Semester abroad at California State University, Long Beach
Summary evaluation of the study abroad
I really enjoyed my semester abroad at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). It was a great experience and I am very happy that I had the opportunity to get to know such a different culture for a semester. The paperwork and money required before the start of the semester initially seemed a bit off-putting, but it was definitely worth it.
I not only learned a lot at university, but also found out a lot about myself and the different cultures. The semester in California brought me a lot of impressive insights and I saw a lot. During the semester and after the lecture period I traveled a lot, visited San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego and Big Bear Lake. I also visited the Grand Canyon National Parks, Joshuatree in the Mojave Desert, Red Rock Canyon and Death Valley and was really impressed. The Getty Museum and Griffith Observatory were also worth a visit. To have this opportunity to live in Los Angeles, to take it for granted after partying on the Walk of Fame and on all beaches of the west coast, from Laguna Beach to Malibu Beach,
Studying in the USA is also not comparable to studying in Germany. The class size is around 20 students, which is more of a school atmosphere than a university one. The final grades are not composed of a single exam, as is the case here in the Federal Republic, but of many individual grades. Homework, tests, up to four exams per semester, essays, spontaneous tasks during the lecture, participation, attendance and group presentations determine the final grade. The semester was over incredibly quickly; I had only just started and suddenly the “finals” were coming up. During the semester, I had to read one or two required readings in almost every course. You can see from this that the course is much more regulated than in Germany, where it is up to you what you read, processes and learns. In addition, there is compulsory attendance and the violation against it is punished with a poorer final grade. Nevertheless, I had the feeling that the standards are not as high as in Germany. Whether that’s because Americans start their studies at a young age of 17 or 18, or basically because of the education system, I can’t say. What is lacking in demand is too much pressure. In conversations with many Americans, I had the feeling that they actually didn’t have time to take a year off to travel the world. Many of the people I spoke to have not yet visited any country outside of America, but would like to do so. But often their excuse was that they were already that old and should actually get into the world of work right away.
The country was also very impressive. When it comes to nature, you don’t lack anything in California. You can surf with the dolphins in the Pacific in the morning and snowboard in the next mountain in the afternoon if you want. Nature is so diverse that you can’t even see everything you set out to do. You can snorkel, hike, bike, climb, surf, jet-ski, sail, snowboard, ski and so much more. Within two hours, after the desert and palm trees, one suddenly reached fir forests. I think this diversity impressed me the most. Every day you compromise when you want to do something because you just can’t take everything with you. There are so many cities, beaches, tours, parties and shows every day that you never get bored. Some of the Americans don’t even appreciate the wealth they have on their doorstep. The weather was of course a very special highlight for me as a North German. When I flew back on January 4th, 2012, I left the country at a pleasant 27 ° C. At Christmas you could sit on the beach wearing a T-shirt and autumn was also very pleasant. Due to the proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the temperatures in summer were not too hot either. However, I have to contradict Albert Hammons, who claimed “it never rains in Southern California”. In total we had to rain for a week during our stay of about five months. Despite these statements, I would recommend having a winter jacket with you, because in San Fransisco or at the Grand Canyon it was sometimes very cold and I,
Long Beach is part of the greater Los Angeles area and is located directly on the Pacific coast. The second largest city in Los Angeles is home to around half a million people from all over the world. Particularly important for the city is the “Port of Long Beach”, which is the second most important in the USA after the “Port of Los Angeles”. Special mention should be made of the public transport system, which cannot always be relied on. The metro is still very reliable and punctual while the Long Beach Transit buses do not always meet these requirements and no longer run, especially at night. However, thanks to the student ID, the bus can be used free of charge and in the end I still got to every destination.
