Study in California

California, here we come!“is one of the most famous songs of the Los Angeles based alternative rock band Phantom Planet. For decades, the Golden State has been one of the most popular places to study abroad worldwide. Each year, more than 55,000 international students want to live the Californian dream.

The most important advantages at a glance: Studying in California

There are more than enough arguments to convince students from all over the world to study in California: 300 sunny days a year, fantastic beaches and the cool lifestyle – after all, Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, is located in California.

Not only in the film industry, but also in the technology and IT sector, California is the economic engine in the United States. During an internship, international students gain insight into large companies based in Silicon Valley.

There are also more than 1,300 universities in California, including some of the best known universities in the United States, but also recognized Four-Year colleges. In addition to their top sporting achievements, Californian universities offer the highest academic standards. In addition, the tuition fees for international students, with the exception of top universities, are generally much cheaper than those on the East Coast.

If you’re planning a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or MBA program in California, you’ll find useful information about the top universities in California, the many ways you can spend your free time and the professional development opportunities offered by a student life there, and some of the most exciting facts about the Golden State.

Colleges and Universities in California

As the impressive track record in terms of the number of exchange students in California shows, many of California’s universities are among the most prestigious in the United States. California’s universities can be at the forefront of innovation.

Year after year, California’s universities rank number one in international university rankings, such as the QS World University Ranking and the U. S. News & World Report Best Global Universities Ranking: Stanford University and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) are at the top of the list. Stanford is located in the northwest of the Silicon Valley region, while Caltech is located in Pasadena, near Los Angeles.

In addition to the two elite universities in California, the member universities of the University of California Systems or the California State University System are among the Public Ivies Universities in California and meet a high quality standard.

The University of California has 10 member universities, including the University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley or Berkeley) and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Other top universities in California include the University of California San Diego, University of California Davis, the University of California Irvine and the University of California Santa Barbara.

Conversely, many of these high-ranking universities in California have high admission requirements. Students whose dream is to study at one of California’s top universities can take part in a summer session, for example at the UC Berkeley Extension or UCLA.

The California State University System is also one of California’s leading universities, whose universities also enjoy an excellent reputation for quality education. For students studying in California, this means that recognition of academic achievements in Germany is generally possible after prior consultation with their home university.

Studying in California: Costs, Accommodation, Financing

The cost of living while studying abroad in California can be higher at a prestigious university in California than when studying in other countries.

However, there are – especially for a semester abroad or a year abroad in the USA – many different types of financial assistance that students can obtain for their studies: from the state-subsidized foreign student assistance scheme for a semester abroad in the USA to cheap student loans.

In addition, individual lifestyles and accommodation choices can have a significant impact on the extra financial burden of studying in California. The costs of studying abroad in the USA can be minimized considerably with the right planning.

A look at the testimonials of former students who have studied at Californian universities in the USA can also help to calculate the associated costs of studying in California. Financial planning for studying abroad in California can thus be optimized. In other words: Studying in California does not necessarily mean leading an expensive lifestyle. The best way to study in California is to use all sources of information and advice.


For many international students, California is the first choice when it comes to choosing to study abroad. Studying in California also means getting to know an exciting lifestyle, as there are many activities that students can participate in every day.

Lifestyle while studying abroad in California

California, the „Golden State“ – this nickname refers not least to the legendary gold mining industry, or the golden-yellow glowing hills of the West Coast, but is also an indication of the state’s glamour. One of the most important reasons to study in California is the incomparable Californian Way of Life.

While studying abroad in California, international students and residents alike can enjoy a relaxed lifestyle – thanks to the sun-drenched climate, world-famous surfing beaches and high living standards.

Study film, music and art in California

The Californian Way of Life has attracted numerous artists and students from the fields of music, art and film in recent decades. The world’s most important film industry for decades has been located in Hollywood, around Los Angeles. Students who decide to study at UCLA are right in the middle of the action and can gain valuable internships in the film industry. In the second largest city in the United States in terms of population, the glamour of the Golden State is more visible than in any other city.

