University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business administration, cultural studies, international business administration, linguistics and cultural studies, intercultural communication
Study type: semester abroad
For my semester abroad, I went to California State University Long Beach in winter semester 19/20. At the beginning of the year I started looking for suitable universities and came across MicroEdu. With the help of Annika and especially Elias I found the CSULB as a suitable university. At this point, many thanks again for your help ! MicroEdu will help you primarily with the application and will check that all documents are complete. They will also be happy to help you with any other questions you may have about visas, insurance and accommodation. Check andyeducation.com to see California State University Long Beach study abroad opportunities.
The earlier the application is received from the respective university, the faster you can take care of visas, accommodation, etc. Just a few weeks after applying, I was accepted and was able to take care of everything else. The visa in particular can take some time, as you need an appointment at one of the American consulates in Germany (e.g. Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin).
Before the semester
After my semester in Germany ended just a few days before the orientation week in the US started, I tried to organize everything early. So I was already looking for a flat share from home, which I found via the “CSULB Roommate Finder” on Facebook. Many internationals only find their roommates on site, but I can recommend that you do this beforehand. However, it should be noted that you usually share a room, since the prices are also very high in Long Beach and you have to reckon with $500-600 even for a shared room. Most students and especially internationals live near the Traffic Circle in apartment complexes likeBeverly Plaza, Circle Apartments etc. If you are looking for typical college life, then on-campushousing is an alternative. But there are mainly freshmen and there are only limited places, so only very few internationals live there.
Before the semester started, I was able to reserve two courses with Kelly’s help from the Study@theBeach Office. I got into the other two through the well-known course crashing. You have to ask the professors themselves at the beginning of the semester to be accepted into the course if there is still space. In most cases this works, but the business courses in particular fill up quickly and American students get to choose first. Some courses also have so-called prerequisites, i.e. prior knowledge that you must have beforehand. In addition, most courses in the USA are more like seminars as lectures. I took a total of four courses, most of them do that, and I was able to have all of them credited to my university in Passau. In the US, the final grade almost always consists of many small tests, projects, presentations, or term papers. So you have assignments or tests almost every week and also have a lot to do during the semester .
Metropolitan Problems & Solutions (GEOG467) with Dr. Jocoy was certainly the most interesting but also the most time-consuming and difficult course. We had several projects where we had to do case studies in Long Beach (e.g. bike count, road analysis) and then give presentations or write essays. We also had to write a term paper, two tests and weekly discussions. In California Culture (AMST350) at Brande Jackson there were various projects where we had to create a business plan with our own website, create a California narrative with an Instagram page or podcasts with interviews. Although the projects involved a lot of work, they were really fun. InInternational Marketing (MKTG480) with Dr. Siddiqi, we had to give several presentations in groups and write homework. The course gave an interesting overview of how business is done in different countries and what needs to be considered when working together. My fourth course International Business (CBA300) with Dr. Macaulay was the only lecture and course where I only had exams and quizzes. Some of the topics were similar to International Marketing. Since you have submissions and tests every week, there is a lot to do for the university, but many of us had Fridays off and we were able to use the weekends to travel together.
California is great for this because there are an incredible number of exciting corners nearby. I traveled a lot with friends and was able to see California and the surrounding states. We’ve visited cities like San Francisco, San Diego, and Las Vegas, hiked and camped at the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree and Sequoia National Parks, and even spent a weekend in Mexico at Playa del Rosarito. After the semester, I can recommend taking advantage of the grace period to stay in the country a few weeks longer. So in December I’m going to Washington State for Christmasto visit my former exchange family and in January before heading back home to the East Coast for 3 weeks to Montreal, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC.
Unfortunately, you have to expect quite high costs for a semester abroad in the USA. Just tuition, visa, insurance and airfare add up to almost $10,000, and that doesn’t include rent, living expenses, etc. If you then want to do trips on the weekends from time to time or add a little time before or after the semester, you can get up to $15,000 to 20,000 very quickly. In order to reduce the costs at least a little, you can apply for various scholarships. The Promos scholarship is particularly suitable for one semester that the universities in Germany usually assign themselves and if you are on the road for a whole year, you can apply to the DAAD. Nevertheless, I can absolutely recommend a semester abroad at the CSULB.
The time in Long Beach was really great. I’ve always wanted to delve deeper into American culture and college life. I’ve met an incredible number of nice people with whom I will definitely keep in touch for a long time. Together we have visited great cities and national parks and experienced wonderful adventures. If you have the chance to do a semester abroad, then definitely take it! You won’t regret it and it will be one of the best times of your life!