University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: industrial engineering
Study type: semester abroad
My name is Alexander and I’m studying civil engineering at the Jade University of Applied Sciences in Oldenburg. I spent my 5th semester at California State University, Long Beach. My planning for the semester abroad started about 1 year before. With the extremely good help from the staff at MicroEdu GmbH, I was able to find out about everything and plan in good time. Check usprivateschoolsfinder to learn information about Simon Bolivar University Venezuela.
Application & visa
It took me a while to collect all the necessary documents for the application. But there were no major problems here.
I had already done the TOEFL in February. After some discussion, my bank was able to issue me financial proof, the application documents could be filled out quickly and when the last exam results were entered, I was also able to have the transcript of grades certified by the examination office. I then sent all of my paperwork to MicroEdu for review and forwarding to CSULB. After about 6 weeks I got the confirmation with the I-20 form and information about the semester and the university.
For the visa you had to create a profile at CGI Stanley, since this company arranges the appointments in the embassy. After paying the SEVIS fee of 150€ ($200) and the visa application fee of 120€, one could make an appointment online. The interview at the embassy in Berlin lasted only 2 minutes, after which my application was approved. After only 4 days my passport including visa was in my mailbox again.
Arrival & living
I looked online for apartments in advance and found something. But many take a motel there and then go looking for apartments or share an apartment in the Beverly Plaza Apartment Complex. I then found accommodation in a house with 14 other international students, about 20 minutes by bus from the university towards downtown Long Beach.
To get from the airport to Long Beach, there are various shuttle services at the airport.
The most difficult part of the semester abroad was choosing the course. I had to put together a timetable myself with the course information (course times and units) that can be found on the website. It makes sense to come up with several options, as many courses are either almost full or overlap in time. You also have to make sure that you don’t go over or under the 12 unit limit.
I then had my transcript and my course wish list looked through by the dean of my department and had my prerequesites confirmed.
Within the first two weeks of university is the “class crashing”. You go to all the courses you want to take and get the signature from the instructor or professor. In addition, you need the signature of the dean of studies and a stamp from the department. When you finally have everything together, you hand in the slip of paper in the “registration window”, where you are then officially entered into the courses.
That would have survived the worst. From now on, all you have to do is go to classes, do and turn in homework if necessary, and study for tests, quizzes, and exams.
Cal State Long Beach is a city compared to my home university. There is everything there. Without a map, I would not have found my way there at the beginning. But everyone there is very helpful. There is always something going on on campus.
Registration at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center is definitely recommended. You can lift weights, play basketball, volleyball, squash and badminton, swim, climb, run, dance and take classes. You also meet a lot of new people there.
Just like at events like basketball games of the university team. So it never gets boring.
In the courses, the students are closely supervised and the professor answers all questions. Many professors knew me by name after just a few weeks, which I personally like because you don’t feel lost and you are perceived as a student.
On weekends and days off, you can make good use of the time, in addition to studying, by going on excursions. I traveled all over California with my roommates. We’ve been to San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, San Diego, Joshua Tree National Park and Santa Barbara. A day trip to Catalina Island is also worthwhile. We also drove to Las Vegas, past the Hoover Dam and all the way to the Grand Canyon.
Of course, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Venice Beach and Los Angeles should not be missing, as they are practically around the corner. With a car and the traffic in LA it can be almost 2 hours to Hollywood. But if you don’t drive during rush hour, you can and it’s worth it!
And if you don’t feel like traveling, you can just walk to the beach.
Unfortunately, it is a costly affair. But even with a smaller budget it will definitely be worth it!
I have met a lot of new people. Not just Americans, but other Germans, Europeans and students my age from all over the world.
If I could, I would definitely do it again.