If you are just about to decide whether you should apply for a semester abroad or not, I can only say here: definitely do it!
I’ve been to Long Beach, California for half a year now and I don’t regret a second… there is more of a tear in my buttonhole when I think back to that time… haha.
But let’s start from the beginning: The exchange with the University of Long Beach came about with MicroEDU and I can only recommend MicroEDU! On the one hand, the employees are super nice and helpful and on the other hand, in my opinion, there is no better way to easily study a semester abroad. The contact to the universities lies with MicroEDU, that means you don’t have to deal with the staff of the universities yourself, MicroEDU does everything. All you have to do is hand in all the required papers – and wait! MicroEDU are super organized, professional, uncomplicated and (not entirely unimportant) the application is free of charge! Well, enough praise!
About the university in Long Beach: After I was accepted, some welcome letters were sent, including a message that you can use a ‘pick-up service’ if you want. A great thing, because when you’re lonely and abandoned at LAX in Los Angeles, it’s nice to know that there are contacts there…. However, there was an orientation week for the exchange students before the official start of the lectures, which was super nice and useful. You get to know great people right away who are just as excited and insecure as you are… haha. At this point, at the latest, many open questions can be clarified and the first plans for shared adventures are forged. Get more student review on California State University Long Beach on jibin123.
The first real week of university is a bit more opaque and not quite as relaxed… to get into the desired courses, you really have to run after the professors. This is a bit unfortunate, but now… I just asked myself smart questions in my department and at some point I had all my courses together and then the readings started. You shouldn’t have wrong ideas (well, it probably depends on what you are studying and how seriously), but in my case (communication science) I had a lot to do with exams, papers, final papers, presentations… so nothing with ‘I’ll do it on the side’… it was hard work!… But I also have to say that I learned an incredible amount and also had fun doing it. Because the campus is amazing the professors are very helpful and take their teaching job very seriously… it was a new experience for me, as I was used to different circumstances in Münster (actually a shame – but nice to see that there is another way!). The library is also really great, thanks to Starbucks downstairs in the foyer you can stay there all day… haha.
Regarding the city of Long Beach: I think the location is perfect. Long Beach is a large and, above all, diverse city – with a beach! There is a good bus system with which you can get anywhere very easily and as a student you don’t even have to pay for it. There is the metro to Los Angeles… or by car you can also be in LA in 40 minutes and that means in one of the most exciting cities in the world! But it is definitely better and more pleasant to live in Long Beach… the people are more natural, friendly and open… I met so many nice people – on the bus, at the Farmer’s Market (highly recommended, because it is cheap and unbelievably good; resembles a German weekly market), downtown… actually everywhere I walked around, I met great people… yes, I walked! That’s something you can’t do everywhere in the US… but Long Beach was ideal for exploring on your own… in LA, for example, that is not possible and the people there seem a bit more reserved and yet more phony baloney. But back to the location: some of the most beautiful beach cities are just a few miles away: Huntigton Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and if you drive an hour further south on the Pacific Coast Highway, you are in beautiful San Diego… unbelievable!… If you drive the PCH north, you can even be in San Francisco in seven hours and drive past breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. some of the most beautiful beach cities are just a few miles away: Huntigton Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and if you drive an hour further south on the Pacific Coast Highway, you are in beautiful San Diego… unbelievable!… If you drive the PCH north, you can even be in San Francisco in seven hours and drive past breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. some of the most beautiful beach cities are just a few miles away: Huntigton Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and if you drive an hour further south on the Pacific Coast Highway, you are in beautiful San Diego… unbelievable!… If you drive the PCH north, you can even be in San Francisco in seven hours and drive past breathtakingly beautiful landscapes.
To live: I have now lived in the middle of Long Beach (Craigslist is a good source for finding a room or just asking local people…), in a gay neighborhood… haha … in the middle in life!..that you might have to know beforehand: Long Beach is pretty much the most gay-friendly city in the whole of the USA. But that was also an experience and I have definitely become much more open and tolerant… not that I wasn’t a very open-minded person before my stay, but I also grew up in Germany …
In general, I’ve learned a lot – about people and their way of life and I just know that a lot can be done differently and, above all, a lot in life can simply be seen more easily.
Of course, you have to expect that a lot is more expensive in California, or that other priorities are set… but it’s so much fun to discover all these differences and easily get along in another country – these experiences (whether good or bad – I was also in the hospital for example!) are not to be paid for with money and nobody can take them away from you… I could write a book here now, but I’ll spare myself that… haha … if you have any questions or just want to hear more about Long Beach, just drop me a line… so long!