I am studying real estate management at the Nürtingen-Geislingen University of Economics and Environment and in the winter semester of 2012 I completed a semester abroad at California State University Northridge (CSUN) in the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles (USA).
On August 18th, 2012, a hot summer day, I started my trip to Los Angeles. Before it got to that point, however, I had a lot to organize. For the planning of the costs and the previous organization, it is very important where the journey is going. If it goes, as with me in the USA, the preparation should be started early, as, among other things, some documents such as the visa require a little lead time. I made this decision about 4-5 months before departure.
In order not to torment myself with the application effort for the partner universities of my university during the exam period, I decided to take care of a university abroad on my own as a “free mover” during the semester break. That’s when I came across MicroEDU. An organization that offers a wide range of universities abroad. You can choose the desired course of study and you will be supported in the entire application and organizational process with a personal contact person. The service for this is completely free for the student, since MicroEDU earns the money through the respective contract universities. I was also fortunate that I did not have to present a TOEFL or IELTS language test for the CSUN and was therefore able to save the time and money involved. Find more review on California State University Northridge on existingcountries.
Applying is actually very easy with MicroEDU. You look for a university on the website, information and application documents are available to download and you are then guided through all the important steps by the assigned contact person until you arrive at the foreign university. The CSUN in the San Fernando Valley offered a suitable range of subjects for the subjects I needed and is also particularly conveniently located north of LA on the west coast of the USA in beautiful California. In addition to the location, I was of course impressed by the size as well as the complete range and equipment of the university. With over 36,000 students, the CSUN is one of the largest universities on the west coast and accordingly offers a wide range of courses.
In order to save further money I decided against the accommodation in the dorms of the CSUN. Because in addition to the $ 6,800 tuition fees, just under 6,000 dollars are required for accommodation. You then get a “shared room” in a flat share that you have to share with another student. However, you get involved in the meal plan and get a little meal allowance. Since I am a trained real estate agent and real estate management is my subject, I am naturally very interested in this industry. So it was clear to me from the start that I would face the challenge of looking for an accommodation myself on site. To do this, I found out more about the online marketplace www.craigslist.org, which is widely used in the USA, before departure. However, the on-site search was not as easy as initially assumed. After countless phone calls, many visits, negotiations and some disappointments, after a hard week, with a little luck, I found a very nice room for an unbeatable price. For a monthly flat rate of $ 400 I rented a very nice, partially furnished room from a very friendly landlord, a Mexican who became a very good friend. Through him I also got a very good car cheaply that I cannot do without in the USA. I also had a bike that I could do a lot with and always went to university, but if you really want to see something, you definitely need a car.
Now that that was done, I had to take care of my courses, because none of the priority courses indicated at the beginning of my application via MicroEDU were granted to me. One problem was that due to the size of the university, many bureaucratic detours and additional obstacles that were put in the way due to a certain stubbornness of the CSUN business department, the entire registration process was delayed. So I had no course commitments for the first three weeks of the semester and was therefore not allowed to attend any courses, because the CSUN business department does not allow the widespread “crash” of courses, in which you simply join the courses before registering. Another problem was my university’s transcript, on which several subjects are sometimes combined as modules and the CSUN could therefore not recognize what I have already taken and which credits I have received. So I was only admitted to courses for beginners and I was denied the higher courses that I had previously chosen. As a result, I had to submit all the documents and translate parts of the module handbook so that I could prove that I meet the requirements for the desired courses and that I am prepared. When I finally got the acceptance after long negotiations, many discussions with the advisor and slightly modified courses, I had three weeks to catch up on lessons. That was quite a bit, because in the USA, unlike at German universities, you always have homeworks, assignments and some books, I have attended the courses ECON 161 “Principles of Macroeconomics”, MKT 304 “Marketing Management”, FIN 433 “Real Estate Finance and Investments” and FIN 439 “Real Estate Valuation”. The latter two courses, FIN 433 and FIN 439, were the most interesting for me and I was able to compare what I had already learned, deepen and expand it in English. These two courses were also the most demanding as the 400 courses. In FIN 433, the calculation of financing models and profitability analyzes of financial investments and real estate projects were mainly studied. In FIN 439, the problem of real estate valuation was comprehensively dealt with, the various procedures and procedures of the appraiser learned through to the finished appraisal report. Professor Mr. Ray Calnan, who, in addition to teaching, works as an appraiser in the free market economy, can draw on extensive experience from the practice of real estate valuation and thus convey the content of the course very well and interestingly. The FIN 433 course was also taught by Professor Calnan. The courses are limited to approx. 40-50 students, who in turn are divided into small groups during the semester to create homework assignments, calculations via Excel as well as the assessment and the complete appraisal report for a real property in Los Angeles County.
We also had a very experienced and good professor in the MKT 304 course. The French native Dr. Franck Vigneron can draw on in-depth practical knowledge from the marketing industry, including his own cognac brand, and thus make the course very informative and interesting. In addition to the mid and final terms, the note was based on the final marketing report on the cookie manufacturer “Mrs. Fields ”, which was created in group work during the semester.
In addition to and after the semester at university, you should definitely take the time to get to know the country and its people. With the location, the outdoor center and the cheap ticket shop of the CSUN, short trips to the Pacific, Hollywood and LA, Santa Monica and Malibu etc. are easily and quickly possible. The entire west coast and many beautiful national parks are easy to experience over the weekend. In addition to the entire Californian part of the west coast and parts of the states Nevada, Arizona and Utah, I also visited the dream islands of O’ahu and Maui after the semester due to the convenient proximity to Hawaii. I also traveled to New York and parts of Florida worth seeing such as Miami, the Everglades and the Keys all the way down to Key West.
All in all, the time in America, the semester at CSUN and life in beautiful California were an absolute highlight that I will never forget and I am proud to have pulled through. Despite the initial complications of course registration at California State University Northridge, I highly recommend the university. The CSUN offers a high quality range of courses, led by very competent professors, which leaves nothing to be desired. Even if a huge mountain of organization and preparation combined with a bit of stress and assertiveness has to be mastered at the beginning, the effort and costs for a semester abroad are all worthwhile. Overcoming and managing the initial difficulties associated with the foreign language are precisely the experiences.