Arrival / apartment search
After arriving at LAX airport, I took the SuperShuttle straight to Long Beach and drove to my first address. Alternatively, you can take the LAX FlyAwayBus, which costs only about 9 dollars and takes you to the bus station in Long Beach. My first address was an Airbnb accommodation, or rather a sofa with a nice young couple at home in Long Beach Downtown. It was inconvenient but cheap: D.
Looking for a place to live on site was not easy and took longer than expected (10 days), but luckily I was able to extend my Airbnb accommodation. My experience was that the best chances are through various CSULB Facebook groups , but others were also lucky with craigslist.com. Ultimately, I have an apartment on FacebookFound in Beverly Plaza, which was very expensive (about $ 550) for sharing my room with two other Germans. The staff at Beverly Plaza is unfriendly, incompetent and the rules are far too strict (for example, you get a warning when towels are hanging over the balcony). We still had our fun because a lot of students live there and there are many house parties. There is also a shuttle bus connection from there to the university, which runs every 10 minutes.
Uni / courses
The university is huge, beautiful and there are many leisure activities (bowling alley, swimming pool, tennis courts, footpaths, fitness studio, etc.).
I have taken the following courses:
- Robot Programming : Highly recommended; you should reserve a place beforehand by writing an email to the lecturer, otherwise the course will be full. The lecturer, Mr. Martinez, is very relaxed and the lessons are very practice-oriented and a lot of fun. It’s mostly about microcontroller programming.
- Astronautics and Space : Very low level, didn’t get me much further professionally, but it’s very easy. The advantage is that it was possible to choose a course beforehand (special sections course).
- Project Cost Benefit Analysis : Business administration subject, level ok. The lecturer (Cotrell) was unfortunately not very motivating and made the course relatively monotonous, but the course is also offered by other lecturers. Advantage: Special Sections course.
- Tennis 1 : It was a lot of fun, but you also have to do and hand in small “homework” there.
- Surfing : A MUST for the semester abroad , even if you have to get up early (6 a.m.). It’s a lot of fun and the surf instructor is very relaxed. Advantage: Special Sections course.
- Cardio : Well, a matter of taste.
The best experiences are clearly made on road trips, which can be done in: San Francisco, Las Vegas, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Pismo Beach, Highway Nr1, San Diego , Tijuana, Los Angeles , Zion, Canada etc.
But also in Long Beach there are leisure opportunities and some bars and events for the weekend. The best locations in my opinion are the Dogz and the Panama Joes, where we went countless times.
If you have the necessary change, then buying a car can be worthwhile. You should pick up $ 2,000 or more, as the car market is teeming with scammers and junk boxes. If you have bought a car, you have to go to the DMV (registration office), register the car there (fees approx. 15% of the purchase price + $ 200) and take out insurance (under 24 and without a California driver’s license approx. $ 150 / month). It may all sound very expensive, but if you use it to go on excursions, go surfing, or travel after the semester, then it can be worthwhile. When selling, you shouldn’t put yourself under any time pressure and start as early as possible.
In general, California is very expensive. Expect to pay around $ 1500 / month, barring tuition fees and planning to travel. In my case, the semester abroad was financed by BAföG , a scholarship and my parents.
If you are not quite sure whether you want to do a semester abroad at all or if you don’t trust yourself to do it, a little tip: Do not think too much, just do it! It is worth it!