University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: hotel management
Study type: semester abroad
In summary, it can be said that the semester abroad in Long Beach was a great time. The six months have enriched my life in many ways. For one thing, my English has improved a lot. My vocabulary has increased significantly and I have learned many new idioms. On the other hand, I have become more independent and open. Because I lived with many international students, I got to know many new cultures and religions. I also really enjoyed studying at CSULB, which made me realize that studying for Americans means a lot more than just going to classes. Student life at the CSULB consists of a variety of clubs, sports facilities, associations and sororities and fraternities. Every day there are actions, concerts and auctions for a good cause. University life at the CSULB does not focus so much on good grades, but rather on students belonging to a club/association and gaining other qualifications such as soft skills alongside their studies. Finally, with regard to the courses, it can be said that studying at the CSULB is more similar to the German upper level (grades 11-13). You have to go to the lectures, you have to take part, ie contribute orally, you have to do a lot of homework and there are several examinations such as exams, presentations and homework required. Overall, the study abroad had more of an academic character and did not offer much freedom to decide for yourself what and how you would like to learn. Therefore, I can finally say that I like studying at a German university better and that the students learn more independently. I really enjoyed life in Long Beach. Check act-test-centers.com to see SJSU study abroad opportunities.
The almost always summery temperatures, the proximity to the Pacific and the opportunity to see many attractions (e.g. Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas) made the semester abroad an unforgettable experience that I didn’t want to miss more. I especially liked the mentality of the Californians. They are very easygoing, hospitable and helpful. Don’t forget that you absolutely need a car in the USA. Public transport is not very reliable and the distances are much longer than in Germany.
All in all, I really enjoyed the semester abroad and was able to gain a lot of great experiences. I was able to gain many new insights into foreign cultures and saw many beautiful different landscapes and cities in California, Nevada and Arizona. I had arranged my schedule so that I only had to go to uni on Mondays and Wednesdays. This gave me a lot of time to travel and I was able to explore San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Co.
Application process and lead time
I got the place with the help of this agency: MicroEdu (http: //www.MicroEdu.com/). Through e-mail contact with MicroEdu, I found out which documents were required for my application:
– Copy of a valid passport
– Letter of application from the CSULB
– Bank confirmation so that I could show financial security – Language certificate
– Current grade sheet
– Learning Agreement
MicroEdu sent my application to CSULB. The application fee is US$150. If you do not get or accept the place, this fee will not be refunded. After about four weeks I received my confirmation. The CSULB also gave me all the information I needed about accommodation (on and off campus), university life, an airport shuttle and health insurance. In addition, with my acceptance, I received my I-20 form, which I needed for my visa. Then I was able to make an appointment with the embassy.
Preparation, financing, accommodation, visa
All in all, the planning took almost eight months. After I had the acceptance, I booked my flight, took care of my visa and accommodation.
To get a visa, you have to go to an American embassy in person. I made an appointment with the American Embassy in Berlin. You make the appointment online and you had to pay the application fees and the SEVIS fees in advance. Overall, the visa without the trip to Berlin costs around 250 euros. I then had a small interview at the embassy in which I was asked why I wanted to go to the USA and for how long. It was harmless!
I financed my semester abroad on the one hand with savings and on the other hand with Auslandsbafög. So I submitted an application to the Studierendenwerk Hamburg about six months before the start of the trip. This Bafög office is responsible for semesters abroad in the USA.
A major organizational and nerve-wracking point was finding an apartment. The search for an apartment was therefore the most difficult part of the whole semester abroad. I didn’t want to live on campus because the rents are very high and you often have to share a room. So I searched for “off campus housing”. I wanted to look for and of course find my apartment/room for Long Beach from Germany in advance. After numerous contacts with people from roommates.com/craigslist.com/rentline.com/apartments.com, my search for an apartment was unsuccessful for weeks. During my research I found the Elizabeth Manor Corporation (http: //elizabethmanor.com/location.html). This company rents two apartment buildings to mainly international students of the CSULB. So I contacted the company and asked about rent, apartment, Deposit, etc. I was lucky that there was a room left and I signed the lease and paid the deposit. My room was furnished and was on the top floor of the apartment building. The room had a bed, a small desk with a chair, a wardrobe and a chest of drawers. I paid US$680 a month for my almost 12 square meter room. The house is about 3 miles to the CSULB and about a 10 minute walk to the beach which is a really great location. The house is right between Long Beach Downtown and the university. equipped with a wardrobe and a chest of drawers. I paid US$680 a month for my almost 12 square meter room. The house is about 3 miles to the CSULB and about a 10 minute walk to the beach which is a really great location. The house is right between Long Beach Downtown and the university. equipped with a wardrobe and a chest of drawers. I paid US$680 a month for my almost 12 square meter room. The house is about 3 miles to the CSULB and about a 10 minute walk to the beach which is a really great location. The house is right between Long Beach Downtown and the university.
