I completed my semester abroad in autumn 2018 at California State University Long Beach . At the beginning of my studies, it was clear to me that I would spend a semester in the USA . Thanks to your website, the preparation was very easy . You will receive tips for the planned semester abroad, a checklist and support.
As a so-called “free mover”, I looked for suitable universities on the Internet. After a short time I became aware of your website and the CSULB – the beach, sun and the proximity to Los Angeles convinced me straight away. For the application, I had to show a C1 language certificate, which I was fortunate to be able to take at my university. Now I was able to send my application and after almost ten days the CSULB finally accepted. Now I had to apply for my visa , book a flight and look for accommodation.
Applying for a visa was very easy. I had to apply online in advance and then go to the embassy for a personal interview. The conversation lasted about two minutes, I was only asked why I wanted to go to the USA and, of course, whether I would come back home. I was assured on site that I would receive my visa by post within a week. When I got my visa, I booked a flight through STA Travel for around 700 euros .
Finding accommodation was the hardest part of planning my semester abroad. Although I already knew that the cost of living in California is significantly higher than in Germany, the prices for a private room were higher than expected. You can expect rental prices of $ 600- $ 1000 a month here. That’s why I decided relatively early to share a room. A lot of students live in apartment complexes like Beverly Plaza or Alvista, although they attract with a gym and a swimming pool, I found these a bit overpriced and decided to look for a better option. After a long search I had the most success on Facebook in the CSULB Roommate finder group.
After a lot of writing back and forth with various potential roommates, I finally got to know two Americans , with whom I was looking for an apartment together . Since the two were already in Long Beach, they visited apartments and then finally found one that we could move into. I paid $ 550 a month for my shared room (including water, WiFi and electricity). For the conditions in Long Beach the price was relatively normal. U ur apartment was very large and just five minutes from the beach – just perfect for me.
If you have the opportunity, I would recommend looking for an apartment relatively early because it can be very difficult, especially in the fall semester.
The campus is huge, green and has so much to offer . The CSULB cannot therefore be compared at all with a university in Germany. There was the Rec Center, which had a gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi, climbing wall and basketball hall . And all for free! The CSULB understands how to offer its students the perfect balance between learning and fun .
Since I was able to create my own schedule, I only had university from Tuesday to Thursday. I attended a total of four courses at CSULB. All the courses were quite time-consuming for me, but still simple in terms of level. I think the biggest difference was that the US university system is pretty schooled. I had regular homework and exams. Even if everything was a little bit at the beginning, it is still easy to manage and you can get a very good grade even with normal effort. Check educationvv to see more reviews from current students.
Leisure / travel
Besides studying, there is a lot more to do than just stay in Long Beach. There are endless beautiful beaches and cities to explore. The weekends are therefore great for organizing trips. I’ve been to Los Angeles, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, San Diego , Las Vegas, Canyons, and so many other places. The semester abroad is far too short not to be used to the full. From free yoga classes on the beach, playing basketball and surfing, every day brought something new with it.
In summary, I can only recommend a semester abroad at the CSULB. It not only offers the opportunity to get to know a foreign culture and improve one’s language skills, but also to gain new experience. My expectations for the semester abroad have thus been fulfilled. The varied teaching and “American studies” are worth an experience. I’ve made great friends and I already miss the time.