University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: International Business Administration
Study type: semester abroad
Hello everyone interested!
If you’re reading this, you’re on the right track for an adventure you won’t soon forget!
But let’s start from the beginning:
I applied really early because my course includes a mandatory semester abroad and I was already sure in February of the previous year which university I wanted to go to in the USA. That’s why I waited until the beginning of August 2014 for my acceptance from the CSUF for the spring semester 2015 – but that’s not unusual, since I was also extremely early. See jibin123 for Semester Abroad In Universitat Autonoma De Barcelona.
Once you get in touch with MicroEdu, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everything you want to know will always be answered quickly and in detail. At this point I would also like to thank Ms. Anja Heinz, who was always there and reassured not only me with every inaccuracy, but also my parents!
So you don’t have to be afraid that you are on your own – there are always contacts you can turn to. That’s what MicroEdu is there for.
If you are then sure which university it will be, a 15-page document will be emailed to you, in which everything is described from A to Z, what has to be done in turn – easily plan an afternoon for it, where you go through it in peace.
I would also like to add that I don’t think any German student should be afraid of not being accepted. Of course, if you already have no idea what course names like Consumer Behavior are, you should think twice about whether you can do the entire lecture in English.
Some documents will accumulate there – I can tell you that much! From bank verification to insurance to visas, everything is included. But as I said, it’s all described very well in the MicroEdu document. However, plan some time for this, since many authorities and offices often also answer many other inquiries and you should therefore not collect everything at the last minute.
As I’ve seen on the MicroEdu Facebook groups, a lot of people are scared of the US Embassy…unfairly wrong in my opinion. Yes, you have to have all your fingers scanned, as well as your eye, but my interview (which I drove an hour and a half for) lasted just 15 minutes and consisted of her asking me what I was doing at CSUF wants to take courses and it was a totally relaxed conversation…I think I’ve answered maybe 4 questions if it comes up.
Preparations for accommodation/host family
Many of you are probably thinking about where you want to live. It was clear to me from the start that I wanted to live with a host family. On the one hand because I was not yet 21 during my stay, but also simply because I wanted to understand the American way of life better and I like being in an environment where there is a lot to do. I can only say that for me personally it was the best decision I could have made. But everyone has to decide that for themselves. Not everyone is a homestay guy, just like not everyone is a roommate. Nobody can make the decision for you.
However, the only thing that really didn’t go so well – which College Contact is absolutely not to blame for – was that I didn’t get my host family until I was already in the US. (I have to say that I flew out shortly after Christmas and there was no one in the office at CSUF then either and I was still in Miami over New Year’s Eve.) However, I found out at the last second that someone else was taking me on ( everything was organized by the CSUF – so don’t worry) and was able to move in with my actual host family 4 days after arriving in Los Angeles. If not, I would have had to look for a hotel or something via Airbnb – it wouldn’t have been that great,
My host family
My host family consisted of the mother, the father, two 15-year-old twins (1 daughter, 1 son), a 23-year-old daughter who has already moved out, and another daughter who is 13 years old. There were also 4 cats, 2 dogs and a lizard, which I never saw : D – So there was really something to do. My host family was like a picture book American family! Paper plates, waste separation – never heard of it, but that’s the way it is with the Americans. And even if they have their quirks, they are really good-hearted people and really became a second family for me. 2 1/2 months after my stay in California I am still in contact with the family and they are even planning to visit me next year. I never felt uncomfortable, my room was beautiful, my bathroom even had pool access! Everything was clean and I never argued with you. And my party life was not neglected either, I quickly found friends at UH, with whom I occasionally stayed at parties and as long as I didn’t celebrate any parties in the house, my host family really didn’t give a damn.
California State University Fullerton
I think one word fits quite well – HUGE! 37,000 students, how many stadiums do I know, 5,000 parking spaces for 22,000 parking permits issued –> if you have a car, please arrive at least 2 hours earlier on the first day, was 1 1/2 looking for a parking space and crashed it right away at the course Missed the first course! : D, countless majors and minors to study. There is nothing that does not exist! This also applies to the more than 150 different student clubs – you feel like you’re in a real college movie on the first day, when you’re greeted by 50 different Greek letters and the weirdos fight each other with plastic bottles, desperately for new followers to find
But there are also really cool student clubs, such as the Surf Club or the German American Cross Culture Club, in which there are really a lot of Americans. Some speak German, but others don’t speak a word of our language. It’s all about getting to know the other culture, doing things together like a bonfire with a barbecue on the beach, pub crawls or visiting a German restaurant in America.
