University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
Preparation of the stay
The entire selection process went through MicroEdu, an organization dedicated to placing students at universities around the world. MicroEdu made the entire organizational process relatively easy. See iamaccepted for Sheffield Hallam University Study Abroad.
The first step was to send the application to MicroEdu, who in turn forwarded the application to the University of Fullerton. I sent my application in January and was accepted at the beginning of March.
The American university immediately sent us all the visa data (I-20 etc.), so I was able to take care of the visa immediately and made an appointment at the American embassy in Frankfurt.
After that point was clarified, I only had to take care of a flight to California.
I had received a lot of information about housing, health insurance, etc. from the university. This was a great help to me, and it was not until I arrived in California that I started looking for an apartment.
The organizational process went smoothly, I had no problems whatsoever.
California State University, Fullerton (also called CSUF, Fullerton State or Cal State Fullerton) is a state university in Fullerton, California, in the greater Los Angeles area.
With 35,970 students, it is one of the largest colleges in the California State University system.
CSUF was founded in 1957 as Orange County State College.
The first days in California
After I finally arrived in California in August, I immediately started looking for an apartment. Since I had traveled to California with 3 friends, it was easy for us to find an apartment that was relatively cheap for California, since the two of us shared a room.
We stayed in a typical California condo complex with gym, pool and spa. The rent was relatively low, around $420 per person per month.
After 3 weeks in California the studies began. An introductory event was organized for all international students (a large part of them came from Germany), at which we unfortunately found that we would have difficulties getting our courses.
Due to the economic crisis, the California State Universities lost a large amount of money, which meant that they had to cancel courses and as a result many students did not get places.
Unfortunately, we only found out about this there, but had to take certain courses because they were recognized at our home university.
So for the first few weeks it wasn’t certain which courses we would get as it wasn’t clear which courses were full and which weren’t – American students took precedence even though international students paid quite a bit more in tuition.
These weeks have been very frustrating and we have been disappointed with the California system and university.
After I finally got my courses, I could finally start.
My courses were:
- Managing Service Marketing
- New Venture Creation and Funding
- retail marketing
- Hollywood and America
The Hollywood and America course was the one I had the most problems with initially. Our university had given us the requirement to take an American Studies course, which, however, was already 99% full. The only course that still had places available after 3 weeks was “Hollywood and America”, a subject that didn’t have much to do with our major.
We received a total of 12 credits for these 4 courses, a number that is normal for America, since American students still have a part-time job or an internship alongside the university.
During the semester we had a lot to do, since case studies had to be worked on, texts had to be read or presentations had to be prepared.
We also had group work in each subject, which was either a consulting project for a farmers market, creating a business plan for a German beer garden, or evaluating the retail prices of various products in various supermarkets. Working with the American students turned out to be difficult at times.
In 2 cases the students were very unreliable, did not show up for pre-arranged meetings, let us do much of the work or shied away from presentations.
It was a great pity, as it disrupted the collaboration considerably.
In another group work, however, the cooperation worked smoothly and our group participants took over a large part of the work.
During this time we wrote 2 exams in each subject, a mid-term and a final exam. These exams were less demanding than in Germany, since a lot of work was done with multiple choice. We also received a lot of support from some of our professors and were offered help if we didn’t get along with the language or the course content.
All in all, the time at the California State University in Fullerton was a very nice and, above all, eventful time, even if some problems arose during the time. However, we were able to solve this successfully and had an unforgettable time.
Life in California
Californians are very friendly, open and sociable people. I was always offered help when I needed it, I was often invited, for example on Thanksgiving, to better experience and learn about Californian culture.
I met a lot of nice people with whom I will definitely stay in contact for a long time.
The only bad experience I had was at university, as I mostly met very unreliable Americans there.
Overall, the Californian way of life is very easygoing and relaxed, the Californians always have time and are rarely stressed.
I also like the country. Los Angeles, the City of Angels, lives up to its name. The city is incredibly diverse, has many different facets and even after half a year there I don’t even know 50% of this city because it’s so incredibly big and spacious.
Also San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Santa Barbara, Monterrey, Palm Springs etc. are impressive and beautiful places, it is really worth going there.
All in all, the 5 months in California were a wonderful experience that brought me a lot. I’ve met a lot of incredible people, seen new cities and experienced everyday life in America.
I would always take the opportunity again and spend my semester abroad in California.