University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I’m studying International Business and Management in the Netherlands and was allowed to spend one year abroad. Even before I started studying, I knew that I wanted to go to China and the USA. About half a year before I was supposed to start studying abroad, I did some research online and looked for affordable options in the south-west of the USA. The possibility of registering via MicroEdu has greatly simplified the registration process and communication. In addition, I noticed in my previous research that it is often difficult to find the information that an interested exchange student often finds on the homepages of the universities. At MicroEdu, these are all clearly listed, so that it is very easy to compare between universities. See educationvv for Riga Stradins University Exchange Program.
After getting my visa in Beijing, I flew straight to LA in January. For newcomers, I would recommend re-evaluating transportation options to Fullerton, as I was under the assumption you could take a $50 cab. However, it ended up being $125 for the 40 minute ride.
I also had a room in the University Village (UV) for accommodation. I arrived on Sunday, there was nobody there to let me in. However, I soon ran into a student who then called people with keys. For one semester I really liked the UV. You get to know a lot of very nice people, you get great food from Monday to Friday, the complex is very well maintained and clean, there is a pool area and parking spaces. I can also recommend that you put yourself on the bike list as soon as you arrive at the office so that you can possibly rent a bike. You need one to drive to your classes, even if the UV is right next to the campus. However, for students who go there for a year, I would recommend looking for something of their own, since the rules in the UV are often very strict. Especially if you are over 21 you often feel treated like a child, all noise is prevented and parties are forbidden. Of course, this is for general peace and protection of under 21 year olds, but can sometimes be very annoying and excessive.
My classes were Mass Media & Ethnic Groups, Management of Service Organizations, Principles of Advertising and Chinese. After everyone’s initial shock that nobody had come to the classes they wanted, we all looked for open courses and just went. The local students are given preferential treatment, as these courses have to fulfill and we are usually much more flexible.
I can’t really recommend Marketing Classes from me and from what I know from others, but all the other courses were great! I learned so much during the semester and found my courses really interesting. I paid two additional units for Chinese and thus had 14 units. In hindsight, I would have liked to do one more because I thought the offer was great. After I got used to it, I also found the American system really great, in which you have to constantly perform in the form of homework, papers, quizzes, small oral exams, etc. This way you learn constantly, take a lot with you and distribute the composition of the grade to a lot of work instead of just one exam at the end. My courses were all high numbered and senior classes. I would also recommend this.
During the first month I was a bit frustrated because I hadn’t seen anything and felt a bit trapped in the UV. In California and the USA in general, the distances to everything are simply much larger and only designed for the car. You don’t even “just” go somewhere or ride a bike. This enabled me to rent a car from the best Mexican you can meet. I developed a real friendship with Chicho, his family and his friends. Everyone is incredibly warm and loves foreign students. You can rely on this family in any situation. Friends got stranded on the way to Las Vegas and he personally drove there and picked them up – without charging anything in return. I can only warmly recommend everyone to contact them for a car or advice!
When it comes to free time, California is great – if you have a car. There are incredibly beautiful beaches, visits to all kinds of amusement parks, trips to San Francisco (Pacific Coast Highway!!!), Las Vegas, San Diego, national parks, cinemas, Beverly Hills, shopping malls and much more. If you have cleverly arranged your courses so that the weekend is a little longer, you can really do a lot. As local activities, I can also recommend the gym on campus, which is very large and well equipped, and the Titan Student Union, which has its own bowling alley, among other things. I can also highly recommend looking for international friends, because with them you get a very personal insight into food cultures etc. In addition to a few German and American friends, I mainly dealt with Asians and Arabs. This allows you to experience California from a different perspective.
All in all, I can wholeheartedly recommend this university and everything around it, and I’m already considering doing my master’s degree there. I don’t know anyone from my semester who isn’t homesick for California. I can only say: Enjoy it!