California State University Fullerton Review (9)

University: California State University Fullerton

City: Fullerton

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: computer science

Study type: semester abroad

California State University Fullerton Review (9)


A semester abroad was never really on my to-do list. The only thing I thought as a real Swabian was “that’s way too expensive”. And yes, it is actually very expensive. The tuition fees alone at the CSU Fullerton are almost €5200. There are also additional costs for housing, food, activities, etc. However, many of my friends had already completed a semester abroad and I heard exactly the same statement from each individual: “It’s worth it”. So I finally decided to put my concerns aside and headed to America for a semester abroad to apply. However, this required a lot of paperwork and preparation . Starting with the application at the partner university to applying for the visa, flight, etc. The application is made through College Contact GmbH, the employees there take over the direct communication with the CSUF and make it relatively easy. It is still time-consuming. I also applied for BAföG and ultimately received some grants, despite my income. You still get money from BAföG, especially for health insurance, flight and tuition fees -Government office. When packing for the semester abroad, I can only advise you not to take too much with you. You can easily buy most things on site. Only the standard equipment of clothes and hygiene items were sufficient for me. Thicker jackets can also be safely left at home. A few weeks before the start of the semester, I received a link from CSUF, which I can use to specify the courses you want for the semester. Since the Learning Agreement between the DHBW and CSUF is specified, you do not have a free choice as far as the courses are concerned. However, there are alternative courses for most courses. See jibin123 for Semester Abroad In Vancouver Island University.

Studied at CSUF

On the day the semester officially started, we were invited to the introductory event for exchange students and semester abroad students. There we were then provided with all the important information for the coming semester. In addition, ” class crashing ” is also described. Even though I did all my courses online before the start of the semester had specified, I only got two of them in the end. The CSUF system states that all US students are considered for the courses first. Only then will international students be considered. Others were less fortunate and didn’t even get the courses they wanted. Unfortunately, this system doesn’t get better with the crashing. Ultimately, you have to check in the online portal which courses still have space and appear in person and ask for a signature. Even if a course is already full, you can still try it. However, an American student could still take your place even if you already have a signature, as these are still prioritized higher. Additional to that, that international students have to pay double the tuition fees. In addition, the courses from the DHBW were not coordinated with the CSUF, which is why we did not get a course even though we had a signature because the previous knowledge according to the CSUF was not fulfilled. In the end we all managed to get into the required courses. Unfortunately, we had to go to the Irvin campus, 30 km away, for a course every week, which in the end wasn’t too bad. Incidentally, at California State University Fullerton, international students are not given preferential treatment, as is sometimes the case at other universities. I was graded just like any other student. Therefore it is also important that your English is at least on a good level.


This is the first of two Intermediate Accounting courses at CSUF. This was specified by the DHBW and there were no alternatives to it. Only students whose main subject is accounting sit in the course. Furthermore, the accounting system in the USA is different from the one we know from Germany. So not good conditions. The parallels to the accounting course I had already completed at the DHBW in the first semester were nevertheless clearly visible. Although the system is different, it can be easily derived since the basic principles are very similarare. The book that was needed here cost 200 USD. Such prices are unfortunately normal in the USA and since it is a new book there were no used books available either. In the end I only used the book for the exercises. The texts are much too detailed for my taste and difficult to understand, especially for non-accountants. By doing my homework and exercises regularly, I was ultimately able to achieve a very satisfactory result in this course. However, it involved some learning curve. In total there were 12 homework, 7 quizzes, two midterms and one final. Another tip: Be sure to check before you enroll in a course. The right professor can decide on B or A.

MGMT 444

Over 50% of the grade in this course is made up of a large group projecttogether. For this you will be thrown together with random fellow students. It is about the complete execution of a classic project. Unfortunately not in the IT area but aimed at normal project management. Here the quizzes are not solved in class, but online from home with a time limit. The learning effort for the subject was limited. Here the focus was more on the group project. At the end, the complete project folder must be handed in and a presentation must be given. Incidentally, the Americans have a completely different idea of ​​such a presentation than we are used to here. Everyone comes in their best suits and distributes food, wine, etc. during the presentation. Just like a real presentation in front of the customer.

ISDS 409

Admittedly, our teacher in this subject was quite a slouch. His class material was totally outdated, his lectures were boring, and his quizzes and exams weren’t challenging at all. Of course, what is particularly annoying here is that you theoretically pay over 1300 € for it. Here it was allowed to bring a four-page “cheat sheet” to the exams. Of course, we could then print pretty much the entire material on it and then had it with us in the test. I already knew most of the topics that were dealt with from the DHBW. There was also a group project here, but this only accounted for 10% of the overall grade. Most of the time, the charges were only effective work of 1-2 hours, so it wasn’t that bad.

