University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
When making my choice, I relied more on reviews from others and my gut feeling than comparing different universities for hours. See existingcountries for University of California San Diego Review.
So it happened that the instructions for applying to MicroEdu were soon on my desk. The entire application process takes some time, but MicroEdu has always answered questions quickly. The application for the visa in particular got on my nerves, because the website of the American embassy is very slow and tends to forget to save data. In addition, there is the appointment at the consulate during the week, where more or less only documents have to be handed in and fingerprints are taken. The visa and the appointment alone cost over 300€. You will receive the visa with your passport in the post about a week later.
The MicroEdu guide and organization is very well laid out overall. As a tip, I would advise you to create a folder, because you will collect some paper during your preparation.
Most students stay in University House or in the Homestead Apartments during their semester abroad.
I lived with a host family for 4 ½ months. In terms of cost, homestay is one of the “cheaper” options. The CSUF International Office will put you in touch with a family after you have to answer a few questions (smokers, pets desired, distance to campus). The same first form has been or will be filled out by the host family, so this is the basis for the allocation. Many host families accept several students (2-3) at the same time. It is possible to change the host family at any time.
I chose to stay with a host family because it gave me a better chance to get to know American culture and the local area. The time with the family was fantastic, we had a lot of fun together and my Arabic roommate and I were shown a lot and we did a lot together. I can only recommend everyone to live with a host family, because other students were more than satisfied with their host families.
The university is huge, so the campus looks like a small village. There are several parking garages and a lot of parking spaces, but you need a semester pass for them, which costs $300. Furthermore, the university has its own small football stadium, where you can watch the games of the men’s and women’s teams for free. There are several tennis courts and the recreation center. In this building you can practice all kinds of sports: There is a fitness area, a cardio studio, a small outdoor swimming pool, several basketball/badminton and volleyball courts, a dance studio, a martial arts studio, a climbing wall and a spinning studio. Various dance and martial arts courses are offered throughout the semester for a fee. Unfortunately, the Recreation Center costs $120 per semester for foreign students.
In addition, the university has a large library, which is ideal for group meetings and homework. Every subject on the university campus is sorted according to buildings. So you probably don’t have to walk halfway across campus to your next course, you just have to change rooms.
Course selection and courses
You can specify course requests before the semester abroad and prioritize them. MicroEdu will send you a link and everything important will be explained in the e-mail. The university staff are already trying to enroll you in courses, which sometimes works very well and sometimes not so well, so that you have to/can still add/deselect courses depending on the situation. You have the first two weeks of the semester to do this (class crashing). To do this, simply go to the course you want and ask the professor after the lesson if you can still enroll. A disadvantage is that American students (logically) are given preferential treatment when there are only a few places left on the course.
The courses are very dependent on the lecturers, because they have a lot of leeway in the course design. That’s why it also varies how many exams you write and whether homework has to be handed in. So don’t let my reviews influence you too much. Regular participation in the courses is required and contributes to your grade. I had imagined the level of the courses to be easier overall, although it has to be said that it’s easier to get good grades than in Germany. In comparison, however, the effort was twice as much, because short presentations had to be given or essays had to be submitted almost every week.
I was surprised by the very high book prices. Books are compulsory material for lessons and exams. The best thing to do is create an account with Amazon and borrow the books there for a semester. New books cost over $100 on average.
MGMT 350 International Business Management (Prof. Tomkoria): This course covered topics such as market entry strategies, recruiting, key cultural differences and political influences in business. In other words, everything you need to operate internationally. This course is a 300 course and the level of difficulty was also the easiest compared to the other courses. The professor was entertaining and had a lot of practical experience, which he incorporated. But sometimes it was a bit tough, because the professor lapsed into a 1-hour presentation mode and, among other things, I already knew 50% of the content from my German studies. The course is very popular with German students.
MKTG 445 Global Marketing (Prof. Di Franco): This course was my favorite. Some content overlaps with MGMT 350. The professor involved the students 100% in the lectures, so it never got boring. In my opinion, your exams were very demanding. Different ways of marketing were taught and ended with a group presentation in which one should launch a product in a new market. The learning factor was very high.
MGMT 443 Team Leadership Skills (Prof. Sadri): This course was about topics related to teams. The course was often more of a discussion than a lecture. Everyone was able to bring personal examples and there were some practical exercises. The professor was always in a good mood and there was a lot of laughter. Some of the topics and theories were a bit dry. Topics such as developing self-confidence, managing stress, motivating team members and increasing personal influence were taught.
MGMT 423 Purchasing and Supply Management (Prof. Kleindienst): I would not choose this course again, which is largely due to the professor. From the grading everything was fair, but it was partly to fall asleep. No question, the professor had incredible knowledge and over 40 years of professional experience. However, he sometimes delved into his examples and at some point you just couldn’t follow him anymore. In addition, I found the language of the course quite demanding, because many technical terms characterized the lecture of this course. Only the book was necessary for the exams; Without an attendance list, nobody would probably have gone to the lecture. This course is an option for both business administration students and logisticians.
Even if the effort at the university may be a little higher, you will also have enough free time.
My highlight was definitely the weekend trip to San Francisco. You will need about 6-7 hours to get there by car. It is recommended if you drive along the coast road on a stretch (preferably during the day). There you have a wonderful view of the Pacific. Other popular destinations include the numerous national parks, the Grand Canyon (7-8 hours drive), Las Vegas (about 4 hours drive) and San Diego (1 ½ hour drive). In addition, famous beaches such as Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach or Newport Beach can be reached in less than an hour. An unknown variable in the USA and especially in California is the traffic, so that you sometimes need 8 instead of 4 hours back from Las Vegas if there is a traffic jam.
Depending on the time, it is also possible to attend a baseball (Dodgers or Angels), basketball (Lakers or Clippers), ice hockey (Ducks or Kings) or football (Rams) game. Anaheim Angels Stadium is less than 15 minutes from Fullerton in normal traffic.
The only thing that disappointed me was the city of Los Angeles. Barring Hollywood and the Santa Monica Pier, “downtown” isn’t worth visiting, empty of shops and pretty ugly. There are many homeless people, some of whom we have seen quite aggressively. The only positive thing was that we were invited by a city councilor to a free tour of the city hall.