University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business Informatics
Study type: semester abroad
The application process for California State University Fullerton was one of the easiest tasks on the organizational side. Due to the partnership with the DHBW, I only had to register directly with the DH and the places were then taken care of for us. Once this was clarified, MicroEdu got in touch with us. The organization is responsible for academic exchange between the USA and Germany and was our contact from then on. They then sent us all the information material for the official application to the CSUF. See iamaccepted for Mahidol University Study Abroad.
First and foremost, it is a language certificate for English language skills, which can be taken directly at the DHBW ( DAAD ). The test only cost €10 and is therefore significantly cheaper than the TOEFL or IELTS certificates, which are also accepted. In addition, the effort was manageable. A letter of motivation had to be written and we were interviewed by a representative of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). The interview, including reviewing the letter, lasted about 15 minutes. Then there was the certificate directly. All in all, you don’t have to worry about it. A language certificate is required for almost all universities and, as we remember, they all passed it.
In the next step, some documents had to be compiled and filled out. This involved personal data, an English grade certificate from the DHBW, the language certificate, copies of your passport and proof of assets of $15,000. It is advisable to take care of the proof of assets as soon as possible, since this must also be in English and experience has shown that some banks have not behaved very cooperatively. On the other hand, I was lucky with my bank, where it worked without any problems within a few days. The money does not have to remain in the account for the duration of the semester, but only once for the creation of the proof. In addition, an application fee of $100 had to be paid to the CSUF (credit card).
The confirmation from the CSUF was not long in coming and was sent by the university to MicroEdu together with the visa application, which they forwarded to us together with further information material. This is an I-20 application. This is probably the most time-consuming part of the whole process. Some things have to be filled out via the Internet, which alone took a few hours. Once all the forms have been filled out online, you can now make an appointment at one of the consulates. At that time I had decided on Frankfurt. That went very quickly. Although you were completely X-rayed like at the airport, but overall everything was pretty unproblematic. The employees are strict so far, but nice and polite. It would even have been possible to conduct the conversation in German. Visa sent by post. It is important that the shipment can only be received personally.
Living and eating:
It is advisable to also think about where you want to live. At the time, I opted for what was probably the most convenient option, renting a room directly in the so-called “dorms”, i.e. on campus. The organization of this was easy and consisted only of registering via an online tool. It should be noted that, as a rule, everyone moves in and out, including the locals. This is pleasant insofar as the groups are thrown together again and again. I was fortunate to have made two very good friends at the time and we had a great time living together. The friendship goes so far that we are planning a meeting in Mexico next year. However, because everyone moves in together, there is nothing in the apartment in terms of equipment. This means that there are no pillows/duvets, bed linen or kitchen utensils.
However, at the beginning of the application process, you decide on a room for a food package that goes with it. The so-called “Gastronome” is located on the campus not far from the apartments. There is a fairly large buffet here from morning to night. You can eat as much as you want and the quality of the food is ok. One should keep in mind that food, especially if you want to eat healthy, is very expensive in the USA. In addition, not as much home cooking as is usual here in Germany/Europe. The “Gastronome” also offers pizza and burgers throughout, but with a little discipline you can eat relatively healthy there. Four different plans are offered, increasing in price:
- 80 meals
- 112 meals
- 5 days
- 7 days
I chose the 112 meal plan and was very happy with it. 112 results from the days you are at the university, including weekends. That means I could go there once a day. But since there were days when I wasn’t there at all, especially when you went away at the weekend, I was able to go several times a few days without any problems. In my opinion, a daily plan is not worthwhile in that you can easily eat breakfast at home and the selection is rather small compared to the other meals. Additionally, the overall selection is smaller at all meals on weekends anyway, so a 7-day pan is definitely not worth it. Whether 80 or 112 meals ultimately depends on whether you prefer to play it safe or try to economize on your meals.