The university itself is really beautiful. Palm trees where you can only look – that makes learning much more fun. There is always something on offer, almost every Thursday a DJ played or a band played somewhere in the middle of the day!
I had taken 4 courses: 370 Consumer Behavior, 365 Entertainment Business, 425 Retail Marketing Strategy and 401 Advertising and Promotion Strategy.
370 Consumer Behavior with Dr. Steven Chen
A varied, challenging and fun course! The professor not only honored us with stories from his private life, but also gave really interesting lessons. The lecture never actually lasted to the end…once it was only 20 minutes!! For the grade you had to give 2 presentations, one during the semester and a big one at the end (there is no final apart from the presentation!!!!). In addition, you had to write 2 midterms, hand in 3 graded homework, participation was evaluated, but very fairly – even if you didn’t contribute that much. We were also allowed to watch a 90-minute film with provided popcorn and soft drinks from the professor. So it is only recommended.
365 Entertainment Business with Harold Fraser
Interesting and entertaining. This course was also very chilled. You don’t always have to be in the lecture to get a good grade at the end, but you should discuss this with the professor beforehand, because he checks attendance and this is included in the grade. Professor Fraser has worked for Disney for years and can tell stories that few others can. He also brings great guest faculty members like the Marketing Director from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Baseball) and the CEO of Disneyland. Note consists of a paper of 5 pages –> but it’s really not much (double spacing, and American letter format)!! 2 midterms and a final as well as submitting another paper on pretty much a topic of your choice.
425 Retail Marketing Strategy with Professor Medina
A lot of guest lecturers… a different one every other week – from start-up companies to Target. This makes the course very confusing at times and the professor himself is also a bit confusing at times. But don’t worry…just get the book (best to rent it – otherwise it’s almost $400!!!), read a little – the course was my best grade and I really didn’t do much for it except work hard and watch it what he lists in the study guide. The grade consists of a group work –> a paper and a presentation (it’s about mystery shopping), a midterm, a final and cooperation.
401 Advertising and Promotion Strategy with Professor Lanzellotti
Challenging course, but also incredibly boring at times. The professor is super nice and helpful, totally competent and knows his stuff, but he also loves to listen to himself. Had it for 4 hours on Wednesdays and after 2 hours the head just shuts down, no matter how interesting the subject itself is.
Some of the grades here may not be what you would expect in America, since the grade is made up of 2 tests, participation and 3 group work. In my opinion, the tests are also at a high level by American standards and if the group is lazy and unstructured, which is unfortunately very often the case because there is simply a different mentality, then it can quickly become a C. However, with cooperation and good preparation, a B can also be achieved (I managed to do it in the end;) )
I only had 2 courses on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I mostly spent Mondays doing homework or something like that, which is why I still had a super-long weekend from Friday to Sunday, during which I had enough time to discover a lot of California. Just to name a few: Yosemite National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, San Francisco, San Diego, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Sacramento, Santa Monica, Hollywood itself, Beverly Hills, Monterey, Los Angeles, whale watching, surfing, Disneyland, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and and and…
Fullerton is really a great starting point for many things. You can be in Los Angeles in an hour (WITHOUT TRAFFIC!!), you can ski if you drive 1 ½ hours in the other direction, you can be at Newport Beach in half an hour and surf, you can buy tickets for free on various sites reserve and be there live at recordings of “New Girl”, “Big Bang Theory” etc. or get an annual pass from Universal Studios from the CSUF for the price of a day ticket and enjoy the rides as often as you want!
Conclusion & tips (also for the car)
In a semester abroad, things don’t always go as they should. But you shouldn’t panic, in the end everything will always be fine, there are enough contacts and people who can and want to help you. You should also give serious thought to your wheels –> if you can’t or don’t want to buy a car, it’s best to find nice friends who have one. If you are 25, renting a car is not a problem and does not incur any major costs. I bought a car myself, even with a manual transmission, I had to put money into it, but in the end I had a car for 5 months, which has always been mine, for $700, and I was able to sell it again without any problems.
Yes, a semester abroad, especially as a freemover and in the USA, is really not a cheap affair, but if America is also your dream and you have saved something on the side, you can’t actually make a better decision than California or Fullerton. All in all, a semester abroad is an unforgettable experience with new friends from all over the world and impressions that nobody can take away from you. Look forward to it!