University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
1. Application and preparation
Applying to MicroEdu for a study place was not a problem. The I-20 came early enough to apply for a visa at the US consulate in Frankfurt without any time problems. For this I used the documents on the website of the consulate and MicroEdu. For my flight to the USA, I took advantage of an offer from www.mydealz.de and only paid EUR 375 for a return flight and a flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco (there were several offers there in 2009!). Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to look for an apartment in Germany (the University Village was already fully booked at the time) because I had written exams in Münster up to three days before my departure. So I had to do it through the CSUF and my two roommates from Germany. The International Office on site helped us with this. However, it must be said that the selection of proposals is not particularly large: at that time we could choose between the apartment complex Homestead and La Ramada. The whole thing was priced at around $1500/month for a 2-bedroom, 1-living room apartment (unfurnished except for the kitchen). Check existingcountries.com to see California State University Long Beach Review 2.
I’ll be in Los Angeles on 8/17. landed and went to the International Office on the same day to register. I already transferred the tuition fees from Germany so that I didn’t have to do it in cash or with my credit card. When we signed the rental contract with Homestead (our apartment complex), we had to sign a number of forms and make a lot of phone calls (insurance, water, electricity, fridge, internet). In addition, we had to buy furniture (cheap are: craigslist, target and second hand shops). I would like to say something about the Homestead: We had an apartment right on the 57 freeway and it was quite noisy. Although it got pleasantly cool at night even in August, we couldn’t leave the windows open because it was just too loud. This of course consumes more electricity and next time I would consider paying a more expensive rental price and living a little further in the complex. In addition, it must be said that when I was there, the Homestead employees were more concerned about the green areas being free of leaves than about the satisfaction of the temporary guests from Germany. For example, our oven didn’t work the whole time and promises were made again and again. With internet, electricity and all fees, we paid about 1200 EUR/month ($1.47/€) for a 2-bedroom apartment with a living room unfurnished. Next time I would try to find another place to stay. The procedure when moving out was also cumbersome: we were transferred several times and during a preliminary acceptance, an employee walked through our apartment rather unmotivated. The cleanliness of the pool and the facilities as well as the possibility to use the grill right outside the front door in the evening is definitely a positive feature of the system. In addition, the situation was unfavorable for me as a business graduate. The main building for the BWLer is in the south-east of the university and we lived in the north-east. If possible, you should take this into account when looking for an apartment, as this will save you time.
The new BWL building in particular is very modern and many of the lecture halls are very well equipped. In the USA you have to get used to the fact that the air conditioning cools down even in winter and that it can get pretty cold in summer if you have to wear short clothes in the cold rooms. The hardest part was getting into the courses. This had to do with the fact that the state of California made drastic budget cuts in the education sector and many courses were therefore no longer offered to the extent they were in previous years. So I created a plan with all the courses that I could/wanted to choose because I get credit for them in Münster and sat down in the lectures on the first day and started ‘crashing’. However, all the courses were already full and the professors told me in unison, that I should come back after the waiting lists were closed and then they would see if there was capacity in their classes. Many professors have put themselves on a waiting list for this. Helpful was Christine Barns from the International Office. After two weeks this was actually possible in many courses and I was able to choose my four desired courses; albeit not at the best of times and not with the most popular professors.
I would like to briefly describe the four courses:
ACCT 302 Cost Accounting – Prof. Kim:
This course was bad. The professor’s teaching method was that he gave a brief introduction to the subject and then presented a selection of tasks. I only knew something like this from tutorials in Münster, but not from lectures. In addition, he often miscalculated and usually only copied the solutions from the solution booklet. The professor has a very strong accent and still has a few problems with the language himself.
MGMT 339 Principles of Operations & Management – Prof. Gunawardane:
The professor has about 35 pages of Power Point presentation, which are peppered with a few bullet points. He solves the rest with the help of a panel painting that couldn’t be surpassed in terms of confusion. Otherwise, the basics of management and operations management were dealt with. In particular, the operations part took up about 70% of the course time. However, not much was said about the mathematical methods. This professor also has a very thick accent.
MGMT 340 Organizational Behavior – Prof. Johnson:
I liked this course the most. The professor “liked to hear himself talk” and that could become very exhausting over a lesson time of 2 hours and 30 minutes (was taught once a week) and the concentration waned very quickly.
MGMT 350 International Business Management – Ms. Jackson:
Ms. Jackson gave a monologue on very trivial topics in this course. We were informed that in some countries you are not allowed to wear certain items of clothing, etc. So you didn’t really learn that much here either. For the two exams and the case study it was still necessary to read the texts in the book.
Ultimately, it can be said about all the courses that I didn’t learn as much compared to Münster. Nevertheless, it was possible to write very good grades. For the exams it was necessary to read the relevant text passages in the books. Regarding the books, it should be said that for some courses you simply need the books and therefore have to buy them, because you have to solve tasks, for example. After the courses, you can sell the books you have bought on the university campus for (maximum) half the price. Since some of the books are very expensive (up to $200), we have teamed up with several people and bought the books that way. Unfortunately, it was not possible for us to borrow books because we didn’t know until very late which courses we would get – but there is the possibility.
I found the first two weeks at the university to be pure chaos, as the university had so many international students for the first time and was totally overwhelmed with the number due to the budget cuts. I don’t know to what extent the university can and will change anything there, but that was sometimes really unacceptable and you could really only face the matter with a good dose of humor. Of course, I know that this is so common at US universities, but in the first two weeks of the lecture period we didn’t have the opportunity to continuously attend a course with a professor. If the university doesn’t fundamentally change something about this, I would advise against the university.
I don’t want to say so much about California itself. Everyone has their preferences and can read everything in the relevant travel guides. With Los Angeles and San Diego, two cosmopolitan cities are in the immediate vicinity. The streets get very crowded in the evenings, so a trip to Los Angeles can take up to two hours driving time despite the short distance!
Nightlife in Fullerton is quite nice with a few bars. In Anaheim (right next to Fullerton) there is a good club, the Heat Lounge, which we could reach from the Homestead by taxi for about $25/ride. Otherwise there are cinemas, bowling and malls in about 10 miles radius.
Otherwise, California offers countless possibilities and you really get around the time there very well. Get a car from dirtcheapcarrental in San Diego as this is cheaper and all you need is a car. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether this is with several people or alone.
Take two credit cards with you! If one gets blocked, lost or anything else happens.