University: California State University Northridge
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business
Study type: semester abroad
For a long time I had planned to live in the USA at some point and the opportunity to do my first practical phase as a semester abroad also gave me the time frame. Check ehuacom.com to see CSUF study abroad opportunities.
After a short trip to Münster to MicroEdu, a year before leaving, I started planning. At this point I would like to especially thank Katharina from MicroEdu for her support. Even as a free mover it wasn’t too much organizational work.
I finally decided to apply to CSU Northridge and have not regretted this decision for a second. If you start looking for the documents you need for the application in June, you’ll have plenty of time.
Just one more thing in advance: For the entire semester, you should plan around 20,000 euros with all the trimmings. That way you’re on the safe side – that’s a lot of money, but you get a lot for the money.
I received the confirmation in October and then everything happened very quickly.
I received my visa quickly, as well as the approval for the dormitory and in November I had my plane tickets.
I brought my exams forward or scheduled them before the departure date.
Then it started in mid-January.
I was in Los Angeles three days before the start of the launch event, where I rented an Airbnb and a car.
On the subject of a car: A car is highly recommended, especially if you have a few days before the start of university in Los Angeles, but you don’t necessarily need one. But that depends on where you live. Public transit in Los Angeles isn’t as bad as it sounds – and very cheap ($1 each way for students)! Alternatively, there are uber and lyft with which you can easily get from A to B.
Seeing the CSUN for the first time was really an experience ! The campus is huge and the library itself is worth the trip.
Choosing the course was pretty straightforward for me, so a big thank you to Jess and Natalie, who are responsible for the SAC program and who ensured that things ran smoothly. When the courses started I was already enrolled in 3 out of 4 courses and the 4th followed on the second day so I had next to nothing to worry about.
I had courses MGT 458 – Decision Making and Creativity, FIN 303 – Financial Management, ECON 360 – Environmental Economics and SUS300 – Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Sustainability. I can recommend the management course to anyone who really wants to learn something. I wouldn’t recommend a) this course and b) actually not this university to anyone who would rather party. Located in the San Fernando Valley, CSUN is only 15-20 minutes from Hollywood, but student parties are rare.
In any case, the professor of the management course will manage to get you excited about his course, the professor of financial management will manage to put you to sleep. If you want to take it easy, you should take FIN303, as it basically only involves reading the book and solving simple exercises.
The courses definitely involve more work than German courses, but you definitely learn more, so it’s worth it. But you also have to emphasize that the level is really lower and you can get at least a B without too much effort.
The university also offers a wide range of sporting events, such as basketball, baseball and volleyball. It is worth going to these events because the atmosphere is fantastic !
Also recommended is the CSUN Outdoor Office, which offers camping trips or day trips. For example, you can hike to the Hollywood Sign, learn to surf, snowboard, or camp in Yosemite (I recommend booking your trip early as everything sells out quickly). The trips are fairly cheap and definitely worth seeing.
I quickly got to know a lot of other people in the dormitory, but since you only live in one building with the other international students, they were all from other countries – mainly China, Germany and Brazil. I have no regrets about my decision to live there! It was a bit more expensive, but much less complicated than the alternative. For anyone who might be worried about the food: Yes, the canteen has pizza and burgers, but there are also plenty of fresh vegetables, salads and generally healthy items.
Together with friends you often rented a car or an uber or lyft and explored Los Angeles and the surrounding area.
During Spring Break we did a road trip through California and visited San Francisco and San Diego among other places.
During semester we went to Vegas to see Avicii at the club! Vegas is definitely worth it.
After the finals week, the grace period began, during which you can travel through the country for up to two months. I then went on a road trip to the canyons with two friends I met there, and then a road trip to Lake Michigan with friends from Germany.
In conclusion, I can only say that the semester abroad was definitely worth it for me ! It helped me a lot personally and opened up new professional perspectives. The only thing I regretted a little was that although you got to know Americans superficially, you never did anything together.
However, this was a widespread problem at the CSUN. So if you want to get to know Americans, you might want to consider a small town.