Study Abroad in California Videos

Our Austrian students loved their time with their host families

ECI student talks about his experience abroad

Study abroad student Felix shares what it has been like living with a host family in San Francisco.

Traveling with friends and living with a host family makes studying abroad special even for students who have visited America in the past.

Study abroad students enjoying a tour of San Francisco

See the beautiful scenery the Bay Area has to offer if you study abroad with ECI in California.

Dramatic hills, the famous Cable Cars, Union Square shopping district, Lombard St, Alcatraz Prison, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Learn about the ECI Host Family experience

Host parents share their experience hosting a high school study abroad student from Austria.

Hosting a student from Europe is a fun way for American families to learn about a different way of life, while sharing what makes your hometown special.

Austrian study abroad students’ Farewell party

The visiting students perform for their host families at their farewell party.

Performance includes the Austrian national anthem, a piano recital, saying goodbye to host families, and demonstrating a traditional waltz.

American student shares her ECI hosting experience

Ashley found it very easy to communicate and get along with her Austrian host student.

Visiting Felix this summer in Vienna is an added bonus of hosting a student.

Farewell to our Austrian students

Visiting UC Berkeley and saying goodbye to San Francisco

It seemed to go by so quickly. It was great having the Austrians here for those short 2 weeks. The last couple of days with them were great. We had the farewell performance on Sunday and the day in Berkeley on Monday before they returned to the airport.

The students had fun at the farewell party. I know many of them were nervous to be on stage and speaking in English the entire time, but they did great. I hope all of the host families enjoyed the show. I hope every ones’ sweet tooth was satisfied that night!

Visiting the UC Berkeley campus

For the last day, we loaded all of their luggage onto the truck and took off on the long haul over to Berkeley. We had a quick tour around the campus where we learned about the freedom of speech rallies at University of California – Berkeley, saw some actual dinosaur bones, and checked out views of San Francisco from the hill. I don’t think the students were as impressed with the Berkeley campus as they were with Stanford, but enjoyed the day. They then explored and did some last minute shopping in Berkeley.

I asked several of them what their favorite part of the trip was and here’s what they said: their host families, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, learning and playing Baseball, hot dogs and hamburgers, shopping, Fisherman’s Wharf, their tour leader and one student said everything! They were excited to get home, but sad to leave. I hope everyone keeps in touch. I know I had fun!

Along with the group photos are a few pictures from the Roberts’ host family and their student Ina. They had a great time hosting, and took her on a special trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Auf Wiedersehen,
– Marya

Return to the U.S. this summer with ECI!

Want more opportunities to improve your English and explore California? Then enroll in one of our summer immersion programs for European students. You’ll find all the details on the Edu-Culture International, Europe website.

Cable Cars, Alcatraz, and Baseball Games

Two more sunny, fun days studying abroad in California

We headed up to San Francisco again on Wednesday, excited and ready for a full day of touring. The sun was out and we were getting warmer by the minute! We hopped on the Cable Car at Powell near Union Square. The students were excited to hang off the cable car and were waving at people on the street and in the cars. We all had a lot of fun flying up and down the hills of San Francisco in the Cable Car, and some of the students even compared it to riding a roller coaster! We were all actually able to squish onto one car, which was tight fit but fun.

We took the Cable Car to Lombard Street, which is the most crooked street in the world. We took a walk down the street and headed back to Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch at the legendary Hard Rock Cafe! Pauli asked if he ordered the “Bacon Cheeseburger” if that comes with Bacon, Cheese and the Burger? I replied yes and he was so excited!

Riding the Alcatraz Ferry on the San Francisco Bay

After Hard Rock, despite our tight schedule we also found time to say hello to the sea lions at Pier 39, and the sea lions greeted us back. Next, we got the students together for the boat ride over to Alcatraz Island for a tour of the famous prison, gardens, and around the island. By the time we got on the boat, most of the students were in t-shirts and were enjoying the sun.

Exploring Alcatraz aka The Rock

On the island we took an audio tour of the prison to learn about it’s history, inmates, and guards. The tour was good and we learned so much about Alcatraz. The tour told us about the largest escape attempt, where 3 men escaped through the walls. They used spoons to chip through the cement behind a vent for over a year. Once they escaped they were never seen or heard from again. There are 2 theories: 1. They died in the very cold, rough waters off of the island trying to get to San Francisco; 2. They were studying Spanish and were learning about South America so many think they made it and made their way down south. Many of the students were talking about this and their theories of what happened, so I know they were listening.

Tasty treats at the Ferry Building

On the way back from Alcatraz, we all stopped for a quick break at the Ferry Building, where I was able to show Ina and Raffaela some of my favorite local food items. We tried the decadent Cowgirl Creamery Cheese, fresh pressed olive oils, different flavors of almonds, and my personal favorite: mushroom ice cream. They didn’t believe me that it was delicious at first, but they loved it and even got a popsicle each. It tastes like maple-yum! Then it was back to Palo Alto after a fun day!

American baseball in the sunshine

On Thursday morning the students were busy getting ready for the final performance that they will be doing at the farewell party. I cannot give away any of the secrets of what I have heard or seen, so you will just have to wait until Sunday for photos. We hope to see all of the host families there. Today I taught them all how to play baseball. Luckily, some of them already had some working knowledge of the game so we were able to demonstrate how to play. I explained the rules and the goals of the game and then we took the field. There were so many eager players we had a field full of students.