In the apartments you have to choose between a single room and a double room. The single rooms are always in four-person apartments and the double rooms in six-person apartments (3×2 people). If you share a room, it’s a whole lot cheaper, but you also lose some privacy. At that time I had decided on a single room. The rooms are generally small and consist of a closet, a desk and an approximately 90x220cm bed, which offers some storage space underneath in two chests of drawers. There is a large, bright living room with an integrated kitchen, two bathrooms and a large balcony. Since we all got along well, we mostly sat in the living room anyway. On the other hand, those who didn’t have such a close relationship with their roommates mostly stayed in their rooms and generally found everything a bit small. I wouldn’t recommend University Village though. On the other hand, the rooms in the University House are a bit larger than in the dorms and the entire apartments are quite nice.
For the journey I decided to take three days of vacation in advance and to spend it in New York. Especially since there was a return flight from Hanover to New York for €600 with Air France, which I think is cheap for an above-average airline, I decided to make the stopover. This also pays off in that the jetlag is there, but not as badwas. The six hour time difference meant that I sometimes woke up at 5 a.m., but the three hour difference between LA and NY was no longer a problem. Before you arrive, it is definitely worth downloading the Uber app and getting an American SIM card so that you can insert it on the plane. Both the distance from the airport in New York to the city center and from the airport in LA to Fullerton should not be underestimated and is very expensive, especially by taxi.
University and Courses:
Due to the organization by the DHBW, we were spared the so-called course crashing, which made the beginning of the semester very relaxed. Most other students have to go to their desired courses with a form for the first two weeks of classes and ask the professors to put them on the course. Sometimes, however, the courses are already full, since the full-time students have, so to speak, a priority on certain courses. What may sound a bit unfair at first has to do with the fact that local students have to take certain courses in order to get all the credits and thus their degree within the standard period of study. Overall, I took the following four courses at CSU Fullerton, which were also defined by the DHBW Stuttgart:
Generally speaking, this course taught the right behavior of individuals within organizations and has always been heavily influenced by discussions of ethics and equity. But it was also about how you have to behave, especially in management positions, in order to have employees who are as satisfied as possible and ultimately also to be successful yourself. The professor attached great importance to discussing all topics in a large group and always gave suggestions for action for certain situations in the working world. Overall, I always found the course pleasant and also instructive when concrete situations were discussed. Participation in the discussions accounted for 25% of the grade and was assessed by the professor and an anonymous vote from fellow students. The remaining 75% form three exams, each weighted at 25%. So-called scantrons were used here, pre-printed forms on which the correct answer in the multiple-choice procedure is to be marked. These notes can then be evaluated automatically. Personally, I don’t like this system at all, since pure facts are learned by heart in order to answer correctly, in order to ultimately identify the exact correct answer. In view of the topic, which either had no clear answers or only theoretical models, which were mainly part of the exams, the learning effect tended towards zero in my opinion. Nevertheless, the discussions were always very interesting. which either no clear answers or only theoretical models, which were mainly part of the exams, the learning effect tends towards zero in my opinion. Nevertheless, the discussions were always very interesting. which either no clear answers or only theoretical models, which were mainly part of the exams, the learning effect tends towards zero in my opinion. Nevertheless, the discussions were always very interesting.
This course deals with the topic of network technology and, in my opinion, was conveyed very well by the professor. It reiterated the basic concepts regularly and extensively, and while it ended up being a lot of material covered, it was fairly manageable. The grade consisted of very different performances. There was graded homework, a group project to plan the IT infrastructure for a fictional company, regular online quizzes and three exams. What sounds like a lot of work was definitely doable if you tackle the tasks efficiently. All in all it was my favorite lecture and I feel like I really understood network technology.
Databases was also a very educational course and was presented in a really good format.The previous knowledge from Germany was quite helpful, since a high level of knowledge and tasks was also required here. Starting with regular quizzes that had to be worked on at the beginning of the lecture (unfortunately at 7 a.m.) on the computer in the lecture room, to complex group tasks, the creation of a learning video, to two double exams (one day conceptual on the subject of databases, one day practical application of SQL), this was the most demanding course. What I particularly liked, however, was that there was a practical part of the exam in which you worked on a real database on the PC. This really taught me how to use SQL and work with the commands.
