University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
Degree: Business Administration
Exchange year/semester: 5th semester
Host university: California State University Fullerton
Country: California, USA
Preparation of the stay and arrival on site
I spent my semester abroad in California. Contrary to my expectations, the organization was fairly stress-free. Due to the accreditation requirements of my university, which must be observed for the crediting of the courses, my selection was limited to three “California State Universities”. The Universities of San Diego, East Bay and Fullerton. My choice fell on Fullerton. The reason for this was the geographical location of the city and the relatively low tuition fees. I organized the stay exclusively through “MicroEdu”. Up until my arrival, I had no personal contact with the university itself. “MicroEdu” takes care of applications for the universities for those who are interested, as well as finding accommodation. Contrary to my initially critical attitude towards such placement agencies, everything went to my satisfaction. I sent my documents to “MicroEdu” in Munster, whereupon they forwarded my documents to “California State University Fullerton”. Four weeks later the confirmation was in my mailbox. It should be noted that this service is free of charge. In addition, you can save a lot of money, since applications to several universities, which are always associated with processing and application fees, are superfluous. As a rule, an application via “MicroEdu” at a university is sufficient to get an acceptance. The application for a room in the “University Village” residential complex went in a similar way. As already mentioned, I also handled this via “MicroEdu”. Contrary to the obvious assumption that it is a dwelling on the university campus itself, the name stands for a residential complex in the immediate vicinity of the university. The application process went smoothly and I was quickly accepted for a room. As soon as I was accepted to university, I immediately booked plane tickets to LA. I scheduled my arrival for the first possible date to move into my room, one week before the lectures began. Arriving at LAX was pretty tiring. After baggage claim, it took 4 hours to get through immigration points and finally catch a shuttle to Fullerton. Arrived in Fullerton, a “Resident Advisor” showed me to my room and I was able to settle in. Check existingcountries.com to see San Diego State University Review 2.
In the week before the lectures started, I registered at the university’s “International Office”, received my student ID and health insurance documents, etc. In my opinion, it is advantageous to deal with these formalities as quickly as possible in order to concentrate on choosing the course at the beginning of the lecture period.
As described above, I had already completed my apartment search from Germany, which turned out to be quite advantageous. Living in California is generally very expensive. The cost of my ensuite room was $1,065 per month on a 5 month lease. The room was very spacious and equipped with the essentials. Included in the price were 10 meals in the canteen belonging to the “University Village”. This also turned out to be a blessing, since other exchange students always had to go out to eat or buy groceries at high prices. The residential complex consists exclusively of 4-room apartments. These are rented out to three students, with the fourth room being a living room shared by all. The standard of accommodation is normal. The condominium is equipped with several laundry rooms, a TV room and a centrally located pool. The complex is very well maintained and is constantly maintained by gardeners and other staff. For on-site mobility, there is the option of renting a bicycle for $25 per semester, which is highly recommended because it shortens the way to school by 10-15 minutes. The service staff of the village is very helpful and always friendly.
Study and university
The range of courses offered by the universities is gigantic. It ranges from “Nursing” to “Finance” and leaves almost nothing to be desired. The only problem here is that domestic students have the right to choose first, which means that the course requests that have to be submitted beforehand can rarely be fully taken into account. For this reason, it is necessary to “crash” courses. This means that you have to go to the desired courses at the beginning of the lecture period and ask the professor to accept you after all. An approach that turned out to be extremely stressful. For example, I had been accepted to take three out of five courses before the university started. It took me two weeks to crash the remaining two courses because many of the courses I wanted were full and the professors couldn’t enroll me. However, once the introductory phase has been completed and all courses have been set, it can finally start. I took courses in Professional Selling, New Venture Creation and Funding, Asia-Pacific Financial and Security Markets, an Introductory Psychology course and Intercultural Communication.
The “varsity year” at Fullerton is organized into semesters. These are about 4 months long. The semester is relatively tightly organized. Every week there are quizzes, the submission of essays, midterms or presentations. The group projects deserve special mention here. A group project had to be worked on in all of my business administration subjects. This accounted for up to 35% of the final grade. In addition to writing a written work, a presentation had to be held. In psychology, a “research paper” had to be written as a term paper and participated in research projects. Lessons take place in small classes. The number of students is around 25 – 60 people. The total student enrollment at Fullerton is approximately 36,000. The facilities at the university are good in every respect. In particular, the rooms for the business administration subjects are new and attractively furnished. There is a fitness center on campus. I have to digress a bit here, as this exceeded my expectations in every respect; It offers several squash halls, basketball halls, a giant climbing wall, a competitive leash pool, a spinning room, an indoor track and of course the usual gym equipment… Simply WORLD CLASS! The cost is only $20 a month. In addition, the campus has its own doctors, sports facilities with corresponding stadiums, fast food restaurants and cafes. The large library is centrally located on the campus. The language level is a bit high at the beginning, as you first have to get used to the dialects of the individual professors, but that goes away after the first week.
Everyday life and free time
Life in California is a dream. It’s always sunny and never rains. Until the end of October we had days with 42 degrees heat. Fullerton as a town is quite small. If you are looking for a party semester or a semester in a big American city, you should better not enroll here. San Diego is more recommended for these people. However, Fullerton is fairly well located. The distance to LA is a stone’s throw by American standards, all the trendy beaches are within easy reach.
Be sure to visit the following beaches: Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, Huntington and Laguna. New Port Beach may not be one of the most beautiful beaches in the region, but it does have the best club, the “Sutra”. The cost of living in California is problematic. As already mentioned, the rental prices are exorbitant, and it is advisable to buy a car or rent one more often. A public transport network as we know it here does not exist. Food prices are to be compared with ours. Clothing is relatively cheap. Sights that must be visited from Fullerton are Yosemite National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, the Grand Canyon and Palm Springs. Cities that are within reach and must-sees are San Francisco, San Diego and Santa Barbara. Here it is recommended to drive from San Francisco via High Way no.1 along the coast towards Santa Barbara. In the “Thanks Giving Break” it makes sense to fly to Hawaii, Mexico or the Caribbean. I chose Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, great experience. Of course, Las Vegas is worth a trip to celebrate. It is advisable to book hotels via priceline.com. There you can bid your own price for hotel rooms, which is fun and helps to save money.
Regarding social contacts, there are an extremely large number of German exchange students in California. This is not always an advantage, as one is often tempted to speak German. So I was happy to be accommodated in the “University Village” because there was the opportunity to establish contacts with both Germans and Americans.
Perhaps it is important to note here that Fullerton University is largely attended by Americans from the surrounding towns, and as a result many of them commute. That’s why it’s relatively difficult to establish contact with Americans through the university, because they go home immediately after the courses are finished.
All in all, the semester abroad at Fullerton was a wonderful experience for me. I really enjoyed my time there and would choose it again at any time.