University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business Informatics
Study type: semester abroad
This report reflects my personal experiences during my semester abroad at California State University Fullerton and serves as a guide for future exchange students. Check iamaccepted.com to see California State University Long Beach study abroad opportunities.
Preparation for the stay abroad
SELECTION OF THE HOST UNIVERSITY
The Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University in Stuttgart offered numerous universities to choose from for the fourth semester abroad. I was able to rule out many of these in advance because I wanted to travel to an English-speaking country to improve my language skills. Ultimately, I decided to spend my semester abroad in California. In addition to California State University Fullerton (CSU Fullerton), there were also CSU San Marcos and CSU San Bernardino to select. I chose CSUF because it has a fairly large campus with over 40,000 students and the business and management departments have a very good reputation. I also liked the location of the university – about an hour away from Los Angeles. After I had made this decision and received the confirmation from my employer, I officially registered my stay abroad at the DHBW.
Application PROCESS TO CSUF AND PAYMENT OF STUDY FEES
The application process at CSUF went pretty smoothly. Since the DHBW is not directly connected to the CSUF, the support for the application process and the preparation is handled by MicroEdu in Münster. This is an agency that specializes in preparing semesters abroad in the USA. Every DHBW applicant can use this service free of charge. The employees are always friendly and competent and happy to help with any questions you may have regarding the semester abroad.
The first step in preparation was to take the appropriate language test and reach the required language level. In addition to TOEFL and IELTS, the CSUF also accepts the DAAD language test, which was offered for €10 as part of my English course in the third semester. The language level to be reached is B2.
After the first necessary documents were available, I first had to apply to the University of California for the University Semester Abroad Program. The application fee was around $100. The application was checked in advance by MicroEdu for completeness and then forwarded to CSUF. Payment is by credit card.
After a few weeks I got the written confirmation for my semester abroad at CSUF. Attached was a guide from MicroEdu that explains the next steps to prepare pretty well.
After being officially accepted into the program, I also received emails from CSUF’s University Semester Abroad (USA) office. These e-mails remind you of important preparation steps and all required documents. A pre-selection of the courses was made in September/October 2016. However, this is only a pre-selection and does not mean that you will definitely get the selected courses.
A few weeks before the start of the USA program, CSUF will host a preparatory webinar that will re-explain the key steps and provide an opportunity to ask questions.
Passport, visa, a vaccination certificate against MMR (the vaccination certificate with a suitable stamp is completely sufficient here) and the payment confirmation from Wells Fargo insurance had to be presented on site. Spring 2017 tuition was $5,600 and could be paid either in advance by bank transfer or on-site by credit card or check.
In terms of insurance, the wells fargo insurance health insurance required by CSUF had to be purchased. The university does not accept any other insurance.
For a stay in the USA, an application for an F-1 visa is necessary. In addition, the passport must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of entry.
The visa application process is carried out via the websites specified in the guide. In addition to the visa costs, which are $160, an additional $200 SEVIS fee must be paid. The interview will take place in person in Frankfurt, Munich or Berlin. The officer asked me two questions: 1. What do you want to do in the USA? 2. How can you finance this? The interview will be conducted in English. After a successful application, the passport will be kept and sent to your address after one to two days by post including the visa and I-20 document.
FLIGHT AND TRANSPORT TO ACCOMMODATION
The destination airport to get to Fullerton is LAX in Los Angeles. Upon arrival, the entry documents will be checked and the visa will be confirmed. To get from Los Angeles to Fullerton, I use the Supershuttle service, which costs between $20 and $40 depending on the number of people. Alternatively, an Uber / Lyft can be ordered for collection. I would not recommend traveling by train as the only connection to Fullerton is from Union Station and the Fullerton train station is also a few minutes by car from the campus.
The CSUF website lists some housing options. In addition to applying for homestay or looking for accommodation privately, there is the option of purchasing a room on campus or applying to University Housing or the University Village. I chose to rent the smallest room in University Village (UV). Located 5 minutes from the north side of campus, UV offers a room in a shared 3-bed dorm and two meals per weekday in the Dining Hall, which is located on campus, for $995 per month. There is also a pool and a recreation center, which can be used by all residents.
Looking back, I’m happy with that decision and can only recommend University Village for a semester abroad.
Studies in the host country
The college is located in Fullerton, California. Los Angeles is about 1-2 hours by car.
