University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: computer science
Study type: Master’s degree
Doing a master’s degree in the USA differs significantly from a pure semester abroad, especially in the requirements that you have to meet. For the master’s degree, there is no way around a TOEFL or the GRE test. For the latter, I can only strongly recommend studying well, since a good grade in the “Writing” part of the GRE is already a requirement for master’s students at the CSULB can be fulfilled. The so-called GWAR (Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement) is a requirement that must be met before entering the last semester of the master’s degree. This can be done either through a test or through an English class. Just to be sure, I took the class. With a 4.0 in the GRE “Writing” part, you don’t need to do either of those two and have automatically met the GWAR. See act-test-centers.com for information about University of Munich.
Since I’m doing the master’s degree in just 2 semesters instead of 4 semesters, it’s a bit tricky to submit the necessary documents. In addition, you have to deal with the topic of the thesis at an early stage. However, you don’t have to write a thesis at the end, you can also write a so-called “cumulative exam”, which represents the end of your studies and asks you about material from 3 courses. However, if you decide to do the thesis, you have to start writing it a semester in advance because of the very tight deadlines. This is how it looks for me:
I’m officially taking the thesis in the 2017 semester, but the thesis has to be submitted by mid-October. Until then, however, I have to present and “defend” the thesis in front of a self-elected committee. After that, the thesis has to be approved by the Chair of the Computer Science Department and the Dean of the College of Engineering. Then it goes to the library, which examines the formal principles and then publishes the work. Since the semester starts at the end of August, you would only have 1 ½ months if you only start in the fall. For this reason, I coordinated the topic with my advisor in the spring semester and started writing.
The university itself is simply outstanding and it’s always fun to come to the campus.You can see the 35,000 students on campus during the week and everyone is super friendly. But the best place to get in touch with Americans are the numerous clubs on campus. Whether it’s the tennis, football or archery club, you can quickly get into conversation with the Americans and make new friends. Personally, I’ve mostly stayed away from the International Students as I don’t go to the US to hang out with other Germans and then speak German again. That’s why I can only recommend doing as much with the locals as possible. I spoke almost exclusively English with my German roommate. This is unusual at first, but you quickly get used to it.
As in my Spring 2015 review, I can still recommend a great place to stay in Long Beach. It is a student house, which is run by a private person and has space for a total of 15 students. If you are interested, please contact me via MicroEdu.
Living in California is absurdly expensive, at least if you want your own room. A private room always costs from $700 per month and can easily be significantly higher. If you share a room, you can save about half. However, the rooms often come without any furnishings, which you either have to rent or buy yourself.
Long Beach itself is actually a terrific choice for a study abroad experience, since you can’t get much better location than Southern California. It’s quick in LA and quick in San Diego. The city itself is also very beautiful and offers a lot. But if you want to move freely, a car or motorcycle is very helpful. In 2015 I didn’t buy a car/motorcycle because it’s just too much effort for one semester. But this time I bought a used motorcycle and that was also a good decision. But I would just warn you in advance: the purchase, the registration and the insurance are really a cramp and not nearly as relaxed as in Germany. Even with a private purchase you pay taxes on the sale price!
Finally, a few words about the Master itself. If you are currently hesitating whether you should do your master’s degree in Germany or in the USA : Go to the USA. It looks very good on your CV and you develop a lot personally. But especially in computer science ( computer science ) area, the American master’s is worth much more than the German one, which is due to the fact that the German education system is too sluggish and conservative for such dynamic and rapidly changing areas. The only problem is the $30,000 expenditure per academic year, but I can only recommend the education fund of Deutsche Bildung (www.deutsche-bildung.de). There is very fair support, where the repayment is calculated according to the later salary. (You pay x% of gross salary for x years.) But if you’re not earning anything, you don’t pay anything.