University: California State University Los Angeles
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Banking and Finance, International Business Administration
Study type: semester abroad
Hello, everyone! I hope I can give you a little perspective with my little experience report about California State University Los Angeles, if you decide to do so. Check educationvv.com to see California State University Los Angeles Exchange Program.
Preparations (about 5-6 months in advance):
When I decided to study abroad for a semester, I didn’t think twice about where to go. The decision to go to Los Angeles was pretty easy for me right from the start. Again, a big thank you to MicroEdu for the detailed discussions, information and help!
But before you set off on your little adventure, there are of course a lot of important preparations to be made. First of all, you should be sure where you want to go. If you make the decision: Los Angeles (or USA in general), then the following things should be on your list after you have requested the necessary documents from MicroEdu:
- Take a language test ( DAAD, TOEFL etc.) – I can give you a tip here, if you have already taken English courses at the university (for me it was Business English 1&2), I automatically received the DAAD certificate without costs and further examination. I can’t say whether it’s the same everywhere, but asking at your specialist language center doesn’t cost anything!
- Make an appointment at the consulate for a visa so that you can apply for your visa. Your passport will be sent to your home within two weeks with the visa
- Have a look around for flights, personally I was lucky enough to only pay 850 euros for the flight with a one-off connection in London when I booked early (outbound August/return in February)
- Request bank statements confirming that you are in possession of approximately $15,000 or that you have someone in authority to vouch for you.
- Take a look around and find out more about apartments. Personally, I can’t say anything about it because I stayed with my relatives, but I’ve heard from friends that the search can be very difficult and relatively expensive
You can also get detailed information from MicroEdu on exactly how to proceed.
Preparations (about 1-2 months in advance):
Find out the vaccination card and compare the requirements for vaccinations in the USA.
Discuss your Learning Agreement with your course director – this is very important if you want the courses you take abroad to be credited in your home country. The Learning Agreement is a list of eight courses you might be interested in, which can also be found on the website of the respective university abroad. The weekly workload in the US is four courses, each of which usually has three credits. The conversion into ECTS is done either using a formula specified by your university or 1 to 2, ie 12 US credits correspond to 24 ECTS in Germany. Here I was lucky to get the remaining 6 credits that were missing for my workload according to German requirements
The following credit cards are highly recommended:
- Savings Banks: Ask your customer advisor about student credit cards. The Sparkasse offers the Mastercard X-Tension, which allows you to withdraw money abroad free of charge. I was even reimbursed for any ATM fees incurred. You even have international insurance cover for the first 90 days abroad.
- N26: Personally, I highly recommend these. The N26 card is a debit card – ie it works like a credit card, only you always have to load it with money beforehand. Transactions take place in real time, which means as soon as you complete a payment, you will immediately receive a push notification on your smartphone with the current exchange rate and there are no 1.75% foreign fees per transaction abroad.
- The Sparkasse card is suitable for cash withdrawals – N26 for card payments
…then you count down the days, look forward to your adventure and of course pack the essentials for your trip! We definitely recommend starting your adventure in the fall of the semester – sun, beach and guaranteed good weather are always your companions
A very large campus that offers many opportunities to get to know people, to relax or to learn. Before I come to the courses, it’s also important to know how you get to the university. There is public transport, but the network is quite confusing and proves to be complicated. However, if you have no other choice, I recommend the TAP Card – this allows you as a student to use public transport at reduced rates. Alternatives would be “Uber” or “Lyft”, but in the long run this also adds up. The most comfortable solution – it’s best to get a car somehow. Of course it is a bit expensive in addition to the other costs, but you will quickly notice that it is no different in America, especially in Los Angeles.
I took the following four courses at Cal State LA (tip: you can look up reviews of the professors on ratemyprofessor.com, it helped me a lot to make my choice):
Operations and Supply Chain Management MGMT 3060 (Dr Bo Li):
- By far the best course I have taken during my studies.
- In his course you examine, also using practical examples, how the logistics and supply chain itself works. In general, his lectures are very comprehensible, very easy to follow and, above all, what a student expects from a professor, very open to questions and fair in grading. You can even buy the book for his lessons inexpensively on Amazon for around 20 euros.
- Exams: two mid-term exams, one final exam, homework + presentation – all multiple choice including one page cheat sheet per exam
Global Business MKT 3500; Intercultural Business Communication COMM 4160 (both Dr. Silvia Martin):
- Global Business and International Business Communication were each taught by the same professor. Global business, as you might guess from the name, deals with the global economy in general. In general, it can be said that it is a mix of microeconomics and macroeconomics and very theory-heavy, but hardly any calculation-heavy.
- International Business Communication, on the other hand, takes up the relationship between different cultures around the world and transfers this to the world of work. In summary, you will learn how to communicate with and understand other cultures.
- Exams: Both subjects with mid and final term, weekly quizzes on the chapters
Management and Organizational Behavior MGMT 3070 (Dr. Ben Mahdavian):
- In itself the most demanding course in my selection. As the course name suggests, this focuses on management, structure/hierarchies, etc. in a company. Among other things, how is management staff aligned, what structures are there. In itself, however, it is highly recommended, as the professor is very fair and his lessons are varied.
- Examinations: Mid Term, Final, weekly written homework in and outside of class
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you much about this, because I stayed with my relatives. But what I can say about it is that it is very expensive to find decent accommodation in Los Angeles. Many acquaintances I met there even paid upwards of €1,000 per month for their room.
We also recommend joining the MicroEdu Facebook group. I noticed myself how many people short-circuited in advance and searched for something together.
So definitely plan enough capital for each month, especially if you still have a car. This brings us to the next point…
Of course, you have the opportunity to spend a lot of your free time alongside your studies. Los Angeles is the melting pot of all cultures in the world. You will find many different restaurants, street food trucks etc. that are definitely worth checking out. Since this would be very long now, I’ll write down a few tips and my favorites. Maybe there is one or the other that you like!
- Santa Monica, Venice, Manhattan, Malibu Beach or generally the Pacific Coast Highway (Los Angeles area)
- Malls for shopping: Ontario Mills, The Grove, Glendale Gal., Americana at Brand, Outlets at Orange, Citadel
- Packing District Anaheim, Grand Central Market Los Angeles
- Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach (Orange County area)
- Disneyland Anaheim, Universal Studios, Griffith Observatory, Hollywood
- Cities that you should definitely not miss: Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego or, if you have a little more time, definitely Vancouver and Seattle
- Be sure to look around for concerts, I was able to see everything here within 4 months that we would need forever here in Germany: including John Mayer, Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Macklemore
- And you even have the chance to get on TV – several times I’ve been on James Corden, The Voice or Jimmy Kimmel and even made it onto the screen! And best of all, it’s free tickets at www.1iota.com.
- Of course I recorded everything in my social networks, if you want to, just check @kv_hk on Instagram and write me personally, I’m happy to help you!
…and much more!
Personally, I can recommend a semester abroad in Los Angeles to any of you who are interested. Even though it was very expensive, I have to say it was the time of my life. Whether new cultures, new people or the new environment. Everything was an asset for me! Especially in big cities like LA you have 24/7 variety and opportunities to experience something (the shops are even open on Sundays and public holidays).
You are only young once, it is a big investment, but it will develop you very much as a person and as a person. Be open to new things, new people and new cultures. You’ll see for yourself how much fun you’ll have and that it’s a whole different life in Los Angeles!!