University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business
Study type: semester abroad
I knew from the beginning of my studies that I would do a semester abroad. I started my planning in August 2015. My cousin, who was at California State University in Long Beach herself, had strongly recommended Orange County to me as an area. Nevertheless, I debated for a long time whether I should go to CSUF or SDSU in San Diego. Thanks to the encouragement of Anja, who generally gave me an unbelievable amount of support, I ultimately decided on the CSUF and didn’t regret it : D
Then in February I signed up for the Facebook group to make acquaintances and generally be up 2 date. In fact, this was the best move I could have made since I met my future roommates through Facebook. See ehuacom for UC Study Abroad.
We started looking for an apartment together relatively early, about 4 months before the start of the semester. In the end, we decided on the UCE. It is a 3 minute walk from the university and there is free parking. Parking is relatively expensive on site so this was a big plus. All in all I would recommend the UCE again, even if it was quite noisy at times at night. In general, however, be prepared for the fact that the rental prices are much higher than in Germany. We paid around $500 per person for a two-room apartment including utilities.
We arrived in America a week before school started, which I would advise everyone to do, as it takes time to get organized first. We decided to create an American account with Wells Fargo, which I would also recommend, because you don’t get charged a fee when paying the monthly rent.
Because our apartment was unfurnished, we first had to buy furniture from IKEA. However, we were very fortunate in that regard, as we found out at the CSUF introductory session that a church donates furniture to international students, so we received sofas/dressers/lamps from them and didn’t have to buy them again.
Orange County is just the perfect location if you want to travel. Major California metropolises and breathtaking beaches were relatively close. We usually handled it by staying in our area during the week, having the usual everyday university lifeand then traveling to other cities at the weekend.
Another good thing about Orange County is that you can drive almost anywhere. For this reason, it also paid off that we rented a car from Chicho on the second day. We paid €800 per month for this, which we were able to split between 3 people. In general, you should keep in mind that you really need a car because, as everyone knows, public transport is really bad and you don’t get a bus ticket or anything like that with the tuition fees.
Must-sees are definitely: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Francisco and San Diego, which was one of my favorite cities, among other things. Also, I was in Mexico for the Thanksgiving holiday, which was amazing. The Cancun area has a lot to offer with its numerous sights, islands and paradise-like beaches. I would advise everyone not to get a fixed hotel in one place, but to make a round trip.
First of all, it must be said that the American way of teaching at a university is very schooled. The classes are smaller, the contact with the professors is more personal, but at the same time it is more time-consuming because you have to do your homework and write assignments every week.
I chose the following courses :
- International Business & Management (P. Tomkoria): This course was basically very interesting, although it was actually just a repetition of what I had learned in Germany. P. Tomkoria has a very nice personality, but is relatively strict in judging.
- Global Risk Management & International Finance (J. Greco): This course was offered for the first time this semester and you learn a lot about the practical implementation of finance. You are also challenged personally, as you do a lot of group work.
- Strategic Internet Marketing (S. Atkins): While this course is interesting in terms of current online marketing practices, it also requires a lot of side research alongside the lectures to get a good grade at the end of the semester.
- Marketing for Entrepreneurs (S. Sorrell): This course was the hardest! It’s actually where I learned the most, as you’re advising a real company on marketing. Nevertheless, this means that you have to write a very detailed report during the semester, which was very time-consuming and nerve-wracking.
All in all, I would heartily recommend the CSUF to everyone. I have had great experiences, enjoyed 5 months of pure sun and made many new acquaintances and friends!