University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business Administration, Marketing
Study type: semester abroad
A semester abroad in California. What initially seemed like an impossible dream (financially and in terms of planning) became a reality thanks to the brilliant help from the MicroEdu team. See existingcountries for University of California Davis Review.
My choice fell on CSUF – California State University Fullerton in OC – exactly the right choice, as it turned out… In addition to general information, I would like to share my top 5 tips in my report on how to get the most out of your semester abroad (at CSUF ) and comes back to Germany as a more developed person (with new goals and attitude towards life).
Why the CSUF was the right decision for my needs
Perfect Location : Close to LA and the beaches; semester and no quarter; wide range of business courses, tuition fees within the framework…. These are the hard facts. Studying there was a great experience – even if some things were solved a bit clumsily due to organizational hurdles; eg. the class crashing at the beginning. Although I ended up getting courses that I could get credit for, it was really an unpleasant effort at the beginning of the semester. Be sure to clarify enough courses with your home university so that you have a pool of options.
As a business administration student with a focus on marketing, I chose the following courses:
The International Economy with Prof. Ahmed (ECON 335): 2/5
Stupid tests, simple home work. Just had a little more fun than the economy courses in Germany. But I didn’t learn much for either.
Retail and Marketing Channel Strategies with Howard Forman (MKTGG 425): 4/5
Easygoing Professor, Easy Quizzes
MKT 405: Advertising and Promotion Strategy with Professor Lancellotti: 3/5
Very interesting lecture, awkward midterms and group projects
MKTG 463 Marketing for Entrepreneurs with Scott Sorrell: 5/5
Wow, I’ve never had such an intense, tough, educational class like this one. Mr. Sorrell is a motivational speaker and is known for coaching large corporations to charge higher prices. Every hour feels like intensive coaching from Tony Robbins or similar. I learned the most from the group work. We had a consulting project and, together with a mentor who founded a multi-million dollar marketing company, we advised a company – in all aspects. This was as time consuming as all 3 other courses combined. However, I learned more in this course than in the 3 years of my bachelor’s degree before. Online marketing, branding strategies, sales, dealing with clients, giving lectures… I feel fit in this area and as soon as I came back to Germany, (largely) thanks to these newly learned skills, received an internship offer in this field. Definitely do if you are interested in management consulting, entrepreneurship or marketing. The money from tuition fees was well spent just because of this course.
Note: Be sure to choose courses from Tuesday to Thursday, if possible! So you have a lot of long weekends.
A short comment on living
I lived at the UCA. Not the best decision for half a year. Set up everything new yourself – not even a lamp was in the rooms. Didn’t get half the commission back ($700) even though our room looked almost better than before. Gym not usable. But awesome pool area (jacuzzi…). Would recommend UH.
How to make your stay 120% better
#1 Have a (own) car
I came to the US with the goal of being free. If you don’t have your own car or share it with people who don’t have the exact same plans and vision as you, you are NOT free. That was the best invested 2500 euros of the semester. Serious. There’s no better feeling than just jumping in the car and driving to Laguna Beach before classes. Or to LA at night to meet up with your American friends, or to San Diego to visit a friend (…). And yes, I love to do things alone (sometimes) and explore new places.
I rented my car from Chicho and had it until mid-February. I had a car straight away, never had to worry about anything and Chicho helped me a lot at the end of the semester when I had to move all the furniture out of the apartment by myself, provided a pickup + workers for free. Yes, you pay more than if you would buy a car but you have no stress (registration, purchase, insurance, resale) and no risk (engine damage after purchase, what happened to a friend). I would do the same again. Thank you Chicho! His address: Standard Auto 812 Williamson Ave.
#2 Prioritize your time
Define your goals for yourself in advance and during this time again and again. I’ve met a lot of people who I think have put way too much time into college. Don’t get me wrong, yes, you should do whatever is necessary in the courses (especially the ones that advance you). But get away from the thought of chasing the “A” all the time. That’s not what a semester abroad is about, IMO. Contrary to the rumor that prevails among German would-be know-it-alls, including my bookkeeping trainer, you have to do a disproportionate amount to get an A. And even then it is not certain. Get away from the thought and don’t listen to people. Are the courses easier to pass? YES! But an A or B usually takes just as much time as in Germany. Apply the 80/20 principle when you have classes
#3 Don’t (only) hang out with Germans/ Internationals
Yes I know. It’s so easy to spend most of your time with your German roommates, or any other German/international group, and on the other hand, much more difficult to meet and connect with Americans. But you are in California. And if you’re constantly in your German clique, talking German and looking stupid when an American joins you and tries to strike up a conversation with you, then you’re investing your semester in the wrong way. Unfortunately, I have had to experience this incredibly often. I have gone so far and have stayed away from various groups as far as possible. The courses start. Germans usually sit together. In a separate row at the back. We also usually celebrate together at parties in the UV. As I said, I’m not saying that you should never do that, but you have to be careful to make the jump and not stay in this “comfort zone”. Germans/Internationals are great if you want to go on long road trips together (although many Americans also have time on vacation and are happy to come along) butbe open minded and get to know other people.
By building up a large social circle of friends from LA, OC, Las Vegas, San Diego and San Francisco, I had learned significantly more about the country, people and problems than most, and also had more after the end of the semester another great time.
As a tip: Be open and social, approach people positively (yes, everywhere!), Americans are much better at small talk and so you can connect quickly and collect contact data. Especially parties and festivals are recommended, which are best tackled with a like-minded person or alone. Apps like meetup or sporting events are also recommended (yoga courses in LA, sports courses at the university). I would advise against joining a fraternity/sisterhood. Not worth it for a year and unfortunately often has a cult character.
#4 Experience the places – right
“LA is ugly and not worth looking at anymore”, “LA is totally dangerous and you can’t go out after 10am without getting shot” “People in LA are so superficial and just looking for money” – like me these learned to love comments…. Most of the time, statements like this come from people who have been on Hollywood Blvd. for 1-2 days. have strolled.
Yes, on the surface, LA has ugly parts. And yes, you have to have a certain level of caution and common sense (like in any big city btw.). But how can you judge a city so culturally diverse, expansive and exciting by just looking at the very outer shell. You can’t.
That’s why it’s important to really experience the places, including LA. Go out and don’t go to Chipotle or In’n Out (although you have to love the burgers there), go to authentic Korean food at the BCD Tofu House in K-Town, to the Mexican Taco Stand or to The Misfit in santa monica Get to know people who live there. Check out the nightlife in WeHo and Santa Monica. See this incredible dynamic in LA when you’re there, where almost everyone has specific goals that they’re ambitious to work towards. Only then does one have a concrete picture of the city and while LA doesn’t appeal to everyone, there’s a lot more to it than the outer shell of Compton and LA-Traffic.
#5 Use the 60 Days Grace Period
With the F1 Student Visa, you can legally stay in the USA for 60 days after the end of the semester. Use this time if at all possible. Best on your own. Personally, I’ve decided to rent an AirBnb in West Hollywood for the time being to experience LA, go on trips, meet people, and work on my projects. It was a very intense experience moving to LA all by myself and living where there are so many crazy and interesting people. Make the best of it for you. Go to hostels, do road trips etc. You will get a completely different impression compared to the “cozy” environment of the university. Oh, and definitely check out Las Vegas – In the summer (pool parties).
Have a brilliant time and make the most of it.