It has always been my dream to go abroad, but the question “where to go?” Naturally played one of the biggest roles. After a little research and the help of MicroEDU, I and a friend decided on CSULB, because what speaks against sun, beach and palm trees? Right, nothing! It was the best decision I could have made.
With the following article I hope to give you a little insight into studying in Long Beach.
At the beginning I had support from another organization that I was not really happy with. After a few weeks I decided on MicroEDU and wanted to say a huge thank you again, because Maria’s tips and help in particular made you feel very well looked after – even if you called five times a day.
Which documents and applications do I need, where do I have to send what? At first glance, thanks to the MicroEDU checklist, it is very manageable, but these applications usually take several weeks or even months until they are through and you receive feedback. For this reason, it is important to start early. MicroEDU is always at your side during the preparation and gives you valuable tips. You can get a good overview of the required documents and records, especially with the given forms and the checklist. After I sent my application at the end of May, the acceptance was already there after a week. Now it could finally start, the joy was huge! Read more student reviews on Act-test-centers.
The visa turned out to be one of the easiest things to do. After I was accepted at the beginning of June, I registered online and filled out a few forms to book an appointment in Frankfurt. When you arrive there, you will be asked a few questions about yourself, your studies and the reason for the visa application, and that’s about it. I also belonged to the category who was terrified of the appointment, but everything is half as bad and totally relaxed.
You should apply for BAföG very early, we recommend at least 6 months before you travel, because that is how long it can actually take to process your application. Personally, I do not receive a domestic BAföG, but I noticed that the rates for the USA are much higher, which is why I submitted the application for the international BAföG. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but by asking around and asking around at the internationals from Germany, I and a friend belonged to the minority who did not receive BAföG.
The search for a room turned out to be very difficult. Immediately after I was accepted, I looked for a room in various Facebook groups, but they were in great demand, so that it sometimes felt like a marathon to me. Mainly I wrote in the “CSULB Roommate Finder” group on Facebook, which I was unfortunately unsuccessful with because most of the students were looking for local roommates or the rooms were already taken.
At the end of July I gave up and wrote Alvista Apartments myself. Along with Beverly Plaza and Park Avenue, Alvista is one of the well-known residential complexes near the university. My girlfriend and I found three nice roommates on Facebook, one from Austria, the other from England and one American. After what felt like 100 emails and some expensive phone calls, I and my girlfriend were promised a 2-room apartment. We paid a little over $ 500 for a shared room.
My tip to you: Clarify everything down to the smallest detail early enough – even if every single question is not addressed, repeat yourself! That would have saved us two nights in the car, because after a 5-hour drive from Las Vegas the Alvista said we had to pay a whopping $ 4400 instead of $ 1000 (rent + deposit of a month’s rent), which of course we didn’t have at the time. No money = no key handover.
With three pools and a small fitness studio in the Alvista, you can end your free minutes after university with a day in the pool. But would I choose Alvista again? Definitely no, because it felt like someone had to go into the apartment every two weeks. Something was wrong with the current times you could not close the window more, the refrigerator was not more water did not drain more etc. The students at Beverly Plaza are very pleased and Park Avenue was because of the cheapest rental under the Keeping up with complexes.
The university is in no way comparable to the German universities. The campus is huge, so you have to find your way around at the beginning. In addition to many sports courses, there are also courses that strengthen your self-confidence and appearance. Above all, this includes theater courses in which you prepare speeches and then give them to the entire class. Personally, I had law- related courses because I wanted to get an insight into American law in order to be able to determine differences to the law in Germany.
One of the best and most beautiful parts of the semester abroad was traveling! The west coast itself offers so many opportunities to explore, which is why you should start visiting cities and sights right at the beginning of your semester abroad – because time flies by. California offers many places, be it the various beaches, breathtaking national parks or the typical tourist attractions such as the Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills etc. By car you can be in Hollywood in 30-40 minutes.
We went straight from Germany to Las Vegas, where we spent three nights. With the car rented from Alamo we went to Long Beach. Before the university started, we had around two weeks to visit all the important places in Los Angeles.
My biggest tip for renting a car: The Turo! Private individuals offer their cars for rent, much cheaper than the conventional, well-known car rental companies.
During the orientation week we met two girls with whom we all traveled! After a week we decided to go to San Diego, where we stayed one night. Thanksgiving gave us a week off in November. There were also 4-5 days off in between, because we only had university from Monday to Thursday anyway. That meant a long weekend and lots of opportunities for road trips. San Francisco was also one of our destinations. We stayed there for three nights in an Airbnb. We also went to Hawaii, New York and Miami. Even Malibu is one of my favorite places. We spent New Year’s Eve with other Study Abroads in Las Vegas, which was really great.
After university was over, I used the full 60 days that you can still stay in the States thanks to the visa. There were road trips to Arizona and Utah and of course to explore Los Angeles one last time. I can only tell you to start traveling in good time, because you don’t have that much time after all.
A semester abroad is associated with high costs, but if you have the opportunity to do one, do not hesitate and take the opportunity. It was by far the best time of my life that I wouldn’t want to miss. If you love the sun and the sea, you should definitely take a closer look at California State University Long Beach, because you can only love the Californian lifestyle. Get rid of the doubts and start your application. You will not get this opportunity anytime soon.