University: California State University Los Angeles
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I’m Florian, 22 and in 2012 I studied a quarter at the CSULA, my 5th semester of business administration..
I wanted to go to America with a friend from my university. It didn’t really matter whether it was on the east or west coast, the main thing was sun and water! We came across MicroEdu relatively quickly and were a little skeptical at the beginning whether it would really work that easily with it – and then for free. Check educationvv.com to see University of California Irvine Exchange Program.
We weren’t disappointed and even though all the preparation stuff with visas etc. is still really annoying and (in my opinion) far too expensive, I think I would have spent many more hours without MicroEdu.
Ultimately, our choice fell on the CSULA. In hindsight, I can’t say exactly why. In any case, it was inexpensive and the courses fitted in well with our studies. In addition, the quarters, which were only 10 weeks long, were very convenient for us, since we were both studying dual studies and could only cover 4 months with time off and vacation, a “real” semester would have been difficult to reconcile with our employers. In addition, the CSULA is relatively cheap.
Living in Los Angeles is one of those things. If you find an apartment under $700/month, you live cheaply! At the beginning we were taken in by a scammer. We had booked an apartment from Germany and had already paid the deposit and the first rent, admittedly… quite naive. There was no trace of the landlord on site. There was talk of identity theft and our travel budget had shrunk noticeably. So once again the hint: Pay money for NOTHING without you having seen it beforehand and advances and things like that with rent anyway.
In the end we got an apartment in Monterey Park (small China Town) for $1200/month. Living in West Hollywood or Hollywood in general is highly recommended if you can afford it. Life is pumping there and there is enough to discover for many nights. But the price is also very high.
With 20,000 students, CSULA’s campus is an average size for LA and one of the larger Cal. States.
For me, coming from a small college with 1000 students, the campus was exactly what I wanted: big, lots to see, people from all kinds of cultures, fraternities, clubs, events, etc.. Which is clear to you should be is that there is only 10% Caucasians (white). Mexicans are the most represented with 60%, which is also reflected in the Spanish spoken everywhere and the name of the largest student fraternity: Hermanos Unidos.
For me, the teaching was similar to that in Germany, but it is probably very schooly for most “real” students. Small groups, homework, project work. Overall, one has to say that the level is rather low. None of the international students we got to know had any difficulties in the field of business – quite the contrary. You didn’t have to study for midterms and finals. All questions were known and the most difficult calculation in my investment class in the final required at most advanced mathematics. In addition, there are only about 12-16 attendance hours/week anyway, depending on how many courses you take. I therefore found the CSULA only partially suitable for academic further education.
The exciting part in Los Angeles:
Los Angeles is not described as a cultural “melting pot” for nothing. You only have to stroll along the promenade of Venice Beach in the early evening to get an impression of the diversity in LA. From the classic family to Argentinian street artists to spaced-out Rastafarians, everything is there. The nightlife is varied but also not very cheap. As a man, you always pay stately entrance fees in clubs ($15 and more) and should therefore quickly deal with dorm parties and other party alternatives. There are enough street parties, college beach parties and such, you just have to know where and when.
In general there are a lot of events. Whether it’s Halloween with a gigantic atmosphere and 500,000 people in West Hollywood or a lecture by the Korean Consul – there’s always something to experience.
One of the things I liked best was the proximity to all the film studios. I’m quite a series junkie, so I made sure to be on all of my favorite shows (Two and a half men, Two Broke Girls, Jimmy Kimmel, etc.). In exchange for a good mood and permission to broadcast the laughter, studios such as Warner Brothers and co. to be part of a broadcast as a live audience for free. You have to be there in good time, because whoever comes first will also get the tickets (inform yourself beforehand on the Internet!) but with enough stamina you can be there for everything.
Los Angeles is an ideal starting point for trips to all corners of Southern California. It is recommended to have a rental car or to buy a car that you end up selling again. Depending on how familiar you are with something like this. We preferred to rent. Arrow Carrental near the airport rents cars with no Under-25 fee. That makes the whole thing much cheaper for people of our age. We did weekend trips (with all the holidays on Mondays sometimes 4 day trips – we always had Fridays off) to San Diego, Las Vegas, Riverside, San Francisco, Big Bear Lake and national parks like the Sequioa with the largest tree in the world. These trips are definitely what will stay with me the longest from America!
If you don’t mind multiculturalism and a slightly lower level of study, the CSULA is the right place for you. Easy organization, lots of free time and the great environment make it easy to discover California and let the months fly by.