University: California State University Los Angeles
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business Administration, English / American Studies
Study type: semester abroad
Organizing my semester abroad was pretty easy to do with the help of the MicroEdu team. In January 2015, eight months before leaving, I applied to California State University in Los Angeles to leave in September. I chose Cal State LA, on the one hand because I really wanted to study in a big city, and on the other hand because the Cal State LA campus was still organized in the quarter system that year. So I was able to apply directly for two quarters and thus make my semester abroad a little longer. This not only gave me the opportunity to take twice as many courses, but also allowed me to receive financial support from the foreign BAföG to apply for (you have to study abroad for either a semester or two quarters in order to be able to receive BAföG). Check educationvv.com to see California State University Fullerton Exchange Program.
In addition to proof of language proficiency and an overview of grades, the application documents also included financial confirmation, which is intended to show the university that you are able to finance the semester abroad. For two quarters, this financial confirmation was of course a bit high at $24,000, but with the help of the Auslands-BAföG I was able to cover half of the proof directly with it. With a simple, informal letter, you can ask the Auslands-BAföG for a “confirming statement”, which can prove the highest possible funding. This statement already covers about €10,000 ($12,000) ( Note from MicroEdu: Attention, the CSULA is currently switching to semester operations, so the confirming statement will only cover around €7,800 for one semester in the future.) of the required financial proof and you should apply for it at the Hamburger Studierendenwerk about a month before you need it. I received the confirmation from the university at the end of April and I could start applying for a visa and looking for accommodation.
I really wanted a room on campus for my two quarters at California State University Los Angelesreceive. In the winter quarter, however, this is relatively difficult, because in addition to us international students, all freshmen (freshmen) also want to start their studies and also live on campus. I put together my application for on-campus housing quite quickly, but had problems with the payment. According to the Housing website, Study in LA students must pay full first quarter rent with their application in order to complete their application. Of course, this is not ideal, as it does not guarantee a place. In addition, only the international money order is initially available as a means of payment for international students. After several inquiries at different banks I could not find anyone who offers such money orders, therefore it took a long time to complete my application. Eventually I was able to reach someone from the Housing Office by phone and I was allowed to pay for the rent online via the peerTransfer website.
If you are trying to apply for on-campus housing and are having problems, I would definitely recommend not waiting long to apply and if you have any questions, call the Housing Office immediately – you can reach them by email the office difficult. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a place in the hall of residence and only started looking for accommodation on site embark I booked accommodation for the first week via airbnb and looked up a few apartment ads via craigslist, which I then contacted by phone immediately after my arrival. Then, on my first day in Los Angeles, I had three apartment viewings and room viewings, and I immediately settled on a small room with a family near the uni. The room was very cheap at $425 per month and the host family was super nice and gave me a great welcome, let me participate in family celebrations and gave me lots of tips and advice on life in Los Angeles. Normally you should budget a little more money for rent though ($600-900) – I was just pretty lucky to find such a cheap room near the university!
Courses & campus life
Since I’m studying Kulturwirt in Germany and therefore attend lectures in business administration and English/American studies, I also attended courses in both departments at Cal State LA. In both quarters I had two management / marketingcourses and one Pan African Studies course. Overall, the courses were simpler than German seminars and lectures, but also more complex. With lots of homework, tests, projects and exams, you always had a lot to do, but in my opinion you got more out of the courses. These courses were a great fit for my learning style, but if you prefer the German lectures and only want to be graded with a final exam, you are in the wrong place. Here is a brief overview of my courses:
MGMT 307: Management & Organizational Behavior (Professor Prabhu)
In this course we focused on the four functions of management (planning, controlling, organizing, leading) and worked on some group projects. There were a total of three exams in this course, two graded homework assignments, a small group project in which we were asked to interview managers and employees, a small group presentation (SWOT analysis) and a longer group presentation. This course wasn’t difficult, but since there were so many deadlines to be observed and there was a lot to read, it was quite time-consuming. The professor is sometimes a bit overwhelmed, but she is very nice and super competent!
MGMT 306: Operational Management (Professor McEnulty)
In this course you could quickly achieve a good grade with little effort. There were two exams (multiple choice) and you had to work on a few tasks online every week (also multiple choice). Various aspects of production management have been covered and you should have some prior knowledge of statistics. Then the course is easy to do!
