University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: mechanical engineering
Study type: semester abroad
After I decided to do a semester abroad at Cal State Long Beach, I started applying. MicroEdu gave me good support when I had questions, and there was also a checklist that was good for orientation. Applying to the university wasn’t really complicated, but it took a few weeks to get accepted. Applying for a visa and the foreign student loan turned out to be a paperwork. However, once I had all the necessary documents together and had an appointment at the embassy, everything happened very quickly. The “application interview” at the embassy lasted about 1 minute and a few days later the visa came in the mail. See animalerts.com for information about Internship in Singapore.
I’ve heard from many quarters that you should first look for a shared flat when you’re there. Personally, I didn’t feel too comfortable there, because I wanted to spend my first few days there traveling and vacationing and not looking for an apartment. In various Facebook groups, students have always offered a place to live, but they are mostly looking for a long-term tenant and not someone like me who only stays there for 5 months. Sometimes you don’t get an answer at all. In the end we rented our own apartment in the Beverly Plaza Apartments with a total of 6 international students (3 Danish and 3 German).. The apartment itself was quite nice and in a good location, about 10 minutes by bus to the university. However, the whole thing had its price, so I paid $500 + utilities per month for a shared room.
The CSULB and its campus are just really enormous. In addition to large green areas, there are several fast-food restaurants, a few banks and other various facilities. On the one hand, there is a very large fitness center which, in addition to the usual weights, offers 3 basketball courts, 2 volleyball courts, a beach volleyball court, a climbing wall and a pool. There is also the well-known Walter Pyramid, in which the basketball and volleyball teams play their games in front of up to almost 5000 spectators. Maybe it’s because the weather is almost always good, but the campus always looks tidy and clean and never really crowded, despite the more than 35,000 students.
However, due to the class crashing, not much of it can be enjoyed at first. After the orientation week, in which you will be informed about organizational matters and have some events with the remaining [email protected] students, you have 2 weeks to take your courses. You should definitely have a few courses ready as a plan B, as it is quite likely that you will not be able to take all of the courses you want.
Since I couldn’t take all the courses I wanted, I also took a few sports courses. Since these are each counted as one unit, you can use them to fill gaps in your course list.
Everyday university life in the USA is very different from that in Germany. In the lectures you can expect regular quizzes or midterms, all of which contribute to the final grade. The final exam then only contributes about 30% to the grade. It sounds like more stress, but the frequent quizzes keep you on the ball and you don’t have to study a lot for the midterms. The professors are also somewhat considerate of international students, so you never really feel pressured.
There is a lot to do in and around Long Beach. For example, Long Beach Downtown offers an outlet, a very nice movie theater and several dining options. The many college teams at the university also have regular games, which can then be followed in the Walter Pyramid. The on-campus Recreation Center, which can be used for a monthly fee ($37), offers a variety of activities and sports. If you then want to get out of Long Beach, a trip to Las Vegas, San Diego or LA with its many beaches is worthwhile. Due to its proximity to USC and UCLA you can also watch a college football game including “Tailgaten” in the LA Coliseum, which I can only recommend. The Staples Center is also not far, so you should also watch a Lakers game. Of course there are many more things that one can and should do, depending on one’s preferences and interests.
I think the cost of a semester abroad at CSULB is pretty high. In addition to the tuition fee of $6400, there were a few additional fees in advance:
- Visa fees (about $300)
- Flights (approx. €1300)
- Accommodation for the first days
- possibly passport
The cost of living in the USA is also slightly more expensive than in Germany. I spent about $300 a month on groceries. I think how much you spend on leisure activities is different for everyone. However, it is definitely worth not taking too many clothes with you to the USA, as they are much cheaper there than here.
In the end I can definitely say that the semester abroad was worth it and I had a great time there. The Californians, who were very open and friendly to me, also helped me to enjoy my time there. Of course it’s a lot of money to pay for it, but the experience in the USA was definitely worth the money.