At this point I would like to make a recommendation to all students at the University of Passau. It is not necessary to take a TOEFL test or the like if you have completed the courses for the advanced level or the main level at the language center. This is sufficient to receive confirmation of your English skills on a DAAD form. This form will be recognized when you apply and you can save the money for a language test.
I would also like to point out that some of my friends have found cheap accommodation in Airbnbs near the university. This means that if an application for the university dormitory does not work out, this is also a good option. I also have a recommendation for you with regard to flights. WOW Air usually offers the cheapest flights to San Francisco, which means that it is sometimes possible to get a return flight together for 500 euros.
The orientation day was on the first day of the quarter. That had the disadvantage that you could only start class crashing on the second day. Apart from that, I was very satisfied and learned everything that was necessary. See more student reviews of universities in North America on liuxers.
I chose three courses. First, I took the Personal Finance course. This course is extremely relaxed and gets good grades with little effort. This course is about personal wealth planning, i.e. buying a car, buying a house, retirement, etc. That means, in addition to good grades, you also take a few practical recommendations home with you. I can unreservedly recommend this course.
Second, I took the Money, Banking and Finance course. This course was extremely theoretical and is not recommended for anyone who has problems with math. Again, it was very easy to get good grades.
Third, I took the International Business Finance course. This course was a bit more demanding, but a good grade can also be achieved here.
By chance, I was not assigned a place in the University Village (international student residence), but in the Pioneer Heigths (housing estate for regular students). I found this to be very beneficial. There is a kitchen in all Pioneer Heights apartments, whereas the University Village only has a large central kitchen. In addition, my English skills have improved massively by living with three flatmates from California and I was able to participate in the normal everyday life in an American student residence.
If you live in a student dormitory, you also have to book a meal plan. It is enough to choose the smallest one. In the Dining Commons, a rich buffet is offered, to which you get access with your meal plan and you can eat as much until you are full. In contrast to Germany, the supermarkets in the USA are also open on Sundays, so you don’t have to plan too much with your purchases.
Travel and leisure:
In the USA it is possible to book very cheap domestic flights, for example I flew from Los Angeles to San Francisco once for the equivalent of 30 euros. Since under 19 years of age it is often not possible to book a rental car and alcohol is only allowed from 21 years of age, I would recommend waiting until you are 21 years old yourself before starting the semester abroad.
I’ve been on various weekend trips. For example, I rented a rental car on a long weekend in Las Vegas and drove to the Grand Canyon. The Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon are also very beautiful in the Las Vegas area. From Hayward, there are day trips by car to Half Moon Bay, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Muir Woods, Lake Tahoe, and Yosemite National Park. It is important to note that winter trips to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe sometimes require snow chains.
There isn’t much to see in Hayward itself apart from a cinema and a mall, but you can get to San Francisco quickly by public transport. My insider tip for San Francisco is the Japanese Tea Garden, which is free if you enter before a certain time.
After finishing my quarter, I went on a road trip. This ran from Hayward south along the coast to Morro Bay on the first day. On day two, down the coast to Santa Barbara and overnight in Lancaster. On day three I went to see Death Valley and stayed in Barstow. On day four, the Joshua Tree National Park was on the program. I toured San Diego on day five and Los Angeles on days six and seven.