In the following section I would like to go into the buildings on campus that I have visited particularly often. The buildings on the campus are divided into study departments. The newest building, in which the business and management courses take place, is called Mihaylo. Within this building is a Starbucks restaurant and student seating. There is also a library and the TSU Student Center. TSU’s basement has pool tables and a bowling alley, which is free for students to use on Thursday nights. Furthermore, as a University Semester Abroad student, you have the opportunity to purchase a gym membership for an additional $200 for one semester and thus use all courses and training opportunities. The sports fields regularly host Titans baseball and basketball games. There’s also the TSU Shop, which sells Titans merchandise, snacks, and books for the semester.
The entire campus has wifi.
Overall, it’s a really nice campus that offers plenty of recreational activities to enjoy between classes.
CourseS AND LECTURES
This section lists the courses I have taken, including a description of the quality of the teaching and a short review of the instructor.
At the beginning I would like to go into the organization of the choice of course, as this is not always easy. After the courses have been pre-selected, the USA students will be informed a few days after they have officially enrolled at the university and paid their tuition fees via the online portal Titanium in which of these courses they have been enrolled. Getting all four courses was the exception rather than the rule. If required courses are missing, class crashing must be completed in the following two weeks. This means that you come into the class at the beginning of the desired course and ask the lecturer to allocate a place on the course for an international student. Since many courses are already full at this time, it is not easy to get the courses you want.
Here is an overview of the courses I have taken:
- ACCT 301A: Intermediate Accounting
- ISDS 402: Database Systems
- ISDS 409: Business Telecommunications
- MGMT 444: Project Management
The next section describes each course in more detail.
ACCT 301A—Intermediate Accounting
The Intermediate Accounting course was a challenge for me personally at the beginning of the semester, since the accounting system taught in the USA is different from that in Germany. In addition, I first had to acquire the complete accounting vocabulary in order to be able to follow the course. After overcoming this first hurdle, the course is doable with a little practice. This course consisted of a three-hour lecture that took place once a week. For the lessons, homework had to be made from the accompanying book every week and a short quiz had to be written at the beginning of each lesson. There were also two midterm exams and a final at the end of the semester. A writing assignment was also included in the evaluation.
ISDS 402 – Database Systems
Since I had already had a lecture on database systems at the DHBW in the third semester, this course was more or less just a repetition for me. There was also a group project that had to be presented at the end of the course. Unfortunately, I did not get a Database Systems course at the Fullerton campus due to the course allocation. But since this was required by the DHBW, I had to attend the course at the Irvine campus, which is about 45 minutes away by car. Even upon request at the University Semester Abroad Office, it was not possible to free up a place on another course. However, without a car, the Irvine campus is difficult to access and the price for a day parking ticket is $8. In conclusion, I would like to say that the subject matter is fine and the students
ISDS 409 – Business Telecommunications
In the course of this course, the OSI and the Internet model were taught and, based on this, the different network types were discussed. There were regular online quizzes, two midterms, a final exam and a small group project.
MGMT 444 – Project Management
This course was very interesting and consisted half of a group project. Unfortunately, the requirements for the tasks during the group project were sometimes a bit unclear and unstructured. I am satisfied that I chose this course because I like the subject. The grade consisted of the group project, two midterm exams, a final and regular online quizzes.
Stay in the host country
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES AND IMPRESSIONS
The people of California are very friendly. Small talk is mostly done with everyone.
The national parks in California, Utah and Arizona are beautiful and definitely worth a visit.
In California, getting to the destinations you want without a car is quite a hassle. There is an option to use the bus within Orange County, which is cheap at $2 a ride. Unfortunately, the journeys take quite a long time. Bus services aside, Uber and Lyft are the best ways to get to certain locations without your own car.
It makes too much sense to buy a bicycle to get to class. The walk from the UV to the classroom building can take up to 25 minutes.
Practical tips for new Titans
Points are awarded for each sporting event attended by a student. These can be exchanged for Titan merchandise in TSU.
Free bowling at TSU every Thursday night.
Every other Thursday night, a club screens relatively new movies at the TSU theater.
When signing up for a new service like Uber, Ubereats, Lyft, etc., there are often codes that can save you some money.
The books can be purchased or rented from the Titans Shop. Be sure to compare the prices with Amazon beforehand, as they are often cheaper there.
Personal evaluation of the stay at the host university and in the host country
I’m glad I made the decision to do my semester abroad at CSUF in California. I was able to improve my English, made a lot of new friends and saw an incredible amount of California. The highlights were my trips to the national parks. I highly recommend anyone thinking about studying at CSUF to apply and enjoy your time there.