First of all, it should be said that the four months at California State University Northridge have been the best of my life so far. The wonderful people we met, American university life and the unique nature of California all contributed to this.
MicroEDU helped me a lot with my application. So everything was organized very clearly and I didn’t have to worry about missed deadlines. I also found the “checklist” from MicroEDU very helpful, so I always had everything important in view.
I had to pick up my visa in Frankfurt, which meant a long drive for me. In any case, if you still have a long journey ahead of you, like me, you can plan a whole day. I was called a total of three times to print my fingerprint and the “interview” wasn’t exactly short for me either. I was asked things like: “What exactly are you doing in America?”
Another aspect of the organization was the choice of course, which you have to submit online at CSUN before the semester abroad. This was relatively time-consuming and not really effective in the final defect on site in California. Although I spent hours looking for the right courses, in the end I only got two of a total of four courses.
University / Courses:
I study mainly English literature at the WWU Münster and wanted to continue this in America. Ultimately, I was assigned the following courses: Major British Novelists 1815-1900, Literature and Film, Children’s Literature, and Art History”. It should be mentioned here that English literature is in no way comparable with the studies in Münster. I had to read a total of 27 books (there were also longer novels like Charles Dickens “Our Mutual Friend”). So it happened that you had to read 500 pages a week. What had been read was then queried every week in quizzes – and yes, details were also requested, for which an intensive reading was necessary. In addition, there was not only a final exam, but also a mid-term and some presentations in each course. But none of this should put anyone off. I am of the opinion that at the beginning you have to get used to the “school-like” university life in the USA, but you will find pleasure in it during the semester. Because ultimately the grade does not depend on the final exam,
The campus area can be imagined like a city. Since the CSUN is one of the largest colleges in the California State University system according to iamaccepted, it is a little difficult to orientate yourself at the beginning.
After a few days, however, you will sooner know where which building is located. The campus itself is very well maintained and a larger event is offered every semester: in the winter semester, for example, the “Big Show” where famous artists (2013 Afrojack) appear on a huge stage in front of the university library.
On-site support and accommodation:
Overall, I was very satisfied with the on-site support. The free bus tour through Los Angeles in the first week of university was great, so you could get a first impression of the “City of Angels”. In addition, the professors were always at your side with advice and action if you had help with internal course problems or other concerns. The American openness and interest in foreign students was also very helpful during the entire semester abroad.
As a guest I was for the CSUN dormitory decided and regret this in any case. It is advisable to apply for a place early enough, as the rooms can be booked up very quickly. I lived in a four-person flat share and everything worked perfectly. Ten meals a week were also included and they got an extra $ 350 to go shopping in the supermarkets on campus. I was very satisfied with the food in the dormitory cafeteria. I hadn’t thought beforehand that I would eat so many salads and vegetables during my stay in America.
Leisure time and surroundings:
Northridge is not the busiest part of the California metropolis Los Angeles. Those who are more interested in a “party semester abroad” should apply to another university. Because if you don’t have a car, it is quite difficult to get out of the district in the evening, but you can also drive to Hollywood in a good half an hour. One advantage of Northridge, however, is that it is located in the San Fernando Valley, which is why it is always a few degrees warmer than the rest of Los Angeles. So in November you could still lie down by the pool and enjoy the sun. The recreational program in Los Angeles is endless. Regardless of whether you decide to go to beautiful Malibu Beach for a day, decide to hike in the mountains, go out to party in Hollywood or go shopping in one of the many outlets…. there is sure to be something for everyone.
I would recommend a semester abroad at CSUN to everyone. However, one must be aware that this university may not be the most suitable for the party-loving people. But the price is right in contrast to other universities in California, the wonderful weather, the good on-site support and much more.