University: California State University Northridge
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I’m studying industrial engineering in the 5th semester and I really wanted to do a semester abroad as part of my studies. Since my university mainly only has partner universities in Asia and Europe, but I really wanted to go to the USA, I organized everything with the help of MicroEdu. At the beginning I feared that the organizational effort would be very high, but in the end everything was not half as difficult. Check ehuacom.com to see CSUMB study abroad opportunities.
About a year before the start of the semester, I found out about all the partner universities in California and came across California State University Northridge. The main argument why I chose CSUN was that it is not too expensive compared to other universities in California and is still quite close to LA. The application is filled out online and all necessary documents are sent to MicroEdu, where they are forwarded to the university in the USA after they have been checked. I paid the tuition fees by credit card. Depending on the type of credit card, you pay a fee of around €60, but if you plan the day of the transfer depending on the US$ exchange rate compared to the euro, you can save money again.
I took a lot of time to choose the course. First, I clarified at my home university which courses I would get credit for if I complete them abroad, and then found out which courses at CSUN roughly matched the course content at my university. After that I looked at the individual lecture times, because I wanted to have as much free time as possible with only 4 courses and didn’t want to go to university 4 days a week. While there is no guarantee that you will get these exact courses, a little planning never hurts. Because in the end I only had to go to the university on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and was able to use the long weekends to explore the area. But you can also get it really badly if you get, for example, Saturday courses.
The university and finding accommodation
The CSUN campus is very nice with many green areas, several small supermarkets, cafes and other places to eat. One of the highlights is the recently opened Recreation Center, a different kind of gym with a pool (which is always quiet), running tracks, and playing fields.
The support for the international students is very well organized and there is always a contact person in the Tseng College office who can help you with any questions.
I found the level of the courses (I chose two 100 and two 300 courses) very easy, especially since all my exams were in the form of multiple-choice questions, and therefore you had a chance to pass even without very good preparation.
Since it was too expensive for me to live on campus, I looked for a room on Craigslist. To do this, I simply stayed in a hostel immediately after arriving and then immediately went looking for a room. Luckily I found a room about 10 minutes away from campus on the first day. As I was going to buy a car anyway, which I would recommend to anyone as LA is really big and walking distance to nowhere, the distance wasn’t an issue.
Leisure and excursion possibilities
I was very disappointed with the nightlife in and around LA, since all the bars and clubs close at 2 a.m. In and around Northridge there isn’t much to do in this regard (there are a few bars, but nothing more), so you always have to go to Hollywood or downtown LA. During the day, on the other hand, there are plenty of ways to spend your free time, for example the beaches of Malibu, Santa Monica or Venice can be reached within 25 minutes, or you can explore one of the other numerous attractions in LA. I always used the long weekends to drive to more distant destinations, such as San Francisco, Las Vegas or San Diego.
All in all, you don’t get bored that quickly and we went to the beach at least once a week, especially since the weather in August to the end of October in the San Fernando Valley, where Northridge is located, is very very hot. A cool down on the beach with a light wind is just right.
All in all, the semester at CSUN was a blast, and while the Northridge neighborhood isn’t the prettiest, LA’s stunning campus and beaches make up for it. You have a lot of free time and if you receive foreign student loans, you can recoup a large part of the sometimes quite high costs.