University: California State University Fullerton
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: music
Study type: semester abroad
I remember that I had to organize a lot before my departure and was often quite stressed. This was probably due to the fact that I decided to do a semester abroad very late. I applied in mid-October and at the beginning of January I was already on the plane to Los Angeles. If, like me, you would like to apply for various scholarship programs (PROMOS, Bafög, etc.), I recommend preparing at least six months in advance. In hindsight, though, I don’t think it was that much work. Or to put it another way: the effort I made was worth it. Check existingcountries.com to see Universitat Autonoma De Barcelona Review 2.
I flew to Los Angeles at the beginning of January and was lucky enough to stay with friends for the first week. From there I drove to the university to register and to find a room in a shared flat. However, this turned out to be more difficult than expected, because the supply of apartments was extremely small. I’ve also tried online across different platforms, again with very little success. At the university’s International Office, they referred me to the University Village and suggested an apartment complex. Both housing options were quite nice, but at over $1,000 a month, they were well above my expectations. In the end, the International Office gave me a telephone number for a private person who rents rooms to students directly at the university. Here I introduced myself and was able to move into one of three rooms for $650 a month. So it was like the university homestay program which I really recommend. The couple was very nice and you can improve your English with native speakers. Sometimes I even got help with my household chores. However, you should pay attention to the location. I lived 5 minutes walk from the university which was perfect. However, a friend of mine lived in a neighboring town and was dependent on the bus. However, since this only drove once an hour and almost not at all on weekends, her options were very limited. The couple was very nice and you can improve your English with native speakers. Sometimes I even got help with my household chores. However, you should pay attention to the location. I lived 5 minutes walk from the university which was perfect. However, a friend of mine lived in a neighboring town and was dependent on the bus. However, since this only drove once an hour and almost not at all on weekends, her options were very limited. The couple was very nice and you can improve your English with native speakers. Sometimes I even got help with my household chores. However, you should pay attention to the location. I lived 5 minutes walk from the university which was perfect. However, a friend of mine lived in a neighboring town and was dependent on the bus. However, since this only drove once an hour and almost not at all on weekends, her options were very limited.
About my courses: I’m studying musicology and I’ve picked courses at CSUF that come closest to this field of study. These were usually courses in the “Music” area. The university has a particularly strong focus on music sociology. I had Film Music and History of Jazz. In addition, I also chose a course in the field of “Radio, TV and Film”, which dealt with the live production of radio programs. The great thing about choosing courses in the US is that you have a lot of freedom – especially as a foreign student. I could choose courses from all areas and the professors were very cooperative. But I’ve also heard that it can be difficult to get into the courses you want in “business”. But don’t panic when university starts you have two weeks to register for the courses. So it’s no drama if you have to rearrange your schedule again.
The university doesn’t have the best reputation and they don’t do so well in the ranking either. Sometimes you can see why. For example when it came to tests. These were very simple and a mere multiple choice representation of learned knowledge. In addition to smaller tests and larger exams, you have to be prepared that there will be homework on a regular basis. It feels a bit like being back at school. Some professors also give oral grades. But I was happy to do my homework because it forced me to deal intensively with the course content. At the same time, they were good practice to improve English. I only had three courses (three credits each), but since these take place twice a week, there was enough to do.
In addition to my three university courses, I have also chosen two language courses (each with 1.5 credits). I did a placement test at the ALP (American Language Program). These language courses sometimes bored me badly and yet they were probably the best courses I had. I had to give small lectures almost every week, which quickly got me into a routine of speaking English in front of other people. You can also get to know students from all over the world there. I met almost all my friends through these ALP courses. So if you don’t just want to hang out with your compatriots, you should go to the ALP courses and events.
If you divide up your study time well, then of course there is still time to explore California. I usually did homework after my courses, so I had the entire weekend to relax. Anyone who owns a car has a clear advantage in the USA. Unfortunately, I was always dependent on the bus, which is not very fun. It took me over two hours to get to the beach (the water is freezing cold, by the way). Los Angeles is an hour’s train ride away. Or you can take the bus, which will take you back and forth for $8. The public transport in LA can also be used with this tariff (duration is about 2 hours one way).
Since the weather in Southern California offers 10 hours of sun almost every day with temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees, you can also have a nice time in Fullerton and the surrounding area. Disneyland is half an hour away, as is the large Brea Mall. In Fullerton itself, the university has a lot to offer. Such as the sports center, which also has a pool. There are often events such as concerts or free cinema. Just keep your eyes and ears open. If you like to party, you should go to the University Village, there are often parties there. There are also a few clubs in downtown Fullerton, but I found them extremely boring. However, I can highly recommend the jazz club “Steamer’s”. During the week you can get in here for free. Beer prices are around $4.
I had a great six months at Fullerton. I gained a lot of new impressions and experiences. The university was sometimes a bit undemanding, but often very interesting. I was able to improve my English significantly and learned a lot (not just university knowledge). I particularly liked the fact that you got to know new people almost every day and quickly got into conversation. I’ve done a lot with friends from all over the world. Despite the high tuition fees (compared to Germany), I would do it again at any time and recommend it to everyone.