University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Geography, Journalism, English Studies / American Studies
Study type: semester abroad
Now how do I start this report. Studying in Long Beach rocks! It really was the best semester of my studies and the best 4 months of my life. If you still have doubts… stop it! GO BEACH! See ehuzhou.net for information about University of Labor of Uruguay.
I’ll start with the organization.
I started applying relatively late (end of February) and it was doable but not really recommended because every appointment really has to fit. As Magda already said… it can happen that one or the other appointment bursts and then it gets tight. As soon as the university accepted me, I made an appointment at the embassy, got an appointment for the Toefel, booked the flight, looked for accommodation and started asking around about roommates.
It quickly became clear to me that I wanted to go to Oakwood. I can really only recommend it to everyone. The apartment was reserved very quickly, only the roomate search was a bit problematic because the plan was to move in with a couple of Americans. That in turn went wrong (since most Americans don’t want a fully furnished apartment on the beach?!). But with a lot of luck I finally found my roommates and I can’t imagine any better ones than the 3. I also had reservations at the beginning, since everyone had to share a room (and I wasn’t used to being so close with someone to live together) but it all worked out great and we all grew very fond of each other and had a lot of fun together. So if you have concerns about German roommates, I can only say it always depends on the people. I’ve almost only heard negative things from Germans who have moved in with Americans…. but everyone has to experience it themselves and not everyone is the same. You can also have bad luck with Germans.
Back to Oakwood… just awesome! It’s in Seal Beach (upmarket little town right on the beach) and feels like you’re in a beachfront resort. The neighbors were like a family to us, the facilities (pool, fitness, office, tennis…) were more than great and the jacuzzi in particular has it all : -). Just a community facility and everyone who lives there is super nice and totally open-minded. Since the accommodation is not the cheapest (approx. $2700 a month for the apartment), only well-earning people live there. So you don’t have to be afraid that the bum will come around the corner at night. In general, security is very high there. No one can enter the premises without a key card and a security service is present at night. Yes, but the best thing is.. it is only a 10-minute walk to the awesome Seal Beach. A beautiful beach and an absolute insider tip for all surfers. If you want to go surfing to Huntington Beach, just hop on the Einser bus from here and you’ll be there in 10-15 minutes! Seal Beach is a great little town with very nice Irish pubs… I can only recommend O’malley’s.
As already mentioned, if you want to study in the USA with the ulterior motive of getting credit for the courses in Germany, then the CSULB might not be the best address. I actually came here with this in mind and was very disappointed when I didn’t get the courses I urgently needed. Although I had sent my course wish list to MicroEdu (who then forwarded it to the university) months in advance, that list was kind of useless. The first two weeks at university were more than exhausting and there were moments when I really thought about giving up. Since many professors didn’t even know that we were there and that there was something like our Study at the Beach program, they were just as surprised as we were. In the end I found my 4 courses with a bang (it is also very important to ensure that you reach 12 credit points. Too few means your visa is not valid, too many means you have to pay later). So I would really only recommend the CSULB to students who don’t care if they get the courses they want. On the other hand, you can sometimes attend courses that you can never study in Germany. For example, I took a course in photojournalism, which was absolutely amazing. Others took up dancing or acting. Everything is possible when you come into the courses.
The university itself is about the size of Disneyland (just for comparison). There is also a separate campus shuttle service for this… but as a normal European you are used to walking and don’t really need it. The university really offers everything your heart desires. It’s like a city of its own and there’s always something going on. That is, I think, the biggest difference to German universities. Personally, I really enjoyed studying for the first time. This was also due to the professors who really live for their students and are super nice (but of course it also depends on the subject). Take as much as you can!! There really is something for everyone and volunteering is very important. I myself was in the surf club, in the softball club and as a photographer for the campus newspaper (Daily49er.com).
If you get Bafoeg = Jackpot. If not, you’ll end up as poor as I am now.
Unfortunately, I was lucky and didn’t get a student loan and had to finance the whole thing myself. How do you do something like that? I scraped together all my savings and took out a loan. As bitter as it sounds, it just doesn’t work without a financial cushion. All in all I needed about $12,000. But that really includes all the little things like shopping, going out, sightseeing, insurance, etc. If you ever do something like this, you don’t want to have to turn over every cent 3 times.
What I didn’t expect was the expensive groceries there. If you want to eat healthy, you drew the A card. Fruit, vegetables, fish… meat… almost priceless. Over time you become a discount fox and know where to find something cheap.
If you can afford it, buy a car right at the beginning. In hindsight, I regret that I didn’t have one. I skipped so much just because I didn’t know how to get from A to B. Of course you can do it without a car, but it’s just easier with one. It is not a problem to get to the university as several bus lines stop there. From Seal Beach that was the 171st public transport but please do not compare it with those in Europe. It can often happen that the bus is too late or doesn’t show up at all. In the case of an important appointment like an exam, that is fatal. Car rental is no problem, of course much cheaper if you are over 25.
I can still give you the tip to go to the DMV as soon as you arrive in Long Beach and apply for an ID or get your driver’s license. You can’t get any alcohol without an ID and you can’t even get into the craziest bar. Of course you can also use a passport… but almost only with a passport. Unfortunately, they often do not accept a German ID or driving license. Ne California ID makes it very easy. We only had to wait about 3 months for her…therefore: apply early!
Wells Fargo Bank is on campus. Go and make an account. The debit card is great. With that you can pay anywhere for free without any problems.
Now I can’t think of anything else, just let me know if you have any questions! I was glad that I had contacts!