University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
At my home university, completing a semester abroad is mandatory. But even if this weren’t the case, I would have opted for a semester abroad in California, because it’s an opportunity that in most cases you only get once in a lifetime. I decided against the universities cooperating with my university and for the California State University Fullerton, because the CSUF not only has remarkably good ratings, but also offers a highly respected business faculty and has one of the “cheapest” tuition fees. This decision was made possible by MicroEdu without their tremendous help in the application process the organizational effort can probably hardly be managed. See iamaccepted for California State University San Marcos Study Abroad.
Application process and planning
Since I knew from the beginning of my studies that I wanted to spend my semester abroad in California, I found out about it early on and then applied in May 2017. As already mentioned, this involves a relatively large organizational effort, but thanks to MicroEdu it is not really difficult to apply to the university. Only 2-3 weeks after my application, I received my acceptance and was able to start planning my semester abroad. This includes finding accommodation, applying for a visa, collecting all the necessary documents, applying for a credit card, booking the flight, etc. You should definitely plan enough time for everything and not do anything at short notice.
When looking for accommodation, I chose the University Village. There you have a private room and share the kitchen, living room and bathroom with two flatmates. There is also the possibility to have a private bathroom, but of course it costs more. The rent also includes two meals a day in the cafeteria, where there is a relatively balanced and healthy range of food. Since the places for a semester contract are limited, I applied immediately after I was accepted to the university. Otherwise there are also annual contracts, but then you have to look for a new tenant who will take over your rental contract after the semester. I booked the option with the “smallest” room, which still offers enough space (rent around $1000 per month). It was furnished with a desk, wardrobe, bed and bedside table. The rest of the apartment was already furnished, since my two American roommates have been living there for two years. This had the advantage that I didn’t have to buy any crockery or anything like that. Unfortunately, one of my roommates had to move out immediately because she broke her foot. The other roommate was very untidy, but that’s to be expected, since tidiness has a slightly different value for Americans. She also had a small dog, which I didn’t know about either, but I had no problem with that. since neatness has a slightly different value for Americans. She also had a small dog, which I didn’t know about either, but I had no problem with that. since neatness has a slightly different value for Americans. She also had a small dog, which I didn’t know about either, but I had no problem with that.
In my opinion, University Village overpaid for the rent I paid as it is very dated. At the moment it is being renovated and is supposed to be more modern, but the rent will also be increased. If you have no problem cooking for yourself, I would recommend University House. There you have your own room with a bathroom and relatively modern apartments that you share with three other flatmates. It’s also right on the campus side with the business building, so it’s a five-minute walk. The University Village is exactly on the other side of the campus, so it takes about 15-20 minutes to walk to the business building.
University and campus
CSUF ‘s campus is huge. There are a total of four Starbucks stores on campus, I think that says it all about the size. After 2-3 weeks you can still find your way around the campus very well. There are many places where you can retreat to study and in general the campus is very well maintained and beautifully designed. There is also a great diversity of different cultures, which all treat each other very respectfully.
In the week before the semester starts, you have an orientation day with the other international students, where you get all the necessary information and can make initial contacts. If you have any further questions or need help, you can always contact the International Office of the university, whose staff are all very friendly.
In addition to ample dining options, there is also the option to enroll in the Recreation Center, which includes a gym and pool, which is ideal for relaxing after your lectures. You can also participate in numerous clubs, which also help you to make contacts. There are also events from time to time where there is almost always free food (tip: if you are there in the spring semester, go to the Spring Concert, there you can pet puppies, put snakes around your neck, ride the carousel and if you are lucky saw a popular music act perform).
Of course, the sports teams are also an important part of the university. You should definitely go to one of the basketball games, where there is always something for free (t-shirts, drinking cups, food…) and to a baseball game, just to experience the spirit that prevails at such events.
Before the semester begins, you will be asked to choose courses, but there is no guarantee that you will get them. When choosing a course I used the course descriptions on the one hand, but also the ratemyprofessor page, where you can read reviews of the individual professors. In the end I got three of the courses I wanted, but not all at the times I wanted. So I opted out of one course and received two others in so-called class crashing. It sounds a lot worse in advance than it is. You simply go to the class you would like to take and ask the professor after the lecture if you can still join the class. If the course still has free places, you will get a signature immediately and the course is 99% safe. It all went very smoothly for me, so don’t stress. I had four courses, two in the field of marketing, one in theBusiness administration area and one in the economy area.