The courses are chosen on site after the orientation week through the so-called “course crashing”. You have to look online in advance which courses still have free places and then you go to these in the first week and ask the professor if you can take part in the course and then you get a signature. If the courses are too full, you will not get a signature and are therefore not allowed to participate. With this principle, you attend about four to five lectures every day in the first two weeks and “beg” the lecturers to come to their course. After about two weeks, the “course crashes” finally came to an end and I had collected all the signatures. My choice of course was approved again by the ALI and the official study at the CSULB could begin:
I took four courses at CSULB:
1. Hotel and Lodging Management
This course took place twice a week for 75 minutes each time with about 30 students. In terms of content, he dealt with the roles and tasks of the individual departments in hotels (front desk, housekeeping, F&B, catering/banquet, etc.). “Current issues” prepared by the students were discussed weekly. In addition, we held presentations in groups about hotels of our choice and their current problems and possible solutions. In addition, a “Midterm Exam” and a “Final Exam” were written. These exams consisted of 85 percent multiple choice questions and 15 percent small questions that could be answered freely in a few sentences. Overall, the quality of the lecture was rather average. The content was very simple and superficial. Themes were often repeated. Nevertheless, an attempt was made to deal with current topics and events. A “field trip” to the Marriot Courtyard enabled us to see the theoretical knowledge we had learned in practice and to speak to a general manager. Overall, the course offered an overview of the hotel industry with a special focus on the US market.
2. Meeting planning
This course took place once a week for 2 ½ hours. In terms of content, it was about different types of meetings (trade fairs, conferences, congresses, seminars, workshops, etc.) and their planning, organization and implementation. One focus was on the role of the meeting planner, who acts and mediates between the hotel and the organizer. There was a course book specifically for this course that was covered chapter by chapter each week. The book cost around US$80. Our professor, catering manager at the Anaheim Hilton, repeated the content of the chapter orally every week and we were able to write down the most important things using a script she had prepared. After each lecture, a short multiple choice test was written. This note counted towards the “Participation” note at the end. In addition, 3 multiple choice questions exams were written and a group presentation. My group had to plan and organize a fictitious fair for a football association. The highlight of the course was the certification for the event software “cvent”. After an introduction to the software, everyone had to take an online exam and after passing the exam, everyone was certified. Overall, I really liked this course. It gave me an insight into a market that was new to me and aroused my interest in a future career as a meeting planner. everyone had to take an online exam and after passing the exam everyone was certified. Overall, I really liked this course. It gave me an insight into a market that was new to me and aroused my interest in a future career as a meeting planner. everyone had to take an online exam and after passing the exam everyone was certified. Overall, I really liked this course. It gave me an insight into a market that was new to me and aroused my interest in a future career as a meeting planner.
3. Sociology for women
This course took place twice a week for 75 minutes each time. No exams were written as an examination performance, only homework. This course dealt with the position of women in the media, in advertising, in religion and in politics in different countries. The focus of the entire course was equality between women and men. This course opened my eyes to things I didn’t even know existed. I personally liked this course best. This course was less about any models, numbers, formulas or theories. The student was the focus of attention as a person and was actively encouraged to think in order to shape his or her own life. Each lecture started with a current news item from the media, which offered new topics for discussion. In terms of methodology, films were alternately watched and lectures held. Overall, this course was very interesting, exciting and could even change me.
4. Introduction to leisure services
This course also took place twice a week. Two exams, a presentation with a written elaboration and several written homework assignments were required as part of the examination. In terms of content, the focus was on the importance and diversity of leisure sciences. Recreational activities, whether planned, unstructured, spontaneous, or regular, have physical, psychological, social, and educational benefits that are paramount to living a healthy and happy life. The course conveyed these aspects vividly: many guest speakers, a “field trip” to the CSULB’s own Japanese Garden and short film contributions. The course was very varied in terms of teaching methodology: lectures, talks by guest speakers, lots of group work, presentations, role-plays, quizzes and films.
I recommend prospective students to do a semester abroad at California State University Long Beach. Thanks to the very good support from MicroEdu in Germany and the impeccable support from the American Language Institute at the university, my semester abroad was an unforgettably great experience that I wouldn’t want to miss. Living and traveling in California is one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had and I recommend everyone to do a semester abroad in California. The almost always summery temperatures, the diverse nature (mountains, beaches, deserts) and beautiful and interesting cities like LA and San Francisco make the semester abroad one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. However, one should not forget that there are also many costs to be incurred, because life (rent, food, car, mobile phone, travel) can be very expensive. The tuition fees of US$ 4700 are also very high. You should also be able to be flexible in your choice of course. Since you “crash” the courses in the first few weeks of the semester, the probability of getting the courses you want is very limited. Honestly, studying isn’t the main focus when you live in California. Also, I highly recommend renting a car or buying one cheaply as public transportation in Long Beach is not reliable. Regarding the accommodation, it is advisable to inform yourself well and to move in with other international students. Since you “crash” the courses in the first few weeks of the semester, the probability of getting the courses you want is very limited. Honestly, studying isn’t the main focus when you live in California. Also, I highly recommend renting a car or buying one cheaply as public transportation in Long Beach is not reliable. Regarding the accommodation, it is advisable to inform yourself well and to move in with other international students.
All in all, I recommend prospective students to start planning their semester abroad early enough. The better prepared you are, the less stressful the whole semester abroad is.