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 decided at very short notice to do a semester abroad. While many had already started planning a year in advance, I only had 4 months left, which was manageable in the end. Thanks to the good and reliable advice from MicroEdu, I quickly decided on a university and took all the necessary steps, whereby MicroEdu was always a great help. First I did the DAAD test at my home university, which really wasn’t half as difficult, so I got a C1 without any problems (you need B2). the flight I booked at short notice, two weeks before departure, I was hoping that the prices would be cheaper then. However, it is advisable to book well in advance. I would also book accommodation in advance. Check educationvv.com to see Boston University Exchange Program.
I found my accommodation through Airbnb. I pay 750 euros a month here in an apartment with my roommate, so 1500 euros total rent. We have the whole apartment to ourselves, so our own kitchen, bathroom, etc. There are many accommodations in Los Angeles at different prices, but since we wanted to live close to the university, there weren’t that many matches. The accommodation turned out to be a real stroke of luck, as the landlords are super nice and helpful! The dorms on campus are also a possibility to live, but they were all occupied when I received my acceptance.
The campus at CSULA is really beautiful. There are all kinds of restaurants and cafes and everything is very nicely designed. There is also a gym that students can use for free. Outside there is another pool where you can swim 2 days a week. The tuition fees are cheap compared to other colleges in America, but still super expensive, unlike Germany. I got all my courses in class crashing, which saved me a lot of work. Most of the professors thought it was cool to have Germans in their courses and almost all the students were very nice and helpful. I had many different courses: A marketing course , amanagement course, an accounting course and an economics course. Overall, the level there was super different. While we only had 3 exams in the management course, I had to write weekly quizzes, assignments and additional midterms and finals in others. You have to do everything right from the start, then it’s not a problem to get good grades. Overall, I would always prefer the American system, because the grade consists of many small parts, you can collect credits for the whole semester and the grade does not consist of an exam like in Germany. By the way, parking at the CSULA is a disaster, which is why I would not recommend anyone coming by car unless you want to spend two hours looking for a parking space.
Los Angeles is so diverse, it never gets boring!No matter what you prefer, you can always find a cool activity. From August to mid-October I would recommend everyone to use the many beaches because the weather is always good (around 30 degrees) and each beach is unique. For example, if you prefer to be around a lot of people and like hustle and bustle, then Santa Monica or Venice is recommended. Manhattan Beach, on the other hand, is rather quiet and cozy, with many small cafes. We didn’t have our own car for the 4 months, but either used the bus or the metro (I personally found that they were actually very reliable) or we took an Uber, which is often really worth it. I would only rent a car for weekend trips, because it’s really expensive in the long run. We rented one from Sixt for 17 days and were therefore able to go to San Francisco, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon! All three places are really a MUST, you never forget what you get to see there. There are also countless museums, some of which are even free, and many other ways to spend your free time. San Diego is also recommended because it’s much quieter than LA if you want to relax. Another thing to keep in mind is that the supermarkets vary greatly in their prices. At first I thought that I wouldn’t get by with my money, but when you compare Ralphs or the 99 Cent store, for example, are really cheap!
The semester abroad was definitely the best decision I could have made! I never would have thought that you would get used to life in America so quickly and find your way around so well. I can therefore recommend the USA to anyone who would like to go abroad, especially because I have never met such helpful people in my life!! I can only recommend the university to a limited extent, if you value learning new things and don’t like working in groups, you shouldn’t go to the CSULA. Otherwise, studying there is really fun. But the best thing about a semester abroad is that you become totally independent because you are on your own at first. Getting to know so many new people, however, was the best time for me.