University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
It was clear to me early on that I wanted to do a semester abroad during my studies. I decided to do the semester abroad in the 5th semester. Since I was unfortunately unable to do a semester abroad through my university, I searched on Google and very quickly became aware of MicroEdu. Check iamaccepted.com to see California State University Los Angeles study abroad opportunities.
So now I had to decide: where do I want to go?! It was already clear that it should be the USA. When I saw that MicroEdu offered a large number of universities in California, I decided on California. Ultimately, Fullerton came about because of the many reports, all of which were very positive, and because the tuition was very low in comparison. The proximity to LA was another point.
Then the application process began. There is a lot of paperwork, but with a bit of order and perseverance it can be mastered quite well. In my opinion, the most difficult part was filling out the visa application online. At the embassy, everything went relatively quickly and very easily. Since I had forgotten the proof from my bank, I had to send it on. A few days later I had my passport with visa in the mailbox. By the way, I didn’t take a TOEFL test, but the DAAD test at my university, which is free.
MicroEdu gave me a lot of information about the university and also about the accommodation options. I went straight to the University Village (UV) because it was the easiest and I didn’t want to look around for a long time. In addition, the UV is right next to the university and you get 10 meals a week in the associated canteen.
I booked my flight to LA about 5 months before I flew. I booked a direct flight, which I am very happy about. The 12 hour flight was already very long and after that you still have to enter the country. Baggage pick-up and immigration easily take another 2 hours.
When I arrived in LA, I took the Super Shuttle, which I booked from home beforehand (but it really isn’t necessary!), to my hotel in Placentia. I stayed at the Best Western Hotel for two days and then moved to the UV a week before the start of the university.
Once there, I was brought to my apartment by a Resident Advisor (RA) and was then able to settle in. You live with 2 to 3 other people in an apartment, like in a shared flat. There are single and double rooms. I had the small single room which I really liked. Since there is nothing in the rooms apart from a bed, a bedside table, a desk and a wardrobe, the large rooms quickly appear very empty. I quickly felt very comfortable in my room. I was staying with an American girl and a Korean girl. I am very glad that I chose the UV for living. Even if the food becomes very monotonous after just 1 month (Chicken & Rice – every day.) In my opinion it is the best alternative. At that time, a total of around 20-30 Germans lived in the UV. That sounds like a lot. But you quickly come into contact with the Americans or other internationals during the various activities that are offered. Our group consisted of about 10 people from 5 nations. So in the end you always spoke English, even if there were Germans there.
Choosing a course at the university was not easy. I had already chosen 4 courses from home, which I actually got all of them. However, that was not in my account, which you create on the university homepage. So I spent some time looking for new courses and crashing them. In the end I had the following courses:
- business writing
- intro To Social Sciences
- international marketing
The university in the USA is very different from the German university. It was a big adjustment to suddenly get verbal grades again and to have compulsory attendance. In addition, the profs also publish a great deal. Several chapters, often over 20 pages long, have to be read for each lesson. There are also assignments, quizzes and presentations. So you definitely won’t get bored;)
Besides the university you still have enough free time. I would definitely recommend joining the gym. Not only because of the great desserts that are available at TGI, for example;) but also because you simply have to experience training in a gym like this. The treadmills and elliptical machines have TVs and ventilation. There are many different courses (zumba, kickboxing, hip hop, yoga etc.), a climbing wall, you can swim, play squash, basketball and so on. The cost is $25 per month and Monday contracts are also available.
We also made two trips to San Francisco (you really need a lot of time here!), were in Las Vegas and in San Diego and of course on the different beaches, as well as in LA. If you don’t want to buy a car, you can’t avoid renting one. Otherwise it is impossible to get anywhere.
Other tips / experiences
A car is also very useful in everyday life. For example, the trip to the mall only takes 10 minutes. It doesn’t take much longer by bus, but since it only runs once an hour, there are often long waiting times, especially on the way back. Shopping is also much more pleasant by car.
If you know someone who stayed at the UV before you, ask if they can leave a few things for you. We had to throw away so many things before we left because the apartments had to be completely empty that were still in good order (dishes, pots, hangers, etc.).
Bikes can be hired at UV. You should definitely do it. But you have to be quick here! The cost was about $25 for the semester.
The German driver’s license, for example, is often not recognized in the supermarket. So you should either apply for a California ID or have your passport with you. There are also various Preferred Cards (free of charge) with which you can save a lot of money when shopping.
The time in Fullerton was really great and after a few weeks I regretted only being there for one semester. I would come back again and again!