University: California State University Los Angeles
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Marketing, Psychology
Study type: semester abroad
In September 2013, I took care of the application for the Spring Trimester at the CSULA at relatively short notice. The main contact points for this were applying for a visa at the nearest embassy. Since this can now be organized as far as possible online, the appointment was made quite quickly. Check educationvv.com to see California State University Long Beach Exchange Program.
Since MicroEdu already provides you with sufficient information about the preparations, I will only briefly summarize the most important things for my application documents here. These goods:
- the proof of the result of the TOEFL test
- a copy of the passport
- Receipts of a down payment of the tuition fees for the CSULA
- a bank statement for a certain amount (which consists of the tuition fees and a guide value for the monthly costs required – this value varies from university to university)
- my transcript of records of my course
- and an application form from the university, which can be accessed online (also via “MicroEdu”)
After my acceptance at California State University of Los Angeles, all I had to do was make personal preparations.
I started looking for an apartment on the Internet relatively early on. I ended up finding my place through Airbnb. I lived with an American woman in Pasadena. Pasadena is a beautiful and above all safe city. It was about 20 minutes by car to the university (under normal traffic conditions, which are rather rare in LA). More central areas are Downtown or Hollywood. If you are looking for a little more hustle and bustle and places to go out, you are also in better hands there. My monthly rent was $1200, which of course is a lot of money. But you can also find other rooms for around $500-$700 a month if you lower your expectations a bit and make an effort.
Personally, I would advise against student housing for hygienic reasons. But this is also measured by personal requirements and is felt differently by everyone…
The choice of course is somewhat different in the USA than here in Germany. First of all, since all American citizens have the right to a place in the courses, you have to select a few courses yourself and attend the appropriate courses at the beginning of the term in order to ask for participation in person.
After three days in front of the PC and looking for suitable courses, I decided on ” Principles Of Marketing “, ” Consumer Behavior ” and ” Introductory Psychology “.
So I emailed each of the three professors asking to take the course. After their approval, I had to report in person before the first lecture hour and then hope that there was still a place in the course. But this is generally not a problem and you can actually always find a place. My courses took place weekly on Mondays and Wednesdays. The lecture duration per day/course is 100 minutes. In the first lecture of each trimester, a “ Syllabus” handed out. All information about the course can be found in this syllabus. When and how many exams are written, whether additional projects are pending and how the final grade is weighted. In my opinion, this was one of the best and most helpful things that contributed to the optimal course selection. You can see everything that comes your way at a glance and can then assess and estimate for yourself what the chances are of successfully completing the course.
Principles of Marketing
This course will teach you the fundamentals of marketing suggested. Our professor’s name was Prof. Dr. Lin and our lecture times were Mondays and Wednesdays from 1: 30 p.m. to 3: 10 p.m. A total of two exams and a project followed by a presentation had to be completed. The exams contained the material that we went through in class using PowerPoint presentations and also the knowledge of various chapters in the textbook. The book required for the course is called “Principles of Marketing (14th edition)” by Philip Kotler and Gary Armstrong. The original price of this book is about $100, but I borrowed it through an Amazon.com service for $40. Our class consisted of about 28 students, most of whom came from Mexico or Asia, but have all lived in Los Angeles for a long time.For us “internationals” it was interesting to get to know so many different perspectives and cultures. It was very interesting in this subject in particular, because you noticed differences, for example which advertising strategies are best or least accepted in which cultures. There was an “in-class discussion” every hour, which always turned into a happy and varied discussion.
Mrs. Prof. Dr. Lin is a very conscientious and extremely well structured professor. Each hour there were a few PowerPoint slides to be discussed and the time was always used to the last second. Our project was to develop an invention or a service. We had to find groups of four and record the project in a detailed marketing plan. In addition, there was a midterm and a final to write, in which the material from the lectures and the books was queried. The exams each contained 75 multiple-choice questions. At the end of the trimester, our project then had to be suggested in a presentation to the entire class. It was very interesting to grow on a joint invention with strangers from foreign cultures. It was great fun.
This course was also a marketing course. The course took place every Monday and Wednesday from 9: 50 a.m. to 11: 30 a.m. Our professor’s name was Prof. Dr. Houston. In my opinion she was the best professor of them all. She also worked with her own PowerPoint slides and the book called “Consumer Behavior” by Michael R. Solomon, which was kindly (and exceptionally) provided to us internationals. Mrs. Prof. Dr. Houston always brought a personal story to each topic, which made it easy to listen and understand and kept us students engaged. We’ve always been included and asked to share our perspectives on certain things.There was give and take in this course, because you constantly exchanged your views. The content of the lessons and the book chapters were queried in three exams during the trimester. These were clear, each with 25 multiple-choice questions.
