University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business Administration, Marketing
Study type: semester abroad
I did a semester abroad at California State University Long Beach (CSULB). It has always been my wish to see an American college. Check andyeducation.com to see California State University Los Angeles study abroad opportunities.
I chose CSULB for the following reasons :
- California State University vs. University of California
- When researching universities in California, one encounters this difference. It is said that the reputation or the quality of education at a UC is better than at a California State University. I can’t say if that’s really the case. Nevertheless, I decided to go to a state university because the tuition fees were significantly cheaper than those at a UC. In hindsight I wouldn’t say the university or the content was bad! The CSULB was particularly good for a semester abroad, in which other impressions are important in addition to the university.
- Geographically, the CSULB is very well located. You need:
- less than 45 minutes to Santa Monica/Venice
- less than 20 minutes to Huntington Beach
- less than 45 minutes to Hollywood
- 6.5 hours to the Grand Canyon
- 6 hours to San Francisco
I went to the US when I was 20 and turned 21 there. When you’re under 25 it gets very expensive to rent a car because of the Young Driver’s Fee. Renting a car as a 21-year-old often costs twice as much as a 25-year-old would pay. Fortunately, there is a way around it: You take out AAA insurance that cooperates with Hertz. This insurance is valid for 1 year and costs differently depending on the state, but in my case it was 75 USD. If you rent a rental car for more than three days in total, it’s worth taking out insurance: the “Young Driver’s Fee” does not apply and you get a 20 percent discount from Hertz. You also get other benefits as a member, such as discounted ticketsfor Universal Studios, for hotels or Disneyland. Personally, I don’t recommend Disneyland because it’s very kid-friendly and it’s extremely expensive (about $100 for a one-day ticket). If you are looking for rollercoasters, go to Sixflags ! Admission costs around 60 USD, but it is definitely worthit.
I flew to Los Angeles without a specific plan. Of course, that made things difficult at the beginning. Still, I wouldn’t necessarily say it was the wrong way. I didn’t want to commit myself to accommodation in Germany that I had never seen before. In addition, due to the bachelor thesis, Christmas etc. there was little time.
I found my accommodation in Long Beach through a Facebook group. Spend a full day researching to find a few options. I was kindly supported on site by CSULB staff. These employees are part of the “ Study Abroad Team ”. This team takes care oforganizational matters related to studying, such as the application process, determining the timetable, etc.
I am very happy that I decided against on-campus housing. This variant seems the easiest, but it is also the most expensive and limits you drastically. For example, you have to make a meal plan because you can’t cook in the dorms. In addition, the premises are quite small; in the worst case, you share a small room with up to two other people. The food in the so-called dining halls is ok from time to time, but if you want to cook for yourselfand who want to take the time should keep in mind that cooking is not an option in on-campus housing.
Of course, the proximity to the campus is an advantage, but this argument was not decisive for me. Depending on what the timetable looks like, it can also be the case that you only have courses two days a week, like me. Since I still live at home in Germany, living and cooking independently in California was another experience for me. I would highly recommend the apartments in the Pathways Apartment complex.
- Less than 10 minutes to the university by bike
- Less than 5 minutes to Target (supermarket)
- Entire apartment is furnished
- Two rooms each with 2 beds + desk + wardrobe, 2 bathrooms, furnished living room, TV + Netflix, 2 balconies, washing machine, dryer, equipped kitchen
- (small) gym, swimming pool + jacuzzi in the complex
- “Clubhouse” with a pool table in the complex
- Each roommate concludes a separate rental agreement with Kapi-Residence
- A cleaning team visits once a month
- Kapi-Residence is the organization that owns apartments in the Pathways Apartment complex
- Payment, rental contracts, contact everything runs through one portal, payment is very easy
- Monthly Rental : All inclusive price $875 + $25 processing fee
It should be clear to you how much time you have outside of the university. The system there is very different than in Europe/Germany:
- 2 midterms
- 1 final
- Graded group work
- Essays / Papers
Although the content is not necessarily more difficult or more than in Germany, you always have to do something for the university. I personally thought it was really cool to study and work in the clubhouse. Or in my room, where I also had a desk.
In summary, the time was an enrichment and brought me a lot. The above points have improved my stay abroad. Therefore, I would like to give everyone the following: take out this AAA insurance policy as early as possible and use the time with a car. California is so big and has so many facets, it’s impossible to take full advantage of it without a car. Furthermore, living has been very important to me: I probably spent most of my free time at the pool in the complex.