University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Art history, media production, media, media management, media studies
Study type: semester abroad
I applied for a semester abroad at California State University Long Beach in June. Despite the preparation time of only two months, everything went very well. Because I had already completed a semester abroad with MicroEdu in the USA, I knew what steps I had to take. The MicroEdu Team was always a great contact for further questions. I was also lucky and was able to submit my transcript from California State University Fullerton as proof of my language skills.However, I would advise anyone who is applying for a semester abroad for the first time to apply to apply as early as possible. Check andyeducation.com to see University of California Davis study abroad opportunities.
About two weeks after I applied, I was accepted and was able to apply for a visa appointment. Here I got an appointment two weeks before the start of the university, which would have been pretty tight. However, I was lucky and new dates were added and I was able to switch to a date that was three weeks before the start of university. After I was in the embassy, I got my ID and visa in the mail about a week later.
I chose a host family for accommodation. The university lists various organizations on its website. I chose one of the organizations and wrote to it. Ten different host families were suggested to me, from which I should write out my three favourites. I was lucky and one of my favorites was still available. My host family consisted of a married couple, an eight-year-old son, a grandmother and an aunt. Sounds like a lot of people. However, the house was huge. There was a basketball hoop, air hockey, table football, pool… I was also lucky enough to walk from my host family’s front door to the lecture hall – yes I actually timed it – for seven minutes on footneeded.
Other options for finding accommodation include the university’s on-campus housing program, which is almost three times more expensive than a host family and you have to share a room in the student residence. Otherwise there are a few apartment complexes that are easily accessible, for which roommates are often sought via the CSULB Roommate Finder Facebook group. Some of my friends have also found places to stay through AirBnb.
The first week was great because the university offered a lot of activities where you could meet a lot of new people. There is also a kind of small fair on the campus during the first week of the winter semester, where some of the clubs introduce themselves.
I took courses in Art History and Film & Electronic Art. At the beginning of the semester, I was sure of one course and therefore had to crash at least two more courses in order to get the nine credits I need as a master’s student. The course I certainly took was 19th Century Photography (AH500), a course I definitely recommend. The course was taught by Professor Stout, a young motivated professor. Although the course with about 30-40 students was the largest course I had, the professor was very responsive to all students.
In the Film & Electronic Art courses, you should definitely try your luck in the second week, as there were also students who dropped out of the courses after the first week. I was lucky enough to get into the directing course and in my semester I was teaching a director from Hollywood who had already made films with Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie. Something like that would never be possible in Germany.
The university system in the USA is different than in Germany, attendance is compulsory in almost all courses, tests, midterms, papers and finals are written. However, there are also some extra credits that you can use to improve your grade. Many Americans first look at Ratemyprofessor before choosing their courses, because there you get a good overview of the content, the professor and their grading system.
There is something for everyone here, from the business club to cheerleading to rowing a dragon boat. I chose the film club and the sailing club. The film club is free. The great thing about the club is that it often draws attention to film events and announces where temporary workers are looking for short films. The club will also shoot a short film itself in the summer semester. It was really cool that I was able to go to an Oscar event through the film club.
I spontaneously joined the sailing club. I have to say that I have never sailed before. The cool thing about the club is that you can take part in tournaments from other universities on the weekends. So I was with the club in San Diego and Santa Barbara. The tournaments are designed for fun, especially in the beginner class, and the respective universities always organize house parties where you get to know students from other universities. In the summer semester, the club also takes part in the competition organized by the Hawaii Pacific University, for which it then goes to Hawaii for a week.
Not a club, but where you can gain shooting experience as a student is at 22-West-Media. I worked there as a volunteer during the semester.
It feels like you can do anything here: Beach, parties, national parks, amusement parks, TV shows, film premieres, sporting events, concerts… I’ve been to the American Music Awards, Ellen Degeneres, James Corden, Fuller House, Outmatched, The Voice, among others, LA Rams, Lakers…. The best thing to do is to check the websites tv-tickets.com and 1iota to see if there are free concerts or TV shows. In terms of beaches, I think the ones in Laguna Beach are the most beautiful. Las Vegas is the best place to party, check your courses to see if there are people who know promoters and download the Discotech app. Because otherwise you end up paying $120 for a party that you could have actually come to for free. Another tip for men is to take women with you, it is often the case that men can get into clubs for free at a ratio of 1: 1. In Long Beach itself there is not so much going on, there are a few bars on 2nd Street. House parties are almost always stopped by the police before 1am. Otherwise there are still a few good electro clubs in Los Angeles, but they often close at 2 a.m.
Comparison: CSU Fullerton & CSU Long Beach
- CSULB is only 10 minutes from the beach.
- Steven Spielberg went to CSULB and funded the film department.
- CSULB had a better orientation week and midterm excursions.
- CSUF has cheaper tuition.
- CSUF has cheaper prices and deals at Campus Store.
- CSUF here I could also borrow video equipment, which unfortunately wasn’t possible at the CSULB.
- Both universities have good professors.
- Unfortunately, it is difficult to compare the courses from both universities, as I had more practical courses in Long Beach. Grade-wise, my grades at CSULB were better.
I can recommend a semester abroad with MicroEdu to everyone, because with MicroEdu you always know what the next step is and therefore a smooth process is guaranteed. Furthermore, you gain a lot of new experiences during the semester abroad, you get to know new people and cultures.