University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I started contacting CoCo about 1 year before. The location of the university and the large business area were decisive factors, which is why I finally chose CalState Fullerton. On the CoCo homepage you can actually see quite clearly which documents are required and which steps are to be taken one after the other. First of all, a consultation question must be asked and the information package requested. You will then be assigned to an advisor who will take really good care of you and can be reached at any time if you have any questions or other matters. Here again a huge thank you to dear Anja, without her help none of this would have been possible! An important document is the language certificate. I have to say that I did the TOEFL, but there is also a much cheaper option. If, for example, you have already taken a C1 English course at your home university or, like us, you can take one voluntarily every semester, there is the possibility of having this recognized. There is a ‘DAAD language certificate’ form online for this purpose. This is sufficient and costs nothing. Check iamaccepted.com to see Mahidol University study abroad opportunities.
I stayed at Streams Apartment. Approximately 10 mins by bike from CSUF and 2 mins from Target. We arrived 1 week before and looked for accommodation on site. It sounds very risky at first, but I think it’s really easier and better to look for accommodation on the spot. We really signed our contract on the same day and were then able to move in on Monday. The apartment was great. 2 floors, open kitchen, huge living room, walk-in closet and pool. But there were also numerous other apartments close to CSUF : El Dorado, Lake, Monteclaire, Moonraker, Greenhouse, La Villita… So see if you like something before going to University Village or University House. The prices there are really 2-3 times as much.
Where should I start here? The land without borders! Well I can honestly tell you it was worth every penny. The country is just so huge and has so much to offer. Of course, one semester isn’t enough to explore all the places, but I think I was able to see quite a lot in that time. Make the best use of your time and start traveling early, time really flies. Unfortunately, I can’t go into detail about every place now, otherwise I would still write next year, but you can write to me at any time if you want more information.
A few words about Fullerton. It’s a small town, but I felt quite comfortable here. It’s very central so it’s pretty easy to get everywhere and the city really has everything you need. I bought a bike there and actually rode somewhere every day. You can get everywhere really quickly by bike. My apartment was close to Target, but Albertson, Ralphs, Smart&Finals or the Mexican Northgate Markets were also close by. Please be prepared that groceries are much more expensive there than here in Germany. But the cheapest place to get fruit and vegetables is at the Mexican. There is also a 99ct store where you can get almost anything for a dollar. Unlike here, groceries are also sold there. In fact, you can find everything there but always pay attention to the durability! If you want to go shopping, the nearest mall is Brea Mall. You can get there by bus for free, takes about 15 minutes. Where to eat in Fullerton? Now comes my specialty. So I can recommend you: Chipotle (Mexican $6-7), Curry Hat (Indian $6-8 huge portion), Chomp (always had All-You-Can-Eat on Thursdays, but unfortunately not anymore), Pizza Press (§8 Pizza to prove yourself).
Los Angeles is also a 30-minute ride from Fullerton on the Metrolink ($6.50) or Amtrak ($12). I think I’ve been to Los Angeles at least 3 times a week. My absolute favorite place: Downtown LA! The city really has so much to offer. It also has the very best sushi (Octopus Japanese Restaurant), the best donuts (California Donuts) and the most beautiful neighborhoods (Art District, Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo). So if I’m good at something, it’s eating well. So if you need tips, I don’t think I did anything but eat. If you miss the German Bratwurst, I can recommend the ‘Wurstküche’ in the Art District DTLA. Of course, I was also on Hollywood Boulevard. However, this is more of a tourist street, of course you have to see it once, but otherwise there is nothing spectacular. There is a great all-you-can-eat restaurant ‘Vegas Seafood’ near Madame Tussaud. Try that. For $20 you really get everything from the Mongolian grill, sushi, crab legs, steaks, fries to a salad bar, fruit bar and frozen yogurt.
As you may have read in the other reports, a car is unfortunately a must-have in the USA in order to get anywhere. In the beginning we used Uber very often – cheaper than a taxi, of course, but still expensive in the long run. We didn’t buy a car but rented one for a few weekends or for a few weeks. There are really good deals there. I rented a car for 3 weeks over Christmas and drove to a different city every day, really the best thing I could have done. And don’t worry, driving isn’t as difficult over there as it is here. What I can really, really recommend you, where you absolutely have to go, are the national parks. You don’t know anything like that here. It is really so indescribable and overwhelming what nature has to offer.
Where I’ve all been: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, New York, Las Vegas, Joshua Tree National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, Valley of Fire State Park, Death Valley National Park, Laguna Beach, Zuma Beach, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Coronado Beach, Beverly Hills.
In the end, all I can really say is that it was the best time of my life. I met so many lovely, open people. Traveled to many places and learned so much. During my last month there, I tried to get to know the culture a little better by doing volunteering. I can only recommend everyone. So it really depends on how you use your time, but use it now. I’m back in Germany, but I’m still dreaming my dream. If everything goes well, I’ll be doing an internship in the States next month. keep your fingers crossed for me.