After two months, however, I bought a rental car with three German friends from the Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences. In order to be independent and to explore the country, we needed a car. We were lucky with supercheapcar, which was about the only provider that did not charge an exorbitant minor fee from all under-25s. We rented a Toyota Corolla for a total of $ 950 for four weeks and then renewed the rental twice to keep a car. The six-lane motorways have somewhat different rules than spoiled Germans are used to. There is almost always a traffic jam, which is why the so-called “Carpoollane” was always a helpful alternative for us. Nevertheless, the way there is not always easy, because the right-hand drive requirement is ignored and you cannot rely on being the only one to drive into the desired lane when changing lanes. Nevertheless, thanks to the car, we were able to go on excursions all the time, to travel and get to know the country and to do something in the evenings. Already on arrival I was advised by almost everyone not to go out on the street alone at night, as my blonde hair made me a popular, because it was rare, destination. So I bought pepper spray first, but luckily I didn’t have to use it. Already on arrival I was advised by almost everyone not to go out on the street alone at night, as my blonde hair made me a popular, because it was rare, destination. So I bought pepper spray first, but luckily I didn’t have to use it. Already on arrival I was advised by almost everyone not to go out on the street alone at night, as my blonde hair made me a popular, because it was rare, destination. So I bought pepper spray first, but luckily I didn’t have to use it.
This already shows the not negligible issue of violence in Long Beach. Like almost every city in the United States of America, Long Beach is a Tegel with many nationalities. Afro-Americans, Asians and Latin Americans in particular shape the image of the city. According to USA Today, the city is considered to be the one with the greatest ethnic diversity in the entire United States. The city is very proud of this, but it is also the reason for a very large gap between rich and poor, with a huge proportion of the population in Long Beach belonging to the first division. Over the years, many ethnic gangs have developed here, including the Mexican Mafia, which is causing tension and violence in Long Beach. But if you stick to the rules not to walk around the city center alone at night, you don’t notice anything of this. In any case, I haven’t even heard a shooting, let alone witnessed or witnessed any other type of crime.
There are many sights in California and the USA, but Long Beach itself has a lot to offer in this regard. What I personally recommend the most is the whale watching tour that the Aquarium of Long Beach offers. (There are coupons in the city brochure that offer two cards for the price of one, which is a really good deal). We saw gray whales, humpback whales, fin whales and minke whales on the impressive trip. The aquarium staff gave you additional information, which made the trip even more interesting. Finally, dolphins swam and jumped against each other with the ship.
The Aquarium of Long Beach itself is also worth a visit with its 12,500 animals.
The RMS Queen Mary is also particularly important for our International Cruise Industry Management course. The famous ship has been in the port of Long Beach since 1967 and can be used for hotel stays, ghost tours, weddings, balls, visits to restaurants and much more. In addition, themed evenings are organized here, such as the “Dark Harbor” on Halloween, which are very worthwhile.
You are also welcome to pay a visit to the Museum of Latin American Art and admire the exclusive exhibition.
Furthermore, Catalina Island, Disneyland, Universal Studios and Six Flags can be reached in a very short time from Long Beach. The CSULB Student Union also offers discounts for the amusement parks and the aquarium.
Due to its proximity to the Pacific (about 5 km away), the CSULB in the south of LA definitely has a great location advantage over other California State Universities. From the top floor of the library you can look out over the Pacific while studying or get tired of the mountains and palm trees. The library is open seven days a week. During the week the opening times are from 7.45 a.m. to 11 p.m. and during the final exams the rooms are even accessible 24/7. The library has its own Starbucks, lots of computers, printers, and copiers. There is also a separate presentation corner.
The bookstore is also an important part of the campus. Here you get everything a student’s heart desires. You can buy or borrow the necessary books, binders, pens, calendars, university clothing and fan articles, souvenirs, technical devices and exam papers.
With its 1.3 km² area, the green park-like campus of Cal State, Long Beach is also the second largest of the entire CSU system. This makes the campus so big that it has its own zip code within Long Beach. So it is hardly surprising that there is a shuttle service that Americans, who are known to be lazy to walk, and the many international students can use to get to one of the many parking spaces or the other end of the campus. The skateboard scene is also very pronounced here, which is why there are also skateboard stands on campus in addition to the many bike racks. In addition, the campus’s own daily newspaper, Daily 49er, is available free of charge and the campus’s own radio station can be received on 88.1 FM.