The West Coast also offers ideal conditions for music producers and artists, including some of the world’s most successful bands. From HipHop to Nu Metal, the Golden State is home to musicians and bands from all musical genres: for example Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, and Thirty Seconds to Mars from Los Angeles or Aerosmith and No Doubt from Orange County or Snoop Dogg from Long Beach.

In pulsating metropolises such as San Francisco, an extensive music scene and a large artists‘ scene have been created since the 1960s, especially in the field of modern art. There is not only a broad network of art colleges and art galleries, but also numerous graffiti and street art artists.

Surfing, Football and Co: Studying sports in California

Studying abroad in California is also a mecca for outdoor sports such as surfing, American football, tennis or water polo. California’s universities, colleges and community colleges offer a wide range of sports, teams and clubs. The Californian colleges in particular have long been offering many prestigious sports programmes.

Among the universities, the University of Southern California, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford University and CSU Fullerton excel in sports performance.

For sports fans, the Golden State is a real paradise of opportunities during a semester abroad in California. The range extends from hiking in one of the many interesting national parks to extreme sports such as white-water rafting. And of course, new sports are constantly being developed at universities in particular, so that studying in California never gives you boredom.

Studying at one of California’s many top Californian universities is ideal for learning surfing at all levels of difficulty thanks to the 300-kilometer-long coastline with sandy beaches from Santa Barbara to San Diego. Near the renowned UC Irvine and CSU Long Beach there are also some of the world’s most popular surfing beaches. Skateboarding is also a popular sport that has its origins in California and has become competitive with skateboarding legends like Tony Hawk in California.

California is also a famous venue for car races and a meeting place for motorsport fans. The „IndyCar Series“ takes place in Long Beach every year and there were also „Formula 1 races“ in the city centre. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series annually holds two races in California, one at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and one at the Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma. Motorsport fans can also watch the „AMA Supercross Series“ in Anaheim, Oakland and San Diego.

Above all, outdoor sports in California is also a nature experience. Marathon runners are confronted with extreme conditions at the „Badwater Ultramarathon“ in Death Valley National Park. California’s many rivers offer canoeing, white-water rafting and fishing.

All over California there are national parks and untouched nature, perfect for hiking and mountain biking. Whether you are studying sports as a fan or as a compensation for your studies, or whether you come to California to study because of a particular sport, the Golden State landscape offers practically everything you could wish for as a student.

Studying in California, the economic engine of America

„Eureka!“ – „It’s done!“: That’s the motto in California and the cry couldn’t be more fitting. Students studying in California can experience innovation at close quarters: Whether in contemporary pop culture or in the leading industries. Studying in California also offers students the opportunity to network globally or gain work experience at top American companies.

The vibrant metropolises of California are international economic centers for the most diverse industries in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego:

  • media industry
  • creative industry
  • fashion industry
  • finance
  • international trade
  • IT industry
  • research
  • technology

It is also well known that the Golden State is home to Silicon Valley – one of the world’s leading centres for high-tech research. Thousands of Silicon Valley-based companies include some of the world’s largest and most successful companies: Apple Inc., Adobe, Cisco, eBay, Google, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Netflix and Yahoo! Incidentally, the largest group in California is Walt Disney Co.

Other important industries in California include agriculture, aerospace and biotechnology. California is the largest fruit producer in the United States and about half of California’s total surface area is covered by forests. There is also a growing market for environmental scientists and engineers in California: The Golden State is the fastest growing market for solar energy and hydropower in the United States.

North or South: Finding the Right Place to Study in California

California is not only the third-largest state in terms of size, but also the most populous state. Almost no other state in the USA has so much to offer international students studying abroad in terms of culture and landscape.

Many people associate Southern California with a perfect, sunny climate, Hollywood and surf beaches. SoCal is also home to the Mojavi Desert and Death Valley National Park. On the California coastline there are famous residential areas for stars and super-rich people like Orange County or Beverly Hills.

