University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
One semester at California State University Fullerton (CSUF)
When it started in early August 2010 and I was finally on the plane to the USA, I could hardly believe that I had such a long time abroad ahead of me! Unfortunately, that time passed very quickly… Check existingcountries.com to see University of California Riverside Review.
As I said, at the beginning of August I set out to start my semester abroad at CSUF. Since the first day of the unit was on August 21, 2010, I had enough time to take care of other organizational things such as housing, car, etc.
One of the first things I wanted to organize in the USA was a car: because of the distances, I didn’t think I could get anywhere without a car. In addition, I not only had studying on my schedule, but also a lot, a lot of traveling & discovering – nothing easier than by car : -).
I was very fortunate that a host family that I was able to get from San Diego 5 years ago gave me a lot of support in finding a car. Since renting was clearly too expensive for me, I took a lot of extra money with me to buy a car and sell it in the end. However, the idea sounded easier than the actual implementation was: numerous car dealers of the most dubious kind were just waiting to sell me their car for impossible, far too high prices. After a week I finally settled on a nice used car from a private seller for $3600.
After I had a car, the first thing I wanted to do was enroll at the university. Everyone here was very, very friendly – I was very surprised, all the employees in the International Student Office were also very helpful. The office often has offers for people who have not yet organized an apartment from home – including me.
I stayed at the Homestead Apartments (www.rentthehomestead.com). The apartment complex is about a 20-minute walk from the campus. I stayed in a small studio with my boyfriend and we also had access to a pool, jacuzzi and fitness center on site. Living in the apartments was a bit like a holiday resort, but I had nothing to complain about – apart from the sometimes very unfriendly staff – about the apartment.
The university life
The university is very large and there are numerous places to eat directly on campus (Carl’s Jr) and there is even a Starbucks right in the business building, the SGMH. In addition to the many baseball, basketball, etc. fields, there is also a large fitness studio on campus, the Recreation Center! The “Rec Center” was incredibly great: from a climbing wall to squash, basketball courts and an outdoor pool, there was really everything here and the entire Rec Center is only a few years old! It was definitely worth registering here for a few months (25USD/month)!
“Crashing” courses was ultimately much easier than expected: since the university collects a list of desired courses from everyone in advance, they try to make everything possible – and it usually worked out for everyone! I took 4 courses: two in Management (Staffing & International Business and Management) and two in Economics/VWL (Macroeconomics & International Economy). The lectures were all in groups of up to 30 people and are very much based on the so-called “text book”. I was very shocked in the first lectures because I had to buy the textbook for almost every subject – and the price of each book was 80-200 USD! Incredibly expensive, but for many subjects I absolutely needed the book, since the exams came from the book.
With my 4 lectures Monday to Thursday from 1: 00 a.m. to 3: 45 p.m. I had enough time to discover the beautiful sides of California:
Fullerton & Surroundings
Fullerton doesn’t really have much to offer, but of course Los Angeles (30-45 minutes away by car) has beautiful beaches (Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach). You should definitely take a surfing lesson here – preferably in Laguna Beach!
For the long weekends you should take trips like San Francisco, Highway no. 1, Santa Barbara, Las Vegas (4 hours by car), Grand Canyon (do it absolutely!!!), Death Valley. San Diego is also just a 90 minute drive from Fullerton.
In November the university was closed for a week – Thanksgiving Week – and I used the time for a trip to Hawaii. It was beautiful and I got to know a completely different side of the USA – a dream! If you look for flights in good time, you can even get good deals.
All in all, I had a really great semester at CSUF, with lots and lots of sun (even in November it was sometimes up to 29 degrees!), not too much study and lots of great moments & people!
Fullerton was just perfect for me – sort of in the middle and close enough to all places to visit -.