it from Chegg for a reasonable price.

International Marketing (Prof. Misra):

International Marketing is probably the subject that is credited at every university. That was my main motivation to take this course. In general, you’ve heard a lot somewhere and some things are a bit boring. The examination performance consists of three tests (pure multiple choice), some of which ask for strange details, but some questions like “What is the currency in Europe?” In this subject there is probably no getting around the book if you want to get a good grade. This can also be borrowed from Chegg. In addition to the book, an advanced learning license had to be purchased for $ 60. You could then do your homework, which always consisted of 20 multiple choice questions.

There were so-called “In Class Exercises” in this subject. These were not announced in advance, so that although officially no attendance was checked, you could only miss one of these tasks without losing points. These tasks were mostly short films to which questions should be answered in writing in small groups. In addition, you could choose whether to give a presentation on a current topic in the Int. Wanted to keep marketing on the basis of an article, or alternatively wanted to analyze an article in writing. In this course, too, the focus was on group work. Each group was assigned a country which should be analyzed in detail. Then, based on the analysis, you should develop a new product that could be successful in this market. Of course, the whole thing was again concluded with a presentation. All in all it was Int. Marketing is certainly the most blatant subject in terms of effort. Nevertheless, you can also finish with a good grade here if you learn enough (which is still very little compared to Germany).

ALCI courses

Since the CSU is currently changing its program, I am only touching on this topic. I chose Reading in both terms. Here are a reading and analysis techniques taught and you discussing certain texts in the group. From what I’ve heard, it is probably the best compulsory course. My electives were US History and Business English. BE can be saved as a business student, you only learn the very simple basics. US history, on the other hand, is not uninteresting, even if a lot is only touched upon.


During my time in the USA I naturally tried to see as much as possible. Therefore, I traveled the country for a total of 5 weeks with longer road trips and of course made many short trips.

In the immediate vicinity of Chico is the Lassen Volcanic National Parc. Personally, I found it very cool and due to its proximity to Chico (approx. 1 hour by car) it is almost a must. In the immediate vicinity is the beautiful Lake Tahoe, which is worth a trip in both summer and winter (approx. 3 – 3.5 hours), Sacramento (approx. 2 hours) and of course San Francisco. I don’t think you have to say anything more about San Francisco, it’s of course a must. You should definitely rent a bike to drive over the Golden Gate and then take the ferry back in Sausalito (or for fit Tiburon). Sacramento is okay, nice “Old Town”, but nothing that will knock you off your feet.

An absolute highlight is of course driving down Highway # 1. Start is San Francisco and you can drive down the coast almost continuously (with stops in LA, Santa Barbara and San Diego ). For me, Santa Barbara and above all San Diego are the urban highlights south of San Francisco. Personally, I found LA (apart from Santa Monica) disappointing. So better do one more day in San Diego.

If you are of course already in San Diego or LA, it is of course a stone’s throw (in American dimensions) to Vegas. For me, Vegas is a Disneyland for adults and less interesting for Europeans, as most things are allowed there. Nevertheless, you can of course watch the spectacle. But be careful: Celebrating is extremely expensive there.

In addition, the Yosemite National Park (definitely also drive over the Tioga Pass), the Sequioa National Park, and Death Valley are particularly worthwhile. All of these parks are unique in their own way and very impressive to me.

Conclusion and costs

For me, Chico was one of the best times in my life. If you are not sure whether you really dare: just do it. I haven’t regretted a cent or a minute and I think that will probably be the case for almost everyone.

In my opinion the term is not feasible under 10-12,000 €, at least if you are not a student loan gets. Min. You should really plan in € 10,000, because you don’t want to turn every penny twice and of course see something of California. With a lot of travel, however, I was at least € 15,000.

Semester Abroad in California State University Chico