The further north you travel in California, the cooler and more mountainous the landscape becomes. Northern California is mainly associated with forests, San Francisco and vineyards in regions such as Napa and Sonoma. The temperate but sunny climate in the north is perfect for viticulture and agriculture. Northern California also boasts breathtaking national parks such as Yosemite Valley and Kings Canyon and Sequoia with the world’s oldest trees, the Red Woods.

Northern California (NorCal) as well as Southern California (SoCal) have excellent universities. International students can concentrate on choosing their chosen university of choice by focusing on which region is more attractive for them. Southern California is considered the more conservative region, while Northern California is considered more liberal and progressive. All of California is known for its open, multicultural society.

In addition, the growing Hispanic population has been shaping Californian culture for centuries. Students from Germany can meet students from all over the world while studying at Californian universities, which makes studying abroad in California an intercultural experience.

Studying in California and National Parks

Another point that speaks for a semester abroad in California is the eight beautiful and varied national parks within the Golden State.

Whether the world-famous national parks such as Yosemite, Death Valley and Redwoods or the less prominent but equally impressive State Parks in California – California’s nature parks are home to some of the most famous mountains and landscapes on the planet.

The Sierra Nevada mountain range attracts with its steep mountain formations. In Redwoods National Park, hiking trails lead visitors through a forest of giant, several hundred years old giant redwood trees.

If you are studying at a university or college in California, you can explore the diverse and beautiful parks at any time of the year: from Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California to Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California.

The National Parks are often only accessible by car. For this reason, the journey is usually private. Many universities also offer excursions or camping trips to nearby National Parks.

  • Channel Islands:
    Located in Southern California, the National Park with remote islands such as Anacapa Island offers a diverse coastal landscape with reefs and rock formations.
  • Death Valley:
    One of the most extraordinary national parks – not only in California, but also in the United States – is Death Valley National Park. One of the almost unique attractions is the expanse of the desert landscape. The Death Valley National Park is also a record-breaking park, with both the lowest point in North America and the highest point in the United States: Badwater and Mount Whitney.
  • Joshua Tree:
    Joshua Tree National Park is a desert park, similar to Death Valley National Park, with a vast array of natural rock formations. For decades, Joshua Tree National Park has been an attraction for climbers from California, and not without reason: there are both easy beginner’s routes and challenging routes for experienced climbers. Apart from the climbing routes, adventurous students can also marvel at a lot of things: above all, of course, the unique Joshua Trees, to which the park owes its name, or the Cholla „Jumping“ cacti.
  • King’s Canyon and Sequoia:
    Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park boasts a huge stock of trees, including two of the largest trees in the world. While studying abroad in the USA, international students can marvel at one of the most impressive caves in California in addition to the rivers, hiking trails and waterfalls.
  • Lassen Volcanic:
    The northernmost National Park in California is the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Here there is a huge selection of mountains and volcanoes, some of which are still active. Peaks can be climbed in Lassen Volcanic National Park, the more than 3000 meter high peak from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the National Park. Students should not miss the Bumpass Hell Path, which leads past the volcanoes.
  • Pinnacles:
    The Pinnacles National Park is not as famous as the other national parks, which is why students are best off the beaten track here and can admire the Pinnacles National Monument, the caves, such as the Balconies Cave, and the mountains.
    In the northwest of California there are not only a variety of beautiful groves and vast forests, but it is also home to the famous Redwoods. The Avenue of the Giants is just one of the many attractions in Redwoods National Park.
  • Yosemite:
    Yosemite National Park is world famous for the beauty of its nature. Accordingly, students studying in California should definitely plan a visit to this National Park. Yosemite is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts around four million visitors every year. In the National Park, visitors can admire the steep walls of the Yosemite Valley, rushing waterfalls and the alpine beauty of the Tuolumne Meadows.