University: California State University Northridge
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
The best half year of my young life so far. I will definitely recommend a semester abroad in the future.
Preparation & Organization:
I knew from the start that I wanted to go to America, specifically California. So at the beginning I was spoiled for choice as to which university in California appealed to me the most. So I googled the MicroEdu page, opened the list of universities in the USA and looked through it. Here you simply have to weigh up what is important to you, e.g. location, tuition fees, course offerings,…
My choice fell relatively quickly on California State University Northridge.
LA, central point in California, many beaches, great weather (only about 6-8 days when it rained, otherwise always beautiful sunshine, except for 2-3 slightly cooler weeks in November), large university, extensive range of courses and relatively few German students compared to other universities. Check ehuacom.com to see BU study abroad opportunities.
Then it was on to the organization. All I can say here is that MicroEdu supported me very well and I was always able to ask questions about unclear things by email or telephone. I knew that the organization would be very extensive, but I hadn’t thought that it would be so much and last a little longer.
My tip for you: Start planning and applying in good time. Visa, international insurance, application etc. takes some time.
After the application process has been completed and you have been accepted, it is time to plan your trip. At the time, I planned my trip so that I would first spend a few nights in New York and only then fly on to LA.
If you don’t have time pressure to fly back home after the semester abroad, for example because of exams at your home university, I would recommend not booking a return flight or a return flight with a rebooking function. You should take advantage of the time after the semester and visa duration and decide at short notice when and from where you want to fly home. A trip to Florida, for example, or a last party weekend in Las Vegas is definitely worth the money.
Semester @ CSUN:
After my short stay in NY, I arrived in LA about 3.5 weeks before the semester started.
1st point: Looking for an apartment: I decided to look for a room first on site. I took a hotel room for the first week and rented a car. (Without a rental car I would have been in a fix, since everything is very spacious!) The Craigslist website is a very good place to look for an apartment. I placed an ad and was looking for offers at the same time. However, the search for an apartment/room turned out to be more difficult than expected. So don’t despair if the first 2-3 apartments can be determined as “not habitable”.
2nd point: Buying a car: In my opinion, without a car you are stuck and stuck in the San Fernando Valley. Buses to Santa Monica, LA or Malibu take ages to finally reach your destination. I started looking for a car at the same time as I was looking for an apartment. Makes sense, since you should take advantage of the rental car as long as you have it.
It is up to you whether you are a private person or a dealer (both have advantages and disadvantages).
3rd point: Enjoy the semester: After everything was done, it was time to take advantage of the semester, free time and weather. Unfortunately, time went by much faster than you thought. All in all, LA as a central point offers an ideal start for activities. I have made several trips with friends (San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas,…), everything easily accessible by car.
Overall, LA offers a lot for leisure activities. I can especially recommend the large number of good nightclubs;) You should try out many in the initial phase in order to have your favorites after a certain time.
All I can say about the lectures is that it takes a bit of effort to learn, but with only 4 different courses there is still enough free time. Overall, I would say that I had to study less for the exams (usually only one day before the multiple choice tests) but more regularly because up to 3 exams were written in each subject, in addition to at least 1 group project/presentation and sometimes written homework.
I would rather describe the lectures as lessons. At least in 3 of my 4 subjects, great importance was attached to cooperation.
It’s a pity that apart from the student residence there are no or hardly any apartment blocks for students at the university. As a result, students live scattered throughout the San Fernando Valley. The university itself is also referred to as a home driver university, since many students drive from San Diego to the university, for example. The lectures are then scheduled for a maximum of 3 days a week and then driven home again. This makes the university seem very lifeless, especially at the weekend.
Unfortunately, the university offers very little in terms of free time. The highlight is the huge and very reasonably priced fitness studio with a pool, basketball, volleyball and soccer field and even a climbing wall. Otherwise, the range of leisure activities is unfortunately very limited.
It’s very hard to party in the San Fernando Valley. There is ONE Irish Pub and that’s about it. If you really want to party, you have to go to LA, which is really worth it. Great clubs, good music, something for every taste.
LA is a very cool but of course not cheap city. Living there was definitely an experience.
In my opinion, the university is very good in every respect, except for leisure activities. Everyone has to decide for themselves what is more important to them.