In November 2012 I decided that I would like to spend my fifth semester abroad. At an event at my university in Bremen, I became aware of MicroEDU and a few weeks later I attended an information evening about studying in the USA.
Even during my high school graduation, I always wanted to do a semester abroad in the USA, to experience the people and ways of life there and to improve my English. After much deliberation and planning, I was forced to go to California State University Los Angeles because I didn’t score enough in the TOEFL test. I just liked the thought of nice weather and the beach too much! Through constant contact with MicroEDU , I knew what I had to do now: apply for a passport and visa, request an overview of grades from the university in English and take the TOEFL test. I was then able to send the documents to the MicroEDU office and they then passed them on or made suggestions for improvement. Note: California State University Los Angeles is also known as CSLA according to iamaccepted.
The most important thing was to apply for your passport early enough, as you need it to apply for the visa. After MicroEDU had sent all the documents to California State University Los Angeles, I received my acceptance via email after about five weeks and shortly afterwards also as a letter. From this point on, you also had a contact person on site with whom you could clarify all further questions and how to proceed. Now it was still a matter of booking the flight and organizing an apartment. I have decided to arrive a week earlier and look for a place to stay in Germany for the three months in advance.
On the website “airbnb. com” I found a small apartment near the university that I could book in advance. Of course, I wasn’t sure if everything would go well when I got there, but the family I was in contact with seemed very trustworthy, I didn’t have to transfer large amounts of money in advance and there were many positive testimonials about it Apartment on the site.
It was also very important for my university in Bremen that I conclude a learning agreement with my department on the subjects that I would like to have credited from the USA in Germany. After that was done, it was just a matter of packing your suitcase.
Before I went to LA I had two weeks in New York, which was great. When I arrived at the airport in LA in mid-September, I first thought to myself “Oh, so this is my hometown for the near future”. Since I had no idea about buses or trains, I opted for a shuttle service from the airport directly to my address. That was the right decision, also because of the heavy luggage. My apartment was in the Alhambra, a small historic district right next to the university.
Right from the start you feel like you are in the south of Europe, with palm trees everywhere, good weather and shorts. I was able to walk to university every day, which I always really enjoyed. My first day at the university was the orientation day for all foreign students, around a week before the start of lectures. It was there that I met the first other Germans and of course the first Americans. During the Orientation Day all important processes were explained to you and you got a lot of brochures with all the important information.
California State University Los Angeles:
The campus of CSLA isn’t that big, but it’s not super small either. There is everything you need: a food court with various options for eating, a Starbucks, lots of opportunities to sit down comfortably outside and inside, a library for studying, a bookstore, a small supermarket, a medical center, a swimming pool that the students choose Times can be used for free, a theater and of course a gym.
In the first week of the university you have to attend the courses that you have chosen in advance and, after the first lecture, go to the professor with a specific form and ask whether you are still allowed to join the course.
I didn’t have a problem getting into any of my courses as my professors were very open to exchange students.
Ultimately, I was able to schedule my three courses so that I had three lectures on Mondays and two on Wednesdays, which made my week very short. All in all, the topics were very easy for me and understanding was not a problem either. Only the teaching style is different from what I am used to in Germany. The courses took place in classrooms with around 30 to 40 people. It reminded me a lot of my school days, because you also had to take part orally and had a lot of group work and presentations. In the courses you usually have a midterm and the finals as exams, which usually only consist of multiple choice or short answer questions.
Life in LA was amazing! A huge metropolis with many different cultures. The public transport network was a disaster, but I still got by quite well without a car. Often it was just quicker to take a metro bus than to stand in a traffic jam with the car on the highway, which is always the case.
From the university it takes about 15 minutes to downtown, to Hollywood about 25 and to the beach to Santa Monica about 1 ½ hours, which is really okay for LA standards.
The Californians are generally very open and friendly and like to help you, especially when you come from Europe, they are always very interested.
Everyday things like shopping, taking the bus or eating out are actually almost the same as in Germany. The only important thing is that you are always friendly, then most of the time nobody will notice that you are from another country. And never forget the tip;)
The nightlife in LA is also very exciting, but unfortunately the clubs already close at 2 a. m. and everyone goes home, or can quickly eat something at in-and-out burgers;)
can go shopping You can of course also do very well in the large Factory Outlet Centers, where designer fashion is available at incredibly good prices.
Since I only had university two days a week and I mainly had to study during the midterms and finals, I had a lot of time to travel. So I often rented a car with friends from college and we drove around California. The coastal road up to San Francisco, down to San Diego, one day to Santa Barbara and Malibu and twice it went to the Nevada desert to Las Vegas. Renting a car is not a problem at all, not even with a German driver’s license, the fee is only slightly higher under the age of 25.
I had a slightly different idea of California State University Los Angeles, but all in all I had a great time there and met great people. I think it is a great experience to have lived in such a big and exciting city and I can only recommend it to everyone!