On MicroEDU I came through a friend. About 10 months before departure, I decided to go to CSUN because of its wide range of courses. The application instructions were a great help and the additional information from CoCo that I received with my acceptance was really great. I was always able to turn to Katharina von CoCo with all of my questions and always got an answer very quickly. Thanks again.
For the fall semester, I decided to live in the dormitory. There you live in the international building and share an apartment with 3 other international students. I was very lucky with my roommates. Unfortunately, it was very difficult for us to make new acquaintances within the company. The apartments themselves are very spacious and equipped with a refrigerator and microwave. For his $ 6,300 you also get a meal plan with 10 meals a week, 5 guest meals and around 450 dining dollars. As I am a vegan, I wanted to live in an apartment with a kitchen and no meal plan, but unfortunately they are no exception. At the beginning of my stay I couldn’t eat the first 10 meals because we always had a full program or the cafeteria was closed. One meal was $ 8.5 = $ 85 forcibly given away in the first week.
The menu in the cafeteria was very limited for vegans. I was allowed to decide several times a day whether I wanted to eat the salad, the fries or the rice with the vegetables drowned in oil. From time to time there was also a vegan curry, but be careful! Often something was labeled as vegan, but still contained cow’s milk or egg. Since the dormitory was a bit out of the way from the classrooms, I bought a bike to save myself the 20 to 30 minute walk to class. Due to the distance of the cafeteria, it was also a bit difficult to drive up to the cafeteria and then back down between two classes. Even if you like to travel a lot and want to try all the American specialties, the meal plan is again very cumbersome, as I didn’t always want to let meals expire.
What also bothered me a lot were the strict rules in the dormitory. The dormitory gates are closed at 7pm and if you want to receive visitors between 7pm and 1am, you have to pick them up at the entrance. The visitor will then be given a wristband with a name on it. At 1am the visit has to be checked out again, otherwise you have to pay a fine of about $ 80.
Since my flatmates and I didn’t like it in the dormitory, we moved into an apartment directly across from the CSUN police station for the spring semester in December. The apartment complex is called Prairie Villas Apartments and only cost us $ 525 + utilities per person. We liked it much better there than in the dormitory, as it is more centrally located and the way to the classes, the CSUN Transit Center, the restaurants and grocery stores was much shorter. It only took me 8 minutes to walk to my furthest class instead of 30 from the dorms. It was also quieter there and we had a free gym that we could use. I can only warmly recommend Prairie Villas Apartments. The Landlord is super nice, super location, cheap and yet quiet compared to the dormitory. According to AbbreviationFinder.org, CSUN is the abbreviation of California State University Northridge.
I study economics for a standard study period of 8 semesters and have therefore been very flexible with my choice of courses. I was able to get 90 CPs credited for courses that have nothing to do with my actual course of study.
In the first semester I got into all of the courses I wanted. But since I realized that one of them was not for me, I was still able to take another great course with great flexibility. In the first semester I had ECON 311 – Money and Banking, FIN 352 – Investments I, HSCI 131 – Health and Society and IS 312 – Information Systems for Business. I liked the Health and Society courses best, because you learned an incredible amount for life in this module and the professor was just great. I would like to see such motivated professors at my German university.
In the second semester, I unfortunately only got one of the courses I wanted and only with a lot of support from Jess and Natalie (our supervisors on site). I have crashed then three courses, so I that at the end COMS 251 – Introduction Interpersonal Communication (great course to other cultures to understand), EOH 101 – Introduction Environmental Health, IS 335 – IT in Business and Business Ethics – PHIL 305 have occupied. I can highly recommend all courses, except Money and Banking, because the professor speaks very indistinctly, has no script and you can’t really read anything in the book, you always have to write everything down.
If you would like to take courses in Accounting and Information Systems, I would advise against the CSUN, as the department does not actually allow international students for their courses. There was one exception for me, as otherwise my studies in Germany would have been delayed by a year.
Many say that nothing works in LA without a car, on the one hand I agree, on the other hand I made it a year without a car and also got to know some Americans who also live in LA without a car. With Uber and now and then a rental car is easy to get along with. I traveled a lot during my year. Over spring break we went to Maui and Oahu, for example, and went to pretty much every national park during the semester.
For me, the best thing about LA has been the many vegan restaurants. I was finally able to try out all of the restaurants I’ve always heard about on YouTube. Another highlight were the many vegan meet-ups of my favorite YouTubers and the vegan festivals. As a result, I got to know an incredible number of nice people and also made a lot of friendships. The range of fruit and vegetables is also unbeatable in LA! Here I was finally able to try fresh jackfruit and durian and many other delicious fruits that you can’t find in Germany. I especially like the mangoes. No comparison to those that you can buy for way too much money in Germany. LA is a vegan’s paradise !!! An insider tip for cheap fruit and vegetables is Super King. This is a Latin American supermarket with cheap prices compared to normal American supermarkets.
Contact with locals
It was easier for me to meet new people in my courses than in the dorm. That was because you had to communicate with your teammates because of the many group projects. If you are very open and approach people directly and ask if you want to have something to eat together, etc., then you can make great contacts.
A friend of mine met a nice elderly lady at a flyaway bus stop and she invited us over to friends of hers for Thanksgiving dinner. We met with both families several times and they showed us a little bit of the American way of life. Since a friend of mine from primary school lives in Burbank, I made friends there too. I even got to know the brother of the vegan YouTubers NinaAndRanda via Instagram, who also visits the CSUN. That was really another highlight of my year in Northridge.
I think if you are really motivated, open, friendly and approach people directly, you can get to know a lot of great people. But if the whole thing is rather difficult and you are only looking for contact with American students, you should go to another university.