University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: communication sciences, media
Study type: semester abroad
Fall 2012 – Semester abroad at California State University Fullerton
With over 35,000 students, California State University Fullerton is one of the largest universities in the California State Association. My decision to go to this university was due to its good reputation, the wide range of courses on offer and of course the location in relation to the film capital of Los Angeles, which I found particularly interesting because of my studies. I took four courses: Entertainment and Society, American Film History to 1945, Advertising Media, and Broadcast Advertising. See educationvv for Thompson Rivers University Exchange Program.
The Entertainment and Society course dealt with the role of entertainment in today’s society. This class is credited to me in my studies for my specialization module media education. The course took place once a week as a double lesson. In the American system, a double hour means a duration of two hours and 45 minutes. The course was held by a very young professor. In terms of content, we dealt with the various media and their effects on the viewers. In addition, we got to know different media theories. The professor made each of her lessons very interesting and varied. She used Powerpoint presentations to convey the material to the students in a clear and understandable way. It was important to the professor that everyone could follow her, She also took a lot of time to answer individual questions. She was very strict about the discipline of her students. She attached great importance to punctuality and quietness in class. The final grade is made up of various assessments: theory briefs, presentations, assignments, exams and pop-ups. Theory briefs were essays, about two pages long, that you had to write for a scientific article. You had to incorporate learned theories from the lecture and apply them to the articles. Assignments were somewhat shorter essays on a wide variety of topics with a personal connection. Two exams were written during the semester. A midterm exam in the middle of the semester and a final exam at the end of the semester. At the end of the semester we also had to hand in a term paper, whose content we also had to present in front of the class. The pop-ups were short tests that were held either at the beginning of the lesson on the content of the previous lesson or at the end of the lesson on the newly covered material. Overall the course was interesting and educational. Although it took a lot of time due to the many different proofs of performance, this in turn had the advantage that you could apply the course content straight away and thus internalize it well.
American Film History to 1945 was a course that covered the development of film from the prototype cinema through to film during World War II. The focus was primarily on the visual and auditory development of the film. Films were analyzed with regard to their formal and stylistic elements. We looked at the films in the context of when they were made and in comparison to other films of the same era. The focus was primarily on the political and social significance. The professor had high expectations of her students. She challenged and encouraged us with the weekly blog entries and class discussions. This course also took place once a week as a double lesson. It was very exhausting to stay focused for such a long time, to be able to follow the lesson. Nevertheless, I think it makes sense that this course took place once a week, because it gave us the opportunity to delve deeper into the film history of the respective period and to also illustrate it by showing different film excerpts. The final grade consisted of the weekly blog entries, the exams, the participation, a seminar paper and various quizzes. The blog entries were to be written for the weekly homework, which consisted of reading texts and watching films. The Midterm Exam and the Final Exam consisted partly of questions about the learned material and partly of different film excerpts that had to be recognized and analyzed. The quizzes were written to test the subject matter of the previous lesson. At the end of the semester, a historical seminar paper also had to be handed in. An example topic would be the influence of a major personality in film history in a specific era. This course is very positive. Although it was the hardest and most demanding course this semester, I would definitely take it again because it was really very interesting and the professor put a lot of effort into it.
Media Advertising dealt with advertising and marketing strategies. How can media be used effectively and creatively so that specific target groups can be reached and new products and services or existing ones can be established on the market. This course took place twice a week for one hour and 15 minutes each. The professor made sure that everyone could follow him and that every participant understood and applied the lesson content. We had to show the practical application of what was learned in a wide variety of individual assignments and group projects. Both the individual assignments and the group projects consisted of working with collected research data. The tasks were very good for internalizing the material that had been worked out and learned. The professor always worked with many examples and always ensured a relaxed atmosphere. The exams consisted of multiple choice questions drawn from the contents of the professor’s Power Point presentations and the contents of the textbook Advertising Media Planning by Scissors and Baron. This course had very interesting content to convey, which was well supplemented by the individual and group projects.
Broadcast Advertising was a course I took as a second choice as I couldn’t get another course in the film sector. This course also took place once a week for two and a half hours. The Broadcast Advertising course dealt with the processes and tasks of an advertising agency. It was a very practical course. In the first half of the semester we got to know the theoretical processes involved in developing and creating an advertisement. In the second half of the semester we had to put what we had learned into practice by developing an advertising campaign for a given product together with a partner within three weeks. To do this, a script and a so-called storyboard had to be created in the first two weeks. In the third week the pitch took place, so the presentation takes place. As in a real advertising agency, we had to present our advertising campaign to the client, in our case to fellow students. In total, we developed three different advertising campaigns, each with different partners. At the end of the semester, an exam was written on the theoretical content of the course. This course was unlike any other course I’ve taken in America. However, I found it to be very instructive and varied, since you were on your own and could gain a lot of practical experience. At the end of the semester, an exam was written on the theoretical content of the course. This course was unlike any other course I’ve taken in America. However, I found it to be very instructive and varied, since you were on your own and could gain a lot of practical experience. At the end of the semester, an exam was written on the theoretical content of the course. This course was unlike any other course I’ve taken in America. However, I found it to be very instructive and varied, since you were on your own and could gain a lot of practical experience.
My semester abroad at California State University Fullerton was a very instructive semester for me. The semester not only helped me with my studies, but above all it was very formative for my personal development. I made a lot of new experiences, got to know new people from different countries and cultures and of course I improved my English language skills. My initial fear of having problems in the courses at the university because of the language was completely unfounded. I understood almost everything and when I had problems, each of the professors offered to help me. By dealing with the English language on a daily basis, I became very adept at using it.
About life in Fullerton:
If you go to Fullerton you have to keep in mind that it is just a suburb of Los Angeles. The real city life is therefore less noticeable. Unfortunately, you really need a car if you want to make the most of your semester abroad and want to take advantage of the proximity to the beaches of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Balboa Beach, Laguna Beach, etc. When do you ever have such a selection of beautiful beaches almost on your doorstep;) Fullerton has less to offer. There are a few bars that get very busy on the weekends. For a real club you have to drive a bit, for example to Newport or Los Angeles. You should consider the taxi costs, which are not entirely free. Otherwise, beautiful Cali has a lot to offer and of course you try to do as much as possible on the weekends. You are always surprised and you get to see incredible things that are probably beyond normal imagination;)
Unfortunately, I’m not entirely convinced of Fullerton as a place for a semester abroad. If I had the choice, I would rather do the semester abroad in the middle of a city such as San Diego (a fantastically beautiful city right by the sea!!), San Francisco (unfortunately not quite as warm) or Santa Barbara, simply for the reason that that everything is accessible on foot or by public transport, which was not possible in Fullerton or Los Angeles and of course because these cities directly combine city and beach life! Still, I don’t regret it at all. The entire semester abroad made me an even more open and independent person and enriched my personality. It was a very good decision to go to California, which I would make again at any time.