University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: mechanical engineering
Study type: semester abroad
Foreword to my background:
I’m studying mechanical engineering at Esslingen University, currently in the 9th semester (bachelor’s thesis). I decided to do a voluntary semester abroad as a free mover in the 2017/2018 winter semester in California. Since no English is taught in my degree program, it was all the more important for me to prepare myself personally for my professional future in international assignments. So my priority was to improve my English skills. Check andyeducation.com to see California State University San Marcos study abroad opportunities.
Preparation for the semester abroad:
In contrast to the applications to partner universities of our university, my preparation differed only to a limited extent. I decided to deal with MicroEdu, who represent the communication link between the university and you personally (i.e. comparable to your university if you go to a partner university). All information and country- specific contact persons can be found on the MicroEdu homepage. For my part, I can only recommend the 100% free service.
Housing situation in Long Beach, California:
I started my search very early on and took a variety of paths to do so. You’ll find plenty of Facebook groups you can use to get together in advance, and there are also a few links on the California State University Long Beach homepage (http: //www.ccpe.csulb.edu/international/documents/spdocuments/documents_2- april27.pdf). I decided on an off-campus living situation and became aware of the Housing Elizabeth Manor via the California State Long Beach homepage. On average, 12 international as well as national students live there under one roof. With a private room price of $750, it was a fair price for the Los Angeles area. Also this accommodation I can recommend it, the landlady is very open and introduces you to the world of Long Beach after your arrival (my first step was the In-N-Out Burger ). I definitely advise you to look for an apartment early, as this is definitely one of the more complicated parts.
To California State University Long Beach:
The university is a city. From studying to lunch, to going to the hairdresser, you will find everything here! I decided to study less technical subjects based on personal learning goals. As mentioned above, my priority was clearly the language.
In general, one can confirm the cliché that the study system is more academic compared to Germany. For you, this means: homework, compulsory attendance, small classes, tests and midterms. In return, you can also confirm the other positive cliché: the range of sports is amazing, two-storey gym, lots of courses and consistently nice weather. Use that!
Leisure and private life:
Yes, life ticks differently. Yes, you get used to it quickly and yes, time flies by. I had a rental car with a roommate for the entire time. If you want to surf or learn to surf a must and the best decision I could have made. It’s all very spacious and public transport is always late and cancelled. The best car booking site for people over the age of 25 is definitely www.uscarhire.com.
You get to know new people quickly, mostly internationals, your English comes if you want it, but not too badly. You have the chance to attend a lot of private home parties, or to go downtown LA. You always have the sea around you and you are in a great starting point for weekend trips to other locations (there is so much to see).
Long Beach with land and people:
The city of Long Beach can sometimes raise false expectations. The beach is really big, but unfortunately you can’t really go swimming there, because it’s more like a large harbor basin and a kind of wall was built in the middle of the sea. However, since you have a large selection of other great beaches next door, this is not a problem in itself. You can always experience great sunsets directly over the sea on the west coast.
There are long paths right on the beach where many people go jogging and cycling. Since the paths are all flat, it is very suitable for this. In general, you can see a lot of young and sporty people in the Long Beach area.
Summary and conclusion of my semester abroad:
As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed the time. Sure, Long Beach has one or the other criminal corner, one or the other bike is stolen from time to time, but shootings or the like really only happen in certain corners. So don’t worry. If you are also one of the world explorers and curiosity forces you to take weekend trips, I would recommend a realistic budget of €17,000-20,000, all in all.