My career is a bit unusual, as I did a paid internship for 6 months after graduating from high school and then I thought about starting my studies in the USA. So I started my two semesters abroad without any studies at a German university. My choice should of course be a nice area and a university with a large selection of business administration (since I already knew that I would like to continue studying business administration in Germany). Cal State Fullerton caught my eye, as it is relatively cheap in terms of university costs and the location is absolutely ideal. Furthermore, the Cal State Fullerton offered a total of two semesters (a full year) to study. From the beginning I thought that I would have to study abroad for at least 1 year, in order to be able to improve my language skills extensively. In the end, I was absolutely right, but more on that later.
MicroEDU helped me with all questions about VISA and living very well and everything was actually settled within 2 months. Of course you can do it even faster, but since my job was limited, I often only had time on weekends and I even had to take time off for an appointment at the embassy in Frankfurt.
Arrival & living
I arrived relatively early (2 weeks before the start of the semester) because I wanted to settle in properly before going to university. Since my flight didn’t arrive in LA until the evening, I got a room for 40 dollars in a motel next to LAX for the night. Nothing special, but absolutely sufficient for one night. The next day I took the Super Shuttle (37 dollars) from LAX to Fullerton. I first stopped by the International Office to clarify everything and then I drove to my future home, University Village.
The UV is nice in itself, lots of palm trees, pool and everything is very clean. The size of the regular single room was also perfectly adequate. However, the prices are extremely expensive at 975 dollars. The food consists of a small buffet, actually you can always find something and every now and then there is really good things to eat, but after 5 months you are really tired of eating there. Mainly there is Rice & Chicken… But you can always get full.
I shared my room with two people I didn’t know before, because I went to the USA on my own. So my roommates were a Colombian and a Japanese. I got on well with both of them and the Colombian in particular has become a really good friend, whom I even visited during the summer break.
In the second semester I moved to another apartment because my roommates all flew home and I wanted to move to an American friend in the UV. My third roommate was a Korean who was also super nice.
In the first semester there were still many Koreans in the UV, a lot of Germans, a few Colombians and Arabs, a few Swedes and French and otherwise Americans, but in the second semester the Germans got the better of them. The UV and the whole university were FULL of Germans. In my opinion, this is the biggest minus point of the UV, because I don’t fly 9000km and then want to hear shouts in German in the cafeteria. So I mainly stayed with Americans, Colombians, Swedes and Koreans, as they all seemed a bit more open to me and I wanted to get to know the language and new cultures above all.
The UV is a great place to meet a lot of new people, especially if you come to the USA all by yourself (which I recommend because you are forced to meet new people and not just sit around each other), but it is expensive and the food comes out of your ears after a year. Read more student reviews on Toppharmacyschools.
Choosing a course is not that easy, especially if you have to register your courses in Germany beforehand. Since I hadn’t studied before, it was relatively easy for me. I got all of the courses I wanted and even then I canceled one of the courses and enrolled elsewhere. Overall, you have to be a bit lucky to get your pre-selected courses, but with a bit of flexibility and patience you can get your courses. You should of course also ask the professors in a friendly manner and not trumpet around with a group of 10 people that you MUST have this course.
My courses over the two semesters were: Financial Management, Introduction in Real Estate, Understanding Business, International Business & Management, Business and its legal environment, Spanish, Geography, Tennis.
Since I hadn’t studied before, I was unsure whether all courses would be recognized, but all courses except for Geography, Tennis and Spanish were for students in the 3-5 semester so I was very reliable and in the end I felt a bit annoy all courses except tennis recognized at my dream university Duisburg Essen. Furthermore, I have already been placed in a higher semester and can start my studies in the 2013 summer semester.
The university is generally very modern and the business building in particular is brand new. Except for one course (200 people) I never had a course with more than 40 students.
