my name is Marcel and I was allowed to spend a semester at California State University in Long Beach (also called CalState). Before that, I did an almost four-week road trip across the USA with my fellow student, who went to CalState with me. The half year in the USA is one of the best experiences of my life, the time was just great. First of all, a few things: I am a computer science student and have included studying abroad as an additional semester after my 6th semester. In addition, I am a student
loan from student loans, which also “simplified” the semester abroad, at least in terms of money, since the student loans cover all of the tuition fees and travel expenses and there is a subsidy for the normal student loan.
Idea, planning, preparation
Relatively late, between the beginning and the middle of my penultimate semester, I got more and more wanderlust, but somehow alone I lacked the enthusiasm to take care of something. During the daily banter with fellow students it turned out that there was someone else who was tormented by the same thoughts. To get to the heart of the matter, 4 months before departure we knew that we wanted and would go abroad. However, we were too late because an exchange at our university has to take place at least 1 year in advance. So then we came to
MicroEDU. There was still enough time until the final deadline and then we picked out the desired university, did the TOEFL or IELTS (I even failed here, but more on that later), done all the paperwork (praise at this point to MicroEDU for the super good process descriptions and for the perfect support, despite the lost I-20 form and so on) and we flew the 30 days earlier that the visa allows to explore the USA a bit. Read more student reviews on Mcat-test-centers.
Since the student visa (the F1 that we had) lets you stay 30 days earlier and 90 longer, we also used it. We had planned a road trip across the United States. We landed in New York City on July 28th and, as everyone knows, Long Beach is on the other side of the United States. The road trip alone would be 2-3 testimonials long, but I want to be brief here. We drove down almost the entire east coast (like real road triplers WITHOUT NAVI, of course) and then headed west in the south of the USA. We have planned relatively little, just 1
day ahead of where we are going next. SO I RECOMMEND EVERYONE: DO IT, WHETHER YOU HAVE THE MONEY OR NOT…. MAKE IT EASY (you can get it from somewhere)!
Arrive Long Beach and Housing
We arrived in Long Beach a few days before the orientation week. Since we didn’t have anything to live in and the parts of the apartment on campus are really expensive, it was easier if everyone was looking for something for themselves. Then I ended up in a shared apartment with 3 Americans, close to the campus. The rent was relatively high for a shared room at $ 480 (which was normal for the place where I was), but I was close and in a much safer area, not like my fellow student, who was more like me higher criminalized neighborhoods and farther away. For me, the flat share was also very nicely equipped, with a bed, desk (so nothing more to buy yourself, although you can do it cheaply on the “yard sales” there) and also had Wii, X-Box projector, Video on demand and so Ami Schnick-Schnack stop ☺. At this point my recommendation, look for something before you arrive. Because the best and cheap things are gone so late. Unless you almost like it to hear the police siren in the neighborhood every evening, like with my fellow student. Then you will always find something ☺. Even if I had to share my room, it was a great experience with 3 important Americans in a shared apartment and they were all really fine. We had a lot of fun together and my English made leaps, even if it wasn’t easy with me for the first few days.
CalState is a huge university with almost 40,000 students and a really big campus (for me it was at least because I’m only at a small college with 3000 studies). In the introductory week, you get to know the most important corners and get to know your advisors, who then offer you further help if you don’t know what to do. For those who messed up the IELTS or TOEFL (i.e. below the required score), the ERT (English Replacement Test odda something like that) is also offered here. Of course, you have to pass it, otherwise you will be deducted a few of the 12 units with which you can get courses and have to take a course in English. Oh yes, make sure that you learn the right TOEFLT or IELT on this shitty, because the English test there at CalState was really tough. It is not the difficulty in itself, but rather the unfamiliar test form. In the end I screwed up the test and also had to take an English course there, but all in all it wasn’t a problem because I already had enough subjects for home and I had learned something there anyway.
In the first 2-3 weeks I went looking for a course. As soon as you have access to the system, you notice that almost 50% of the courses that have already been viewed from the Internet are not offered or are already full. (And that, although we had sent a second list with another 5-6 desired courses to MicroEDU, since there was already no course from the first list) but hardly any were offered even on that list. In the end, everyone found a couple of interesting courses that we could have recognized because we only have WPVs open at home. Getting in was not that big of a problem with our courses, but we had a good friend who studies international business in the higher semester and he also had to evade very, very strongly,
As I said at the beginning, I count my stay abroad in Long Beach, California and the semester abroad as one of the best experiences of my life. Lots of nice people, Lots of great parties, Lots of lasting impressions, All stereotypes about the USA were not confirmed or rather refuted.