ISDS 402

This is where the big difference between the American and European study systems became apparent. Instead of trying out a little bit of SQL myself, several weeks were spent just on the theory of database systems. As a result, most students found it very difficult to actually use SQL later in the lectures. Thanks to our previous knowledge of the DHBW, this turned out to be very easy for us. There was a quiz at the beginning of each lecture. As a result, the professor “forces” you to read the book, so to speak. However, the quizzes are “open book”, meaning that you can use your book during the quiz. As a result, it is often only a matter of how effectively you can search in the book, rather than knowledge. Reading each chapter takes about two hours on average. Here, too, it was allowed to use a cheat sheet. Since the exams consist of 80% recycled questions from previous semesters, you can easily get all the questions from the internet and copy them onto the cheat sheet. Only the group project in this subject turned out to be challenging. Here you have to plan and implement a database. But as in everyoneIn the USA, too, there are usually a few people who do more and a few people in group projects. who do little or nothing. You just have to be lucky with the selection.

Stay in California

I took a SuperShuttle from LAX airport to Fullerton, which I booked online in advance. It cost about 45 €, will be cheaper if you are several travelers. I chose University Village to live in . The UV is an apartment complex consisting of approximately 120 individual apartments, each with three different rooms. I went for the smallest room and paid $995 per month. That’s quite a lot, but worth every penny, more on that in a moment. Meals in the canteen are included in the price. This is the “hotspot” of all students, so to speak. Every morning, noon and evening, the entire population of the UV meets here. This gives you the opportunity to make contact with others very quickly. I can only recommend that you approach other people openly. Every meal is a chance for you to meet new people and find like-minded people. In addition, the UV has a liberal attitude towards parties, or rules in general, so perfect for students.

Unfortunately, a car is a must in the USA. Either you always rent a car when you want to go on a trip, or you have friends with a car, or you buy one yourself. I also bought a car right at the beginning, I can only recommend “Standard Auto” in Fullerton. Go there and ask for “Chicho”. Tell Chicho he was recommended to you by students from previous semesters and I’m sure he’ll treat you pretty well. Check the car carefully before you buy it and tell Chicho what needs to be repaired before you take it with you. He will also help you with registering your car, insurance, etc. He will also repair the car completely free of charge within the first 30 days of purchase if something breaks. We dealt with Chicho a lot during the semester and also for Vegas, San Francisco etc. rented a car very cheap. We later went to a bar with his friends and had lunch with him. At the end of the semester I was able to sell the car again without any problems.

Since the lectures and homework don’t take up too much time, we still had some time for activities. Here’s his list of things we did during our stay: Laguna Beach, San Diego, Las Vegas, Huntington Beach, San Francisco, Newport Beach, several festivals, and, and, and… Above all, being open-minded, helps enormously in discovering this country. Here you do things that you might not necessarily have done in Germany. So-called “Naysayers” are completely out of place in California, the more you try everything the country has to offer, the more fun you will have in the end. One of my highlights was a festivalat a secluded forest campground and of course Las Vegas.

  • Laguna Beach: Very nice beach area. Walking along the beaches and crossing the rocky sections you can discover some cool spots. There are, for example, hidden “pools” in the rock.
  • Venice Beach: LA’s cultural beach section. Here you can recognize many things from various films. Go here on a warm day as it is very windy there.
  • Las Vegas: Exactly how you imagine it. A big city in the middle of the desert with one casino next to the other. German parties are a joke compared to the parties there. And you should have played blackjack or poker in Vegas at least once in your life.
  • San Francisco: Definitely worth a weekend visit. Many sights and a unique flair throughout the city. Silicon Valley and Stanford University are not far away.
  • San Diego : Located right on the border with Mexico, it’s always worth a visit. In addition to the numerous beaches, the area shines above all with its nature. There you will find numerous beautiful campsites.

Another very important tip from me: avoid Germans! I know it’s just “comfortable” when you’re not alone at the beginning and can quickly get in touch with other Germans. But you didn’t fly to the USA to speak German there. If you have also decided on the UV, you can also note in your application that you would like to have international roommates if possible. You won’t regret it, just be open to others and try to get to know as many international/american students as possible, then the rest will come naturally. Of course you will also find German friends, which is cool too, but the majority shouldn’t be made up of that in my opinion.


At the end of the semester I was not only able to look back on the best months of my life, but also on many new friendships that have solidified over time. Time has shown me that there is much more than what we know from Germany and Europe. Even a holiday in a foreign country cannot be compared to a stay of several months. You have to experience it yourself to understand it. The semester opened my eyes in many ways and expanded my personality. If it is somehow financially possible for you, even if you have to take out a loan for it, do it. If you have any questions about the semester abroad at CSUF, feel free to contact me.

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