University: California State University Los Angeles
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: International Business Administration
Study type: semester abroad
I did a semester at California State University Los Angeles last year . And I really can only recommend this experience to everyone. Check educationvv.com to see California State University Northridge Exchange Program.
But first let’s start at the beginning:
After I received the offer, I started looking for an apartment. I had the unusual situation that a friend from the same German university as me would go to the same university abroad. So we searched together and decided to search via airbnb. We teamed up with other German girls we met through MicroEdu and after a really long search we found something that was suitable in terms of location and price. Our monthly rent was about 600 dollars a month, but we shared a room for two, which worked out well for the time of the semester. So our flat share consisted of 6 German girls. However, if you intend to live with Americans, I might recommend looking for apartments directly at the university or using Roomster. In terms of area, I would most likely recommend Beverly Hills, Alhambra or Pasadena. Our apartment was right next to downtown. From there you could reach everything relatively quickly, but unfortunately the area wasn’t the best.
Living in Los Angeles
In general I can only recommend that you try to do as much as possible in LA because time goes by faster than you think. We have often been to different beaches, such as Venice, Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, etc. The best places to shop are on Melrose Avenue and/or in Santa Monica. It’s best to test yourselves through the American fast food chains such as In&Out Burger, Panda Express or Chipotle – it’s worth it. We’ve also often hiked the Hollywood Hills or straight up to the Hollywood Sign. At sunset you have the best view of the entire city.
In general, there is a lot to see in LA itself, but I really recommend that you explore the area around LA and plan one or two road trips. For example, we’ve been to San Francisco, Grand Canyon, San Diego, Las Vegas… The easiest way to do this is to rent a car (at the airport, they have the best and cheapest choices). However, this is only possible from the age of 21 and under 25 you have to pay a special fee.
The CSULA is generally very mixed in terms of nationalities, and that is immediately noticeable. It is also a very popular school, especially for German and French exchange students. The organization by Becky Bishop at the beginning of the semester was well organized and, above all, very warmly “American”. The choice of courses, on the other hand, was unfortunately very chaotic and we only had our real courses two weeks after the start of the semester. However, we were also the first semester at the CSULA where they switched from quater to semester, which is why everything was still a bit mixed up. However, Becky assured that they would definitely like to improve this in the coming semesters. The lesson at the university was as we planned it, only two days a week and the lecturers were very nice and interested in you. However, the level in some subjects is slightly lower than in Germany. But that’s everywhere : ) However, the effort during the semester is significantly higher than in Germany. Many assignments are written or presentations are held.
There is hardly any general information about how I planned my stay. I came to LA two weeks before the start of my studies and already had our rented accommodation there, which made the arrival much more relaxed than starting the search on site. If you are open to new things, you will quickly find friends in LA or America in general, since Americans are very open and amiable. It also often helps to get involved at the university, for example in sports teams or the like. But it’s also really cool to get to know the other international students.
Before my stay I didn’t know how to handle the money etc. either. There are many different credit card offers in particular, but the one I highly recommend is Number 26. It’s free and controllable directly from your phone, and it really works pretty much anywhere. Of course, it is always advisable to have cash with you.
Well, I hope this report has been of some help to you and I hope you will soon have an unforgettable semester abroad yourself.