University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Informatics, Economics
Study type: semester abroad
I did a masters semester at California State University at Long Beach from August to December 2008 and it was a great experience. However, you should start preparing really early (at least 6 months before the start of the trip). On the one hand, this is because you have to apply for a student visa. For this I had to drive to the embassy in Berlin after I got an appointment. In addition, enough time should also be allowed for the TOEFL test, since you also have to get an appointment for this first. The evaluation and sending of the TOEFL result then takes another two to three weeks. And if you have not reached the minimum number of points required by the university, you have to repeat it. In addition, the Auslandsbafög min. Check mcat-test-centers to learn information about University of Magdeburg Germany.
Because I was one of the few who was already doing a master’s degree and therefore naturally also wanted to take master’s courses at a university abroad so that they would also be credited here, I spoke to the dean of my department about which courses would be recognized for me here in Germany would become.
It is best to choose at least 8 courses that are approved by your university instead of the 3 courses that you normally take as a master student in Long Beach, so that you have a buffer if you are not admitted to some courses due to overcrowding.
Even if it was not difficult for me as a semester student to get into the courses if there were still places available, the range of courses had become very small, because the resident students all enrolled in the courses before the semester students started and we only got the remaining places.
Even if the orientation day was a bit unorganized in my opinion, the supervisors at the university were very friendly and tried hard. The university itself is very well laid out and has a well-kept campus and a wide range of restaurants for meals. However, if you have to drive to the university like me, you should be at the university at least 1 hour before the start of the lectures, especially in the first weeks of the semester, so that you still have enough time to find a parking space, even though you are bought a semester parking permit for around €110 to even be allowed to park on the university campus! If you park outside the university campus, you will receive a fine of around €35 because only residents are allowed to park there.
I found the professors to be very friendly and it was a pleasant learning atmosphere because the class size was usually between 15 and 20 students. The level of difficulty in the master’s lectures was similar to that here in Germany. Homework or projects are required throughout the semester, which are included in the final grade, so that you have a relatively even workload throughout the semester and not, as is often the case with us, just one, but all-important exam at the end of the semester. This may please some, but may be disadvantageous for others. It is very easy to get in touch with other students and there are also many events offered on campus that help to get to know other students.
Living in Los Angeles, I had to drive a total of about 70 miles to and from college every day. And because the greater Los Angeles area has about 14 million inhabitants and the area of Schleswig-Holstein, you have the feeling that the city is endless. I therefore recommend a navigation device so that you can get to your destination easily, even if it often takes a long time due to the many rush hours. I rented a car for the time. Because unfortunately the public transport cannot be compared with ours.
Since I arrived right at the start of the semester and flew back immediately after the final exams and thus spent 4 months in Los Angeles, I decided to rent a car instead of buying an old cheap one, which might be available at any time gives up the ghost and I would also have to get an extra insurance policy, which would have cost at least €100 a month if it was to have reasonable coverage. So I always had a very good car and fully comprehensive insurance.
As for the city and area itself, Los Angeles is probably one of the most exciting places to spend your semester abroad. The weather is great, the people here are very liberal by American standards and you can have a lot of fun. I recommend a tour to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco and San Diego. It’s also interesting to sit in the audience at the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, for example, because the real stars are there and the tickets are free.
Universal Studios, Disneyland, Griffith Observatory, Laguna, Venice, and Santa Monica Beaches and many other beautiful places are also worth visiting. In the 4 months there was definitely no boredom, but rather time pressure, because I naturally wanted to experience as much as possible alongside my studies.
In conclusion, I would say that the semester was a great experience and I can only recommend it to everyone, even if there is a lot to organize and think about beforehand.