University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Study type: semester abroad
I decided at very short notice to do a semester abroad and then chose Cal State Long Beach. The application via MicroEdu was very helpful because I knew what I needed and didn’t have to contact the university directly. Gathering all the material for the application was a bit tedious, but it was worth it : )
A tip for everyone who needs the TOEFL: CAL State Long Beach also accepts the DAAD English certification. You can download this form from the Internet and have it filled out by a professor at your home university. In contrast to the TOEFL, this is less time-consuming and free of charge !!
Since the CSULB has very precise ideas about international insurance, I would recommend the cheapest variant of Hanse Merkur to everyone: it is accepted by the CSULB! See top-medical-schools.org for information about Fermin Toro University Venezuela.
It is also an advantage to open an account with the DKB. This is free and you can easily withdraw money here. The fees charged by the US banks are fully reimbursed by the DKB on request, so it is always free of charge.
The tuition fees at the CSULB are immense, so I applied for an international student loan and got it! I can only recommend everyone to try it – because even this paperwork is definitely worth it: The Bafög office took over the complete tuition fees for me and you don’t have to pay them back. I also have to admit that without this help I might not have even gone to CSULB. Because the tuition fees are just too high. I was only able to take 12 credit courses for $4700. Since most English courses have 3-4 credits, I only had 3 courses and a sports course (as these usually only have one credit). I think it’s a shame that we were limited to so few credits. If you already pay so much tuition, one could expect more (the Americans here also pay less than we do). I also found it very annoying that the membership in the Recreation Center (their new fitness studio, or even more : -) ) had to be paid extra (of course only as an international student). However, I can say that it is worth the $120. You haven’t seen anything like this before.
Compared to other reports, I have to say that the university was the most expensive here.
What I still remember negatively is the choice of course or getting into a course. Although the English courses are actually not that bad, it was annoying to run after the professors and hope that you would get into the desired course. I find that very badly organized by the CSULB and unfair. Because only we international students are not allowed to simply register online for courses. For the tuition fees, however, one might expect that. I hope for future students that this will be changed.
However, if you then have all the courses you want, the CSULB is a very good university. My courses were all very good and the professors were very nice and helpful. Compared to German universities, the time required during the semester is very high, but there is less stress during the exam period (since the majority of the grades were already collected during the semester). Thus, the grades are very good for most international students.
Housing / Living:
I have already found accommodation from Germany. That was very important for me and in hindsight I would do the same thing again.
The best way to search is on craigslist.com. Here I found a great room close to the university with a family that I get along with very well !! I would also recommend that to everyone: to live with an American family. Here you get a very good insight into the culture and life of the people. The families here are also different from those in Germany. There are always people there and they are very open. Contrary to what many people think, you don’t hide in the room but live (and celebrate;) with them.
I also liked living so close to the university (5 minutes walk). Because Long Beach is really big and it’s only here that you realize how far away some areas are from the university. The buses should not be relied on as there are no correct bus times and you often have to wait.
Long Beach is great for living!!! Here you have everything! I really enjoyed my time here and would have loved to have extended my stay…I can only recommend everyone to make the most of their visa and stay here for the 60 days after university. There is so much to see here: LA, San Francisco, Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, Hawaii, and and and… : -) It is highly recommended to buy a car, because otherwise it is it’s really hard to get around (even in Long Beach). You also save on the rental costs for a car, because everyone here also wants to see something of California. I also recommend craigslist.com when buying a car, but you should be careful to enter Orange County instead of LA county (there are much better cars here, from more trustworthy dealers, yes I speak from experience : )..many friends here had problems with very cheap cars that just didn’t work anymore. If you spend around $3000 on a car, you can be sure that it will take you anywhere and that you can sell it later.
Life here is a bit more expensive than in Germany, but you can save a lot if you just know how (e.g. in the right supermarkets, or supermarket member cards; for fruit and vegetables I can recommend the Fresh and Easy on 7th street; there has one almost German prices). Many restaurants have great lunch specials that make cooking almost no longer worthwhile : -) (e.g. Sushi-Studio at PCH/Clark or Sushi Kiyona at Target at Bellflower).
All in all, I can only say that this semester abroad was just perfect and I can recommend everyone to come here. The prejudices I initially vs. I could eliminate Americans. The people here are super nice and open. California is just amazing and life here is very pleasant : -)… I think every student should go abroad and have such an experience. It would only be nice if it were also financially possible for everyone. Because life here is especially nice when you can afford a lot.