University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business
Study type: semester abroad
1. Information on the foreign university
1.1 Short presentation of the country and its education system
The USA (United States of America) consists of 50 states in which the majority of the population speaks English. On the border with the southern countries, Spanish is also widely spoken. The capital and seat of government is Washington DC, with New York having the largest population with 18.6 million. At 9.83 million square kilometers, the USA is the third largest country in the world after Russia and Canada. This is also true with the population of 321.36 million behind China and India. 1The education system in the USA is somewhat different than the German one we are familiar with. From the age of six to at least ten years, everyone attends primary school. From this point on, the parents have several options to choose between whether the child continues to attend this school and then goes straight to high school, or prefers middle school or junior high school before moving on to high school. After high school, you go to vocational technical institutions, junior/community colleges or that, with us as a bachelor designated, undergraduate program. Vocational Technical Institutions are schools where graduates should be given an advantage in the job market if they already know exactly what profession they would like to pursue later. After the undergraduate program, there is the option of doing a master’s degree or looking for a job. After the master’s degree, there is the possibility of writing a doctoral thesis and, finally, only the step into research would be possible. See ehuacom for CSUN Study Abroad.
1.2 General information about the university (history, data and facts)
CSU Fullerton was established in 1957 on a lemon orchard in Orange County. It is the second largest in California after UCLA with over 38,000 students. It offers over 240 different degreesof which 120 alone are bachelor’s degrees. The university consists of several buildings in which the courses take place and additional buildings such as the library, the canteen, a fast food area, a fitness center, entertainment centers, a children’s center and many more. Furthermore, CSU Fullerton offers an enormous range of sporting activities, such as baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, etc. The elephant established itself as a mascot in 1962 after 10,000 visitors attended an elephant race with 15 elephants at CSU Fullerton flowed. The mascot is called “Tuffy the Titan”. 4 5
1.3 Reasons for the chosen university and expectations in advance
When choosing my potential college or university abroad, I proceeded as follows: I first decided that the university should be in a country where English is the official language, as it was personally important to me to speak English clearly to improve. I then prioritized the countries that were available and found out about the costs in the respective countries. After prioritizing again, in which I now also included the cost factor, I found out more about the universities that were still possible and read reports from former graduates.After reading almost nothing but positive things about California State University Fullerton and learning that this university is one of the best in the western United States, I decided on this one. My expectations were to improve my English and to benefit from the good reputation of the university, which is due to the good performance of the professors, and to take as much information as possible with me for the future.
1.4 On-site support and organization
The on-site support and organization is very good and the International Office is always available if you have any questions or problems. There was an orientation day especially for foreign students, where the entire university was introduced and all important documents were filled out with the help of supervisors. There was also an open question and answer session and some presentations to give the students all the information they need to take with them.
1.5 College SWOT Analysis
- Enter into partnerships with European universities
- high contact hours
- Great on-site support
- very modern university
- very good teaching style
- very high workload
1.5.1 Career ratio, contact hours
I didn’t get any help from tutors at the university . However, the possibility exists and is also mentioned several times by the university during the semester. In this case, private lessons take place in a separate area of the library. Most subjects take place twice a week for 75 minutes each. Some are also offered once a week in complete blocks of 165 minutes each. Further contact with the professors only takes place if you want to and go to the professor’s office hours.
The workload at the university is very high, since every professor already requires some homework, presentations, quizzes, exams and the like during the semester in order to keep the students permanently on the topic and thus to be able to practice active teaching. Unfortunately, this has the consequence that it sometimes happens that you can only prepare for one course and unfortunately there is no time for another one. This then has to be reworked.
1.5.3 Library equipment
The library is very large and modern. It has a number of computer workstations, either Apple or Windows PCs, various rest areas, print areas, information areas, group work rooms and areas. It is possible for every student to borrow a Windows or Apple laptop upon presentation of their student ID. The library is also equipped with vending machines for drinks and snacks, has both a “Starbucks” and a free water source in the entrance area. In the final phases of the exam, massages, snacks and drinks will also be distributed. During the “Finals” the library is open all day.
1.5.4 Course Offering
The range of courses is wide due to the many courses at the university, but it is usually difficult for foreign students to get one of the courses they want, since local students are considered first when making their choice and the classes are usually immediately occupied.
1.5.5 Practical relevance
The professors go to great lengths to convey their topics in an understandable way and repeatedly bring in examples from their own experiences and from well-known companies and their procedures.