ECON 335 – International Economy (Professor Nasser)
This course was not very exciting as most of the time it was all about trading theory. Professor Nasser is a bit older and makes the lectures pretty boring. We had to do homework for the course online every week, but the professor didn’t care if it was right or wrong. As long as you’ve done them, you’ve got full points for them. I also had to write a term paper and two exams. Multiple choice always sounds easy, but the exams were quite demanding for the level that usually prevails there. Accordingly, one had to study a relatively large amount for these two exams. If you are more interested in hands-on courses, I would advise against it.
BUAD 300 – Professional and Career Development (Professor Cavazo)
This course was one of my favorite courses, not because of the content but because of the professor. If you have the chance to take a course with Professor Cavazo, do it. He is incredibly personable, helpful and takes a great interest in each of his students. I felt very comfortable in his course. The course itself is not really demanding, you talk about career-related topics, learn how to write an application and get career tips. I had to write a weekly diary entry, do an assignment every week (write a resume, create a LinkedIn profile, etc.) and write a midterm and final paper. All very doable and therefore an easily earned grade.
MKTG 401 – Professional Selling (Professor Dorsey)
I would choose this course again and again. Professor Dorsey is an inspirational personality who cares about his students. There are various exercises done in front of the class that often throw you in the deep end, but it’s an incredible personal development and you get more confident with each exercise. This course probably influenced me the most during my semester abroad and I was more than proud that I mastered all the exercises so well. In addition, many guest speakers come from well-known American companies and give lectures. Professor Dorsey grades fairly demandingly, but when he sees someone trying, he gives grades very kindly.
MKTG 450 – Global Marketing (Professor DiFranco)
The course content itself is interesting, although I had learned much of it at my home school, but definitely avoid this professor. She has very bad ratings on ratemyprofessor for a good reason, in my opinion she is incompetent. She doesn’t know the content of the course, only reads from the slides that she didn’t create herself, so she can’t answer any questions about it. Despite everything, her two exams were fair, but she takes an incredibly long time to get grades. Much more could have been gotten out of the course content, so I would recommend the course itself but choose another professor. A side note that I noticed in this course: Americans know shockingly little about Europe.
Life and leisure
Life in California is very relaxed. If you plan your courses cleverly, you have Thursdays to Sundays off and can go on weekend trips. Sun, palm trees, beaches and nature in general do a lot to ensure that you are always in a good mood. But the people are all very nice and positive. Of course it’s partly fake friendliness, but you rarely meet a grim face, as is often the case in Germany.
The cost of living in California is very high. In addition to groceries, cosmetics in particular are quite expensive. You also have to get used to the fact that many things are only available in large sizes or in the so-called family size. For a bit of a sense of home, there is also Aldi on site, where you can get branded duplicates of groceries relatively cheaply, as is the case in Germany.
In your free time, you’re in a bit of a fix without a car, but I’ll get to that later. In general, of course, there is a lot to do and discover. Fullerton has the perfect location as a base for touring. The closest is LA, which I don’t think is as stunning as it’s made out to be. During spring break I took a road trip with my boyfriend across California (Santa Barbara, Route 1, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon). Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the national parks, but I will definitely come back to catch up.
Don’t just try to do something with Germans in your free time, it’s tempting and there are a lot of Germans there, but you’re there to get to know other cultures. One of my German friends had three American roommates, two of whom were also Americans Had girlfriends who were always there and hanging out with them was always fun. I also met a very nice Mexican who hopefully will be able to visit me in Germany at some point.
On the subject of parties, I have to say that if you are under 21, you have a small disadvantage because the clubs and bars are very strict. But there are also house parties and private events that under 21s can enjoy.
As mentioned above, you won’t get far without a car. Public transportation isn’t really well developed in California. While there are buses to get you to most places in Fullerton, they are fairly unreliable. The solution: Uber- I used Uber very intensively because it is cheaper than a taxi and you can have an Uber in front of you in 10 minutes at most. However, to make longer trips you need a car, so either make friends with people who have a car, buy your own car or rent one temporarily (note: the car rental companies always want to talk you into expensive insurance that you don’t need at all ).
The time in California was wonderful and I would hardly do anything differently. I’ve met great people, seen breathtaking views, made unforgettable memories and developed personally. Use the time as intensively as possible, move out of your comfort zone and be open to new things. Yes, it’s very expensive and requires a lot of organization, but it’s so worth it. I would choose CSUF again and again, it was one of the most exciting times of my life and it will probably shape me for the rest of my life. Thank you California, thank you CSUF, thank you MicroEdu.