On the huge campus there are 84 buildings in which classes are held or relaxation areas and leisure opportunities are provided. In the Student Union, for example, there are a few billiards and table tennis tables, a bowling alley, a hairdresser, a kind of small cinema, many dining options (from Starbucks to Panda Express everything is represented, because there is no such thing as a cafeteria here.) as well as a computer game area. There are also two pools on campus that everyone can use freely. Everywhere on these 1.3 km² university campuses WLAN access is offered for the students. You can also visit the campus’s own Japanese garden as a haven of peace for an admission fee. With a little luck you can even feed the koi fish here. If the offer is not enough, or those who would like to do some sport can register at the university’s Recreation Center. Unfortunately, for us international students, the fee is not yet included in the high tuition fees, as is the case with our American fellow students, and you have to pay extra. Whoever does this can, however, take advantage of the huge range of options and relax in the whirlpool after one of the many courses or specially organized games. There are also numerous clubs and sister and brotherhoods that you can join at the CSULB. I was a member of the surf club for a semester. During the breaks there are also live performances by bands on campus and there is also a lot on offer in the evening: dance, music, theater,
Founded in 1949, Cal State, Long Beach has around 35,000 students, which means that the large campus is always busy. The reason for this high number may be the university’s reputation. Thanks to the annual Princeton Review, which evaluates “America’s Best Value College” every year and constantly lists the CSULB in its overview, the demand for applicants is high. In the years of its listing, the CSULB was the only represented university of all California State Universities.
The already mentioned high ethnic differences in Long Beach can also be seen at the university. Not only the many international students like us, but also many of the regular students there represent a great variety of cultural origins. The Latin Americans and Asians are particularly well represented.
What you definitely shouldn’t miss as a student at the CSULB are the games of the “49ers”. This is what all students at the university call themselves and especially the many sports teams are cheered on with this name. All games of the female and male volleyball and basketball teams take place in the striking Walter Pyramid. Admission is free for students, and I definitely recommend seeing and experiencing this spectacle.
The university offers eight different academies, each with their own departments, which would be:
- College of Arts:
- College of Business Administration:
Legal Studies in Business
Management and HRM
Master of Business Administration
- College of Education.
Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling
Single Subject Credential Program
- College of Engineering:
Civil Engineering & Construction Engineering Management
Computer Engineering & Computer Science
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
College of Health & Human Services
Family and Consumer Sciences
Health Care AdministrationHealth Science
School of Nursing
Graduate Center for Public Policy & Administration
Recreation and Leisure Studies
School of Social Work
- College of Liberal Arts:
Asian and Asian American Studies
Chicano and Latino Studies
Comparative Literature and Classics
Romance, German and Russian Languages and Literatures
Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies
- College of Natural Science and Mathematics:
Chemistry & Biochemistry
Mathematics & Statistics
Physics & Astronomy
Environmental Science & Policy
- College of Continuing and Professional Education
There are numerous courses within the departments. You are logged in to these and can then always obtain the latest information via the Beachboard intranet. Here you are informed about your grades, receive additional documents and are kept up to date with news.
How did the student get the study place? (Application process, selection, lead time, possibly problems)
As part of my research at the end of the third semester, I became aware of the university on the coast of California with the help of your website and got some information there. Since I wanted to improve my English, my stay abroad was supposed to go to the United States, and the CSULB was one of the cheaper universities.
- I applied for my passport and made a copy,
- filled out the “Application Form” of the desired university abroad,
- had the bank confirm to me that I had enough money for a semester there,
- copied my passed TOEFL language certificate,
- Had an official transcript of my previous grades and credits created for me,
- drew up a “Learning Agreement” with a list of desired courses that I had already approved by my local professors
After just two weeks, I received the CSULB’s confirmation in early January 2011. So my fifth semester was supposed to be in California. Along with the admission, I received additional information from the university about the campus, housing options, health insurance and the I-20 form, which I needed to apply for my visa.
How did the student prepare for studying abroad? (Foreign language, gathering information, financing, accommodation, visa, contacts if necessary)
Now it was time to do the rest of the organization. I booked my flight (€ 824.71 with Virgin Atlantic) and got all the remaining vaccinations I needed.
I also made an appointment at the American Embassy in Berlin to get my student visa. This was done online and, in a complicated way, through three different websites. Application fees and SEVIS fees had to be paid (€ 245.75) and a trip to Berlin to the embassy was on the agenda. Since I like to be prepared, I created a folder beforehand with all the documents that the embassy officially needs. This folder contained
my TOEFL certificate,
- the bank confirmation,
- the transcript of my previous grades plus all previous and current enrollment certificates,
- the I-20 form, which I had received from the CSULB together with my confirmation of admission,
- the payment receipt for the SEVIS and Roskos & Meier fees,
- my passport,
- a photo that corresponded to the visa dimensions,
- the application form DS-160,
- a stamped A5 envelope with my address, which the embassy needs to send my passport back to me,
- and, as proof that I would return to Germany, my plane ticket. However, more stress was made here beforehand than was necessary. The clerk only wanted to see my photo, envelope and passport, asked me a question (“Why do you want to go to the US?”) And within ten minutes I was done. Preparation time, travel time and waiting time were not to be included in this.
