University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Chemistry
Study type: semester abroad
The decision to do this semester abroad was definitely one of the best decisions of my life. The time in Long Beach was just unforgettably beautiful.
The MicroEdu team made the organization a lot more pleasant than if you had to do everything on your own. I found that out, among other things, in conversations with friends from other countries. But now I come to the essentials. See toppharmacyschools.org for information about University of Freiburg Germany.
When I decided to do a semester abroad, the first question that naturally came to mind was financing. During my research I came across the “Auslands-Bafög”. There you will receive financial support for the monthly costs and the tuition fees will also be covered up to a maximum of 4700€. As with domestic student loans, the monthly framework depends on the income of the parents. However, it should be noted that the limits on what parents can earn are higher. So you should definitely apply and try your luck. The responsible office is in Hamburg. You can also get information from the following website: www.auslandsbafoeg.de
Note: You have to pay the tuition fees on site yourself and they will then be refunded during the semester. So you should have the money ready!
Within the first few days of arrival there are other costs to pay such as rent and deposit for the apartment, university health insurance (which is now mandatory for every student, around $230) and books. In my case it was as follows:
Cost in the first two weeks
KV CSULB 225
Other Expenses 300
The purchase of a credit card is also urgently needed. However, make sure that you can use it to withdraw cash free of charge in America and that you don’t pay any foreign transaction fees when paying with the card.
When looking for an apartment, I can only recommend taking care of it in Germany beforehand. Firstly, you can save on the cost of hotels and motels in the first week and you can connect with other people straight away. Most of my friends have lived in Crossings at the Bay or Berverly Plaza. That’s why most of the parties took place there.
Both are apartment complexes that are guarded by security (which unfortunately usually ended the parties early) and have a fitness center and pool. Use is included in the rental price. However, this is not cheap, which is why most of them shared a room, ie a kitchen, a bathroom and two rooms were occupied by 4 people.
I found my apartment on the CSULB site because people advertise their rooms/apartments there too. However, I advise against a landlord named John on Hoffman Ave. Furthermore, in my experience, it is good if you start the semester abroad alone and look for an apartment where no Germans live. Only this will really help you to improve your English.
Another good place to look for apartments is www.craigslist.com. There you will find apartments, pieces of furniture, etc. The Americans are also quite unproblematic in this respect. They don’t necessarily want to get to know you personally. A Skype call with you is often enough for them to get to know each other a bit if you only want a room in a shared flat.
In many cases, the rent is handed over to the landlord in cash.
As a rule, you study in the “undergraduate” program, which is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree. However, there is also the possibility to take courses in the “graduate” program if you can prove the necessary previous knowledge in the form of a transcript. You can then clarify this on site with the responsible person.
You have to choose the courses so that you get 12 credits. The courses have between 1 (sports courses) and 4 (many language courses) credits. If you get foreign student loans, then the chosen courses must of course belong to your degree program, otherwise the financial support will be terminated and you will have to pay the money back to the office! However, if you decide to take other courses that cannot be clearly assigned to your degree program, you will need written confirmation from your university that the courses can be credited to the CSULB in Germany. That’s how I did it, for example. I was able to have all 4 courses in the “Studium Generale” or “General Education Studies” area credited to my chemistry degree here in Germany.
In general, it can be said that the level does not quite correspond to that of a German course. In many cases it is relatively easy to get good grades, even if you are initially intimidated by the workload. During the semester there are intermediate exams, lots of homework, projects and lectures. The final exam often counts for only 20%. It sounds like a lot but I didn’t feel overworked and almost always got an A or B. I can only dream of that in Germany…
My courses were: Modeling with Algebra (Algebra – the course starts with y=x : D)
Statistics (Statistics – I was no ace in Germany and one of the best there)
Nutrition (nutrition and nutrients – very interesting but a lot to learn)
English Writing (writing essays)
Unfortunately, it is also often the case that the books in a lecture are a mandatory purchase, so you have to buy them all. Unfortunately, books are extremely expensive there. I therefore recommend the following site: www.fetchbook.com I was able to schedule
these courses so that I had everything on a Tuesday and Thursday. The courses are always two days a week either Mon/Wed or Tue/Thu. There are hardly any lectures on Fridays. I actually don’t know anyone who was at the university on Friday. Most of the time we have already started our weekend trips.
I still can’t believe what I was allowed to see. Almost every weekend we drove somewhere with a rental car from Enterprise (weekends) or Hertz (weekdays). I didn’t buy a car because you can drive for free in Long Beach with your student ID. The day ticket for the metro to and in LA (about 1 hour) costs only $5. The Metro Blue Line departs directly from Long Beach every 10 minutes. The bus to Newport Beach, Huntington Beach is also only $1.50.
However, you should be prepared that the buses are rarely on time and that LA’s transport system is really bad. It takes forever to get from A to B in this huge metropolis. It is advisable to drive to certain sights.
The main cities to see are of course San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas and LA, with LA being a real disappointment.
But the national parks are also really worth seeing. It’s best to buy an annual pass for $80. You can use it to go to any national park in America. Admission prices are always per car and in the Grand Canyon alone it is already $20. Then you drive to Joshua Tree Park, Mojawe Desert, Sequoia National Park (redwood trees), Yosemite Park, Redwood State Park (near Las Vegas) and Death Valley and you’ve got the money back easily.
My other travel tip is Hawaii. I stayed there during spring break and would recommend it to anyone. The return flight from LA is only $400, which is really cheap by European standards. You will never get to this dream island in Honolulu so cheaply again.
Las Vegas is a real party town and I’ve been there four times (my hotel tip: Imperial Hotel – right in the center of the Strip, cheap and beautiful). From there you should also go to the Hoover Dam.
San Francisco is also a great city to plan at least 3 days to visit. However, I would recommend not booking accommodation directly in downtown because of the many weird characters there.
San Diego is beautiful too. Those who like to go out and enjoy the nightlife should settle down in the “Gaslamp District”.
One trip I remember fondly is our RV ride to Yosemite Park. The largest sleeps 7 people. The campsite (Lower Pines/Upper Pines) should be booked well in advance, as Americans love such excursions and everything is booked up quickly. We were about 21 people spread over 3 RV’s. During the day we did different tours and everyone split them up according to different interests. In the evening we all sat together around the campfire.
Use this opportunity for a semester abroad, the incredible experiences, getting to know great people and just have a great time with many breathtaking impressions. IT IS WORTH IT IN ANY CASE!