University: California State University Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Economics, English / American Studies
Study type: semester abroad
After visiting my relatives in California a few years ago, it was clear to me that I would like to live there again for a longer period of time. The varied landscape, the weather and the open and friendly population fascinated me and made me curious. My second subject, English, made a semester abroad in the USA the perfect choice. Since the beginning of my studies, I have done a lot of research into which universities are suitable for this and which are suitable for me. On the recommendation of a friend, I came across MicroEdu in Munster, where I was studying. With the help and extensive advice of MicroEdu, I finally settled on California State University Long Beach. Check andyeducation.com to see University of California Santa Barbara study abroad opportunities.
Application and preparation
I started the concrete preparations for my semester abroad about eight months beforehand. The application process was relatively easy thanks to MicroEdu’s application documents, which also included a checklist. After I had all the documents together, I submitted my application to MicroEdu and about three weeks later I had the confirmation from the university in my mailbox. This came again with a very helpful information package from MicroEdu, which contained all the necessary information on how to proceed, such as applying for a visa, paying the tuition fees, start of semester etc. included. This made it easier to apply for the visa and all the organizational things that still had to be done before my semester @ the beach.
House hunting and living in Long Beach
As expected, finding an apartment was very difficult. Many testimonials from previous students at the university indicated that it would be easier to look for an apartment locally. I had teamed up with a fellow student and decided to look for a place to stay in Long Beach together. This was very difficult from Germany because we didn’t want to sign anything that we hadn’t seen before. We decided to book the Motel 6 near the university for the first week. We arrived a week before the start of the orientation week and immediately started looking for accommodation. The first thing we bought was a bicycle so that we could be mobile immediately. We were lucky and found on the second dayA beautiful newly refurbished 2 bed / 2 bathroom apartment in the Marbrisa apartment complex. After there was no prospect of a vacant apartment in the “Alvista” apartments before mid-September, we got the tip to ask “Marbrisa”. We asked there personally in the leasing office and got the last free apartment.
We then found three more German flatmates in the MicroEdu Facebook group. The “Marbrisa” apartments are located just like Beverly Plaza and the “Alvista” apartments near the traffic circle and it is only 15 minutes by bike or bus to the university. The bus stop is right in front of the door and the supermarket and the apartment complexes “Beverly Plaza” and “Alvista” can be reached in just a few minutes on foot. In contrast to the other apartment complexes, fewer students live here, but more families. The facility is very clean and well maintained and was newly renovated when we were there. We felt very comfortable and would recommend it to anyone. The prices for these apartments do not differ much: we paid $540 a month for a shared room, and you have to add the additional costs of about $20-30 per month and per person. This is the price you pay roughly in all other apartments. In addition, there is the deposit, which you have to pay almost everywhere. We paid a total of $3000 bail. Housing prices and life are very expensive in Long Beach. Food, cosmetics and everything you need for daily use is very expensive compared to Germany.
Study at CSULB
The university exceeded my expectations by a lot: everything I had read and seen from previous students was even more impressive in reality. The CSULB is a huge, green, manicured campus that has everything you need to live – almost a small town you could say. In the first week I was only on the road with my campus map to find my way around. However, I found my way around and settled in surprisingly quickly. University life is very different than in Germany: most students spend the whole day on campus. Between courses you can visit the huge “Recreation Center” (fitness studio) or enjoy lunch with friends outside in the sun with a large selection of different “restaurants”. The university has two Starbucks branches and a large “bookstore” in which there are not only books and all accessories for the university, but also electronics and a large merchandise department of the university. The bowling alley, the cinema and the pool at the university were just impressive for me.
The most stressful part of the semester abroad was definitely the second week, in which we had to “crash” or choose the courses. I knew that this wasn’t going to be easy, so I had selected a few courses that would be suitable for me. However, I would not have thought that choosing the course would be so strenuous. If this were also possible for us online, it would mean less effort and stress for everyone. In the end I received all the courses I wanted, but this was not apparent at the beginning and got on my nerves. In contrast to my home university in Germany, many tests and essays were written here during the semester, which were very time-consuming. In contrast to all the experiences I had heard before, these were also quite demanding.
Despite the university commitments, we still found enough time to experience and discover as much as possible of the endless opportunities that California and the USA offer. We usually rented a car at the weekend to explore California and the surrounding area in bright sunshine. Long Beach has the perfect location for this: Not only because of its close proximity to Hollywood, but also San Diego, Santa Barbara and many other beautiful places can be reached quickly by car. The public transport network is not very well developed and therefore a car is highly recommended. Long Beach is also very spacious, which is why a car is an advantage.
The semester abroad was a unique experience that I wouldn’t want to be without. Not only the experience of studying at a university in another country, but also living in a different culture was a unique experience. Even if all the tests and essays were sometimes exhausting, they helped me to progress, especially for my English studies. By writing the many texts, I was able to further improve my knowledge of English. Although German was spoken a lot outside of the university, as most of the international students also came from Germany, communicating in English in the courses helped me. The strenuous aspects of my semester abroad, such as looking for an apartment or choosing a course, also bring valuable experiences for life. By living closely together, you get to know yourself better and make experiences,
Finally, I would like to thank the MicroEdu team and especially Anja Heinz for the great advice and support. Thank you for always having an open ear for all questions and for always helping (even when we were thousands of kilometers away) with your competent advice. I always felt that I was in good hands!