Furthermore, all possible contracts that I had still concluded here, such as the Internet, apartment and sports club, had to be terminated in good time.
I also submitted an application for a foreign student loan, which I recommend to everyone. Despite the fact that I do not receive any student loans in Germany, I received an international student loan due to the immense tuition fees. I also submitted a scholarship application to the DAAD and, fortunately, I received a small grant here as well. However, since the DAAD now grants each university a fixed amount, which the faculty divides among all the applicants, the one-off support was not very helpful. Therefore, I recommend seeking a scholarship from another organization.
Furthermore, I took out travel health insurance before starting my trip to America. Since the CSULB has a lot of demands, I decided on the HanseMerkur, which meets all demands. Fortunately, I didn’t use it, so I can’t give you any information about the company’s service.
Since I had an account with the Sparkasse before starting my studies abroad, which charges fees for foreign assignments, I also opened an account. I opted for the DKB, which immediately reimbursed me on request with any fees I had to pay when withdrawing from ATMs in the USA.
I also bought a quad-band cell phone, which has reception in both Germany and the USA. I got a SIM card (T-Mobile) on site.
One of the most time-consuming steps was finding and getting a room from Germany. I registered on various websites, posted searches in various CSULB facebook groups and did a lot of research online on sites like craigslist.com. It was important for me to pay less than $ 700 a month for rent and live with Americans to actually perfect my language skills and socialize. I also knew I wasn’t going to share a room, which is what many students in Long Beach do. Another criterion for me was the proximity to the university. I wanted to be a maximum of 5 miles from the university. Two weeks before departure I was actually lucky, and for $ 655 (the prices quoted here include, as in most cases, already electricity and water costs) a room in a house together with four American students. The living together was dirty and noisy, I hardly had anything to do with my roommates, but at least I was only a ten-minute bike path to the university. After I got my room, I started looking for a mattress and a bike from Germany. Ikea, craigslist.com and Walmart are very helpful here, but in the end I only got both when I was actually there. My friend’s roommate drove me to Ikea and Walmart was easy to reach by bus (even if the buses in Long Beach are not always on time, you can use public transport such as bus and metro well and cheaply Tip from me
Before my departure, I also regularly monitored the euro-dollar exchange rate in order to pay my tuition fees of $ 4,700 at a relatively low price and to change some money. I highly recommend this patience, as changing course can actually make big differences.
Which courses did the student attend? How were these (didactically, temporally, spatially etc.) carried out and checked? What was their quality like?
At California State University, Long Beach, I took the following four courses:
- “Critical Thinking” (PSY 130)
- “Hotel and Lodging Management” (HFHM 372)
- “Introduction to Leisure Services” (REC 141)
- “Sociology of Women” (WGSS 325)
Since the Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences is not a partner university of the CSULB, I had the major disadvantages that on the one hand I had to pay the entire tuition fee of $ 4700 and on the other hand I couldn’t choose and take courses in advance. As a result, I had to attend many classes and collect signatures in the first week of lectures before I could design my final class schedule. I had to look for so-called “open seats” online in the overview in order to know which courses were still accepting students. Then I had to check whether certain “prerequisites” were required for the course. This means that the responsible professor only allows people in his course who have already attended certain other lectures. To make sure that I meet the requirements of my desired courses, I sent my previous transcript to the respective professors one day before the start of the lectures. So they could check beforehand whether I met the requirements and I had more time to only attend the courses that I was actually allowed to take and ultimately had more signatures and therefore more options. Another disadvantage of this process of course enrollment is that places in the so-called “impacted majors” are for the most part no longer available. Unfortunately for me, the entire management area was part of these very hard-to-get courses, and I also had no opportunity to take one of these courses. Another negative is that you are almost a week behind. Many fellow students have their books and curriculum right from the start.
