University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
My dream has always been to study in the USA. See iamaccepted for California State University Fullerton Study Abroad. In the 2011/2012 winter semester, the time had finally come and I was allowed to fly to California to study for a semester at California State University Fullerton.
Of course, the preparations for studying in the USA are a bit more extensive than just registering online.
Since everything never goes according to plan for me (that seems to be a rule), after I sent my detailed application to MicroEdu, I first had to wait several weeks for a response from the CSUF, because they were dealing with a mountain American applications were busy. I was kept in suspense until about 2 weeks before departure, until I finally had the confirmation in hand and was able to take care of all the formalities. (By the way, very nicely explained here on the site!)
To get the visa and the I20 you have to go to an American embassy. Luckily there was an appointment 1.5 weeks before my departure.
(By the way, it’s not good news – in Frankfurt I had to wait about 3 hours before it was my turn. According to other students, however, there seem to be much more pleasant waiting times in Munich.)
The visa then took another week to arrive in the mail – 2 days before my departure. PUHH!
Everything went well again.
Arriving in California, it wasn’t the beach and outlet shopping that was the order of the day, as I had dreamed of, but we first paid a visit to the International Office and registered.
The whole thing went very smoothly – but not the payment. Despite a covered account, my bank was not willing to have the tuition fees debited all at once. Fortunately, the staff at the International Office were very friendly and then let me pay in installments.
Since the whole thing didn’t go very quickly, we promptly got a ticket because we were standing in a heavily guarded 30-minute parking lot. Hooray – $60 – be warned!
We (I did the semester abroad together with 2 friends) decided to do Couchsurfing (www.couchsurfing.org) at the beginning, because I’ve had great experiences with it in many countries.
So we stayed the first few nights with a couple of nice Americans (for free!), with whom we often did something afterwards.
In that time we were able to look for cars (I think Fullerton is a ABSOLUTE car rental to see the beaches and it’s also a lot more convenient for grocery shopping!) Friends of ours get cars every few weeks rented and that would have been too annoying.
But buying a car was also relatively stressful – first finding the right one, then registering it with the DMV, taking out insurance and then getting an American driver’s license, the success of which depends heavily on the examiner’s mood. It only costs $30 but a lot of nerves because of the endless waiting times!
We paid $3200 for the car and in the end (somebody hit us and we were totaled) we got $4600 from the insurance company – so we got a good deal. :
The search for an apartment was then relatively easy: In the International Office they gave us a list of possible apartment communities and we then looked at the few that had also rented for 5 months.
All in all we were satisfied with “the Homestead”. Sometimes very unfriendly management but 4 pools and whirlpools spread over the area and very close to the university.
The whole thing cost $1500 a month for a 2-bedroom apartment (plus living room). We shared that with 3 of us and each slept a third of the time in a single room and 2 thirds in a double room.
That worked out well – but personally I wouldn’t want to share a room in a shared flat forever. : )
(Our friends shared the same apartment with 5 people – so it’s even closer and therefore cheaper..)
For all the electricity, water, insurance, renting a fridge, car insurance and Wifi are the same again a month Added $200.
I found “living” – i.e. buying and going out to eat – to be more expensive. That’s easily an additional $400 per person per month.
And then you haven’t traveled around yet.
In the beginning, of course, something went wrong for me: Everyone was enrolled in some course that they had chosen in advance – I wasn’t in a single one. So I had to run after the professors and beg them to take me in. Normally you only have to do this when changing course. But I was lucky and got into all the courses.
I took 5 subjects. Normal is 4 and I was warned when I signed up that it would be far too much for me. But this was not so. For someone who is used to studying in Germany, 5 subjects are definitely feasible. I would say from 7 it becomes critical.;)
I have documented:
- ACCT 201B—Managerial Accounting
- ISDS 402 – Database Management
- ISDS 420 – Operations Research
- MGMT 365 – Entertainment Business
- MKTG 465 – Managing Services Marketing
It was good that I could schedule all my lectures on Tuesdays and Thursdays and therefore only had to go to the university twice a week.
Studying in the USA was very different from what I had imagined. I thought I would lie on the beach every other day – that was NOT the case.
The subjects that I took (I’m studying International Business) were much easier than in Germany (this is also reflected in the final grades!! Keyword buy good grades. : P), but it was a LOT of effort. In my opinion, it’s useless effort if I have to repeat a task that I had already understood in the lecture because it’s so easy, 10 times with reversed numbers as homework and otherwise get a worse final grade…
During the semester you write 1-4 midterms per subject – these are exams on the material you have learned so far. I thought that was very good – it stays in your head that way. In some subjects, even the last exam – the final – wasn’t all-encompassing, but only about the last part.
If you were to combine this system with the many homework, additional credits and midterms at a reasonable level, I would think the way of studying was brilliant – it seemed a bit ridiculous at times.
The levels (200, 300, 400 level) are said to be the same as the difficulty. For 200 that’s definitely true – that’s something high school level. You can’t say the same for 300 and 400 levels.
I recommend checking out the professors and courses at http: //www.ratemyprofessors.com/ in advance and seeing which ones might be interesting and of the right level.
I consistently found my professors to be significantly worse than what I had previously experienced in Germany. That was a shame – I definitely expected it to be different. But friends of mine have had other experiences as well.
All in all, I really enjoyed my semester abroad.
Above all, the weather in California is amazing!
The university is very nice, has a good gym and a wide range of courses.
If I were to go again, I would do more research beforehand about the courses available.
It’s easier to get good grades than in Germany, but the workload during the semester is significantly greater.
In my opinion, buying a car and looking for an apartment is much less complicated than in Germany.
The beaches near Fullerton are beautiful-beautiful.
If you decide to study in Fullerton, I would definitely recommend going to San Francisco and San Diego – if I had to decide again, I would rather study in one of the 2 cities, as they simply have a lot more flair – even if there are also many beautiful spots around Fullerton – above all Venice Beach – recently one of my favorite places on earth. : )