University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I spent a semester abroad at California State University Fullerton from January to May 2010 – and it was an experience of a lifetime! See educationvv for Saint Marys University Exchange Program.
But first to plan. After the decision was made at which university I would like to spend my semester abroad, the formalities began. In order to get a visa for the USA, you need proof from your bank that you have at least $10,000 in your account, otherwise you will not be allowed to enter the USA or will not even get a visa. Unfortunately, I didn’t have $10,000 in my account, and since my parents didn’t have the financial means to provide so much money so quickly, and unfortunately I’m not eligible for BAFöG either, the only solution I had was a loan. I took out a loan from Commerzbank on very good terms, which I can recommend to all of you. You have to keep in mind that you won’t get far with $10,000 for 5-6 months.
A Toefl test is not mandatory at California State University Fullerton, you can also complete an English test on site. After a visit to the US embassy in Frankfurt, I had my visa after 2 weeks and was able to book flights etc. MicroEdu took care of the registration and all the formalities with the university free of charge!
In January it finally started: Off to Los Angeles!!! I spent the semester abroad with a fellow student, and we had already looked for accommodation from Germany, with the home assistant at the university helping us. In Fullerton it is not common to get a furnished apartment, which is also within the price range. We paid a total of $1400 for our 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo, which was relatively cheap for the location and community. Of course, it didn’t include food, electricity, internet, television or a cell phone contract. And I warn you: healthy food is incredibly expensive in California! Our best experience was 7 tomatoes for $5…..It took us a maximum of 10 minutes to cycle to the university from our apartment, which can’t be beat!
An alternative to living alone with friends is the University Village, which I can also recommend to you. Almost all parties, activities etc take place there and you are always in the middle of the action and get to know a lot of people very quickly! From there you can also cycle to the university, which you can borrow for free at the University Village. If you are looking for your own apartment outside of the city, you can always miss something and I would not advise anyone to take an unfurnished apartment…
Some bought a car in the US, which you don’t need urgently, but it’s very handy if you have one. There is public transport in Fullerton, but it is not nearly as well developed as in Germany. A bicycle is really worth its weight in gold! Even if it can happen that the bicycle/pedestrian path suddenly stops, or there is none at all;-)
Like everyone else, we had to crash the courses in the first two weeks. It’s an annoying time, but we ended up getting all the courses we wanted. In terms of level, they are below that of the German university courses, but you have a much higher workload. Each week you have to read at least 20 pages per course, write essays and take quizzes (exams in the US) every three weeks. You should make sure in advance to get a teacher with good pronunciation, because there are significant differences. The campus of the university is huge, but very beautiful! I recommend everyone to sign up for the Uni Gym – I’ve never had such a good gym! And at $25 a month, it’s affordable too. With so much unhealthy food in the US, you’ll need it too;-)
Life is just great! Pretty much every community has its own pool, and if you have a car you can drive to Laguna Beach and spend a day at the ocean, or you can just rent one for $40 a day. If the weather is bad, you can drive to the surrounding malls and go shopping, or eat in the countless restaurants. Fullerton is a small town, so don’t expect the buzz to be predominant. In the old town of Fullerton there are many bars and a few discos where you can also party very well. We usually went to Hollywood or Huntington Beach and the surrounding area to celebrate, which of course only works if there are people who have a car. In a nutshell: I’ve never celebrated as much in my entire student life as I did this semester, and my grades didn’t suffer as a result, they were even better than in Germany. The university is no walk in the park, you have to do something for it, but everything is doable and you still have a very nice time!
I encourage everyone to simply contact MicroEdu directly with any questions. They are very helpful and always available.