University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: social sciences
Study type: semester abroad
Around November, I decided to do a semester abroad and applied via MicroEdu at the beginning of January. MicroEdu helped me a lot because you don’t actually get in touch with the university itself, everything is handled through MicroEdu. So everything worked out very well and then, after the tiresome visa procedure in August, things started! Check existingcountries.com to see University of California Berkeley Review.
The university is very beautiful, you feel like you are in a movie! I also liked the lessons much better than in Germany. The classes are very small (up to 20 people) and the professors know you and also make grades for your participation. In addition, you regularly have homework, essays, projects, etc. But I found it very interesting and if you have good subjects, even that is fun! The grades are made up of many small grades, which is why it doesn’t matter if you’re not so good at the beginning. You can usually understand everything very well right from the start! The campus is big, but after a few days everything really becomes very organized and the many palm trees and green spaces remind you that you are in California!
I’m studying social economics and therefore had quite a large selection of subjects: I took:
Criminology (SOCI 411)
A very interesting subject, the professor is also very nice and dedicated! You learn an incredible amount about the history of criminology, known criminals, theories and prisons or penal systems in the USA.
Workload: 6 small essays, 1 larger group project with homework and presentation, 1 exam
Politics and Policymaking in America ( POSC 315)
I would almost say that was my favorite subject, even if it was the hardest! The professor is awesome, a very nice but also determined woman, for whom it is very important that her students learn something for life. And so have I! Don’t be put off if she advises you not to attend her course at the beginning, it’s not that easy, I didn’t do that much for it either, mainly because I sometimes didn’t quite understand the books, but I have every exam passed and it was really very interesting (you suddenly understand so much of what is happening in the world and above all why Americans are politically the way they are..) Really recommendable!
Workload: 4 exams (3x multiple choice, 1x essay)
Television and American Culture (AMST 442)
This course is about different phases and directions of series and sitcoms. Starting with “The George Burns and Grace Allen Show” to Friends, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and some reality shows you get an interesting overview of American television. Definitely recommendable!! Also shows many impressions of the American lifestyle and the professor is also very nice and funny!
Workload: 4 smaller essays, 2 exams, 1 term paper
Introduction to American Popular Culture (AMST 300)
Here you can learn a lot about pop culture, how it came about, important people, films that shaped pop culture. I liked this subject the least of all, but it was still very interesting. I just liked the way the other professors taught better because they were more interesting. Somehow the pep was missing, unfortunately! But the professor was very nice and helpful. She was always careful that you get along well and that you get good grades!
Workload: 2 term papers, 2 exams
I stayed in University Village which turned out to be the best decision. The UV looks like a hotel, it’s super well maintained (don’t let the horrible reviews on the internet put you off, I can’t at all confirm this and I don’t know anyone who can) and the price includes 2 meals a day. If you are at the university all day, you can have a packed lunch put together. The people who work there are all very nice, especially Samantha in the office and Luis in the cafeteria : ) It was particularly important to me not to join all the Germans who had formed a group, because I think that this is simply not the purpose of a semester abroad. I was very fortunate to live with an American woman who was nearby. A wonderful friendship developed from this, I was very often with her family and we had a lot of fun! In this way I got to know the real, typical American life up close and am still enthusiastic! Of course, it also helped my English skills a lot!
The area around Fullerton has a lot to offer! There are many beautiful beaches such as Newport, Laguna, Huntington, Venice, Malibu (I think Newport Beach is by far the most beautiful, in Malibu you somehow automatically secretly look for Charlie Harper : D). It’s only 2 hours to San Diego (tip: Old Town and Gaslamp District) (always without traffic, of course), it’s about 8 hours to San Francisco, 4 hours to Las Vegas and 6 hours to the Grand Canyon ! For such a trip, the spring breaks or fall breaks are best suited! There is also an incredible amount to see in LA, I don’t think I need to say too much, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, it goes without saying! From the film studios I can recommend Universal Studios and Warner Brothers, those who place more value on films and less value on roller coasters prefer to go to Warner Brothers! You can also watch some sitcoms filming at Warner (just google it) if you’re lucky enough to get tickets! Watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory being filmed is an experience not easily forgotten!
Finally, I can really recommend the semester abroad at Cal State Fullerton to everyone, I had a very, very nice time!