University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: engineering
Study type: semester abroad
First of all I have to say that going abroad, regardless of the country you choose, is one of the best decisions you can make.
First of all, I have to tell you that you should start planning as early as possible, especially when it comes to finances (I started 2 years before the trip). I financed everything with Auslandsbafög and I took advantage of the education loan. (www.bildungskredit.de very favorable conditions and independent of income) Inform yourself in advance about the various possibilities to get financial support (www.daad.de). See anycountyprivateschools.com for information about University of Berlin.
But you don’t just have to pay attention to the financial aspects: You have to start learning the language in good time, make sure that you don’t do the semester or year abroad longer than the standard period of study (otherwise there is no entitlement to foreign student loans), see which university has the desired subjects offers, etc.
But let’s get specific about my experience at CSULB: It’s the best choice for engineering students in my opinion: Not only is it one of the best public universities in America, it’s actually the cheapest of the best.
The English requirements are a bit high, so you should start taking care of it in good time. You do not need to take an expensive TOEFL, but a DAAD test is sufficient and is offered free of charge at most universities.
I really liked the university campus and it offers lots of opportunities to hang out: you can play billiards, bowling or table tennis in the USU building, has a horn center where you can use the computers free of charge for up to 4 hours a day, and also has a food court Court where you can find some restaurants, etc. Most didn’t know it but there are 2 dining halls where you can have lunch all you can eat for 7 dollars. They’re both at the dorms.
Regarding my accommodation, I have to say that I unfortunately had bad experiences, but that’s life: First I did homestay and the family treated me really badly and there wasn’t anything reasonable to eat even though I had paid for it. But there were some classmates who were luckier and found good families. There is always a risk but it is a cheap option.
The second variant is to find out about the housing market in order to look for a room. The university has a website for this called “Accomodation”, and various offers are posted there. I would have gone for it in the first place if I had known it was going to be so cool.
Unfortunately, some landlords are very strict and that’s why I had to leave the second apartment because he didn’t allow women in our apartment (I had a girlfriend at the time)
. Regarding the lectures, you have to make a list of the courses you want to take and still have a few courses ready as an alternative. Please also note that some courses require that you also take a lab at the same time and sometimes it is impossible to get a place in the lab. (I was able to get 2 places because the responsible woman was in Germany for 7 years and I could appeal to her and speak German with her)
To register for the lectures you have to go to the respective lecture on the first day and at the end you kindly have to ask the professor for permission to attend his lecture. It should not be a problem. (Only the labs are very heavy)
I have to say that public transport, although it can be used for free, is very bad and never punctual. I didn’t get a car but if I hadn’t found a friend after 5 months who has a car (of course it was by accident) I probably would have bought one.
If you also want to save some money, NEVER buy the books at the bookstore!!! It’s utter cheek. I would have shelled out $220 for a Fluid Mechanics book. First go to the lectures and on the same day you get the OK from the teacher, go straight to ebay and buy the “International Version” These have the same content as a traditional book from the bookstore but cost a lot a lot less (Fluid Mech new for only 35 bucks) Of course the quality of the paper isn’t the best and they’re mostly black and white but who cares???
Make sure you choose express shipping when you buy the books because they come from either India or Singapore and it could take 2 weeks to get the book if you don’t have it sent express.
Since I assume you also want to travel a bit, you can make a stopover in New York before you land here in LA (at least I did) and do a little tour on the East Coast. There is almost no difference in price compared to flying direct to LA.
On the west coast you can also do a little tour from here to San Diego, Las Vegas and San Francisco. You can find cheap flights on Jetblue.com or if you want to go cheaper try the bus company Greyhound (eg I bought a bus ticket from Seattle to Vancouver for only 14 dollars!!!)
I hope I have given you some valuable information here. Enjoy your stay in Long Beach.