University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business Administration, Economics
Study type: semester abroad
My name is Chris and I spent my 5th semester abroad at California State University Fullerton as part of the Semester Abroad Program. Basically, I can recommend anyone who can afford it to spend a semester in California. The country is unbeatable in terms of nature, weather and the friendliness of the people. See educationvv for Vancouver Island University Exchange Program.
Nevertheless, it is worth finding out very well in advance which university you like best – not all are equally well located, offer the same fun factor or the same study quality. My experience report should therefore offer a very clear recommendation guideline! J
For example, Cal State Fullerton offers very good study quality in the field of business and economics, as it offers a very wide range of courses in these fields and thus offers good chances of a learning agreement with 20 credits (4 courses) in Germany. Furthermore, the premises of the Mihaylo Business College are state-of-the-art and very well maintained. The gym and the library on campus also leave nothing to be desired. There are therefore 5 stars for study conditions and content.
But one must also clearly state the shortcoming of the CSUF: it does not offer typical campus life as is known from American universities. The majority of students commute from surrounding Orange County by car, making the campus feel deserted in the evenings and weekends. The famous fraternity parties (student fraternities) also hardly exist here, or as an exchange student you only get to meet these people through luck. If you want to get to know Americans, I recommend either taking the dorms (dormitory on campus) as accommodation and otherwise being very open during lectures and breaks. The Americans are very open and mostly interested in getting to know Germans/Europeans. If you want to get to know real American student life, I recommend the University of California Santa Barbara or the San Diego State University. These unis offer the ultimate in party and lifestyle. My priority was full credit for my courses, which is why Fullerton was ultimately chosen. Also worth mentioning: the tuition fees are relatively cheap!
When it comes to accommodation, it is also important to consider your own preferences. I myself lived in the University Village (UV), which wasn’t bad, but it also had its downsides: around 80% of the residents are German, which negatively impacts the cultural experience. After all, you also make less progress linguistically. Furthermore, the UV is getting a bit old and absolutely cannot justify the price of around $1000 rent. In addition, the management calculates the full rental amount for each month, which is why I ended up paying 5 monthly installments for 4 months of living. Effective rental price: $1250 per month! This is usury and is certainly cheaper. The catering speaks for the UV: 2x/day buffet on 5 days a week. My advice: who can should arrive a few days earlier and look for an apartment with other exchange students. So you can stay for $400-$600. It is more complex at first, but you can save a lot this way. If you don’t like to cook, you can also get cheap and varied food from the countless fast food chains in the area (shopping in the supermarket is expensive!)
On the subject of mobility: A car is indispensable. Public transport exists, but runs too rarely and irregularly. With close proximity to LA, San Diego and the Pacific Ocean, Orange County offers so much to see that wheels are a must. Here, too, it is worth getting together with your closest friends and buying/renting a vehicle for the entire period.
BUY: is significantly cheaper, provided you can sell your car for a decent price. With older cars, there is also the risk of repairs and damage to consider. So I decided to RENT. I and a colleague rented a car from SIXT for 120 days for around $350 a month. The car was built in 2014, brand new, very comfortable and fuel efficient. A big bonus is the service: when our car was broken into (window smashed) we just returned it and got a new, better one at no extra cost. For longer journeys (e.g. San Francisco, 7 hours), a new car is also very convenient.
So much for organization. As you can see, there are a lot of decisions to be made. But don’t worry, it all sounds harder than it is. I certainly didn’t do everything right and still had a wonderful time in California. Life here invites you to enjoy and linger. No matter how you decide – enjoy every day of your stay to the fullest, don’t be shy, don’t be stingy and treat yourself generously. Your semester will undoubtedly be the best of your life!