University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Civil Engineering
Study type: semester abroad
My name is Christian, I’m 24 years old and meanwhile an alumni of the Bauhaus University Weimar. I completed my Master of Science in Management [Construction Real Estate Infrastructure] there. Right from the start of my studies, I knew that I definitely wanted to do a semester abroad in the USA. Since there was time, I spent my last semester abroad to do the foreign credits I needed. See topmbadirectory.com for information about University of The Andes Venezuela.
Since my university does not have any partner universities for students of the Faculty of Civil Engineering, I was forced to look for opportunities myself as a free mover. After extensive research in the International Office and on the Internet, I came across MicroEdu. Here I looked at all the universities offered in the USA and ultimately decided on Long Beach, because there was a major in “Construction Management” and I was giving courses in my field, even if it wasn’t absolutely necessary to get the credits counted to get. Then I downloaded all the necessary information and forms from MicroEdu and started the actual preparation. So have photos taken, apply for a passport, take care of a bank statement and apply to the CSULB. Thanks to MicroEdu’s precise instructions, that wasn’t a problem at all. After a few weeks (I think it was 3) I had the acceptance letter from the CSULB in my mailbox. There was also the so-called I-20 form, which you will need often, as well as further instructions and advice from the university and MicroEdu. If you stick to it, you can’t go wrong, because everything is really well explained.
Then it was on to the visa. I filled out the DS-160 form online, paid the visa appointment fee, visa application fee and SEVIS fee. All in all about €270 (depending on the exchange rate, of course).
I booked the flight at the beginning of May for August 1st. I flew with Delta Airlines from Munich to Los Angeles via Atlanta. The flight cost about 1100€, it could definitely be cheaper, but it could also be significantly more expensive. I recommend booking early.
I had my embassy appointment 2 months before my flight at the consulate in Munich. It took 2 hours, whereby the interview itself only lasted about 1 minute. The rest of the time you have to wait. I was lucky enough to be able to have a nice chat with another waiting person, the others looked rather bored. I recommend taking something to read! I had the often recommended additional documents (e.g. financial statement from the bank, certificate of enrollment, return flight ticket, etc.) with me, but did not need them. I was only asked what I’m studying, when I’ll finish, how I’ll finance my stay, what my parents work, whether I’ve been to the USA before and whether I have relatives there. Then it was said that my “Visa approved” and it would be sent to me in the next few days.
On my trip to Long Beach I had a layover in Atlanta and not like many others in Europe (London, Amsterdam, Paris etc.) which was very good as it took me about 5 minutes to get there and not like others which arrived in Los Angeles, one and a half hours. I rented a car from the airport in LA and drove straight to my accommodation in Long Beach.
I had already thought a lot about accommodation before I left. In any case, I wanted to have an apartment in Long Beach or the surrounding area before I left Germany and not start looking for one on site. When I searched on sites like craigslist.com, roommates.com and oodle.com, I also came across offers from American students or those who were already working, but they also had “high” demands on their roommates (e.g. no alcohol in the apartment) and the adverts actually put me off. That’s why a one-room apartment (studio apartment) would have been more suitable for me than something like that. MicroEdu also offers, to receive the addresses of other participants in the “Study at the Beach” program (that’s the name of the semester program of the CSULB for foreigners) and to pass on your own in order to organize the journey and apartment search together. In the end, a lot of people got together at the Oakwood Apartments, but that’s two people in a room if you don’t want to pay $1400. Some, like me, have found accommodation in existing American shared flats. I finally found my room via roommates.com and stayed with 2 nice Americans in their prime. The room was furnished – bed, closets and TV – and cost $700 with electricity, gas, water and internet. It was located in North Long Beach, west of the so-called “Lakewood Center”, which is one of the largest shopping centers in the USA. It was about 8 miles to the university, which was not a problem thanks to my car and I was able to experience typical American suburban life. In addition, the two of them helped me a lot with all my questions and also with the car search and gave me a detailed understanding of the city. I also celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with them, both great experiences for a German in the USA.
Life in Long Beach is incredible. There are so many ways to spend your free time. In Long Beach, there is usually something going on on 2nd Street. Here people like to meet at Panama Joe’s (PJ’s), at least for the first few weeks. There are no clubs or anything like that in Long Beach, but I’m more of a bar guy anyway. Long Beach is ideal for excursions thanks to its central location. I’ve visited San Francisco, Bakersfield, Joshua Tree National Park, Los Angeles (constantly), Las Vegas (2 times), San Diego (2 times), Laguna Beach (3 times), the Grand Canyon, as well as Phoenix (Arizona), traveled All in all, I was on the road a lot in a short amount of time. I had also bought my own car to do these trips and drive to uni every day (8 miles one way). I really enjoyed driving in the USA. There are also outlet centers everywhere and you can buy super cheap branded clothes there, can only be recommended. Not much happens at the university, which is probably also due to the fact that you are not allowed to drink alcohol in public. Most of the time you hang out with friends who have pools and hot tubs (there’s always someone in your circle of friends). If you’re still thinking about whether Long Beach is the right choice, stop thinking and go. who have a pool and jacuzzi (there is always someone in the circle of friends). If you’re still thinking about whether Long Beach is the right choice, stop thinking and go. who have a pool and jacuzzi (there is always someone in the circle of friends). If you’re still thinking about whether Long Beach is the right choice, stop thinking and go.
The university can hardly be compared to German universities. It has over 35,000 students (already comparable to some German universities), but the teaching is completely different. Everything is very academic. You get a lot of homework, you have a lot of projects, attendance is graded and there are one or more intermediate exams (midterms) and a final exam (final exam). My Construction Management subjects were all very easy for me for a number of reasons. For one thing, I was already doing my master’s degree in Germany, so I already knew most of it. On the other hand, the subject matter and the tasks were very easy. The biggest hurdle was converting the various imperial units (“American standard”). In the metric system everything is always decadic, in the American system it is not, which leads to small difficulties. Otherwise, the homework consisted only of 8th grade math and physics. Calculate the volume of the column in cubic yards, where the units were inches and feet. No problem. I didn’t really do much for the university, but I got 2 A’s and 2 B’s for my CEM courses. Others have also taken surfing or similar sports courses, which are fun, but of course you don’t get credit for them in Germany. Other disciplines were probably much more difficult and were already at German level (other engineering sciences). but received 2 A’s and 2 B’s for my CEM courses. Others have also taken surfing or similar sports courses, which are fun, but of course you don’t get credit for them in Germany. Other disciplines were probably much more difficult and were already at German level (other engineering sciences). but received 2 A’s and 2 B’s for my CEM courses. Others have also taken surfing or similar sports courses, which are fun, but of course you don’t get credit for them in Germany. Other disciplines were probably much more difficult and were already at German level (other engineering sciences).
Of course, the tuition fees cannot be compared to German universities. However, the university is very cheap compared to other American universities. So you can quickly pay between 10,000 and 20,000 dollars per semester for tuition. The apartments are relatively expensive, but based on the exchange rate they are not as expensive as in Munich or Hamburg. It is worth it in any case.
All in all, I really enjoyed the semester abroad, I would have preferred to have stayed in America straight away. Long Beach is just a great place to explore California and maybe even Nevada and Arizona because it’s so central. I can recommend everyone to visit this university and spend a semester there.