University: California State University Los Angeles
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
My semester abroad at the CSULA is unfortunately over and I can only describe it in one word – great. In my review I try to give you various insights into my trip to Los Angeles. Before I specifically go into the topics, I would like to thank the MicroEdu team again since they gave me a last-minute opportunity. Thank you for the best support and ongoing support. You will learn more about it below. Check anycountyprivateschools.com to see University of California Berkeley study abroad opportunities.
How do I apply?
I made the decision to spend a semester abroad at the beginning of my studies. When it came to the application process in the 4th semester, I first asked about partner universities at my university, which later turned out to be a mistake. I went through the tough application process at my university to apply for a semester abroad in France to apply. The application was submitted in accordance with the rules and on time, and I received the confirmation 10 weeks later. As the preparations began, the shocking news came – unfortunately, a partnership between the two universities will not materialize this year. After this disappointment, I started researching opportunities for a semester abroad that would act as an intermediary without my university. A friend then enthusiastically told me about the possibility of completing an exchange program through MicroEdu. After a nice 10-minute conversation, there were suddenly numerous possibilities for a short-term planned stay in the USA. In order to create the application as quickly as possible, MicroEdu gave me a guide, which is available on the homepage, so there was only one thing between me and the land of unlimited opportunities – the acceptance. It should be noted that the phone call only took place in July 2015 and that the course at CSULA will start as usual in mid-September 2015. The organizational talents at MicroEdu managed to quickly collect my documents and arrange the rest for me with the partner university. The confirmation came within a week. The journey could begin.
The next step for a problem-free stay is the intensive search for accommodation. To make this step easier for you, I will give you useful tips and an overview that will help you. The best areas to look for accommodation in are Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Pasadena and Downtown, preferably near the Financial District.
The question of which area you choose should depend on your planned mobility. If you have your own car, all four areas mentioned are not a problem. If you rely on public transport, I would advise against Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, as only buses that take more than an hour to the university go there. You can use Google Maps to get an overview of how long it takes to get to the university from the different areas by car.
Probably the most important question depends on the price. Prices in Los Angeles are extortionate and depend on the location and your luck. My girlfriend and I owned an apartment in downtown LA for 4 months, which was rentable for a regular $2500 per month and which we were able to push down to $2200 per month.
My tip to you: Go to airbnb.com and look for accommodation as soon as possible. You can choose between your own accommodation or a private room. Depending on your budget, you can easily find something in the $600 to $1200 range. I booked my accommodation three days in advance and not three months in advance like the others, but I ended up being the one with a rooftop swimming pool and jacuzzi.
I advise you against “Craigslist”, many scammers romp around on this portal and try to get you out of your money by paying in advance.
After 4 months in Los Angeles I have the following recommendation for you. If you live in an area where the metro station is right at your feet, you will have no problem getting to the university and other parts of the city. You can rent and share a car for the weekend and take the metro during the week. The metro network is very easy and the routes are in continuous operation. I can also recommend that you use UBER to get from A to B, as it is the cheapest option after public transport and is also very reliable.
(Little information for the newcomers. Regardless of which direction you are coming from, take a metro and head towards “Union Station”, from there you can take the “Silver Bus” at the bus station on the other side of the building and after two stops you can get off at the CSULA station. This is the most efficient way to get to the university. You can conveniently leave the metro cards at the machines, weekly cards are $25.)
Now it gets interesting. In order to get to your courses at the CSULA, you have to take part in what is known as “ Course Crashing ”. The Quarter’s timetables are online and you can put together your timetable in advance. If you want to get the courses, you can follow my approach as it worked for my friend and I.
- Get an online overview of the timetable
- Select desired courses (some courses take place three to four times at different times, in the morning and in the evening)
- It is best to put together two final timetables with different times
- You attend the course in the first week. After the class is over, you go to the professor’s desk and politely ask him to accept you for his class.
- The professor signs the document, you bring it to the Student Union, pay the semester fees in one go and that’s it!
If the course is already “closed” on the CSULA website, still go to the course if you want it. Talk to the professor and emphasize how extremely important he is to you and that this course is necessary for crediting your courses in Germany. So we were able to get our desired courses, although a waiting list of over 10 other students was keen on the course. Conclusion: Be clever and smart! If you do it right, you will have a maximum of three days of university and the rest of the week off.
The school system is the opposite of that in Germany. Personally, I like the situation in the USA very much, whereas in Germany, as we all know, reform is urgently needed. You are always involved and never lose sight of your studies. Weekly tests and small homework give you the opportunity to achieve very good grades. The tests are very easy if you prepare, otherwise you lose. Studying on campus is a lot of fun, the atmosphere in class is great and you can learn a lot. The requirements are below ours, so as an average student it was easy for me to get good grades. There is also a mid term and a final term for each subject. This can be compared to our exams at the end of the semester, but the focus here is on multiple choice, which in turn has simplified it.
The on-site support from the International Office was very good, the rest of the employees on campus had less idea, most of them didn’t know that the CSULA even offers exchange programs. If you have any questions or suggestions, it is best to contact Becky Bishop at the International Office. She is the head of the office and can help you with everything.
California is a dream. Right now I’m sitting by the pool on the roof of our loft and enjoying the sun in December while I type a few words for you.
The state offers you numerous possibilities, which you should savor as much as possible in the time available. Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Barbara, there is so much to see. As a metropolis, Los Angeles has so much to offer that you can probably only explore a fraction of the city. From Malibu Beach to Hermosa, there are beautiful beaches and landscapes to explore. Beverly Hills also offers great shopping and great restaurants. Hollywood surpasses everything in terms of restaurants, bars and clubs. Whether sushi, Korean or Brazilian, you can discover a lot of culinary and cultural things.
Tip: If you want to get the most bang for your buck, check out yelp.com to compare restaurants and clubs. You can eat sushi for $100 in the Hollywood Hills or for $20 in downtown LA – it depends on you and your wallet!
To explore the other cities, I can only advise you to book apartments through Airbnb, as it works in a flash and without any problems. We’ve often stayed in lofts with pools, which was cheaper than hotels and more fun.
- Avoid areas like Inglewood and Compton
- Don’t walk alone through the city at night, always accompanied, because LA is a hot place
- Don’t talk to people trying to sell you stuff on the street
- Be open minded and friendly, the Americans are very accommodating and happy to help, they expect the same from you
- Thank the bus driver for the pickup, it’s customary in California
- Lives the American way of life and tries to do as much as possible
I’ve had a wonderful time in California so far, made some friends and learned a lot about other cultures and myself. My girlfriend and I are looking forward to coming back next year for summer as there is nothing better than eating a California In&Out Burger with your friends under the palm trees and enjoying the time together and then go surfing. The thing about surfing was a lie, unfortunately I was afraid of sharks, but the burgers at In&Out are legendary.
Go to California, have a carefree and unforgettable time and enjoy the American lifestyle.
IT WAS AMAZING! ENJOY !
I am always open for a phone call or email contact! Just let me know.
My last and most valuable tip. Order a 4 by 4 with Animal Style from In&Out and you will reach the pinnacle of human happiness.