University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Economics, education and teaching, English/American studies
Study type: semester abroad
The organization really isn’t rocket science. You should just deal with it early enough (Christmas/New Year), then everything should work out. I didn’t shy away from calling Anja with every little question. She was always so nice and went through everything with me down to the smallest detail. In general, Anja and the rest of the MicroEdu team have been a great help to me. See ehuacom for MU Study Abroad.
After I finally decided on a university, I took care of my flight. I booked this at relatively short notice (July) and accordingly paid a little more. You should of course keep in mind that August is the main travel period and is generally more expensive than other months. Arrived at the airport I could hardly believe my luck. We were told in advance that there were enough shuttles that could easily be booked on site. For $40-50 you can get to the desired address.
I had taken care of a host family in advance. You had to apply for it through the university, which didn’t involve a lot of effort. After I had decided on a family, I contacted the family by email and clarified a few things in advance. My host family was incredibly friendly and helpful. My host mother drove me to the nearest supermarket the next day to get me a cell phone card. They have helped me with so many things for which I am very grateful.
I had my own room and bathroom, which is unusual by American standards. However, I have to admit that staying with a host family is not the cheapest way to live in the US ($800 a month). I still think it was more than worth it. Even though I didn’t live directly on campus, I was able to walk or bike to most places.
The campus was really great. Even if you think at first that you would constantly get lost, you will find your way around relatively quickly. There are countless places to eat and stay, very different from Germany. Among other things, there is a bowling alley as well as pool tables, televisions and much more. So it is very easy to stay on campus. What was very extraordinary was that you could see students sleeping no matter where and no matter when. During the exam phase there were some students who walked around in the bib in pajamas and slippers.
Course selection is a bit different than at German universities. It can happen or is even very likely that you won’t get the courses you want. That means courses crash. I was lucky and got 3 out of 4 of the courses I wanted. So I only had to take care of a new course, which wasn’t dramatic. I would generally recommend you not to choose the standard courses. The business lectures in particular are very popular and therefore difficult to obtain. In addition, they are full of German students. I was always the only German in my courses, which I think was really great. In this way you get to know a lot more Americans and are not constantly tempted to speak German.
The effort was significantly higher than at home. Homework, presentations, essays and midterms are the order of the day. Sure, there were moments when I wanted to drop everything, but in the end I was glad that the final grade consisted of more than one factor. The hard work has definitely paid off (in my case).
- ECON 201 – Microeconomics
- AFAM 357 – Blacks in Performing Arts
- EDSC 410 – Teaching English Learners
- LING 406 – Descriptive Linguistics
I had uni from Monday to Thursday, so I always had a long weekend. Most of the time you rented a car with friends and made trips to the next larger cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco and much more. On Wednesdays we usually went to Brians (sports bar) until 12.00 and then to Rems (club) until 02.00. In the USA, all clubs close at 2 a.m. at the latest (except Las Vegas, of course), which was often a bit annoying and also unusual for German standards. The only advantage, in my opinion, was that you could go to university on Thursday mornings. At the weekend we either went to downtown Fullerton or a little further away to Los Angeles.It was always a lot of fun, no matter where we went.
On afternoons and unspectacular weekends, I liked to spend my time in malls and outlets. Boredom never came up because there was always something new to discover. In general, Fullerton is a great base for travel. You wouldn’t believe how big and diverse California is.
Thanks to the reviews, I knew it was going to be expensive. However, I would not have thought that it would be so expensive. The cost of living is really very high. A week’s shopping quickly adds up to $30-40. There are also leisure activities such as going to the cinema, going out to eat or excursions (Disneyland or Universial Studios cost over $100). I would recommend not just shopping at the mainstream supermarkets, but rather going to the Dollar Tree or 99 Cent store.
As far as books and documents are concerned: buy everything used or borrow it from the Titanstore! There are books that are essential for teaching and others that are not even used. It is therefore better to ask around and maybe not buy at risk before you get annoyed afterwards. Monthly I was mostly between $1500 and $1800 depending on what we were doing.
The semester abroad was by far the best time of my life and I would recommend everyone to take advantage of the opportunity. I won’t be able to experience again in the near future what I saw and was allowed to experience in these six months.