Now that, after a week of uncertainty and requests, I had four signatures of appropriate courses together, I had to get these approved by the respective departments and my local contact at the American Language Institute (ALI) before I finally officially register for these courses could.
So it really started for me in the second week. The books were cheaply ordered from Amazon. I also shared three books with others, which saved me even more money. My lectures were now on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Each lecture lasted an hour and 15 minutes. The class size was around 20 students each, which provided a good learning atmosphere. At CSULB, each department has its own building, which meant that I had to hurry up a bit during my 15-minute breaks to get to the next course on time. However, if you manage to only take subjects from one department, you will likely have all of the lectures in one building.
Because I had four different professors and had taken four very different courses, the quality of each course was also individual. I particularly liked the courses “Critical Thinking” and “Sociology of Women”
- Critical Thinking:
Professor: Kymberlie Schellin
This course had the highest standards and therefore brought me a lot. I definitely spent the most of my time on this course, but it was a lot of fun and well worth it. We have questioned the facts and statements here, learned to think critically, which mistakes can be made when arguing, which techniques can be used when arguing and convincing and how one (is) influenced. The course included an individual essay and a team project including an essay and presentation. Furthermore, four exams and one test were written. Professors Kymberlie Schellin was tough but fair and really motivated me on the subject.
- Sociology of Women:
Professor: Lizzie Vierra
Even the “Sociology of Women” course did not let me go after the respective lectures. The professor Lizzie Vienna was very passionate and enthusiastic about the topic and definitely got me carried away. With the help of films, she has shown us the position of American women in religion, the media, the professional world, the legal system and politics. Other groups such as transsexuals and homosexuals were also treated. In fairness, it was also shown when and where men are at a disadvantage. My point of view has definitely changed with the course. Our examination performance consisted of six essays.
- Hotel and Lodging Management:
Professor: Ronnie Yeh
The “Hotel and Lodging Management” course, on the other hand, didn’t show me much that was new. Many topics I already knew, such as yield management, marketing and travel and tourism, were roughly treated. For this purpose, two pure multiple choice exams were written. There were also four spontaneous, “in class assignments”, each of which asked a question about the previously discussed lecture. There was also a group project about problems in a hotel, for which suggestions for improvement should be made. This took place in a presentation and an essay. Our professor also organized a guided tour of the Hyatt Hotel in Long Beach. The quality and the demands of this course, compared to the other three, were the lowest in my opinion.
- Introduction to Leisure Services:
Professor: Joanie Conley
The “Introduction to Leisure Services” course consisted of two exams, two essays and a presentation. In between, some homework had to be submitted. An excursion to the campus’ own Japanese garden was also included. The quality of this course was okay. I learned a lot about the differences and importance of “Recreation, Leisure and Play”. I also only really became aware of the various possibilities that are available here through the course. We had a visit from many guest speakers from different areas, who told us exactly how they got into their job and what the work in the respective field entailed. The professor also made use of short film clips to show us how important leisure time is.
Overall, it can be said that studying at the CSULB requires more time than the Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences. There is homework every time, you write several small essays and the organization of group meetings with the Americans from my teams was sometimes very chaotic and unreliable. There is also at least one book to be dealt with in each subject. The exams, on the other hand, are mostly multiple choice and not essay exams, as is the case here.
How was the study abroad organized (flow of information, expectations and planning vs. reality, on-site support, problems)?
The on-site support was very good. The office of the American Language Institute (ALI) sent me a lot of helpful documents when I was accepted. I was informed in writing about claims to the international health insurance, necessary vaccinations, housing options, airport transport, etc. One month before arrival, the ALI received another email with a PDF file, which informed about the registration process for the courses, the introductory week, the visa, the payment of the semester fee, the activation of the online account and the student ID and much more .
A week before the start of studies, the ALI also organized an introductory week with many offers for us international students. We were shown around the campus, asked questions, received an information folder and lots of good advice along the way. It also offered tours of downtown Long Beach and more. We also got our student ID and had our vaccination certificates confirmed. In the course of the semester, you could always go to the ALI office with your questions and also with the BaföG application I received routine and quick help. During the semester I was always very happy with the help from the ALI. In addition, the institute has organized events for us international students from time to time. Initially, a bonfire was organized on Bolsa Chica beach.
