“Plenty of room at the Hotel California…”- Camarillo, California, USA

Rumors say that the “Hotel California” The Eagles dedicated their 1976 song to was actually the Camarillo State Mental Hospital. The Mental Asylum closed in 1997 and the California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) moved in. But don’t be scared, the Mission Revival Style architecture fully transformed in a modern, friendly and open Campus.

Friendly and open pretty much describes the students, staff and almost all inhabitants of that area. No matter where we came, people hugged us and asked us all kinds of questions. On our orientation day on the campus we were invited to a family living in Camarillo for dinner. They have a big house on the hill and try to connect all international students each year. They offered to take us surfing, camping or to all kinds of other activities. They also offered help in the “daily problems” such as finding a house or a car.

And those things are necessary in California. If you don’t live on-campus you need to find a place to stay. The first nights the most of us slept at a Motel or rented a room via airbnb. They formed groups to find a place together and found two very nice houses in Oxnard, only a few feet from the beach.

The easiest way to buy a car is through craigslist. That’s pretty much a mixture of eBay and autoscout24 / mobile.de. You usually buy from private people so the cars are affordable. But be careful, some old cars have their problems. A good way to get all information about the car you want to buy is to check out “Kelly’s Blue Book” (www.kbb.com) There you can read the usual price range, typical problems and all kinds of other stuff you should probably know before you buy a car.

My car for example, a 2000 Dodge Durango, overheated on our way to Yosemite in the middle of nowhere. A really friendly French guy we met on a parking lot helped us fixing the car “MacGyver-like” by cutting an empty beer can open, taping it around the radiator-hose so we could make it to the next town and get it fixed properly. We arrived in Yosemite by night but waking up like this compensated all our troubles:

Yosemite morning

After a few days we drove back home without any further complications and enjoyed the last few days before the classes started by hanging out on the beaches and exploring the area or shopping at the nearby Outlet Mall.  There is so much to see if you like mountains, free and wild nature and the ocean. They say, there is nothing like a sunset over the Pacific. Somehow they are right.

Sunset at Sycamore Cove

 

We are just done with our first week of class and got separated into several groups. So there is no “Germans only” class, we are all together with the very friendly Americans. The topics we have are such as “Principles of Microeconomics”, “Intercultural Communication”, “Principles of Marketing” and “Entrepreneurial Management”. The Instructors are also very helpful and open. We are all excited how the next months will be. But nobody regretted their decision going to the CSUCI so far.

Such a lovely place… at the Hotel California…