It has always been a wish of mine to go abroad for a longer period of time than just vacation. The USA has always appealed to me and so I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to study in California for six months.
The preparation for studying abroad is very extensive. After you have decided on a university you should get in touch with MicroEDU. They send you a very useful checklist with the most important steps to be followed and help with any questions. Then you apply in writing to the chosen university in the hope of receiving an acceptance. When this happens, there are a few things to do, such as: visa, student loans (a lot of effort, but absolutely recommended in terms of student finance), health insurance, flight, accommodation, although the latter can only be done on site without any problems. I advise you to start your preparations early enough to save yourself a lot of stress.
I lived in a private apartment with 2 colleagues from Germany. We flew to the USA without an apartment, stayed in the hotel for the first 2-3 days and looked at different apartments in the usual facilities for the university. The CSUF also has an employee who is specifically responsible for apartments and who is happy to help. After 2 days we decided to move to the Homesteads. These are half an hour’s walk or 10 minutes by bike from the university. This facility is highly recommended and offers supermarkets in the immediate vicinity, 4 pools + jacuzzi, various BBQ spots, washing machine and dryer, as well as 2 small fitness studios and common rooms. The rent was $ 1570 / month. okay, but $ 250 rent for furniture was added, since it would not have been worth buying it yourself for just one semester. Overall, this is still cheaper than the University Village (UV) or the Dorms, but you should note that meals are not included. A tip for this is that you can eat in the UV 5 minutes away for $ 9 a day for lunch and dinner “all you can eat”. Food in the USA is sometimes very expensive, especially if you want to eat healthily. The apartment in the Homesteads 2 bedrooms, 1 living room, 1 bathroom and a kitchen and because we had hung the original living room with a curtain, each of the 3 of us had our own room. Read more student reviews on Mcat-test-centers.
Unfortunately we had to do course crashing at the beginning of the university, ie go to every lecture in question and ask the professor to include you in the course. In most cases this worked without any problems, unless the course is already overcrowded. The campus itself is quite large and very well maintained and there are a lot of extracurricular activities that you can take part in. The study itself is much more extensive than in Germany. During the semester, many intermediate exams, so-called “midterms” and smaller quizzes, are written, and there are also many group work, projects, discussions and assignments that have to be submitted in good time. In addition, some professors value attendance and participation in the class, which in these cases is also included in the grade. Most courses require books, which are usually very expensive (e.g. Accounting Book $ 250). For this you should try to borrow the required books in the book store of the CSU, then the costs are kept within reasonable limits.
Leisure / Travel / Life:
There isn’t a whole lot of exciting things to do in Fullerton itself. We recommend the Recreation Center at the university, a very modern fitness studio, and you should also join a club at the university, e.g. the Adventure Club, which helps to get to know people quickly. In Fullerton Downtown there are a few shops and bars where you can also spend your time. Fullerton is also a good starting point for touring California and the surrounding area: to make this easier due to the lack of public transport, consider buying or renting a car. Fantastic beaches such as Huntington Beach, Newport Beach or Long Beach and Los Angeles with its landmark Hollywood are just a 40-minute drive away.
There are also numerous national parks such as Yosemite, Zion, Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon or Death Valley. If you are there in the spring semester, you should definitely use the “spring break” (one week no university) to either travel or celebrate!
The cost of tuition fees was pretty high at around $ 5500, plus there were expenses for flights, accommodation, school materials, food and travel. For one semester, you should plan with around € 10,000 and accordingly take care of financing options such as student loans or scholarships at an early stage.
It’s a lot of money for sure, but I think it’s definitely worth the experience.
I can only recommend to everyone to do a semester abroad: It does take some effort, but the experience you gain is priceless and absolutely beneficial for personal development. I learned and saw a lot of new things, and also met a lot of interesting new people. I am grateful that I was able to make this unforgettable experience and I will definitely tell my grandchildren about it;-).