University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
Application and preparation
I contacted MicroEdu about a year before the start of the semester abroad to start planning my semester abroad as a freemover. Previously, I had already informed myself about the individual universities in and around Los Angeles on the MicroEdu homepage. I would recommend everyone to plan their semester abroad in good time, as there is a long checklist waiting to be worked through. College Contact takes care of the contact between the university of your choice and you and greatly simplifies the application process. The MicroEdu contacts are very competent, friendly and are available to answer any questions you may have about your semester abroad. See jibin123 for Semester Abroad In Riga Stradins University.
In the end, I chose California State University Fullerton because the university is very popular among economics students, especially for its Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. I also did a semester abroad as a master’s student and, in my opinion, CSUF has the best range of courses in finance and accounting for master’s students. I completed the first four semesters of my master’s degree in Germany and extended my studies by a fifth semester for the semester abroad.
CSUF is located approximately 45 kilometers southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The campus impresses above all with its spaciousness, here you can go jogging comfortably. Each faculty has its own building in which the courses take place. The Student Union has a food court and plenty of leisure activities – there is even a bowling alley that can be used for a small fee. In the back of the campus are the sports facilities for soccer, basketball and baseball. The arboretum (a park) located on campus also invites you to relax and learn in the countryside.
Despite the fact that CSUF is known as a commuter campus (majority of the students commute to the university and do not live on campus), the campus is crowded with students at all times. There are loads of events happening on campus during the semester (e.g. sporting events, performing arts center events, Discoverfest, etc.) so it never gets boring as there is always something going on!
Course content/ events
I attended three courses ( one accounting course and two finance courses ) at Master’s level, which were organized largely like lectures at German universities in terms of the lecture style. My courses were spread over the days Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and always took place from 7: 00 p.m. to 9: 45 p.m. I had more of a classic frontal lesson, which was enriched by many exercise parts. Personally, I found all my courses easier than courses in Germany. In my experience, topics in German events are considered in great detail and in depth, while topics in American events are only touched upon superficially. In other words: the mass of topics makes the difference.
Even during the semester, you have to work and learn continuously at the CSUF. The professors also ask for the completion and submission of business cases during the semester, some of which can be solved in groups with American students. I wrote at least one intermediate exam in all courses. The semester ended with presentations and final exams. I didn’t have to struggle with language difficulties. The professors move at a reasonable pace and you can follow the event very well.
There are many different student residences on and around the campus . I chose Oxford North (formerly University Village) in advance and took out a one-semester lease. The semester contract ran for about 4.5 months and yet 5 full months’ rent was due. The rental deposit required is $250. The last two rents are to be paid in full in advance after the rental agreement has been signed. I have heard from other German students that they signed a rental contract for a year and then re-let their room shortly before leaving because there were no more semester contracts available.
Both international and American students have stayed at the Oxford North. I stayed in one of the renovated rooms, even if it costs a little extra. When I arrived I was a little frustrated because I didn’t find the entire apartment clean, but after a day of thorough cleaning everything was fine.
The rooms are furnished with a desk, clothes rail, chest of drawers and bed. The living room also has a sideboard, a TV, an armchair and a sofa. The kitchen itself must be equipped with the basics (plates, cutlery, glasses, etc.). The residential complex has, for example, a large leisure area, a small sports and fitness area and an outdoor pool. There are some shared laundry rooms equipped with washing machines and tumble dryers. Each wash – wash and dry – costs around $3.50.
The office is mostly manned by American students who are very friendly and do their best to make your stay as smooth as possible. Through regular events organized by the American staff, you quickly get to know other residents. For grocery shopping, Target or Albertsons are very easy to walk to. It’s about a 15-minute walk to the Mihaylo building, where my lectures took place.
Leisure and fun
During my semester abroad, I traveled a lot both inside and outside of California. Due to the large distances, a car is essential – but I didn’t see the need to buy or rent a car for my entire stay. I rented a car from the Alamo on a daily basis for trips. Apps like Turo or GetAround also work great. San Diego is relatively easy to get to from Fullerton. The Joshua Tree National Park can also be reached quickly and is definitely worth a visit! Also, I highly recommend visiting Laguna Beach. The beautifully landscaped coast is definitely worth more than just a trip.
More distant destinations such as Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, San José or Yosemite National Parkrequire more planning, as overnight stays are necessary. I’ve teamed up with other students in groups to visit these destinations and save money at the same time. The nearby beaches of Newport Beach and Huntington Beach can also be reached by Uber or Lyft. I’ve also attended a football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, basketball games at the STAPLES Center, or music concerts at the Greek Theater. The typical tourist magnets, such as the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Hollywood Walk of Fame or Beverly Hills are definitely worth a visit – but weren’t really highlights for me because they were totally overcrowded. I liked the relaxed surfer atmosphere at Newport Beach and Huntington Beach by far better.
One of my absolute highlights was the hike from Griffith Observatory through Griffith Park to behind the Hollywood Sign. The view over Los Angeles and the skyline of downtown LA are priceless – insider tip! I did the hike twice and behind the Hollywood Sign there are only a maximum of ten people at the same time.
Overall, I have set myself a budget of around 18,000 euros for my semester abroad, with which I managed very well with all the trimmings. The biggest items here were tuition and accommodation at Oxford North. Other costs are, for example, health insurance, flights, visa costs, food and excursions. A semester abroad is certainly cheaper, but looking back, I can say that I don’t regret a cent that I spent, because the experiences and the attitude towards life in California are worth much more to me than just the money.
I am very happy that I extended my master’s degree by another semester to do the semester abroad at CSUF in California. Spending a semester abroad presents you with new challenges that will help you grow personally! Above all, through the cultural exchange with American students, I was able to gain valuable experience and am very happy with every single contact I made. Even after my stay abroad, I am still in contact with my new American friends and recommend anyone who is still thinking about a semester abroad to stop thinking and start planning!