University: California State University Long Beach
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: law
Study type: semester abroad
Sun-beach-sea… looking back I’m really speechless about my semester abroad, the memories seem so unreal, too good to be true, eg the breaks on campus, the beach in Hawaii, the snow in New York, the palm trees in LA and much more. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak.
Back in Germany you appreciate the moments all the more, even the supermarket shopping at Vons or the uncomfortable sofa bed. In short, it was very worthwhile from start to finish.
I received my F1 visa just one week after my appointment in Frankfurt. You have the opportunity to enter the country earlier and leave later than the semester, that’s how I did it. The Study Abroad program started in late August and lasted until mid-December, I made the most of it and entered in early August and left in mid-February, a week before the deadline. I can only recommend that you stay as long as possible. You can make good use of the free time to travel, because it gets a little more difficult during the semester due to the lack of time, especially because of the papers and the compulsory attendance in some courses.
I did the semester abroad with my girlfriend. Together we tried to organize accommodation from Germany. Unfortunately, we didn’t find anything in the Facebook groups, so we contacted the landlord directly. Due to the proximity to the university, two residential complexes came into question, Beverly Plaza and Alvista. Both have a really great location, but unfortunately I can’t say much good about the living conditions in the Alvista, it was really miserable. After a number of phone calls and e-mails, we got a two-room apartment, which we shared with five of us. The apartment cost us $500 per person (including utilities).
Although we had organized everything from Germany, we didn’t get the keys to the apartment until two days later and therefore had to spend two days in the car. It’s laughable in hindsight, but it wasn’t particularly nice at the time. The staff were really rude about this. Living in the Alvista is not recommended, employees constantly had to be called due to defects in the apartment, apart from the good location to the university and the traffic circle, nothing speaks for Alvista. There is also a pool and gym in other apartments.
The journey from Alvista to the university takes about 15 minutes by bus, otherwise I often took the university shuttle. Both options are free for students, you just have to show your student ID. Then there are scooters, which you can find on every corner. Driving with Lime or Bird is really fun and also really fast, but unfortunately the journey to the university is a bit expensive in the long run.
Sport is very important at the university, which is why a wide variety of sports are offered. In addition to the usual sports courses, there is a very good sports facility on campus with tennis courts, a pool and a climbing wall. Training here is a lot of fun, I can really recommend it. For in between there is also a bowling hall and several pool tables.
Besides, what more could you wish for than a university on the beach. After university or in the free hours you always have the opportunity to go to the beach and relax. When you are on campus for the first time, you will notice how huge the area is. So not comparable to the size that we otherwise know from Germany. In the beginning you get a little lost and don’t see through it, but you quickly get used to it.
As a Study Abroad student you can choose any subject you like, it doesn’t have to match your own course of study, you just have to be admitted to the course by the professor. Unfortunately, the local students have priority over the study abroad, so it can be a little more difficult to take the desired courses, but mostly the professors approve access to the course, because as a study abroad you are welcome in the courses.
I’m studying law myself, although I can’t get any credit for courses, I still chose subjects that matched my degree in order to understand the American legal system. Unfortunately, I had to switch to two sociology courses in two courses because the courses I wanted were overfilled.
I have taken the following courses:
- BLAW-CAFF 309: The Consumer in the Legal and Economic Environment
- CRJU 408: Serial Killers and Psychopaths – Psychology of the Criminal Mind
- SOC 346: Race, Class, and Gender
- SOC 449: Human Rights and Social Justice
Finally, a tip by the way: The higher the course number, the more difficult the course.
The best prerequisite for traveling are friends who also like to travel and are open to new things. In this regard, I can count myself really lucky because I had found such a group of friends. The four of us accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. Half a year sounds like a lot to some people, but you really shouldn’t underestimate the time, because the months fly by in no time at all. Nevertheless, in addition to the university, we really went through a lot of destinations in half a year. I have never flown as many times in such a short space of time as I have in these few months. Together with my friends we have been to New York, Miami, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Hawaii.
We made some trips during the semester and drove from the airport to the university in the morning and flew to the next town in the evening. My tip to you: Make a travel plan early on and use any free time to travel. You can go to San Diego or Santa Barbara on weekends, but for multi-day trips I would recommend around Thanksgiving, which gives you several days off.
Set your travel destinations early enough and book everything in good time, otherwise you may end up paying more than usual. For road trips, I can recommend the “Turo” app, where you can rent a car for less. Of course we also saw typical spots in LA. One of the special moments for me personally was the Beyoncé concert in Pasadena, the beach in Malibu, the NBA game at Staples Center and the Ellen DeGeneres show.
A semester abroad is expensive, so think about financing in good time . I have applied for foreign BAföG for my semester abroad, but I have to admit that in my opinion financing with BAföG alone is not possible.
If you want to travel, you definitely need savings or some pocket money from your parents. Life in LA is expensive, the food, the rent, the taxes. You will lose a lot of money here, especially on Black Friday . Even if I spent a lot of money and after half a year I’m several thousand euros poorer, I don’t regret it at all. The travel, shopping and life there was all worth it!
Was it worth?
Definitely YES ! Even if the beginning was associated with something organizational and stressful, the rest was correspondingly much more amusing.
You will never have this time again later, so you have to enjoy every moment. I had the best time in LA and I’m also aware that a vacation in LA will not be enough for me later. Also, it’s better than a holiday because you feel like a resident, which, after all, you are for a short time. I now call Long Beach home and am already homesick.
Student life in LA is incredibly beautiful, you really have to experience it!
PALM TREES, OCEAN BREEZE, SALTY AIR, SUNKISSED HAIR, ENDLESS SUMMER…TAKE ME THERE.