University: California State University Los Angeles
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: media
Study type: semester abroad
Admittedly, the organization of my semester abroad worried me a lot at first, because I didn’t have much time and was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get everything under one roof. Looking back, however, everything went smoothly and thanks to the help of MicroEdu and the wealth of information and guidance, almost no major problems or obstacles arose along the way. Right from the start you have a contact person who will immediately help you with any questions. I am very grateful that I had this help : ). Check educationvv.com to see Griffith College Dublin Exchange Program.
During my time in LA, I stayed with a family who privately rented rooms in their home to college students and young professionals. That was great for getting to know everyday, typically American life. I found my room (with private bathroom) on Craigslist, but it was also listed on Airbnb. The house was in San Gabriel, a very quiet and safe area east of the uni. I certainly only promised my accommodation at relatively short notice (about a week before departure), but I’m glad it worked out and I didn’t have to look for it on site. If you are lucky enough to find a room earlier, you will certainly save yourself a lot of stress;).
Of course, the first thing you should be prepared for is that things can get a bit more expensive in LA. The traffic can also be depressing, everything just takes a little longer than I was used to in Germany. For this reason – and a few others – I also decided against buying a car. While public transportation in LA isn’t the best, my journey to uni was pretty smooth and surprisingly quick. The recreational opportunities are of course limitless in this city and the surrounding areas.
I could already imagine that you have to expect a different level of teaching in the USA than in Germany. Nevertheless, I was surprised at how well I got along in the English lectures and everyday study life in general. The effort may be significantly higher than at home, mainly because it is spread over the entire semester, but the level of the assignments is significantly lower.
As an international student, I was very well received at CSULA, both by my fellow students and by the professors. In contrast to subjects like business administration, where there are often many international students in a course, I was the only non-American with the exception of one student from England.
What I also didn’t expect was the wide range of dining options on campus. There are several fast food chains as well as pizza and sushi. It also has its own Starbucks and a shop with fresh juices and smoothies.
If any problems should arise during the semester, you can rely not only on MicroEdu but also on the help of the International Office on site.
In addition to the organization that has to be done before the start of the semester, I was also very concerned about class crashing at American universities. A few days before departure, I wandered around my home university to get confirmation of previous knowledge for the courses I wanted. In all the courses I introduced myself to at CSULA, nobody really wanted to see them. Since I only went to open courses where there were still places available, it was not a problem to get the corresponding signature from the professor.
In the end I went to five courses in the first week, got a signature for each one and then only had to decide on four of the courses.
Art 2800—World Animation History
As the name suggests, this course deals with the history of animation and the different cultural influences. Of course, some films are watched and analyzed accordingly. The exam consists of a mid-term and final exam (each an analysis of an animation) as well as a journal of notes and weekly quizzes that can be completed at home using the lecture notes.
Art 3830—Digital Modeling
I really enjoyed digital modeling as the theory part was minimal and most of the time could be used to work on your own models. We worked with the software Maya, the corresponding tasks were very varied and became more and more demanding as the semester progressed. Although prerequisites – i.e. courses that have previously been attended – are entered, practically no previous knowledge is required. The program and processes are explained and demonstrated at a very comfortable pace from the start. The course consists of a lecture and a practical part. However, the transition is fluid.
TA 1520 Analysis of Drama and Theatre
This course probably had the most effort. In addition to a group presentation, there are two exams, a longer essay, regular quizzes and a few mini-essays over the course of the semester. But that shouldn’t stop you from choosing this course if it interests you. It’s a lot of fun and the many quizzes and assignments should really only help to consolidate your knowledge and not screw up your grades. The plays you should read will be made available to you digitally.
TVF 2650 – Introduction to Screenwriting
Introduction to Screenwriting also consisted of a lecture and a “laboratory part”. The lectures imparted the basic knowledge about the structure and characteristics of a good screenplay and only took place during the first half of the semester. They then worked on their own screenplay in the laboratory. Great importance was attached to giving and receiving feedback. The fellow students are kept up to date with regard to the development of their own script and give great tips that have helped me a lot personally.
For the course it was necessary to buy a reader (approx. $25) in which one could read everything again and which contained many examples.
In addition to this reader, however, I didn’t have to buy any books or anything else for my courses, which suited me very well.
Looking back, I can only recommend such an experience to everyone. I have developed a lot during this time. This stay in Los Angeles also had nothing but advantages for my studies and future career. Of course, all this is also a question of costs, but I can only recommend a semester abroad. The people of LA are always nice and helpful and the city itself has a lot to offer. It never gets boring, both at the university and in my free time, which made my stay a really nice experience.