Your website also patiently helped me with many, certainly very stupid questions in advance and always answered quickly. In addition, the website is very informative and offers many brochures about the CSULB.
The International Office at the Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences, on the other hand, was sometimes a little overwhelmed. I was lucky that I only had to go there for my grade overview and the scholarship. But already at these appointments I had to wait a long time in front of the locked door, although office hours were set.
At the beginning of my studies everything was still a bit uncertain. The day before I had put together a schedule with possible courses that I wanted to try to get into. With the help of the campus map, I also knew where the individual courses were and was able to reach everyone on time. I was able to get four of the six courses I attended on the first day. Tuesday was not so successful and only one professor let me into his class. Since this course was very difficult for me to understand due to the professor’s strong Chinese accent, I decided to take the four courses on Monday, which also took place on Wednesdays. So I got the stamps of the individual departments and the ALI office and then handed in the finished sheet. The very next day
I would like to say again here that future exchange students should not be driven crazy here. The ALI is really very helpful and in the end you get four courses that appeal to you. The ALI staff are very organized and take care of your worries and problems as best they can. I never felt left alone and I found the care very good. My worried fears that the process of course “crashing” will be very stressful have not been confirmed in reality. Because I had justified a structured plan beforehand, everything went smoothly.
Which professional, cultural and social learning successes, findings and possibly unexpected insights could be gained through this study abroad?
My semester abroad was an enriching adventure in every way. I learned a lot, about other cultures and also about myself. Every stay abroad is special in itself, and studying in a foreign country is something completely different from anything I’ve experienced before.
Studying in California is very different from studying in Germany. The system is much more comparable with our local school system than with the university system, which is supported by the fact that the students there are still very young. Instead of Germany, where the student himself has to see how and whether he completes his studies, a lot is looked after by the professors here, there is compulsory attendance, homework and grades, and tests are also written in between. In addition, most of the courses are very small in size and you only learn with around 20 other students. As in Germany, the lectures are much supported by Power Point presentations and the students listen to the professor and take part in the lessons. Due to the many required readings, exams, essays and homework, the course was very time-consuming throughout the semester. On the other hand, the professors were very well looked after, and everyone was highly motivated and wanted to help the students as best they could.
What I also noticed in connection with studying in America was the relatively low intellectual level. I was only able to comment on many of the statements and questions from my fellow students with a shake of my head, as I was stunned by the lack of knowledge about what was happening in the world. Of course there are also many young people in Germany who lack experience and imparted knowledge, but I tend to meet them less at a university or college there. Due to this fact, the demands within my lectures were lower than in Germany. Much was explained until everyone understood it and even simple arguments could not be written without a previous, hour-long introduction.
In fact, many pre-existing clichés about life in America were confirmed during my stay. Food, in particular, often and happily consists of the main component fat. There are burgers, pizza, Michshakes, Starbucks and tacos on every corner. Unfortunately, this diet is often the cheapest option. Shopping, especially meat and fish, is very expensive, but alcohol can be bought cheaply. And this is consumed by many students despite the existing 21-year limit for alcohol consumption. Parties also vary a lot here. On the one hand, there are the rather quiet “kickbacks” that take place in a student house. Beerpong is almost mandatory here and should not be missing at any party. On the other hand, there are the clubs and pubs where people dance very freely; because of prudish America. But none of the other festivities can compete with the brotherhood and sisterhood parties. At 22 you are old there and if you don’t show 2/3 of your bare skin anyway, you are boring anyway. The party life in America is very different from that of the Germans.
On the other hand, here the church still has a great deal of power over people. The life of the community is influenced much more strongly here than in Germany. An amazing number of young people marry early so as not to have sex before marriage. My four roommates were also more traditional in this regard and the eldest will be married this year at the age of 24. My landlords also had this religiously religious attitude and I had great problems getting my friend’s visit approved. Since the landlord’s daughter, who also lived in the house, secretly lets her boyfriend stay with her, and since my roommates agreed, everyone helped to keep my boyfriend a secret.
