University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: mechanical engineering
Study type: semester abroad
When planning a semester abroad, the main thing is to find a location that is as multifaceted as possible. So I quickly chose California because I expected the most impressions from the region and the distances to other cities seemed feasible compared to the rest of the USA. See ehuacom for BU Study Abroad.
First of all: I have never regretted this decision! However, the preparations start more than half a year before departure. Proof of language proficiency, visa application, apartment search and much more cost time and nerves. So do yourself a favor and start planning as early as possible.
Regarding the visa, it should be said that you can approach the appointment in a relaxed manner and simply follow the guidelines of MicroEdu, then nothing will go wrong. Personally, I had expected a more extensive check, in the end only one question was asked and the interview at the consulate was done.
In the run-up, I had already teamed up with two Germans via the MicroEdu Facebook group, and we had also found a fourth roommate through a group at the university who wanted to move in with us.
I then looked for an apartment with the Homesteads from Germany. It is understandable that many prefer the simple UV method, as there is little to worry about here, but we were all very happy that we decided to go for one of our own apartment! Not only did we pay about half as much as in UV because we shared the room, but there is also the fact that the homesteads award monthly contracts for a reasonable surcharge and therefore you don’t have to worry about new tenants.
As already described in many other reports on the CSUF, the campus is huge. For example, to get from the baseball stadium to the business building, you walk 20 minutes or, to put it another way: At the beginning you will have to run more often.
The campus also offers countless job opportunities : fast-food restaurants, a well-equipped gym, sports facilities, our own merchandise shop and much more. In Germany I study at a rather small university, so the CSUF was something completely new in that respect!
But what you should be aware of: On such a large campus there are also many people who have rather questionable things in mind and are trying to get your credit card details for supposed fundraisers. Better be too careful than have to deal with scammers afterwards.
Even if exploring the country comes first, studying is of course also part of it and should not be underestimated, depending on the courses chosen. As a mechanical engineer, I was almost alone among Americans, with the exception of a few other Germans. It was a great experience because you automatically come into contact with the other students!
The courses are structured like school classes and most of them also assess their participation during the lessons. In some courses, attendance is also compulsory. This is also necessary because you have to keep at it throughout the semester. You are constantly writing so-called quizzes, after a short time there are already midterm exams and right after the last week of lectures the finals are coming up. You should therefore always stay on the ball and do your homework (also graded), then there will usually be no problem keeping up with the material.
Personally, I really liked this way of learning, because you can’t fail the whole semester because of a bad exam, which is unfortunately the case in Germany. During the week I was constantly busy with the university.
My flatmates and I were out and about in every free minute. We rented a car from Chicho, who we can recommend to you as he has been renting to international students for a long time and has taken care of all the hassles (his address: 812 Williamson Avenue, Fullerton).
Of course, we checked out everything you know on the west coast: San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Malibu, Los Angeles, Yosemite National Park, Joshua Tree, Tijuana and so on. My highlight, however, was our road trip to Vancouver. We used Thanksgiving week for this and drove through a total of eight states to Canada. We were able to get to know a completely different side of the country! Of course, there are also many things to do in the Fullerton area: football in LA, ice hockey in Anaheim, Disneyland (very expensive), Knott’s Berry Farm (recommended, especially for Halloween), baseball, etc.
life and everyday life
While Fullerton is just one of many cities in the LA metropolitan area, it has everything you need. Hwy 57 is just off CSUF and it goes straight from there in all directions.
At first you might be a bit overwhelmed with the large selection of supermarkets and restaurants, but I can clear up a rumor: You don’t necessarily have to come back 10 kilos heavier, even in the USA there are foods that aren’t fast food. In Fullerton, Target, Albertson’s and the 99ct Store are recommended.
In itself, the place is not very spectacular, but due to its proximity to the sea (most beaches like Huntington can be reached in 20 to 30 minutes) and other places, Fullerton is a perfect starting point for activities and without noticing the total gridlock of LA.
I had an incredible time at Fullerton making new friends, exploring a new culture and also learning a lot about myself. Just do it! Whether it’s going to California or somewhere else doesn’t really matter – it’s about the experiences you have for yourself.