University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I was at California State University Fullerton from August to December for the Fall Semester 2014 and completed the fourth semester of my Business Administration degree there as part of a semester abroad. See jibin123 for Semester Abroad In California State University Fullerton.
Fullerton is about 30-60 minutes from Los Angeles, depending on traffic, and the closest beaches (Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Huntington Beach) are each only about 30 minutes’ drive. The situation in Southern California and the consistently almost 30 degrees turned my winter semester into a wonderful summer semester.
After I got accepted from CSUF, I started researching housing options. Coincidentally, in one of the CSUF facebook groups, I came across students who were still looking for roommates in a privately rented apartment. A short time later I was part of this flat share, which was only a 20-minute walk from the university. Overall, our apartment was much cheaper than the University Village, University House and Homestead Apartments rented by the university, where many other students I met stayed. Another way to find accommodation is via the website www.craiglist.org.
My roommates were all German, which of course didn’t help us in terms of language, but we were able to do a lot and travel together. In addition, it was easier to find accommodation from home before the start of the trip than many others who had to search for a roof over their heads for days on site. In addition, you get to know many people from other nations in the individual courses and in your free time, which means that you can actually speak the language. Highly recommended are the bars Royals and Brians, where many students meet for a beer or two on Wednesdays. However, in the USA you are only allowed to party until 2 a.m. in clubs or bars, which means that you always have to leave quite early.
To get anywhere in the US you need a car. Nothing works without it. We rented ours through Chico for the entire semester. He is Mexican and lends his cars to foreign students every semester. He makes very fair prices and even when we needed a repair it was free.
Furthermore, you certainly need a mobile phone contract these days. In the USA, all of this is done using a prepaid card that you have to top up every month. I had a Walmart special from T-Mobile. For $30 a month you get unlimited internet and 100 free minutes. For me, that was completely sufficient and I actually had reception anytime and anywhere.
Groceries are more expensive compared to Germany, especially healthy things like fruit and vegetables, but also dairy products. Meat is actually very expensive and it is generally cheaper to eat out than to cook it yourself.
After the Orientation Day, where the CSUF is presented to all foreign students, everyday university life begins. As an exchange student, you have to submit a choice of subjects in advance, of which at best you will be assigned four. However, this is not the case with almost all of them, which means that you have to ask the respective professor whether you can still be admitted to the course. This can be very time-consuming and nerve-wracking, but in the end you always get all the courses you want. The organization of the university in the USA is comparable to the schools here in Germany. You have to do homework all the time or have to submit project work. In addition, you don’t just write an exam like we do at the universities or technical colleges, but so-called mid-terms and at the end of the semester a final exam. These grades then add up to the overall grade. Overall, a lot of effort during the semester but easily feasible in terms of level. You don’t have to worry about the language either.
In addition to the university stress, California in particular offers excellent excursion destinations. In addition to all the beaches, especially city trips to Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco. In addition to the cities, there is also a lot of beautiful nature to be admired and experienced. Explore Yosemite National Park or the coast along Highway 1 from LA to San Francisco. In addition, Nevada and thus Las Vegas is only a four-hour drive away and should be experienced by every student. I was also in Arizona at the Grand Canyon, which is a nine-hour drive away, but it’s worth every minute of driving there for this view.