University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: tourism management
Study type: semester abroad
The application process wasn’t really that difficult. With the support of MicroEdus I had a good overview of the documents I had to submit. No circumstances but nonsense arose in my opinion from American authorities. The biometric photos for the visa application are relatively expensive and basically a bit superfluous, because in the end I only needed the electronic photo, but still had to buy the prints. Of course, these are lying around uselessly because I usually don’t need any biometric passport photos. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about St Francis College.
Otherwise, the costs for the visa application are relatively high, but of course this is bearable if you really want to go to America. MicroEdu support was always good and questions were answered quickly. So if you see yourself in a position to pay significantly expensive tuition fees for a semester in the USA, you will find a good opportunity to do a semester abroad in the USA in this way.
Furthermore, the visa application process isn’t that exciting: After I got an appointment in Berlin, I was a little nervous about answering questions incorrectly. In hindsight, I can say that the short survey was very relaxed and that unnecessary worries are not necessary. As long as you have all the necessary documents with you, hardly anything can happen to you.
At first it seemed very exhausting and stressful to me to have to look for courses locally. Via the contact with MicroEdu you are an international student at the CSULB without a specific exchange program. This means that you have to “search” for your courses via the open university program. So you basically walk from one building to the next within 2 weeks to get the right courses, since an online application for this type of student at CSULB is not possible.
I took 4 courses and only had the problem with one course that I couldn’t get the course at first because I was overcrowded. However, I was lucky that I finally got it.
Since 3 of my courses were with only one professor, I only had 2 professors in total. These proved very knowledgeable (Mrs. Brown from family studies, Mr. Opland, HRM) and entertaining. Mrs. Browwn is a psychologist and was therefore very close to the subject, which in my case was Family Stress and Coping. Although this subject obviously doesn’t have much to do with my field of study, I learned a lot and was happy to have chosen this course. From time to time I was surprised by my fellow students, who weren’t always the smartest. In retrospect, however, it was bearable.
My other professor is very chatty and can therefore be a bit tiring at times. However, he is also a very practice-oriented professor and makes the lecture very relaxed. I took courses with him from the 7th or 8th semester, which were purely from Germany due to the claim to my 3rd and 4th semester. So my fellow students there also shocked me from time to time, but on the whole I was able to take something with me both personally and intellectually.
On-site support was good. Even if something didn’t go as planned, there was always someone who could help. The professors are very open and helpful. From time to time there were some difficulties with organizational tasks. Who is actually responsible for what was sometimes not so clear and I traveled several kilometers on campus to speak to the right person. Sometimes the opening hours got in the way and little things get in the way.
Otherwise there is a contact person on site for every concern and you can always reach someone. As I said, the question is whether it’s the right one…
The search for accommodation was particularly easy for me: I just wrote on facebook that I would be coming to Long Beach in August and whether anyone needed a roommate and I promptly found my two great roommates, both of whom were also at the study CSULB and have been extremely helpful. I personally think that living with Americans helps. On the way I was really able to see a lot of things that would otherwise not have been open to me. I’ve been to a few family celebrations and got tips on where I can eat when and how best, where I can go shopping cheaply or what I absolutely must have seen. I have to say, however, that I was also lucky with my roommates, as they were very clean and well-groomed girls. We cooked and ate a lot together. My roommate had courses similar to mine and was always able to take me to the university, which of course was very nice. I know from friends that things can be different. But I was very lucky and lived with great people.
Our apartment was in the Bayhill Apartments. This is about a 15 minute bike ride from the university and is a really nice complex. We had a pool, jacuzzi, small gym with basic exercise equipment, a very nice view of London Beach and a balcony!! Located directly at a large roundabout, there were several shops downstairs, including supermarkets, so that I could go shopping independently – without a car or my roommates with a car.
The beach was about 10 minutes away by bike and I also found a great route for jogging (directly on the beach). Otherwise it’s not far to downtown, about 20 minutes by bus.
Leisure and excursion possibilities
There are plenty of things to do in terms of leisure activities. Basically, nothing is really far, but then somehow everything is too. I had the opportunity to rent a car with friends. We had that for about 3 months for four of us, it was also bearable in terms of price.
With a car everything is within reach and practically around the corner. So I recommend a car if possible! You can also see a lot by bike, but of course it is a lot more difficult. However, if you get to know enough Americans, you can still get around and be relatively mobile.
On the spot you get actually relatively quickly what you should have seen. That includes beaches like Huntington, Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Suma. in Huntington you can see the Baywatch people you see in the movies. Otherwise don’t expect too much from movies. The inline skating blondes are not that common. The lifeguard is easier to find.
Otherwise, San Francisco is not far, which is one of my favorite destinations. A trip to the Grand Canyon is worthwhile, as are the countless national parks, Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley or others. Las Vegas is of course only a stone’s throw away from America and can be reached within 5 hours.
Otherwise there are innumerable things with which one can occupy oneself there. I went to the surf club, which was a lot of fun and I met a lot of people. The boys also do trips to San Diego, bonfires on the beach and countless parties. So if you’re in the mood for cool people, sports and partying, you’ve come to the right place.
You will also have a lot of fun with the international students. Since everyone is there with the motivation to experience and see as much as possible, they are in a good mood. Every two weeks there are party bus trips to Hollywood – be there at least once;)
What we unfortunately found out too late was that there is a $1 beer bar on the Anaheim corner of Ximeno. A must! Unfortunately, the bars in America close at 2 a.m. at the latest, which takes some getting used to, so be there at the latest at 10 p.m. where you want to go in the evening. The 2nd is also very entertaining pretty much every night of the week. We were usually there on Thursdays and it was worth it every time.
It is also good to know that there is a small Italian on the Bellflower, at Trader Joes (supermarket). Unfortunately, I only had the pleasure on the last night of my semester in Long Beach: It doesn’t stand out, but it’s cheap and really tasty!!
If you are interested in renting a car for a longer period, I recommend supercheapcar near the airport in LA. We had no problems and always an average good car. Buying a car is also worthwhile if you find something right at the beginning. The gas prices are really an argument for a car.