University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
The California State University Fullerton offers the possibility to choose modules of the course in advance, which means that crediting at my university could be guaranteed. That was one of the main reasons why I chose this university location. However, this option is only offered to international Master’s students. In the bachelor’s degree, the usual “course crashing” principle applies, which is also the case at most other universities in America can be found. In the case of “course crashing”, the courses are assigned in the first few weeks of the university and you have to ask the lecturer personally whether participation in the course is possible. But I still had the option of changing my courses if they didn’t meet my expectations. See educationvv for University of California Los Angeles Exchange Program.
I also chose California State University Fullerton because it has a good reputation in business and especially in accounting. In addition, the tuition fees are low compared to other universities in the United States at around 5,000 euros.
Preparation and organization
Before my semester abroad, I quite underestimated the associated organizational tasks. I started organizing half a year earlier and can only advise everyone to start early. Because problems often arise unexpectedly and then need to be solved. You should also find out about possible scholarships at your home university early enough and keep special deadlines in mind. Since California State University Fullerton was not a partner university of my home university, I organized my semester abroad independently as a so-called “freemover”. I also used MicroEdu’s free help with the application process.
MicroEdu provides the applicant with a checklist of necessary documents and application steps for the application process. In addition, the employees read about my letter of motivation, which was necessary for the application, and gave me feedback. When all the documents have been compiled, the employees also look over the entire file again and make sure that no important document is missing. If you have any questions, you can always contact the staff.
After the application process and the positive confirmation, I then took care of my visa. The visa must be applied for online (MicroEdu also provides a step-by-step process for applying for a visa). A personal appointment at the American Embassy in Berlin is then necessary in order to receive your visa. The appointment is called an “interview” on the website, but there are hardly any questions asked and it is more harmless than it sounds at first glance. Sufficient time should still be scheduled (at least 2 hours), as I had to wait a relatively long time for my application despite an appointment. The actual “interview” lasts a maximum of 5 minutes.
The organization of a room near the university is difficult and was one of the most time-consuming planning tasks of the semester abroad. Especially as an international student you have to be particularly careful, because additional fees are lurking everywhere in the small print, renting study apartments is a lucrative source of income for local providers. I chose the UCA apartment which was located opposite the university. There I moved in with two other German students I met on Facebook. The reason for this was that it is difficult to establish contact with Americans for a short period of time and from Germany. But in the end I was happy to live with Germans because they were in the same situation as me. Of course one speaks less the English language, Living and studying costs work and therefore have no time for leisure activities.
A single room here costs around 1000 euros a month. For this reason I decided to share a room with someone, which is definitely tolerable for the period. Another problem is that there are hardly any half-year contracts for renting a room or an apartment. Therefore, it is common to conclude an annual rental agreement and look for a new tenant after six months. Finding a new tenant is also not that easy and is also a financial risk that should be taken into account. Personally, I would not enter into another annual contract, although I have found a new tenant. For this reason, I advise you to apply for a room in good time, because there is sometimes a quota for half-year rental contracts or the possibility
In order to be able to study at California State University Fullerton, health insurance must be taken out through the university, but this hardly covers any benefits. Therefore, additional information should be obtained from your own health insurance company about the coverage of services abroad. For example, I only had to pay an additional amount of 8 euros a year to include foreign benefits in my German health insurance. In addition, vaccinations against hepatitis A and B are required and the university requires a “mumps, measles, rubella” vaccination in order to be allowed to attend classes at all.
The possibility of a semester off should also be considered in advance. I didn’t decide to take a semester off because I wanted to take exams after my semester. One advantage of taking a semester off is that the semester is not officially counted and there are no tuition fees at your home university.
In addition, I financed my semester abroad with a partial Promos scholarship and the rest with my own savings. If you lack your own financial means, foreign BAföG is one way to finance the semester abroad in America, since this is independent of parents and is calculated according to the respective living costs of the respective country. In addition, most of the tuition fees are covered. Another tip to save money: The tuition fees should definitely be paid on site, this can save around 200-300 euros in fees. The university usually advises to transfer the tuition fees in advance, but this actually involves significantly higher fees.
Studies: Which courses did I take?
The course itself is definitely much more practice-oriented than in Germany. Because of my focus, I decided to do the master’s course in auditing. My other two courses were Team Leadership Skills and Leadership Dynamics. I chose this because the course description was very much focused on interactions and presentations and I hoped to improve my English and my communication skills there. In retrospect, I am very happy with my choice of course.
In auditing I got an insight into the legal regulations of American accounting and auditing. In particular, I got to know accounting rules according to US GAAP and was able to build up an accounting and auditing vocabulary.
Team Leadership Skills
In Team Leadership Skills, I was allowed to take part in a practice consulting project in which we as a group helped a company to solve a specific company problem through our proposed solutions. The group work with Americans, the presentation of the project and the project itself were a great experience. The module also improved my language skills and my presentation skills in English.
The Leadership Dynamics class was also a great and new experience, in this class our professor used different leadership styles when interacting with us and we had the opportunity to experience them first hand. We also did a lot of role-playing games and had to write analyses. In this subject, my English writing skills were particularly challenged and improved. The many interactions in the class made it easy to build friendships through shared experiences in the classroom.
Overall, studying in America is more interactive and it’s easier to make friends, which I personally thought was great. In addition, the relationship with the professor is different and more personal than in Germany and reminds me more of the relationship with the class teacher at school. Overall, I would say that the structures in America, based on my experience, are definitely more academic than in Germany.
Everyday life and free time
I had 3 hours of lessons three times a week in the evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. At first I was not used to going to university in the evenings, but I quickly got used to it. In America, it’s common to have classes in the evenings because most Americans have to work during the day to pay for college. However, the university takes a lot of time because there are many presentations, homework, submissions, mid-terms or tests. One advantage is that you continuously do something for the university throughout the semester and not everything comes to you at the end of the semester.
If you are already studying on the west coast of America, it is of course also a good idea to explore the surrounding area. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and San Diego are definitely worth seeing and national parks such as Yosemite or Joshua Tree National Park are easily accessible by car and are recommended. If you still have some savings left, you can still make a detour to Mexico or Hawaii, since the flights from Los Angeles are relatively cheap.
My best experiences were definitely the interactions with the people I got to know during my stay abroad and I even formed some friendships that I believe will last longer.
I would definitely recommend my semester abroad! Even if such a semester abroad is quite expensive (you should plan 15,000 euros), it was worth every cent in my opinion. I would do my semester abroad at the same university again, because I thought the location in Fullerton was great, the campus was nice, the weather was perfect and overall I liked the environment and life there.