I’m studying mechanical engineering and spent my 5th semester in California at the CSULB. First of all, many thanks again to MicroEDU, who helped me a lot with my application process. Applying for a semester abroad involves a lot of deadlines and forms, sometimes long before you start your stay abroad. The clear plan from MicroEDU with deadlines and appointments helped me to keep track of things. So I can only recommend that you take a little work off your hands and always approach MicroEDU if you have any questions and save yourself a lot of stress.
Although I had known for a long time that I wanted to study for a semester in an English-speaking country, I only really became aware of the CSULB when it introduced itself to my home university. After further research, I found out that this university is very well suited for my subject and that the tuition fees are also in a reasonable range. In addition, I convinced the positive mood that at each step from first contact to the course selection was mediated and should be confirmed even after my arrival.
Let’s start at the very beginning. Unlike me, I would recommend everyone to be in Long Beach at least three or four days before the first mandatory events. This gives you the chance to overcome jet lag and you don’t have to worry about a lot on the first day when you are overtired. To be honest, there are a lot of things to do in the first 2 weeks. For the university, some forms have to be filled out and the course choices have to be made, I also had to move into the dormitory, organize my bus ticket, a SIM card, etc. At the time I had the feeling that it could be a bit too demanding, which is completely nonsense. Read more student reviews on Ehuacom.
The longer you are there, the more independently and confidently you tackle upcoming tasks and it only takes a short time until you have settled in as well as if you had been there a long time. When choosing a course I have to say that you have to be a bit lucky with free places, because the CSULB students choose courses first and the international students only choose after arrival and are not sure what courses they will ultimately take. I would estimate the workload to be just below the usual effort at my home university, so that there is enough time for leisure activities and travel. In addition, you learn in small courses and the contact with the professor is very personal, which makes learning easier.
As I said, I lived in the student dormitory on campus during my stay abroad, which I can only recommend to anyone interested. Accordingly, I lived with another student from America. If, like me, you don’t know anyone at the university when you arrive, that’s not a disadvantage. You speak English almost automatically 24 hours a day and you have someone by your side with your roommate who is probably more familiar with the area and the study system than you do yourself. Furthermore, living together allows you to get to know many American students incredibly quickly. Many are there even in the first semester and are only just getting to know people. This is another reason why I met and got to know so many nice and interesting people in such a short time. For me, this is an experience that I definitely would not want to miss during the semester abroad and that allows a much deeper insight into student life at the CSULB than if you are only on campus during your course times.
On the other hand, “getting to know” events in the first few weeks ensure that you get to know other international students from different countries.
After you have settled in and everyday life has returned, the time unfortunately goes by far too quickly. I can only recommend trying out a lot, be it sports or other interests what the university offers or using days off to travel. Personally, I can only say that I have probably never done and experienced so much in such a compressed time of one semester. I was there in the fall semester, so I had a week off Thanksgiving and a week after the end of the semester before my return flight. These breaks can be used well to tackle the more distant travel destinations.
To rate system I had already said that the smaller classes learning benefit. In my experience, the students are very well looked after in the courses. Especially in more difficult subjects, tutorials for repetition and deepening are often offered so that every interested student can finish his classes with good grades, provided he invests the necessary effort. The American university system also allows courses to be chosen from any subject area. 12 units per semester are required, which corresponds to about four courses. I would recommend taking at least one of these courses outside of your own subject and purely based on your interests. By default, 1-2 “midterm” exams are written in each of the selected courses, which makes self-assessment easier and can take the pressure off the final exam.
Regardless of the amount of time you spend on the courses, I highly recommend Long Beach and California to everyone. Long Beach has the advantage that it’s not as overwhelming as LA, but still has a lot to offer. Basically there was always something going on in Long Beach, whether you want to enjoy the beach or go to clubs and bars at night, everyone will find something there. Los Angeles can also be reached in half an hour by car or just over an hour by train. For me, Long Beach combines positive characteristics of many California cities.
Nevertheless, I would recommend leaving Long Beach on your free days and visiting other places in California. In my semester there, I tried to see the metropolises of California and the different facets of the state, from Mexico to San Diego, of course LA, up to Yosemite and San Francisco. As highlights that should not be missed in California, I would say:
- San Francisco
- Yosemite National Park
- San Diego
- LA and Hollywood
I hope the experience report gave me a little insight into my time at CSULB and helped me decide on a university. In conclusion, I would just like to say that the doubts that you may have at the beginning, be it about the organization or the language or something else, quickly disappeared and every day there was more than worth it. So I wish everyone who goes to California or to the CSULB a great time!