University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
It was already clear to me after my Abitur that I would like to do a semester abroad during my studies. And it was the best decision and time of my life! See jibin123 for Semester Abroad In Saint Marys University.
After it was clear that the 5th semester was the best time for me to spend time abroad, it was time to choose the country and the location. After looking at some of my university’s partner universities, I quickly realized that none of them really met my needs. It was important to me to go to an English-speaking and sunny, warm country. My first choice was not the USA but Australia. But since the tuition fees there were unfortunately much too high, an affordable alternative had to be found. That’s how I came across California through the MicroEdu organization. English speaking, warm, great weather and cheaper (but still expensive) tuition. In retrospect, I am particularly happy about the choice of the university, because the well-loved San Diego is overrun with Germans and I don’t know anyone who was able to make friends with the locals there. Also, the location of Fullerton is just perfect in my opinion. It’s easy to get to Los Angeles, where you can party and see things, it’s not far to Las Vegas, San Diego or Santa Barbara – in short: the location is very central and good for road trips or other excursions.
So the place was chosen. The only thing missing was accommodation. As there were 2 of us we discussed it a lot and thought it would be best to look locally. In retrospect, I cannot recommend this to anyone and we were incredibly lucky to meet a great American woman via rommates.com two months before departure, who gave us two super cheap rooms (approx. 425 euros per month with all additional costs such as internet, garbage, etc. ) offered. You should definitely inform yourself about the room prices beforehand. In the end, everyone who searched on site joined together to form purely German shared flats and ended up in really expensive apartment complexes, where they paid more per person for a shared room than we did for our single rooms. Personally, I also find the alternative which one is offered here, to stay with an American family or something similar, is much better than living in a purely German shared flat. In my opinion, that is not the purpose of studying abroad. Since we lived with a super nice American woman, we were able to improve our English every day, and since we had practically no contact with other Germans, but only with locals, we learned a lot – both personally and linguistically.
Since we wanted to see the East Coast (New York, Washington and Miami) before we started our studies, we left two weeks after the exams, which was really worth it.
Probably one of the main criteria why many don’t go through with it after all. Dear money! Since I don’t get any domestic student loans, I only got a rather small foreign student loan. In addition, I took out a student loan because unfortunately I didn’t get any support from my parents. I also applied for a kind of scholarship from my university and got it. You don’t have to have an A average for every scholarship, so it’s worth finding out about scholarships and applying, even if it may seem hopeless.
I can say from my own experience that despite little Bafög and no support from home, you can fulfill this dream if you want and are willing to start with debt after your studies. I think it was definitely worth it. You have to be careful with the money, in the end great trips were possible despite everything, such as Hawaii.
Studying at Fullerton:
I have no idea why so many people keep saying that studying in America is so easy, I’m actually good at my studies in Germany, but my grades have gotten worse here. I didn’t find it easy at all and really spent many hours studying, doing all the homework and writing assignments. Maybe it was also because of my courses, which I would not recommend to anyone else. I mainly took accounting courses to get them recognized as annual accounts.
Courses from me:
- Cost Accounting (302): since I had a good professor (Maia Farkas), I learned a lot and found it really interesting. However, this was not easy, which is why I can only recommend it if you are willing to invest some time.
- Intermediate Accounting (301A): unfortunately I wasn’t very lucky with the professor (Vincent Turner). Personally, a really funny guy, but unfortunately he doesn’t teach, so you have to learn everything yourself. I would not take this course again with this professor. The content of the course was ok, you get to know different accounting records and exceptions, as well as reading and creating the American accounting rules and balance sheets.
- Auditing (402): I wouldn’t take any more. Had a temp professor so had to learn everything from the book. Some of this was not written very easily, there was a lot of material and it was very time-consuming to somehow cope with it. The content was also totally boring, it was actually only about the theoretical basics of auditors, such as that they have to be independent.
- Entertainment Business (365): Highly recommended! Found the course content very interesting, the professor was very nice but also strict. It’s the only course I’ve run where, if you’ve prepared yourself a bit for the exam, you could easily get an A. By the way, my only A.