PAS 180: Race and Ethnicity in American Society (Professor Wilson)
I took this course as a cultural studies course for my English/American studies and, as the title of the event suggests, it was about racism in the USA. If you are interested in this topic and want to take a course for fun, I would highly recommend this course! As part of the exam, you had to take two exams, write an essay and bring a current newspaper article with you every week that deals with the topic of racism, discrimination and justice.
MGMT 473: Strategic Human Resource Management (Professor Prabhu)
This course is an online course. Since I enjoyed the class with Professor Prabhu so much in the first quarter, I wanted to take another class with her. Since there were no attendance dates for the course, it was a bit more complex. I had to read quite a bit each week, watch some videos, and submit 3-4 assignments to pass the lessons. There was also a group project where you had to interview a human resources manager and there was an individual project – a video presentation on a human resource management topic. Of course, the exams were a little easier because you could write them comfortably from home!
MKT 456: International Marketing Management (Professor Houston)
The Marketing course was one of my favorite courses at Cal State LA. The final grade consisted only of group projects and group activities in class and there were no exams. A few online articles and a chapter in our marketing book had to be read each week, followed by a group activity once a week. There were also two major marketing projects – first our group had to do a cultural analysis on our assigned country ( Mexico ) and in the second project we had to choose a product and develop a marketing strategy for that product in Mexico.
ENGL/PAS 377: Literary Explorations of Justice and Racism (Professor Mitchell)
My second English/Culture course was thematically very similar to the PAS 180 course as it was also offered by the Pan African Studies Department. However, in this course the topic was explored more in a literary way, which is why I was able to get credit for this course as a literature course. We read three novels dealing with the topic of racism and justice and wrote two essays on them. In addition, each course participant had to create a creative final project. This could either be an artistic project or you could memorize a poem or speech and recite it before the class.
Overall, Cal State LA is more of a commuter college, and students only come to campus for their classes and lectures. However, there are also a few sports teams, clubs, and other activities to do on campus. The Student Union(http: //www.calstatelausu.org/) organizes many free workshops, lectures, and fun activities to participate in each Quarter – just check the Student Union calendar to keep up to date stay. A list of clubs to join can also be found on the Student Union website.
There is certainly no lack of great leisure activities in Los Angeles! I only had two days of uni each quarter, so there was plenty of time to explore LA. Downtown there are many museums, cafes, restaurants and shops to explore and some small ethnic neighborhoods like Little Tokyo, Chinatown or Olvera Street (Little Mexico). Of course, with the great weather in California, you can also have a beach day more often and drive to Santa Monica or Venice Beach, for example (2 hours by bus, 30-40 minutes by car from the Cal State LA campus). If you are interested in the film industry or would just like to be part of a TV show, you can also experience this for free in Hollywood!Sign up for free tickets to shows like Big Bang Theory, The Voice, 2 Broke Girls, Jimmy Kimmel Live! etc. register.
Of course, Los Angeles is also a great starting point to travel to California and the neighboring states. Up to San Diego It’s only a two hour drive, Las Vegas is about four hours and San Francisco is about six hours. You should also not miss the numerous national parks such as Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon or Antelope Canyon. To do this, I simply rented a car with friends, drove with friends who already had a car, or booked bus trips. Renting a car is a very good idea in Los Angeles and California in general, as public transportation is not always that efficient. Basically, you can get everywhere in Los Angeles by bus or subway, but you have to plan quite a bit of travel time and calculate $1.75 per trip. So if you want to explore Los Angeles and the surrounding area a little faster and in a more practical way, It is definitely worth renting a car from time to time. For the entire time I couldn’t afford to rent or buy a car, so I relied on public transport or the taxi app uber most of the time for my free time.
Overall, I was more than happy with my two quarters at Cal State LA! I really liked my university courses, I saw a lot and met a lot of great people! Financially, Los Angeles is of course a rather expensive choice for a semester abroad and if you want to try everything, don’t want to do without anything and want to be relaxed about the adventure, you should definitely plan a little more money for the time in Los Angeles. If I had the choice again, I would still choose Los Angeles and Cal State LA again! If you have any questions or need advice, you can always contact me!