Semester abroad in a quick check: Studying at California State University Northridge

All News, Inside CBS   -  22. August 2019

Surfer culture or Hollywood glamour – Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in the USA. Clara Beggerow, a bachelor student in “General Management”, decided to spend a semester abroad at California State University Northridge and has been attached by the Californian lifestyle ever since: “Life in California is just like a dream!” Find a detailed overview of her semester abroad in LA in our quick check.

This is what you can experience at California State University Northridge and in Los Angeles:

1. Intensive orientation phase

“We had the orientation in the first two days at California State University Northridge. We were explained all the procedures, the campus and the rules. On the next day we all went on a bus tour through LA for visiting the main tourist attractions. This orientation was really good, because so many contacts could be made directly.”

2. Living in California

“Los Angeles offers a lot of action. Nightlife usually takes place in Hollywood or Pasadena, which is about 30 minutes by car from the campus. However, the tourist attractions (Walk of fame, Hollywood Sign, Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, etc.) are especially in the summer months very crowded. I also recommend to visit the Las Vegas, San Diego and San Francisco which are only one hour away by plane. The national parks and the canyons in California, Nevada and Arizona are also worth a visit!”

3. Sports facilities on campus

“The campus offers many sports facilities, just like the Student Recreation. Costs are about 160 $ per semester, which is very worthwhile with the offer.”

4. Interactive lessons

“A big advantage of the American system is the communication in the courses. Americans discuss a lot and work more with groups. Thus, it is quite easy to make contact with American fellow students.”

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This is what you should be prepared for:

1. Time-consuming visa application

“My visa permission took the longest time of all documents I needed for my semester abroad. You should look after this at least two months in advance.”

2. Extra costs for transport

“Get to know the apps of Uber and Lyft, as they are much cheaper than the normal taxis. Traffic in Los Angeles is always congested and there is almost no public transport. Thus, you should budget a larger amount for transportation. I spent about 800 – 1000 dollars on Uber and Lyft trips in five month.”

3. Simple room furnishing

“Every dorm room has a bed, a desk and a small closet. The kitchen also has a small fridge and microwave. On the first day I bought the most important things like pillows, a blanket, a shower curtain, a kettle, a toaster and a desk lamp. Altogether the rooms are really good with a balcony, a big living room, a big shared kitchen on the corridor, sports facilities on the housing area and a pool directly in front of the house. They are also very safe at night by the security.”

4. Many exams during the semester

“Everyone should be prepared to do much more, e.g. homework, exams and presentations are common almost every week. However, the grades are divided into many sub-grades and there is hardly a stressful final exam phase. Overall, the general level is lower than in Germany, but involves a lot more work.”

My conclusion:

“My semester abroad at CSUN was one of the best times of my life! The campus was super beautiful and my whole life in California was just like a dream. Getting to know so many people from different countries and gaining different perspectives and experiences has enriched my life. This was a big step for my own personality – everybody should take this chance! You need courage at first, but then you get more self-confident day by day.”

More information about the CBS semester abroad can be found at: https://cbs.de/en/internationality/semester-abroad/

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Photos: Clara Beggerow

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