Life that year was of course like one big vacation. Since I wanted to integrate myself properly, I often cut myself off from the huge German horde and was mainly in contact with Americans, Colombians, Swedes and Koreans. At the beginning I looked for a soccer team straight away, where of course I was the only foreigner. As a result, I now have many contacts all over the world and was able to spend 2 months in Colombia with friends during the summer break, or in San Francisco with a US friend, or over Thanksgiving with my American roommate. You should keep in mind that everyone is responsible for themselves, and everyone should know whether they are only there on vacation or really want to get to know the language and culture. Therefore it is also important
The costs in Orange County are of course a little higher than elsewhere in the US, so you should bring enough pocket money with you. The food in particular is sometimes expensive, but fast food, on the other hand, is dirt cheap compared to Germany… The location of Fullerton naturally offers the best opportunities to experience a lot. Beaches like Huntington Beach, Malibu, Venice Beach, Laguna Beach (my favorite) are only a 30 minute drive away. The mountains can also be reached in 1 hour. Hollywood and LA Downtown in 30-45 minutes. Of course you should look at these San Diego (2h) and San Francisco (6-7Std). And Las Vegas is also only a short distance away (4h). Disneyland (10min) or sports facilities such as baseball: LA Angels (10min) – LA Dodgers (30min), ice hockey: Anaheim Ducks (10min), LA Kings (30min), football: UCLA (30min), USC (30min),
A car is of course helpful, but I’m completely without it. If we wanted to make something larger we hired a car, or I was taken away by others or my roommate drove me and let go of me. JSo just find nice people and hope that they you help
In the UV there were a lot of parties in the 1st semester, but the new security in the 2nd semester made for dead pants. Also interesting for many Otherwise there are many fraternity parties in Fullerton that are definitely worth a visit and remind you of American Pie, but you have to be a member (at least as a man) to be able to enter. I was lucky enough to be able to visit 3 of them as I knew a few people. However, I never wanted to become a member because the average age at these parties is between 18 and 19.
Downtown Fullerton is quite nice, there are many small bars that turn into small discos with dance floors at late hours. You can definitely have fun there, but after a few months it gets a bit boring. But the environment is much more exciting. Anaheim-Disneyland has a relatively good and well-known club called the Heat Ultra Lounge. With 25 dollars you can get there in a large-capacity taxi. In the end, only 10 dollars more expensive than Downtown Fullerton, but a class better.
There are tons of clubs in Hollywood. From the absolute high class to the middle class, there is everything there. But you should at least expect an entry fee of 15 dollars. I can’t list every club there now because there are really many. However, the transport is always a problem, you always have to have someone to drive there and back as the taxi costs 80 dollars.
Oh yes and Las Vegas…..
If you want to party, rent a car over the weekend and drive to Las Vegas in 4 hours. I was there 3 times in the second semester (unfortunately I was under 21 in the first semester) and it’s really awesome. There you can really experience something and have fun. And it’s not expensive either. I can recommend the Hilton Elara hotel. A suite (6 people will definitely find space) with jacuzzi, kitchen, 6 TVs and a projector and and and for 500 dollars a weekend is really acceptable, especially if you share it with 6 people. As a woman you get everything for free in Las Vegas anyway, because as men we pay everything for the women, so to speak. But if you get bored you should really go to Las Vegas.
In general, it was probably the best year of my life, I met so many interesting people, made new friends and, above all, absolutely improved my English. In addition, my courses were recognized, so my adventure worked when I started studying in the USA. However, the costs are enormous. With living, university, flights and so on, $ 30,000 was certainly wasted. I spent 2 ½ months of my time in Colombia, but in the end the trip there didn’t cost me more than if I had flown to Germany over the summer.
So everyone with the opportunity should do such a year abroad, but I can only recommend starting something like this alone and without friends or acquaintances. In this way you get to know a lot more people, become more independent and, above all, improve your English. Just have the courage and not be ashamed of your English. California is made up of immigrants and everyone there has helped you out if you couldn’t express yourself perfectly.
If you have any direct questions for me, just send me an email, I’ll be happy to help! (The email address can be obtained from MicroEDU.)