At the same time, we had a large video project in which we were to analyze behavior at a “Farmers Market” in Los Angeles under various topics. Our topic was “Personality, Lifestyle and Consumption at the Farmer’s Market Hollywood”. The “Farmer’s Markets” in Los Angeles are an important and popular attraction for all locals and tourists alike. You can imagine them like our German weekly markets, but only organically grown fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, etc. can be bought. The farmers come to the market once a week and offer their fresh goods. It’s a bit special in America, as the food industry isn’t exactly known for healthy, organic food… You meet people from every social class and see many different personalities. Stars are often spotted there. However, they usually come to the markets very early in the morning in order to be able to do their shopping in peace.
For our video project we had to visit the market four times. This always took place on Sundays from 8 a.m. to around 2 p.m. We interviewed the traders, buyers and tourists and ended up having a nice video together. A report had to be written on this as well. There was also an individual report that everyone had to submit in the middle of the trimester. There was also a lot to do for this subject, but you learned the most about the cultures here because you were in constant contact with people through the project. Because of the interviews in English and the fact that you had to approach strangers a lot, this course gave me a lot of experience.
Psychology also took place every Monday and Wednesday from 11: 40 a.m. to 1: 20 p.m. He was taught by Prof. Dr. iron taught. The basis of all lectures was the extensive book “Psychology: Themes & Variations, 9th edition” by Wayne Weiten. The lectures always involved a lot of listening and writing. Prof. Dr. Eisen taught exclusively himself and entirely without any aids. We students were forced to write everything down, hoping that we would get the essence of the lecture right. In preparation for each lecture, one had to read about one or two chapters of the book each week. Each chapter extends over approx. 40 pages. This was a challenge, especially at the beginning of my stay abroad, since everything was written in English and many psychological terms had to be worked out. So psychology was the most labor intensive course of all for me. I read a few pages of the book every day and summarized them by chapter so that I could prepare better for the exams.
We had to master a total of 3 quizzes, a midterm and a final. In addition, we had to write an essay on a psychological article and take part in the “Research Participation” for a total of three hours. These were different courses where you had to register online and then take part in a project or survey on campus for about two hours. The surveys dealt with psychological aspects and are all evaluated for research purposes. Despite the great effort, it was my absolute favorite course and I looked forward to it every week.
There are so many great things to do in Los Angeles. You can actually experience something great every day and explore new areas. Personally, I liked Pasadena one of the best, because it’s quieter there and the city is super chic and beautiful to look at. Hollywood and Santa Monica are super busy, but also very touristy. Pasadena, on the other hand, is very good for shopping and meeting young local people.
The nightlife, on the other hand, takes place more in Venice, Hollywood and the surrounding area.
Dowtown is also worth a few visits, both during the day and in the evening/night, but be careful where you are, especially after dark. You have to be careful everywhere in LA. I didn’t perceive it as dangerous, but you should always be on the move with your eyes and ears open and listen to your gut feeling.
On the subject of looking for a car, I can strongly advise you to rent one from personal experience. I would have been lost without a car. The traffic in LA takes some getting used to at first, but somehow it’s just part of the city and once you plan around the rush hours you’ll get by reasonably well. I rented my car in San Diego because I drive there regularly, but there are a few good car rental companies in LA itself and there’s almost always an opportunity to share a car with roommates or fellow students.
Since LA is relatively centrally located in California, there are plenty of short trips to plan and explore new cities on the weekends.
San Diego is about 2.5 hours away and definitely worth seeing! Just before the border with Mexico is a large outlet center, which is also worth a visit.
Furthermore, it is of course recommended to explore Nevada and Arizona and also drive north to San Francisco. A car is also recommended for this, or you can look around for train or bus travel.
All in all, the stay abroad was the best time in a long time and I personally took a lot of added value with me. I don’t regret a single step and would strongly recommend everyone to take this step if they can. I found the people in the USA to be extremely open and helpful and I felt comfortable at all times.
If you dare to take the step, I wish you a lot of success and I’m sure that you wouldn’t regret it any more than I do;) I wish you all the best!