University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: economics
Study type: semester abroad
The semester abroad was mandatory as part of my dual studies. The choice to fly to America was clear at the beginning of my studies, even though I was aware that it would involve relatively high costs.
Since the CSU Fullerton is one of the comparatively cheaper colleges in the California area, the choice was fullerton. See ehuacom for CSLA Study Abroad.
The previous reports and the great support from MicroEdu made the decision and the application process much easier.
It is important in the application process to plan enough time for the organizational aspects such as visa, registration at the university, registration for accommodation, but if you stick to the schedule provided by MicroEdu, the organization easily fits.
I would like to address individual points that I consider particularly important for the stay.
Get a car, you’re in a fix without a car, because America isn’t Germany and everything is very far away : -P Good places to go are local “dealers” or websites like “craigslist”.
Make sure you know in advance what you are hoping for from the semester abroad. Do you want to improve your English, or just party, enjoy campus life or live on the beach… In the following I will briefly summarize my subjectively felt advantages / disadvantages of the options mentioned.
If you live close to the campus (apartment complexes such as “The Homestead” “University Village”) you get to know campus life very well and are more involved in upcoming events, since these are apartment complexes you get to know a large number of people very quickly.
If you live close to the campus but are looking for an apartment/room on your own, this does not necessarily have to be a disadvantage when it comes to getting to know people. Thanks to parties or the proximity to the campus, this still works very well. The advantage for independent living is that apartment complexes are sometimes very strict in their rules when it comes to parties, volume, guests in the respective apartments. You don’t have this disadvantage with private apartments.
If you live close to the beach, you have every advantage that a beach has to offer : -) However, the contact with the campus is usually not that strong here. Since it is about 30 minutes from Newport Beach, for example. In this case, students like to schedule the lectures for two days a week so that they don’t have to drive the route every day.
I don’t know of any apartment complexes near the beach, here you can look for a room/apartment with friends or alone. If you are not too introverted and shy, you will get to know a lot of people here.
In general, it doesn’t mean that you have to take the courses you applied for. The first two weeks of university are there to swap courses, register and cancel. It can become pure chaos, as there are sometimes waiting lists for students in popular subjects because these courses only offer limited numbers of participants.
International students have the disadvantage that they are unfamiliar with this course system and it can be easy to get overwhelmed.
It’s better to take a little time with the application process so that you save yourself the stress of the first two weeks…or ask students who have already done it : -p Of course, the “International Office” responsible for you is also here for you available on site.
At least one course book is required for each course, which is usually is worked through. Here a book can cost around $100, whether you actually need it afterwards or not how? you do not. Although these books can be sold again at the end of the semester, the college gives very little money for the books here. The internet is an alternative to buying/selling.
I found studying to be more “relaxed” than in Germany. Maybe it was because I only had 2 courses a day, i.e. 3 hours at uni. In my opinion, however, the learning effort is a bit higher, since quizzes, midterms, presentations and finally the final exam are spread over the semester – depending on the subject.
But the learning effect for me was also greater, since you are constantly dealing with the book and the subject.
Depending on how you plan the courses, you have a lot of time to discover California. The beach can be reached very easily and quickly by car, on the other hand it only takes about 90 minutes to get to the mountains for skiing. Los Angeles, Miami Beach and other cities to the north can be reached in about 1 hour. There is a high probability that you won’t get bored here. If you buy domestic flights early enough, you can get relatively cheap to San Francisco, Vegas, or even Hawaii or the East Coast on occasion.
In summary, I can say that you can have a very reasonable mix of studying and reaching out to the country/culture/people.
In order to be a little more flexible in the design and not have to spend every cent three times, it is worth asking for foreign student loans or other financing options. You can also receive foreign student loans if you are not actually allowed to receive “domestic student loans”, because the requirements here are a bit different.
Looking back, the semester abroad was a fantastic experience. If you are given the opportunity, use it!
MicroEdu will provide you with very competent support.