University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: industrial engineering
Study type: semester abroad
A semester abroad in the USA requires some preparation that needs to be made, so you should start taking care of it as early as possible. See existingcountries for Griffith College Dublin Review.
- Application to the CSUF:
I started applying to the university 8 months before the start of my studies, because the step to a semester abroad was clear to me early on. In doing so, I took advantage of the free MicroEdu placement service. Through this agency, I quickly received my application documents and all support with open questions and ambiguities. When I sent in the complete application, including the DAAD language test, which my English professor gave me, I got the confirmation I was looking for after about 2 months. So the first step towards the adventure of a semester abroad was taken.
- Visa for the USA
When I received the confirmation, I received all the information and the I-20 form to apply for a visa. You should start with this as early as possible, because the process until you have the visa in your passport takes a long time.
First you need a specially created passport photo, then you have to apply for your visa via the website of the American consulate. You have to answer a lot of questions, fill out forms and pay fees (processing fee, SEVIS fee for the Department of
Homeland Security, appointment fee). Then you have to make an appointment at the selected consulate (for Germany: Frankfurt, Berlin or Munich), where you have to appear in person for a short interview and long waiting times. After a successful visit to the consulate, you will hold your German passport with a visa and I-20 form in your hands after about a week.
When I arrived at LAX Airport in Los Angeles in the evening after my flight with AirBerlin, I stayed my first night with a fellow student in a hostel for $25. The next day we drove together with the super shuttle service from the airport to our accommodation, the University Village (UV) in Fullerton.
I booked this accommodation in advance, shortly after receiving my confirmation, with the help of MicroEdu. This was my home for the next few months.
This accommodation was really close to the university. But the best thing was the food included, ie two meals a day were included from Monday to Friday. The food was actually quite good, very varied and you could have as many seconds as you wanted.
Furthermore, you could get to know a lot of people here, as there were also a lot of international students with the same interests living here. But contact with American students was not a problem either. Most apartments are divided into 3-person flat shares, where you share the bathroom, kitchen and living room with others. However, the rooms are quite sparsely furnished, a mini bed, small desk and closet, that’s about it. All in all, the UV is a great place to meet new people, make friends and party, but the rent for this condominium complex is relatively expensive.
With its wide range of courses, excellently equipped buildings and very good reputation, Californian State University is a recommendable university. The business area in particular is well represented here and thus offers many different courses and up-to-date teaching content. Sports enthusiasts can use the associated gym with pool and tennis courts for a small fee.
Getting credit for courses takes a lot more effort than you might think. First you have to use the online catalog of the university to find suitable courses for the creditable module descriptions in Germany. This was often more difficult than expected due to some English technical terms. If you have found suitable courses and agreed with the German professor, you have to register for them using a form. After that, the receipt of the courses is not guaranteed.
Within the first week, in which you then receive the guaranteed courses from the foreign office, the so-called crash begins. Since you usually don’t get all the courses you want, you have to go to the professors personally on the various lecture dates and beg them to be included in your course. After successfully begging, I received my desired courses “Business and it’s legal environment”, “International Economy”, “Financial Management 1” and “Principles of Management and Operations”.
After all courses have been safely received, the semester really only begins in the second week, when the professors quickly set a strong pace. In the beginning it was particularly difficult for me to follow the content, as unfortunately I didn’t get a lot of things bogged down due to my limited language skills. Nevertheless, learning after tedious vocabulary and the first four weeks that was no longer a problem.
In the school system at this university, you had to take two intermediate exams and one final exam, the so-called midterms and finals, per course. These were always filed using multiple choice. In the International Economy course, I also had to do an assignment, i.e. a written elaboration on a given topic. In addition, there are 1-2 online homework assignments per week in most subjects, which are also included in the final grade. These can get pretty nasty over time, so we’ve always met in groups to get them done quickly and with excellence.
- Outside of your studies:
Despite the university, life during this semester was one big vacation and adventure. Because of the University Village, I always had a lot of different people around me with whom I was always doing something, doing sports, relaxing or partying. Here in California everything is a bit more relaxed than in Germany and people are definitely more open to new people or strangers. If you are looking for new friends or need help with something, you will quickly find what you are looking for here. However, the cost of living is not what you are used to at home. When shopping, you quickly get the shock that the prices are usually significantly higher than in Germany. Furthermore, fortunately, as you would imagine, there is a fast food chain on every street corner, However, it cannot be compared here with the German Burger King or Mc Donalds. The selection, variety and quality is far higher than in Germany.
Since we didn’t have university on Fridays, the weekend naturally started on Thursday afternoon. Then there was always a party, chilling out or excursions. Mostly it was downtown Fullerton, Los Angeles, student parties at UV, Brea Mall or one of the wonderful beaches.
On our numerous excursions we went to Los Angeles, Hollywood, San Diego, San Francisco, Angels National Forest, Joshua Tree National Park, Las Vegas, Disneyland or to one of the numerous beaches such as B. Santa Monica Beach, Huntington Beach, Venice Beach, Malibu Beach or New Port Beach.
In general, it was probably the best time in my life, I met so many interesting people, made new friends and above all improved my English. In addition, I have seen a lot of this varied and very diverse country throughout my journey.
However, the costs for such an adventure are enormous, so I was very pleased about the small financial support from the Philipp Matthäus Hahn Foundation. In this sense, I would also like to say thank you for this support.
I can only recommend everyone, if you have the opportunity, gather your courage and do a semester abroad, whether in the USA or in one of the many other countries. The semester abroad is definitely worth an experience.