University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Communication Studies, Media Studies
Study type: semester abroad
Before the US:
Proof of language proficiency
I spent weeks looking for someone at my university who would take me a free language test and I was told again and again that there is no such thing at the university. Surprise: after a few e-mails along the lines of “It doesn’t exist here, but you could try it there”, I naturally found a professor who did a language test with me in half an hour, which was super uncomplicated and free of charge rated with the best marks. So if you don’t want to spend hundreds of euros on a TOEFL test: Don’t give up! Check andyeducation.com to see California State University Northridge study abroad opportunities.
In Germany I get a whopping 13€ a month from the state and I tried it anyway. Definitely worth it ! I received the 4,600€ tuition fees through Auslands-BAföG and an additional 400€ for the first two months and 200€ in the third month. Thanks to the PROMOS grant, I spontaneously received €800 for the flight. I didn’t know everything until shortly before departure or only in the USA, so I think it’s a small risk, but then everything went well.
In the USA:
The CSULB is an absolute dream. Huge campus, green spaces, flowers and squirrels everywhere! The university has absolutely everything you could wish for, and we (especially towards the end) were often at the university from nine in the morning to eight at night – voluntarily! Since the tuition fees are not that high there either, I am convinced that the price-performance ratio here is absolutely top. I only have positive memories of the professors and also in the larger courses(about 100 people) they always knew my name (at my German university I don’t think a single person over 30 knows my name).
Since my German university was rather weak in terms of partner universities and I was in the USA as a freemover, I initially had a few problems with the course credits. I had presented many courses to my professors and almost always it was said: “You can’t get credit for that under any circumstances”. So I went to the USA with exactly 4 learning agreements, because more was simply not possible. In the USA, course crashing takes you to the courses you want and you have a week to do it. Unfortunately, in almost all courses it was said “sorry we don’t have free seats”. Then I got last-minute learning agreements via e-mail from a nice professor at my university in Germanygot me, who then saved me two hours before the deadline and took me to two more courses (which, however, do not correspond at all to my subject).
So: Definitely take as many learning agreements with you as possible, so that you really have a choice and don’t sit in business administration courses like I did as a media student (which fortunately turned out to be much better than I thought!).
Courses were as follows:
- German Cinema: My absolute favorite course ! We watched a German film every week and talked about it afterwards, the tests were great too! Light touch and entertainment in one.
- Intercultural Communication : Also great! If you get the chance to take a class with Aaron Cargile, do it! He really tried to give us values for life and in this course many even cried a few times.
- Principles of Management
- International business
My two business courses were a bit hard for me because I hadn’t learned anything about it at school or university. But the professors were incredibly nice, they always helped and I found the content really interesting and I don’t regret having chosen the courses. (Even if the general effort was high: quizzes every week, four exams, homework and in-class work, etc.)
Our insider tip was surfing. Officially you can only book 12 units and would have to pay extra for surfing. Our previous tenant told us to just go to Philip Poppler ‘s course and ask. Coach Pepi is a super nice retired surf instructor who was happy to take us in and just has fun teaching people how to do it. On our first day in the water, a group of dolphins came , one of which dived right under my board. Unfortunately, the waves were mostly too high for surfing afterwards and I’m glad we were able to experience that for free.
I’ve stayed at the Berverly Plaza with three internationals. I can absolutely recommend the apartment complex. The facility was beautiful, the shuttle to the university was right outside the front door and the apartment was clean. We took them over from Germans who had a ten-month contract. As a result, we “only” had to pay about 550 dollars and immediately had a few tips on internet, university and shopping. I met my roommates on Facebook and now I can count all three of them among my best friends!
I still remember how I was completely desperate at the beginning with all the information about universities, financing, housing and at my university here I had absolutely no contact person as a freemover. MicroEdu has helped me tremendously! I could call Maria as often as I wanted and ask any questions I had ten times and I was always helped and answered very nicely. Since it was all free, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with letting MicroEdu guide you. Thank you!
Don’t think too much about it, don’t be afraid and definitely do it! I’ve never seen a person regret their semester abroad and there’s a reason for that. You get to know so many great people and have so many experiences in one of the most beautiful places in the world! I have seen many West Coast locations, Mexico and Hawaii and it was worth every second of the preparation and expense! I’m already homesick for Long Beach and all the people who made this one of the best times of my life.