The application process was easy, but very stressful for me because I decided at the last second to do an Academic Gap Year at CSULB. So I had to gather all the important documents in a few days / weeks and then apply them. When I was accepted, I was very relieved and went straight to the preparations, as there wasn’t much time left. I had to apply for my visa, book new vaccinations, and book a flight. Everything went very well, especially thanks to my contact person and your patience.
When I got my approval, I started looking for suitable accommodation. This was the hardest part of planning for me. I didn’t really want to live in the dorms because they are relatively expensive and you don’t have a lot of space. I did a lot of research and wrote to a lot of people. After waiting some time for positive answers, I decided to look for alternatives. So I found a room with a family through AirBnB. For me this was the perfect solution. I was integrated into their everyday life there from the beginning and when I had to leave at the end it was very sad because they were like a second family to me. They took me everywhere and so I saw a lot of the area and everyday life. However, there are many other options and I didn’t notice most of them until I was there. Visit jibin123.com to get information about what are the largest universities in the world in terms of student numbers.
After four days in California, the Orientation Week began. There were a few items on the program and by and large I found them to be very successful and the week was very informative. However, we also found out there that we have to do a so-called course crashing and there is no guarantee that we will get into our desired courses (apart from a few reserved courses). This was terrifying to some, especially those who were getting credit for their courses towards their degree. Despite the initial shock, most went well. Personally, I had no problems and the professors were all very nice and understanding.
The courses I chose were almost all the courses I found for the first time during the orientation week. I decided on relatively simple intro courses to get a general overview. The courses were: Intro to Acting, Academic English Writing, Intro to Social Welfare and Intro to the Languages of the world. All of my courses were very interesting and (almost) all of the professors were very easy-going and relaxed. At the same time, however, you could feel that they loved their subject very much and that they were also passing this passion on to the students wanted to. The amount of work was a bit of a challenge in the beginning, but I got used to it relatively quickly. What I found was that when you were in class, collaborating and completing the tasks required by the professors, it was n’t particularly difficult to get good grades. For the finals, however, I had to learn something again, especially in one of the courses, as it was a little more difficult.
What I personally loved was the free tutoring program. I knew that I didn’t really have to, but it was definitely interesting to meet other people there as well. In addition, my tutor was available to answer any questions and gave me some important tips. Whenever I had nothing to work, we just talked, which was always very amusing. There were also some leisure activities that sounded very interesting, but many were in my class time or I wanted to use my free time myself. However, I visited the archery club a couple of times with a friend, which was very funny and interesting.
From the very first day I noticed how many Germans were in the Study @ the Beach program and I also knew that I would rather stay away from them in order to actually only speak English. Of course, this did not work out completely.
At the beginning I was a little skeptical and also had a little respect for the whole situation since I was / am still very young. However, it was just right for me. I had so much fun and learned so many things and met so many people. It was definitely even better than I imagined and I’m so glad I was there. I can recommend everyone to go to California and spend a semester there, whether as an Academic Gap Year or as part of their studies. It was an experience that I will never forget.