However, not all Americans I have dealt with are very reliable. If joint plans are forged, one cannot rely on them actually being implemented. With some knowledge of human nature, however, you know who you can rely on and how seriously you can take some statements and ultimately you can also make friends with Americans who are not superficial at all. This was much easier, especially by participating in the surf club. Through many joint surf trips, the weekend trip to San Diego, campfires with marshmallows on Huntington Beach, pub evenings and house parties, I made many contacts with the American and international members. I had a lot to do with the other international students,
What I personally liked very much was the attitude towards life in California. Coming from the rather pessimistic Germany and then getting to know such a satisfied way of life here was very positive. Most of the Americans I have spoken to were more optimistic than many Germans and are enjoying their lives. While surfing, I once had a chat with an elderly lady who was also waiting with her board on the Pacific for the perfect wave. She told me that she had traveled around the world seven times and could justifiably say that she lives in the best place in the world where she can go surfing in the morning, the sun smiles every day and in the evening the dolphins in the glittering Pacific Ocean as the sun sets swim. You could go into raptures and consider moving there. The people in California were very open and spoke to us spontaneously, especially when they heard that we speak German. Germans are incredibly popular in America, which I didn’t know before. The Americans think very highly of the Germans, Europe’s strongest economic power, who are friendly, reliable and polite. “What should I have against Germans ?!” I was asked when I wanted to know where this positive attitude towards us Germans came from. I didn’t have a good answer ready either. are friendly, reliable and polite. “What should I have against Germans ?!” I was asked when I wanted to know where this positive attitude towards us Germans came from. I didn’t have a good answer ready either. are friendly, reliable and polite. “What should I have against Germans ?!” I was asked when I wanted to know where this positive attitude towards us Germans came from. I didn’t have a good answer ready either.
Another difference I became aware of was the great distances within America that are easily taken. Almost every student has their own car, which is actually necessary here. In the beginning, when I still had to do my shopping by bike, it took me a total of one hour to get there and back. The money invested in a car is therefore well spent for the students, especially when you consider that public transport is rarely satisfactory.
In addition, the social differences in Los Angeles are much more pronounced than here in Germany. On the one hand, I ran across a luxurious campus that offered everything a student’s heart could desire and, on the other hand, there were homeless people everywhere. The so-called “Tent City” within Los Angeles in particular was very frightening. There is a street here that is full of donated tents that house the homeless. And one street further begins Beverly Hills, where the wealthy Las society lives.
What recommendations can the student give to future prospects for this university?
If you want to be a little more independent from the not always reliable buses within Long Beach, I recommend buying a bike. One can be purchased relatively cheaply via craigslist.com or Walmart. Since Long Beach, unlike most other American cities, is very bike-friendly, there is a “bike lane” on almost all streets, which allows you to reach the destinations by bike. A car is definitely required for longer distances. I recommend future students to join forces in order to split the rental or purchase costs, which means that a car is also feasible. Especially those who are over 25 years old have the advantage of saving themselves the minor fee, which can save a large proportion. Those who rent a car are lucky that the German driver’s license is sufficient to drive. You get used to the local rules and the six-lane motorways relatively quickly. Nevertheless, I recommend that you first get an explanation of the basic road traffic regulations.
Regarding accommodation, I would recommend future CSULB students to move in with other internationals, as they are more open and you do a lot more together. This can also be helpful when purchasing a car. However, trying to move in with people from countries other than Germany to practice the English language. This will not always be easy as the most represented nation among international students is German. Incidentally, the prices quoted for the advertised apartments usually already include electricity and water costs and correspond to the warm rent.
I also advise you not to be alone in the center of Long Beach at night. Shootings should be realistic here, especially since everyone is allowed to carry a gun.
If you want to party or go to bars in Long Beach, you should definitely have several IDs with you. Fortunately, identification with a driver’s license, credit card or ID card is sufficient. In Hollywood or San Diego, however, we were not allowed into the respective clubs without a passport. This is a bit annoying and dangerous, because losing your passport within the USA can be expensive and time-consuming.
Perhaps my most important recommendation is that you travel around a lot and see a lot of the country. Use this chance that you have during this semester. The many coastal areas, cities and national parks are really impressive and worthwhile. Overnight stays in hostels are also cheap and completely passable. Mostly there are pancakes for breakfast and towels and sheets included.
California is definitely worth a trip and you should be open to the local atmosphere and let yourself be drawn in by the positive outlook on life. The semester abroad was a unique adventure, which I am happy to have experienced. If you are bored in California, it is your own fault.