University: California State University Northridge
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business
Study type: semester abroad
The best decision I could have made!
A good year before I was finally on the plane to LA in August 2017, I made the decision to spend my semester abroad at CSUN in Los Angeles . The central location in California and the good reputation of the university’s business department were decisive for me. Sure, there is a lot of paperwork that you have to deal with during a semester abroad, but the colleagues at MicroEdu will help you with any question. And believe me, I had a lot of questions;-)
So, don’t let that discourage you and always keep in mind that it will definitely be worth it! After I finally got the commitment from the CSUN in April 2017, things got serious. I booked my flights and then the question of accommodation quickly arose. Should I take a room on campus or look for one outside? After a lot of back and forth, I decided to find a place to live off campus, also because of the high costs associated with on-campus housingto search. For this I recommend joining the numerous “CSUN-Housing” groups on Facebook to get a good overview. I then found my accommodation by accident via Facebook and, after a lively exchange with former roommates, booked it directly for the whole semester (you can of course also book a room via AirBnB for the first few days/weeks and look for accommodation on site, if that’s too risky for you). In the end I did everything right with my accommodation – it was perfect ! A huge house with about 15 other international and also American students. So you had a direct reference group and also people who have now become really good friends after the end of the semester. Check ehuacom.com to see CSUN study abroad opportunities.
The CSUN campus
Now let’s get to the university. The campus is huge and sometimes very impressive – especially the library. There are many opportunities to relax, learn, eat and exercise. The school’s own fitness studio is very modern and diverse. For an extra fee you can use normal fitness equipment, play basketball, volleyball and football, attend fitness courses with trainers, go jogging or even let yourself go on a climbing wall. So there are enough opportunities to get moving after everyday university life.
The staff who are responsible for the international students are very nice and will try to help you with any problem. Especially at the beginning, when it comes to getting the courses you want, it can get very chaotic. So my tip: Check beforehand whether you meet the requirements for your desired course ! And look for alternativesout that you write on your course list. Unfortunately, you often need a plan B or plan C there, which simply cannot be avoided due to the American university system. Because American students are given preference when choosing a course and if there is no more space in your desired course, you will unfortunately have to avoid it. But don’t let that discourage you! In the end everything goes well;-)
In the end I had the following 4 courses: Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Introduction to Business and Introduction to Economy. The professors were all very nice and helpful. In the “Leadership” course, we even went on an overnight trip to Joshua Tree National Park. “Entrepreneurship” was about planning your own business down to the last detail with a group of students throughout the semester and presenting it at the end. The other two courses related more to economic aspects, which is also very interesting because of the permanent connection to America.
All in all, I can say that the level can’t keep up with the German level, of course. Sometimes it still feels like school. You are usually only challenged because of the high number of diligent jobs and homework that you have to do compared to Germany. I never found it really difficult. But it was always interesting! I also found it positive that you were in the same courses as the American students. For example, I only did my group work in the “Leadership” course with students from LA.
If there is no work for the university, there is of course a hell of a lot to do. Unfortunately, a car is not wrong for this. We bought one at the beginning of the semester with a total of 4 people and it was the best decision! We were exploring San Diego, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco or just Los Angeles. The CSUN Outdoor Adventure Office also offers a good and inexpensive alternative. Here you can book many interesting tours at reasonable prices. I did a tour to Yosemite National Park there and it was really recommendable! Whether Venice Beach, Santa Monica or hiking in Malibu – there is an incredible amount to do in LA and it never gets boring! For sports fans, LA also has plenty to offer: LA Kings and the Anaheim Ducks in the NHL, LA Rams and LA Chargers in the NFL, LA Clippers and LA Lakers in the NBA, LA Dodgers and LA Angels in the MBL, LA Galaxy in the MLS and of course the 2 big universities, USC and UCLA, have good football teams that are always worth going to.
From Northridge it is about 45 minutes by car to Downtown, Venice Beach or Malibu. Sure, that sounds like a lot, but Los Angeles is simply huge and America cannot be compared to Germany in terms of distance. And you get used to that – just like the permanent traffic jams in Los Angeles;-)
You can really endure it there and I have never regretted having chosen this location. If you value consistently good weather, Los Angeles is the place for you. I haven’t had a rainy day and I think that speaks for itself.
The right decision
In the end I can say that these 5 months were the best of my life. I am very happy to have made this decision and can only recommend everyone to make the same decision. I also have a lot to thank the MicroEdu team forand I’m glad that you always stood by my side with advice and action – thanks for that! I can recommend the university because of the quiet but good location and the experience I was able to gain there. It’s not a party university, but there were always good parties among the international students – you just have to organize them;-) If you have any further questions about the university, life there or similar, let MicroEdu put you in touch with me and I hope I can help you!