2. Studies (courses, work and assignments)
2.1 Description of the courses taken including content, workload, teaching format
In order to get the required 20 credit points, I decided to take the courses Understanding Business, The International Economy, International Business Finance and Money and Banking. Each of these courses is assessed with 3 units, which correspond to 6 credit points. So, with the 24 credit points I completed, I collected more points than I needed, but I also learned more. The courses were always held as lectures by the respective professors, with the lectures being held in a much more practical and interactive way than in Germany.
Understanding Business : This course was designed to give students an overview of how starting a business works, what are the key questions to ask yourself and what are the key features of starting a business. At the end of the semester, the course participants were able to describe how companies have to react and act in a modern political, social and economic environment, what career opportunities are in a self-founded company, which corporate areas one has to constantly critically question and how, which methods are used to make targeted and good decisions and how companies present their profits on the financial markets. Activities and tasks during the semester included aBusiness concept in which one puts a business idea on paper and should revise the origin of the idea twice with innovative ideas. In addition, three exams, two business transactions to which you had to comment in a group project, three homework, oral work and a presentation to all course participants. For example, the business concept could be a company that initially offers the customer the option of having healthy food delivered directly to their home, either prepared or unprepared. In the second and third part of the business concept, this idea was then expanded. This would be possible, for example, by offering a nutrition plan or the support of a personal trainer.
International economy: In this course, students learned the essential principles and theories to understand international business. One learned different models and the corresponding guidelines for international trading in perfect and imperfect competition. Then there is the usefulness of migration and foreign direct investment, to which international trade agreements are subject. In addition, international macroeconomic issues such as balance of payments and exchange rates were clarified. The activities and assignments during the semester included four homework assignments on the respective sections of the current topic, two exams and a term paper on a country’s trade over the past 25 years of at least six pages. Contents of this housework were then, for example, the exports of the country,
International business finance: In this course, students learned the risk management strategies and measures of modern global and multinational corporations. At the end of the semester, the course participants were able to identify the risk environment of international financial management, to know the international operations for financing and to keep exchange rate costs low. They are familiar with the organization and dynamics of a foreign currency and how exchange rates are determined. They are familiar with how exchange rate risks are measured and managed in multinational companies. Furthermore, it is known how the international financial market is analyzed and how current assets are managed. The international financial concepts and ethical issues surrounding the Enron bankruptcy have been clarified, and the globalization of modern business over the past twenty years has been examined. All mathematical possibilities will be known in order to be able to understand international financial transactions. The activities and tasks during the semester included five homework assignments on the current chapters in the book, five statements on current financial statements, two quizzes on economic documentaries and three exams. Homework included things like historical and current exchange rates and the impact of trading in different markets at the same time, in different currencies.
Money and Banking: In this course, students learned the principles of economics and finance in order to see the connection between the financial system and the economy. A microeconomic analysis of the financial markets and financial institutions in the USA is conducted, the introduction of bonds, stocks and financial derivatives into the markets is taught and a study of the core functions of banks and other financial intermediaries is carried out. Furthermore, the macroeconomic effects of money flows and banking are considered. Central bank policies are explained to see how they can affect output and inflation, and the extent of government regulation of the financial markets and banking industry is examined.
2.2 Description of a typical week at college.
Since the events were spread over two days of the week, with one exception, you could be prepared for the fact that, due to overlaps, you would not be able to take every course that you actually wanted to take and that you would spend a lot of time at the university, as free hours could not be avoided. On Monday I usually prepared for my courses, since I was at the university for nine hours on Tuesday to attend lectures. In the evenings I sometimes found time to train with the soccer team I played in in the university league. Wednesday mostly looked similar to Monday and was used to prepare for the long university day on Thursday, which in turn was almost identical to Tuesday. On Wednesday evening the Uni-League games took place, which were decided in a two times 20-minute game. On Friday through Sunday, most of the semester was spent doing homework, studying for quizzes, tests and exams, and when there was time, doing the usual chores around your apartment and grocery shopping. Unfortunately, there was little time for excursions during the semester due to the tight program of the professors and it would have been difficult to adapt one’s knowledge level to the current lectures after missing the subject matter. going about his usual duties at his apartment and grocery shopping. Unfortunately, there was little time for excursions during the semester due to the tight program of the professors and it would have been difficult to adapt one’s knowledge level to the current lectures after missing the subject matter. going about his usual duties at his apartment and grocery shopping. Unfortunately, there was little time for excursions during the semester due to the tight program of the professors and it would have been difficult to adapt one’s knowledge level to the current lectures after missing the subject matter.
