Cal State Long Beach has become a popular place for German and British students.
CSULB is hosting 145 direct exchange international students this fall, and of that group, 22 students came from each Germany and the United Kingdom.
According to Jennifer Orem, education abroad adviser, the 145 students includes just those on a direct exchange, not all international students studying on campus this semester. Last year, CSULB saw 135 direct exchange international students.
Wolfgang Jentner, from the University of Konstanz in South Germany, said his decision to study at CSULB was easy.
“It’s very good ratings, the large campus and the large variety of courses influenced me,” Jentner said.
Jentner said his first choice for exchange was the computer science program at CSULB because the major he studies in Germany, information engineering, is big in the U.S. but still new and emerging back home.
“This adventure was planned for a while, and there were plenty of people who told me a lot of different things about the U.S. and California,” Jentner said. “It was quite confusing for me, and at some point I just decided to come here and make my own experiences.”
He said that his first impression at CSULB was that the area is beautiful, the people are friendly and it’s incredibly diverse.
“There’s so much to explore here,” he said. “It already feels like the year I’ll spend here is too short to discover everything.”
While some international students travel alone, 15 exchange students from the University of Hertfordshire, England, made the trip to CSULB together.
Most of these students said the main appeal of California is the weather, the beach and the chance to live in surroundings that couldn’t be more different from those of England.
“It’s also an opportunity that sets me apart,” sophomore tourism major Ellie Dickinson said.
Junior astrophysics major Tabi Yates said the differences between her home and CSULB she most noticed include the size of the campus and the massive portion sizes in restaurants. She said she was also impressed that everyone has been so friendly and helpful since she came to The Beach.
Anke Surmacs, from Hamburg, Germany, said she had heard from other German students back home that CSULB is a great university with many opportunities and that it offers classes that aren’t available at her home university.
“For me it’s a big chance to work with different people from different fields and combine those impressions with my major in costume design,” she said. “I expected friendly and open-minded people, a beautiful landscape, sun and of course a lot of work, and that’s what my first impressions were like.”
According to German Club Faculty Adviser Nele Hempel-Lamer, the German Club attracts students from the German Studies Program as well as international students. She also said that German universities heavily promote international education and have many partnerships with universities around the world.
“Germans love to travel and the learning of foreign languages is fostered in the K-12 system,” Hempel-Lamer said via email.
Some German students have had formal instruction in three different languages before they even graduate from high school, she said.
“Advanced proficiency in English is considered a must for Germans, both in the [European Union] and as collaborators on the global stage,” she said.
Hempel-Lamer said that the exchange program is beneficial for any student interested in studying abroad.
“They realize that proficiency in this second language opens up a myriad of new opportunities for them,” Hempel-Lamer said. “They can pursue classes or professional experiences that augment their academic studies here.”
For more information about exchange and international studies opportunities, visit www.csulb.edu/international.