University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: computer science
Study type: semester abroad
I decided at short notice to complete my fifth (instead of sixth) semester abroad. My conclusion was that you can get the necessary documents together really quickly and thanks to MicroEdu the whole thing was stress-free. The only thing that might take more time when applying is the language certificate, but I already had that. The choice of university was already very limited for me due to the tuition fees in America and in the end it was CalState Fullerton. See iamaccepted for California State University Monterey Bay Study Abroad.
My accommodation was the Oxford North (formerly called University Village ). The non-renovated apartments weren’t really nice, but the renovated ones were quite nice. Overall I found the Oxford North to be overpriced. University House(another student residence) was much nicer. In the office, the administration, there are often really nice students who also live there – but they couldn’t make any decisions and only passed everything on to the real management. These people just made life unnecessarily difficult for us there with our rental cars and were generallyNot helpful at all, actually quite the opposite.
However, I have to admit that the people there were cool, that I do n’t regret moving there for a moment. I was lucky enough to have an unforgettable experience with an American, a Taiwanese and another German – many other exchange students also lived there (but the same applies to the University House). As far as availability is concerned: Of course you should register as early as possibletake care of it, but even when I arrived and moved into my reserved flat there were still vacancies in both University House and Oxford North. (I don’t know how representative that is, though.)
Overall, I had the impression that there were very few exchange students in the CPSC subjects ( computer science ) and that I only had contact with Americans in these subjects, while in the business administration subjects one could very likely meet other (German) students. The Computer Science Department was also quite overcrowded, which meant that as an international you were only informed on the last day of the class crashing whether you could take your desired courses received – in the other subjects I had already arranged that in the first week of the two-week clash crashing. This procedure only applied to the CPSC subjects and I thought it was rude to make it so unfriendly to exchange students.
ISDS 409 – Introduction to Business Telecommunication
Although ISDS is probably most comparable to business informatics, this subject is actually only computer science and I was able to get credit for it accordingly. I already had background knowledge from my studies, so the subject was rather easy for me. The lectures themselves are boring. The professor has some experience in the field (including working at Verizon ) but didn’t really pique my interest – and from what I could see in the classroom, I wasn’t the only one. The exams are multiple choice directly from the book/lecture slides, simple homework and an individual project.
CPSC 375 – Introduction to Data Science and Big Data Analytics
This subject was the most interesting. The lecturer is super helpful and accommodating and gives exciting lectures. If you already have experience in the field, you can also choose an advanced course. The professor has also invited to events a few times to make contact with companies and a former student has given a little insight into his work at Canon. I think it’s worth mentioning that everything except the exam was worked on in groups – that means you shouldn’t miss the first lesson, even if you don’t know if you’ll get the subject.
CPSC 275—System Development with Open Source Systems
This subject did not meet my expectations. The lecturer was new and seemed a bit overwhelmed, which also made the exams quite difficult. There was a project for which a few lessons were scheduled. Depending on your motivation, this can be quite exciting. We could choose to develop a game, a utility or a website. We only had a few specifications, but our lecturer had to agree to them. In the end we recreated the crazy maze game.
FIN 342 – Capital and Money Markets
This subject was also very appealing. Although it is very difficult and can also be very work-intensive, you also learn a great deal. I really liked the lecturer himself. There are no projects in the course, just very simple online homework. The points for this are free, but you need them for the overall grade and you can only hand them in if you buy/rent the eBook. But he showed me with his exams that you can also set really difficult exams with multiple choice alone.
Leisure and excursions
Fullerton is perfectly located for exploring the west coast. It’s easy to get to San Diego and just as easily to Mexico to celebrate Spring Break. I particularly remember a road trip through Lake Tahoe, where we started in the morning at a pleasant 20 degrees and noticed during the night drive that we were suddenly in a snowstorm! There are also many other interesting destinations in the vicinity. Once you get used to American distances, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, and Phoenix are all within easy reach(where surprisingly there was a yawning emptiness).
Los Angeles itself, despite being so close to Fullerton, was really difficult to get to. Unless you’re driving at night, when you can get across Los Angeles in half an hour, the drive time can quickly approach two hours due to traffic, which was just annoying. With a little perseverance you can also visit Colorado Springs, Denver or the Yellowstone National Park. Driving in California is always an experience because of the landscape itself and the national parks are simply fantastic! In addition to the “typical” national parks nearby (e.g. Yosemite,Joshua Three, Death Valley ), which you should definitely visit, I have no regrets about the 15-hour trip to Yellowstone ! The climatic conditions here were completely different. I was able to get within a few meters of a black bear for the first time! The natural spectacles here are also particularly fascinating – in addition to fountains, there are plays of colors that I would never have expected in nature! It was also something special for me to visit places that were not primarily tourist magnets. Cities like Salt Lake City had a completely different impression on me than San Francisco or New York.
All in all, I can say that the semester abroad was one of the best times of my life and I do n’t regret it for a moment!
I have also met a wide variety of people. The friendships I made there, the numerous road trips with the most diverse experiences and the attitude towards life itself were unforgettable. During the preparations, I was surprised to read only positive reviews – now I can understand why !