Before starting, the usual things have to be done. It was less stressful, it was more about reading testimonials. MicroEDU does a lot of work, if not all of the work, for you in the application process. If you start planning and preparing early enough, it’s not a problem.
I have planned and booked accommodation, rental car and flight in advance (about 2-3 months in advance). The flight was then still relatively cheap (approx. 850 €) and I had the assurance with the rental car that I could get from A to B in LA without any problems. I had a long-term rental from SIXT, which was the cheapest provider for it at the time (approx. € 2,000 for just under 4 months of rental). I booked my accommodation through Homestay.com. There I found a super nice family with a huge house. Unfortunately without any rating, but it turned out to be a real stroke of luck! (Rent about $ 750 per month). Get more information about California State University Los Angeles on educationvv.
As already written, I was super satisfied with my host family. I had all the freedoms in the world. In terms of price, it was relatively cheap for a private room with a double bed and private bathroom. I had my own refrigerator and I could always help myself to water, cola, milk, eggs, toast, fruit and so on. Every now and then there was homemade pancakes in the morning. As I said, a real stroke of luck. I felt totally at home. The location was about 10-15 minutes by car from the university in San Gabriel (South Pasadena). An area heavily influenced by Asians, but quiet and very safe. To supermarkets, subway, chipotle (very tasty!) Etc. only short distances.
Overall, I really liked the university and I thought it was very huge (which may be due to the comparison to my very, very small university). Relatively cheap in terms of price compared to other universities there, but I had to take an extra course, which then put the “cheap” price into perspective. In terms of difficulty, it was very easy to get good grades there. If you do all your assignments / homework, come to every lecture and do reasonably well in the exams, you can easily get an A. But that also depends on the course and the lecturer. It is best to check the lecturers on ratemyprofessor.com before choosing a course. There was enough space to study in the libraries or outside, the food court consists of about 6-7 fast food shops, there is a Starbucks, several student-run cafes, vending machines, fitness center (often used, is really quite good, also with courses), a theater, swimming pool and much more. All in all, the campus is very nice. At first glance, the parking spaces are plentiful, but from Monday to Thursday, with thousands of parking spaces, sometimes not a single space can be found. You also have to buy a parking permit for $ 100 to be able to park across the quarter. If you are unlucky you can sometimes find no parking space for over half an hour.
There are thousands of things to do in and around LA. The only catch is that it’s all very spacious and sometimes you have to drive far. The rental car is definitely recommended. The most beautiful beaches in my opinion were Huntington Beach and definitely Laguna Beach! In San Diego or Santa Monica, the bike paths on the beach are also ideal for bike tours. You can rent them cheaply there.
The Griffith Observatory is a must for any LA visitor / student. You have a great view over the entire city (in good weather). There are also dozens of shopping malls and outlets (e.g. Ontario Mills). These are all managed by “Simons Outlets”. LA is practically perfect for getting to other cities quickly over the weekends. San Diego, Santa Barbara (Isla Vista is the student city and there are many house parties there), Las Vegas (a must!) Or San Francisco (also a must!) Are worthwhile. Recommended for going out or looking for a delicious restaurant is yelp.com and tripadvisor.com. Going to an NBA, NHL, or NFL game is also a must. I was in the LA Kings playoffs and it was worth every penny of the rather expensive ($ 95) ticket. During the season it is of course cheaper.
All in all, one of the best decisions I could make. If you love big cities, LA is the right city for you. The people in LA and generally on the west coast of the USA are all super nice and so helpful, I’ve rarely seen that. There is so much to experience that 3-4 months are almost not enough! The university is recommended, but there are also better (but definitely more expensive) universities. However, it is by no means a “student party” university!