3.1 Personal Findings and Observations
My experience in the USA was that food is not as important as in Germany. There is relatively little cooking, so it is not unusual for all meals a day to be eaten in a fast food restaurant or for breakfast to be skipped and the way to a burger shop taken immediately. If breakfast is prepared, it usually consists of scrambled eggs with bacon or just peanut butter bread. Of course, there is also cooking, and especially at events such as Thanksgiving, the serving of turkey with red cabbage, sweet and normal potatoes is celebrated with family and friends. When it comes to social habits, it is not uncommon for acquaintances and friends to drop by unannounced. That doesn’t mean they come over to chat, but also just so that you don’t have to be alone when doing your homework. It is also easy to see that even the smallest distances are covered by car and that many companies such as banks, fast food chains and similar offer drive-in counters for their customers.
3.2 Social Conditions
In the USA it was found that the color of a person’s skin still plays a major role. There are several areas in certain areas of cities where you immediately realize that you are not welcome because of the color of your skin. Also, especially in California, there are some people who dislike Mexicans, as many have settled there due to its proximity to the Mexican border. In addition, especially in the larger cities, you see a lot of homeless people, some of whom occupy entire streets. On the other hand, I did not see any discrimination against women or homosexuals in California.
3.3 Accommodation Abroad
Finding the right accommodation in California can be easy or difficult, depending on your budget. Rents for a room shared with one other person start at around $400 per person and can go up to $1,500 per person if you really want a room to yourself. At the beginning of the semester, I decided to look for suitable accommodation on site and started looking for a good two weeks before the semester started and set up my own shared apartment. I found that while it wasn’t difficult to find people to move into this apartment, it would have been difficult to beat the $550 I ended up paying for a room I shared. My apartment was the most spacious I’ve seen in six months and for $2,200 warm it offered a furnished kitchen, a spacious living room, two large bedrooms and two bathrooms with a shower. The pool and gym were included in the price and were right outside the door.
3.4 Tuition, Cost of Living, Financing
Tuition fees in the US are quite high and California State University is already one of the cheapest at around $5,600 in tuition. The cost of living is very high. With the rent already $560 was spent. The food costs are very high in relation to Germany and you usually pay significantly higher prices in the supermarkets near the university. So it’s a good idea to know someone who has a car to drive to the supermarkets, where you can get halfway normal prices because of the large quantities purchased. If you only shop in the supermarkets that are closest, cooking on the spot is usually more expensive than the food in a fast food restaurant. I financed the semester abroad with the allowances from the Bafög office and a saved amount. If you watch your money and keep track of your expenses, it’s possible to get by on $850-$950 a month.
3.5 Campus life, free time, extracurricular activities at the university
Campus life is very active and it is always busy on campus. On the one hand, this is due to the great workload of the courses and, on the other hand, to the great range of leisure activities consisting of various sporting activities and various clubs that plan small trips and excursions.
3.6 Problems and (language) difficulties in everyday life
You actually have fewer problems because everyone tries to do their best and the people you meet are usually very friendly. If you don’t understand someone, they usually try to speak slowly and simply to avoid language barriers.
3.7 Differences / similarities to studying at the FH Dortmund
The course is very different from studying in Germany. The way the professors lecture abroad is much more active and understandable and one feels more and better supported and is provided with significantly better learning materials. However, it is also more time-consuming due to the large amount of homework and the like.
4.1 Positive and negative aspects of the semester abroad
One negative thing I noticed right away at the beginning of the semester was that it is usually very difficult for foreign students to get the courses they want. Many courses are filled with local students from the outset, as they can choose their courses a few days before foreign students and are therefore given preference. What is positive about this system, however, is that the “ class crashing’ gives students the chance to switch courses within the first two weeks if they notice in the first few lectures that these courses are not meeting expectations. Another negative thing to mention is that due to the large number of homework, exams, etc., you are unfortunately constantly busy with assignments. Since these tasks usually lack a few points, since the professors have a model solution in mind for the full number of points, it is difficult to get an A at the end and thus the best grade.
4.2 Own personal development: ideas and expectations
My expectations and ideas for the semester abroad were met, as I had a lot of contact with local students, both at the university and privately, and was therefore able to improve my English skills significantly during my stay. Furthermore, I assume that getting to know the culture will be very helpful in my professional career.
4.3 Is studying at the foreign university recommended?
I can recommend studying at the CSU Fullerton to everyone, because the professors usually put a lot of effort into the design of their lectures and, through the active type of lectures and the involvement of the students, ensure that as much knowledge as possible is already with the students during the semester remains. In addition, you never feel left alone at the university, since every employee, whether professor or office worker, is interested in the students completing their time at CSU Fullerton as successfully as possible and in making many contacts. There are also many recreational activities offered to meet local students, whether bowling, eating out, various sports activities or similar.