Thanks to the precise instructions from MicroEDU, the application process ran smoothly and was not too complicated. Even for the visa appointment you are well prepared thanks to the “bring along list” from MicroEDU. A little tip, take one of the first appointments in the morning, otherwise everything will be postponed and you will have to wait about 2 hours.
I took the following courses:
1. American Ethnic Writers (quite a bit of reading, but nothing difficult, many mini-essays with personal feedback, final essay and final term paper, which is the size of a term paper)
2. Women and Literature (3 mini-essays Essays, 1 midterm, 1 final, 4 summaries)
3. Creative Writing – Short Story (2 Short Stories, 3 Feedbacks)
4. Creative Writing – Poetry (5-6 Poems, 4 reaction papers)
At the CSULB, a lot of emphasis is placed on primary literature and essays are therefore written a little differently than is usual at most German universities. That means you often have to give your own feedback on a topic, which has the advantage that you don’t have to constantly search for literature. I found the courses extensive but not difficult. You have to deal with the topic a lot yourself, but then you take more with you than, for example, in a lecture with frontal teaching.
I can recommend all 4 courses, they were very interesting and I especially enjoyed the creative writing courses. “Getting in” into the courses wasn’t a problem for my own either, except for “Comedy in the United States”. Even when the courses were officially full, internationals were mostly still taken. Read more student reviews on Educationvv.
The campus is very nicely laid out and there are very trusting squirrels walking around everywhere. There are often different shops on campus where you can buy shoes, sunglasses, etc. At the end of the semester you can also sell your books there. They really take back ALL books, but usually don’t pay much. I would not buy my books in the bookstore right from the start, but rather on Amazon, Ebay etc. Even borrowing the books in the bookstore often costs more than buying them second-hand on the Internet. I think it’s just ripping off the students.
A lot of people looked for roommates on Craigslist, unfortunately I didn’t find anything and that’s why we moved into the Oakwood Apartments. The apartments there are really great and what you get for them is the price actually okay. Ask MicroEDU for the flyer. There are already more Germans there, as everyone reports, but you can still find enough internationals, but hardly any American students.
But be careful, some things have changed. Oakwood was taken over by Archstone and thus the weekly breakfast was simply canceled, but the price remains the same. The price is $ 612 per month, according to the flyer, but only if there are five people. However, the apartments are specially designed for 4 people only, ie the fifth person must request an extra bed, which costs another $ 20 per week. The apartments are a good size, but space for studying is limited.
Beverly Plaza Apartments are said to be similar to Oakwood, but almost half the price and of course with a few more compromises.
Leisure and excursion possibilities
USA is a nice big country, so take some time to explore the country after the semester. A car is of course a great help here. What you can do:
There are a lot of good outlets, for example Citadel Outlet (LA) or Las Vegas Premium Outlets. The “Cerritos” shopping mall is also easily accessible by bus, but it takes an hour but is worth it.
San Diego (zoo!), Las Vegas, Death Valley, Grand Canyon (be careful, there is often a lot of snow there in winter), Six Flags Magic Mountain (amusement park with really good roller coasters), Disneyland (Anaheim, CA, easily accessible by bus), Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu, Los Angelos (Madame Tussauds, Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive…) San Francisco, or just driving up Highway 1 is worth it.
Do’s & Don’ts
Domestic flights are often very cheap, for example just fly over the WE to San Francisco, or a week to Hawaii you will never be able to fly there again so cheaply.
Leave a tip! US citizens live on tips, they don’t get a fixed hourly wage like we do.
Not every friendly invitation is meant that way!;)
For me personally, the semester abroad was a great experience and can only recommend it to everyone. The CSULB is a beautiful, modern university and very close to the sea! There are also a lot of sports opportunities and courses, whether surfing in the Pacific or salsa at the university.