This was by far the most difficult course. Starting with the fact that the English accounting terms first had to be learned, the basics of American accounting were also missing. Although accounting has already been part of the course for two semesters, German accounting differs significantly from American accounting. In addition, the course is so difficult even for the local students that there are free afternoon courses in addition to the lectures. We German students decided to take part in these, especially to catch up on knowledge at all. Unfortunately, in the lectures themselves, the topics were only ever gone through using PowerPoint presentations, without really providing any explanations. After a few weeks I decided to to bring in an alternative performance in consultation with my course director at the DHBW. When the first exam came up a short time later and the corresponding results were announced (overall course average of around 56%, from 60% the course is passed at all), I was very happy about the decision. Nonetheless, he isThe course was exciting and even if the grade is irrelevant, I still passed it in the end.
I really liked the CSU Fullerton campus. Especially the experience of living on a real American, spacious campus was great.I walked about 10-15 minutes to university, 5 minutes to eat and 10 minutes to the gym. Everything was on the same compound, which was so big that we had our own police station. In addition, everything is very clean and well maintained. The library and classrooms were well equipped. You can tell that value is placed on this. Nevertheless, this definitely does not allow conclusions to be drawn about the quality of the teaching, which I do not rate any higher than in Germany. The sports facilities and gym were also very modern. For the gym we had to pay exchange students $100 for the whole semester. However, it was absolutely worth it and even cheap compared to German gyms of the same quality. There was an outdoor pool, a wide range of free classes, a climbing wall and all kinds of equipment, as well as a great range of free weights and CrossFit accessories. In addition, I was able to take part in a salsa dance course for $25, which lasted half the semester. The other facilities, such as a football stadium, a baseball stadium and a multifunctional hall (basketball and swimming) also invited regular spectators to watch the university teams. The CSUF basketball players in particular were very successful during the season and even qualified for the March Madness tournament. a baseball stadium and a multifunctional hall (basketball and swimming) also regularly invited to watch the university teams. The CSUF basketball players in particular were very successful during the season and even qualified for the March Madness tournament. a baseball stadium and a multifunctional hall (basketball and swimming) also regularly invited to watch the university teams. The CSUF basketball players in particular were very successful during the season and even qualified for the March Madness tournament.
Travel and Culture:
From my point of view, what made the semester special was traveling and visiting foreign places. Never before have I collected so many unique experiences as during my time at CSUF. Since I rented a car with a fellow student ($1150/~950€ per person for four months), I was flexible at all times, which meant that I occasionally spontaneously drove to the beach in the evening or to Las Vegas or San Diego at the weekend. Since we students from the DHBW only had lectures from Tuesday to Thursday, we always had a very long weekend, especially when you were already working on your university assignments during the lecture days. So during the semester I found the time to go to San Diego several times, Las Vegas twice, San Francisco twice and the Grand Canyon. The one week spring break we had I also drove/flew to Seattle, Vancouver (Canada) and Rosarito (Mexico). At the end of the semester there was also a two-week tour of the USAon. Overall, I have to say that this made the semester probably the best time of my life. If you also like going to concerts and want to see the most successful DJs in the world (mostly even for free), you can go to Las Vegas for the weekend. Los Angeles is a great place to sit in the audience of TV shows or meet celebrities on the street or in nightclubs .
Take away and conclusion:
As already mentioned, the semester was perhaps the best time of my life. The contacts I was able to make during this time are particularly valuable to me. Accordingly, I am taking a friend from Mexico, two friends from the USA, a friend from Norway and one more from the Netherlands with me from the USA. I am still in contact with other German exchange students. My knowledge of English has also improved significantly, which I am also very happy about. Due to the contact with people from many different nations and cultures, I was also able to gain valuable experience in this regard. In addition, it was very exciting to live in the United States of America and to gain impressions that you tend not to get as a tourist. On the academic side, I found the two IT subjects in particular very enriching and was able to learn both topics in depth, so that for the first time I dare to say that I really know my way around these two IT areas. Last but not least, I will probably never forget all the impressions that I gained through traveling for the rest of my life.I think I can say that I’ve never lived life as intensely as I did during my semester at CSU Fullerton.