It was a beautiful day yesterday and the students were excited to run around. We started with a scrimmage game and there was a huge line of students wanting to hit the ball and get a home run! Then we played a game. They caught on quicker than I had expected and we were able to play a fun game. Believe it or not, we had a tie score 7-7! They all took turns with positions and loved it. Some smaller groups split off to play catch, practice hitting the ball, and even got a game of soccer together. At the end of the day we had peanuts and cracker jacks and sang the song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” It was a great day in the sun!
– Marya

Return to the U.S. this summer with ECI!

Want more opportunities to improve your English and explore California? Then enroll in one of our summer immersion programs for European students. You’ll find all the details on the Edu-Culture International, Europe website.

ECI’s Austrian students are now TV stars!

Visiting Coit Tower, Fisherman’s Wharf, and 7Live TV show

After making the trip up to San Francisco on both Caltrain and BART, we walked over to the Ferry Building for a quick break before our busy day. The Ferry Building is one of my favorite spots in SF. Outside today we saw a Farmer’s Market, where local farmers bring their fresh fruits, veggies, meat, and fish. There are also food tents where you can get yummy fresh food. Inside there are many stalls also selling fresh fruit, meat, and fish, plus chocolates, olive oil, gellato, coffee, wine, oysters, burgers, fresh bread, cheeses, and unique mushrooms (even mushroom ice cream!). While paying attention to the signs, Felix asked me what “sustainable” means when talking about food? In California, it’s common to advertise if a farmer’s crops are organic, locally grown, and sustainably raised.

Hike up to Coit Tower

Next we walked up to the famous Coit Tower. I’m not sure how many steps there were to the top, but there were many! It seemed as if the stairs lead straight up. Once at the top we had a great view of the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. There were only a few complaints about the walk, but I think they enjoyed the view. We then headed over to Fisherman’s Wharf, where the students sampled chocolates, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls, and hot dogs. This is a great place to get an “I Love SF” t-shirt, so I’m pretty sure I saw a few of those in some bags. There have been some funny food requests. Johanas wanted to know where to get Jelly Beans and Christopher wanted to know where he could get a donut. We found both!

After a week in America, we’re already on TV!

After Fisherman’s Wharf, we walked over to the ABC channel 7 TV station. We were going to be in the live studio audience on a show called 7Live. It’s a show about everything from today’s headlines, fashion, local news, pop culture, deals around the bay, and sometimes special guest stars. I’m not sure everyone understood everything in the show, but it was a fun experience. Thank you again to everyone at 7Live for being such wonderful hosts! You can see the episode on their website, and the students make many appearances: ECI study abroad students from Austria on 7Live

– Marya

Return to the U.S. this summer with ECI!

Want more opportunities to improve your English and explore California? Then enroll in one of our summer immersion programs for European students. You’ll find all the details on the Edu-Culture International, Europe website.

City Hall, Union Square, and Chinatown

Good times in downtown San Francisco, despite the rainy weather

Friday’s rain sure made the day an adventure. We went up to San Francisco using both Caltrain (large commuter train) and BART (the subway system). The entire process takes about an hour to get up to the city. It was Bernd’s (the teacher chaperon) birthday today and we sang to him when we got on BART. The students were all very excited about the day, because we were going to Union Square for shopping. First, we took a tour of the UN Plaza in front of  City Hall, but kept our visit quick because of the rain.

We then took a tour of San Francisco City Hall where our tour guide gave us the history of the building and even took us into the room where all of the big public decisions are made. The students sat on the marble stairs and listened attentively, and even saw several marriages taking place as well.

Sampling San Francisco’s food trucks

Before the tour I noticed many yummy food trucks lined up in the park across from City Hall, and I explained to the students the new trend of the food trucks and how good the food is. For those of you who don’t know about the food trucks, these are mobile restaurants out of a truck, with truly delicious food! There are so many of them serving all kinds of food in San Francisco. Today they had Mexican, Mediterranean, Bacon Bacon (anything you can think of with Bacon), Indian, and food from the Philippines. Some of the students got a snack on the way to lunch after the tour and liked the new foods. Raffela said that her taco was great and tasted like BBQ Pork.

Union Square shopping and exploring Chinatown

After City Hall, the students had free time around Union Square and the mall for shopping and lunch. They all came back with several bags, and were excited about the new things they got for “so much cheaper than at home!” As always, they of course wanted more time, but we had more to see.

From there we took a tour of Union Square and walked into Chinatown. Founded in 1850, it is the oldest Chinatown in the US, if not the world (well except for China of course). As we walked down the streets of Chinatown the rain really started coming down and we took over the streets with our umbrellas.

You really feel like you are in another country; the street and store signs are in Chinese and some not even translated. We wandered down the narrow streets and an alleyway and visited a fortune cookie factory where we sampled vanilla and chocolate fortune cookies. Then we walked up to the Cable Car Museum before we had some free time to explore and shop in Chinatown. The wind and rain was pretty crazy, so much so that my umbrella was so bent out of shape that I needed to get a new one in Chinatown.

We hurried back to the BART to make it on time. On BART back home we pretty much took over and entire train car and sang Happy Birthday to Annika, as her birthday is Saturday. Then onto Caltrain to meet the host families back at the train station. It was a long day, but I think everyone had fun and at the very least it was an adventure!

– Marya

Return to the U.S. this summer with ECI!

Want more opportunities to improve your English and explore California? Then enroll in one of our summer immersion programs for European students. You’ll find all the details on the Edu-Culture International, Europe website.