What is Chico California known for?

California State University Chico

Hi Guys,

I studied at the CSU Chico in the spring semester 2013. First of all, I can say that it was a great experience that I can only recommend to everyone.


I am studying sports management at the University of Leipzig and had actually been planning to go to the USA for quite a while. The decision as to when, how and where the whole thing should happen was only made in the master’s degree. I started with the concrete preparations about half a year in advance, which was completely sufficient in the end. College Contact supported me at all times from the beginning of my research to the end and was a great help in organizing and deciding which university it should be. Thanks again for that! The hardest part for me was actually choosing the right university in the US, as the choice of courses in the graduate area was much smaller than in the undergraduate area. In short: If you decide to go abroad during your bachelor's degree, you will likely have a significantly larger selection of universities. For reasons of the creditability of my courses in Germany, I was limited to master’s programs, which is why I came across the CSU Chico. To be honest, I had never heard of Chico before, in retrospect I'm glad that it became the CSUC. As for all the formal preparations, i.e. application, language test, visa, etc., I have to say that, based on other experience reports, I had imagined everything to be much worse than it was in the end. If you don't decide to go abroad at the last minute, everything can actually be mastered without any problems. College Contact had checked my application documents and then sent them directly to the CSUC as well as provided clearly understandable instruction forms for all other steps, with which nothing could go wrong in principle. In addition, I wanted to study in America with two friends. We all got our place in the spring semester. Experience has shown that the probability that three of you will be accepted for the same university in other programs is relatively low. So if you are planning a stay abroad with friends or fellow students, I can only recommend that you contact College Contact. It worked out great for us.

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I flew to San Francisco about two weeks before the start of the semester and from there drove to Chico to look after an apartment on site. So I spent the first few nights in motels. It was clear to me that I didn't want to live on-campus or with a host family in order to be as independent as possible. There are enough apartment villages in Chico that offer furnished rooms. For me that was actually the most important point when looking for an apartment, as I didn't want to buy extra furniture, etc. for a semester. However, this was not really evident on the Internet. That's why I decided to take care of myself on site. I ended up staying at the Timber Creek Apartments. “The Zoo”, as this apartment village is known to most of the locals, lives up to its name and is probably the liveliest of all apartment complexes. Admittedly, there was already regular mail there. Craighall or Redwood Cove, for example, are much quieter. In terms of price, they all move around $ 500 a month with all the trimmings.


Chico is a relatively small town in northern California with around 80,000 inhabitants. The center is anything but big, but it has cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs. You really don't have to worry about boredom in this city. And the party life is comparatively really cheap. I particularly liked that both campus and downtown were within walking distance of our apartment village (and many others too). In general, you can get along very well in Chico without your own car, which would be unimaginable in larger cities in California. Most of the shopping opportunities around the Chico Mall can be easily reached by bus, which is free for students. The landscape of Chico is absolutely beautiful. The area offers lots of green spaces, especially with Bidwell Park, which are perfect for sports and leisure activities or just to relax. As far as the weather is concerned, one can only say: outstanding. A coach from one of the Chico State teams summed it up quite well with "... I am out and about 300 days a year with flip flops, I think things are getting worse ...". Otherwise, Chico is also a good starting point for traveling. Sacramento is just over an hour's drive away. San Franciso and Lake Tahoe can be reached in three hours and, in my opinion, an absolute MUST. Other highlights are Yosemite, Las Vegas and a Pacific Coast Highway Trip, for which you should allow a little more time.


The subject of class crashing is always particularly interesting. Therefore, first of all my experiences. I got the three courses I wanted. My tip: Be there a little earlier before the start of the first lecture, go to the professor, introduce yourself personally and ask if you can get a place in the relevant course (regardless of whether the status is already "full" or not) . It worked very well for me. I took two courses in kinesiology and one in business administration. The course of the semester was a little different than at my German university. The courses were all very reading-intensive and you had to do a relatively large number of partial tasks during the semester in the form of homework, quizzes, midterms, etc. There is no classic final examination, which alone or largely determines the grade. As for my courses, I can say that it was very manageable in terms of level and content. The only real challenge was actually only the sometimes very large amount of work during the semester. So all in all, more quantity than quality. Nevertheless, the professors were all very friendly and were always available for questions and problems. Otherwise, the ALCI Office is the most important point of contact for exchange students. Here, too, I would like to say again that the staff there were super friendly and really helped with all matters - whether university or outside of it. In addition, the ALCI regularly organized leisure activities where you could quickly meet new people. Not only the people, but also the campus itself made sure that I felt very comfortable at Chico State. The university grounds are within walking distance of the city center, are very well-kept and have numerous green areas. The library with laptop lounge is also a good place to study and work. Sports enthusiasts get their money's worth in the "WREC" fitness center. In addition to the classic fitness and cardio area, the studio offers everything your heart desires with indoor courts, running track, swimming pool with jacuzzi and sunbathing area as well as a climbing wall. In contrast to the "regular" students, membership for exchange students is not free, but the $ 180 per semester is worthwhile.

Conclusion / tips:

If someone asks me if I would go to Chico again: YES! The overall package is just great. A small but very cool city full of young people, you can easily get around without a car and the weather is perfect. So actually the ideal place for a semester abroad. As I said, San Francisco is only three hours away. In addition to the city, you shouldn't miss a sporting event such as a Giants game. There are enough teams in the Chico area to make the NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB experience possible. On the subject of travel, I can also recommend from my personal experience that you book your flight in advance so that you leave enough time to tour around and book a different departure airport for your return flight. That saves all the rebooking and is sometimes even cheaper. My outward flight was e.g. to San Francisco, my return flight to Germany was from New York. After the lecture, I was able to go on a road trip from the west to the east coast. Not just California, but the whole country is well worth the trip. If you have the opportunity, you shouldn't miss it!

The bottom line is that I can only say that I had an absolutely great time in California, which I will always fondly remember and can recommend Chico with a clear conscience.