University: California State University Long Beach
City: Long Beach
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: English / American Studies
Study type: semester abroad
First of all, I recommend starting the organization in good time. I know everyone tells you that, really. But it really is. On the one hand, it helps you to explore long-term possibilities and to choose the best for you. On the other hand, you will be able to start your preparations much more relaxed because you have informed yourself well in advance. It can only help you to approach the matter with foresight. Check educationvv to learn information about University of Bonn.
Personally, I started 8 months before my departure date and I’m almost desperate because I couldn’t find a common thread for myself. What is the best place to start? By chance, I came across MicroEdu, who took me by the hand very kindly. There were clear procedures and compact instructions as well as to-do lists to tick off, which I found wonderful. They gave me the thread to shimmy along that I needed. Also in all other matters, with problems or questions, the CoCo team was always available and supported me with words and deeds.
So I first filled out the application and registration for California State University Long Beach and sent it to MicroEdu. They then took care of everything else and only about 3 weeks later I had the official confirmation from the university in the USA in my mailbox. I got accepted!
After the first joy, the stormy times of desk work followed. I have applied for many scholarships, applied for BAföG abroad, looked for flights and fought my way through the visa process. All of these things are time consuming but worthwhile. Even if you don’t get a BAföG grant straight away, be persistent. After a few contradictions, I finally got money, which really helps to finance the semester, since the semester fees and living expenses in the USA are a lot higher than in Germany.
Then it could finally start! The suitcase was packed and of course I was extremely excited and couldn’t sleep the night before. The non-stop flight to California took a whopping 12 hours and after that I was glad that my new roommate picked me up from Los Angeles airport and I could go to bed for the time being. I flew a week before the start of university to familiarize myself with the new environment. I looked for places to shop, visited the university, which was still deserted, explored the new city of Long Beach and of course drove to the huge beach for the first time to see the Pacific. Considering the weather and the nice and accommodating people, I highly recommend Long Beach.The city is well laid out, you settle in quickly and with Google Maps there is no obstacle to getting to a specific destination. The “Uber” app is also helpful for this. A system that lets you call a private driver to your exact location and who will then drive you anywhere you want. All this is also quite inexpensive and is definitely safer and more pleasant than taking the bus, especially at night. Because it’s not just a rumor that there are a lot of homeless people in the US. Take good care of yourselves and do not walk alone in unsafe areas at night, many streets are poorly lit.
My chosen university, California State University Long Beach, is outstanding. At first the certificate of enrollment, written on thick paper with a gold stamp, made a great impression on me. The pictures and their presentation on the Internet also appealed to me. They definitely got and even reinforced this good impression in real life. The campus is huge and offers everything you could wish for. You can take great sports courses, the recreation center offers numerous relaxation options, there is no shortage of comfortable seating, there are delicious lunch offers everywhere and the canteen is amazing. From time to time you will find many stalls that even make shopping possible during university times. During the exam week, the university even goes one better: massage chairs for stressed students, handicrafts, sports and much more. If you’re feeling bad or don’t know what to do on campus, you’ve done something wrong. Speaking of going bad. I had a middle ear infection and had to see the campus doctor. Be prepared that it will not be like a German doctor. It’s a little different, but the people are just as competent and the medication is working. In general, the employees in offices etc. are always friendly and approachable for all problems and are happy to help.
The choice of courses at the university also worked extremely well. Every professor I asked if I could take the course was open, positive and accepted me. But be prepared for them to ask a lot of questions about you. I have never been turned away or treated unfairly. It was the same with classmates. All very open and friendly.
The sign language professor impressed me the most. He was actually deaf and still tutored a class of 20 students in the early classes alone. He was funny, cracking jokes, telling us anecdotes and really trying hard with us. It sounds crazy since he can’t speak, but he has his own way of expressing himself and is incredibly fun to be with. If you are interested in such a course, I can only recommend it to you. I also took many sports courses and was registered at the university’s fitness center. Anyone who cares about their shape should consider exercise because the lure of food is very strong. You want to try a lot, fast food is delicious and bang it happened.
I would like to return briefly to the housing situation. It’s incredibly hard to find something good right away. I was incredibly put off at first after learning how much a regular 3 bedroom apartment costs. I first lived with a Mexican, but I didn’t stay there for long, so later I shared an apartment with 5 people for $370 relatively inexpensively. However, it is normal to pay $500 and much more for a shared room. My recommendation: google it early, stay overnight in a hotel if you have to, and then quickly make contacts to set up a flat share! Living alone is financially impossible.
Contacts are always an advantage anyway. If you have friends, then you have people with whom you can do things. It’s super easy to rent a car and drive around the sights.Fuel is not as expensive as in Germany. In addition, 99% of the rental cars are automatic, so you should not be afraid of driving. All you have to do is get used to the many lanes on the highways and interstates, but the more you do it, the less excited you become. In any case, the cities of San Diego, San Francisco and if you feel like it, go to Mexico. It’s not far, crossing the border shouldn’t be a problem and you immediately see differences to the US. Don’t necessarily stay in Tichuana, it’s said to be very dangerous there and continuing to beaches or other small towns is definitely worth the extended drive. Grand Canyon, Death Valley, the National Parks and small towns like Laguna Beach are definitely worth seeing. If you still want to travel more, book a flight to Hawaii. I spent a month there myself and it was the best vacation month I’ve had to date. Colorful fish, white beaches and incredibly open, friendly people.
All in all I wish you a nice time there, enjoy the time to the fullest. You will not regret it.