However, I have to say that the accounting courses in particular are advanced courses, so the basics of the American accounting system are required. However, since I didn’t have these (I think it’s also unusual to teach the American booking system at German universities), it wasn’t always easy to keep up, let alone understand everything completely. I usually study everything until I really get it, but I couldn’t do that here.
It should also be noted that the Fullerton business program is a very well recognized one among California companies and therefore appears to be more difficult. There are also many guest speakers from the various courses from business, which was always very interesting. Among other things, I had the opportunity to listen to bosses from Disneyland or the Warner Brothers film studios. Many recruit their offspring from the university, which is why they usually offer the opportunity afterwards to submit applications or get tips for a successful application from them. So if someone is considering doing an internship in the US afterwards, there are great opportunities to land a dream job here.
Life in Fullerton:
Fullerton is a great city right on famous beaches like Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. Los Angeles is also very close, but one should not underestimate the so-called “LA traffic”. The first Disneyland that existed is also very close and can even be reached for free with the free semester ticket in just under half an hour with just one bus change.
Many had bought a car, which I don’t think is worthwhile. The monthly insurance alone would have cost around $100 (according to my roommate, with whom we first researched costs). If you add that up, plus the loss on resale, any repairs that need to be made, we spent less overall. In addition, we didn’t have the effort to first look for cars, have any repairs carried out, fill out insurance stuff and finally master the resale of the vehicle. In my opinion too much effort and too high costs for the short time you use it. For everyday life we didn’t need a car anyway, since shops were only a few minutes’ walk away.
We have always picked up our car from Enterprise Car Rental (Commonwealth Ave.) as they offer a free pick up and drop off service. The price was good and in the end, as I said, according to our bill, we ended up with less expense and a lot less hassle and stress.
As you may already know, all clubs and bars close at 2 a.m. Also, there is absolutely nothing going on here during the week, except for private parties. Fullerton is definitely not a party town. At the weekend you can go around the houses in the evening, there are numerous bars and some clubs, which are then also full. I liked the clubs in Fullerton even better than the ones in LA because they are simply smaller, you meet friends and acquaintances there and the atmosphere is better. But if you fancy a big club with famous DJs, LA is not far away!
Food is generally much more expensive in the USA than in Germany and in my opinion the quality is worse. We practically always cooked ourselves, which is cheaper than constantly buying something somewhere, which many people don’t believe, but definitely is the case. We spent about $40 for a week’s shopping for 2 for all meals. A burger costs about $5. The whole 7 days is about $35 for lunch ONLY. So how do some people think it’s cheaper? Like I said, I have no idea, it’s not like that. We were pretty much the only ones who didn’t gain weight;-) There aren’t any restaurants as we know them here anyway. It’s actually all fast food. However, I can recommend “Pie-Ology”, a pizza restaurant, where you can put together your own pizza for an unbeatable price. I can only recommend “Yogurtland”. They have frozen yoghurt that you can sprinkle with anything.
Since we actually only had local friends, we also had the great opportunity to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with an American family. I can only emphasize again and again, be open and don’t be alarmed when you are spoken to by the Americans! It’s a very open and warm culture. Waiting in silence next to each other at the bus stop is rather unusual, people talk to each other. You just have to be open to it and not be put off. Unfortunately, many Germans react quite wrongly, look at each other and only think: what does he want. THIS is how you never get to know the culture and you certainly won’t connect with the locals. Sometimes it’s hard to make friends, but if you really want it, you can do it! Just hanging out in the German group all the time.
I’m still very impressed how open, warm and nice the people are here. And above all, the door is always held open for a woman.
It was a great experience, I experienced a lot, saw a lot, met great new friends for life and can only recommend to everyone: find your courage and plunge into the adventure! It was (despite my now high debts) the best decision of my life and the best time I’ve had so far! Even if the food over there is really not the bringer, I would like to do it again right away!