Since I have been interested in America for many years, it was clear from the start that I would do my semester abroad in the USA. That I chose California and ultimately Cal State Fullerton was due to the comparatively low tuition fees, the things to do and the weather in California and also the good reviews I read on MicroEDU. The application process was quick and easy thanks to the organization of MicroEDU. Since there are many things that you have to do during this process ( Visa, Proof of money, etc.), the support of MicroEDU is very helpful.
After I initially wanted to stay with a host family for cost reasons, I decided to go to the University Village (UV) shortly before departure , which in retrospect turned out to be the best decision. It was expensive at just under $ 1000 a month, but it is right on the north side of the campus and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, of which you can choose 2 meals a day. It was very pleasant not having to deal with shopping, cooking and washing up. I also had my own bedroom and bathroom that I only had to share with one other person. Many who lived in the immediate vicinity of campus had to pay $ 600 per month for an unfurnished room if they did not want to share it. With furniture and food you can easily get to $ 1000. Another plus point was that many Americans lived there and I made friends right away, as the Dining Hall, where the meals are served in buffet form, was the perfect place to meet new people.
Uni & Campus
In relation to my university in Germany, the CSUF and its campus are gigantic. There are a variety of ways to get involved in clubs, be it sporting or cultural. In addition, you can take part in various events at regular intervals, most of which are held in the building of the Titan Student Union (TSU). There are also pool tables, bowling alleys, PS4 consoles, etc. There is also a large gym on campus, for which, as an international student, I had to pay $ 100 for the semester. But it’s worth it! Those who do not live directly on campus and come to the university by car pay $ 300 for the semester parking ticket. Since the UV has a large parking lot, the problem was solved for me.
Although you can before the semester begins a course selection meeting, but I did not get my favorite courses and had these “crash”. Since the professors are familiar with this procedure, in the end I got all of the courses I wanted:
- BUAD 360 – Entertainment Money Management
- ECON 335 – The International Economy
- ECON 362 – Environmental Economics
- FIN 444 – Options and Futures
Looking back, I am very satisfied with the courses I have chosen. However, you need a bit of luck for this, as the coursesare heavily dependent on the lecturer and his / her design. I have taken courses that I do not have in my curriculum in Germany in order to get to know new areas within my subject. Especially the courses FIN 444 with J. Jolley and BUAD 360 with K. Tarantino were informative and simply great. Even if you have a little more to do with midterms, homework and essays than in Germany, more sticks because the material is repeated regularly. But it was not the case with me that one would have sunk into work. In the courses ECON 362 and FIN 444 there were homework from time to time and in BUAD 360 weekly quizzes, plus 2 midterms plus a final and a three-page essay in each course (except FIN 444).
Since the CSUF is more like a “commuter college”, i.e. the students come to the university for the lecture and then go home again, you have to approach your fellow students if you want to build up a larger social environment. Since the Americans are very open and friendly, this is not difficult.
Since the effort was limited compared to other courses and I had my courses Monday to Wednesday, there was a lot of time for activities. California offers many possibilities. From idyllic nature to great spectacles, everything can be found that you can imagine. In my opinion, Fullerton is a very good starting point. From there it is only 20-30 minutes to Laguna Beach or Newport Beach, which for me are among the most beautiful beaches I have seen so far. It is also a paradise for surfers. It is only a stone’s throw to Los Angeles, 45-60 minutes by American standards.
Many say that Los Angeles and the surrounding area are boring and not particularly beautiful, I got a different picture. If you know where to go, Los Angeles is a great city. Palos Verdes, Manhattan Beach, Venice, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills with Sunset Blvd and Mulholland Dr are just a few places to go. Disneyland and Universal Studios are also worth seeing and very interesting, but unfortunately also very expensive. Fortunately, I got in for free through a buddy who worked at Disney. So always make friends! This also saved me expensive overnight stays in Santa Barbara and Las Vegas.
If you prefer nature, the national parks Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Death Valley and Grand Canyon are at your feet, which are only a small section of nature parks in California and the surrounding states. Since I prefer cities, I got my money’s worth in, among others, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Las Vegas. I can also recommend smaller cities like Carmel, Palm Springs or Ojai, which really have flair. My personal highlight is Twin Peaks in San Francisco, from where you can get an incredible view of this cool city. Las Vegas had become my second home, where I went four times during that semester. Although I couldn’t stay there for more than two days in a row, it is still recommendable if you have a weakness for casinos and bizarre. This city only exists once on this planet and you should at least have experienced and enjoyed it once. Parties in the clubs Hakassan or Omnia or the WetRepublic simply play in a different league and are an experience in themselves. When playing roulette or blackjack, the only thing you should know is when to stop…
To be able to do all of these activities in your free time, you need a car. When I got to Fullerton, I still thought that public transport couldn’t be that bad and that I would only try to get a car for a lot of money. After three days the realization came that I won’t see much with such a strategy, since reliable local public transport practically does not exist. Since I didn’t want to share a car and long-term car rental was just too expensive for me, only buying a car was an option. After a little research, I ended up with Chicho and bought a car from him, which in retrospect turned out to be a real stroke of luck. At the beginning I was a bit skeptical, as everything is a bit informal, but it won’t let you down and often repairs damage for free. At the end of the semester, I sold my Honda Civic, which was 20 years old, had run 350,000 km and with which I drove almost 6,000 km, with a loss (including depreciation, insurance, registration, etc.) of $ 400. Others paid for that alone for a 2-week car rental at Alamo. I had previously considered buying a car a little cheaper privately, but after two people had to pay close to $ 1000 in repairs during the semester, I was happy to have bought the car from Chicho. ) re-sold for $ 400. Others paid for that alone for a 2-week car rental at Alamo. I had previously considered buying a car a little cheaper privately, but after two people had to pay close to $ 1000 in repairs during the semester, I was happy to have bought the car from Chicho. ) re-sold for $ 400. Others paid for that alone for a 2-week car rental at Alamo. I had previously considered buying a car a little cheaper privately, but after two people had to pay close to $ 1000 in repairs during the semester, I was happy to have bought the car from Chicho. Read more student reviews on Iamaccepted.
All in all, it was the five best months of my life. All the experiences and impressions that you get in California and the surrounding area are simply unique. If you are ready to leave your comfort zone and get involved with the people there, some of whom tick very differently than we Europeans, great and, above all, long-term friendships can develop. I cannot confirm the image of superficial and cultured Americans that is often shown in Germany. In the beginning you have to take the initiative every now and then, but after a short time a lot comes from the Americans and then you also know whether the “beer” they want to drink with you is actually meant seriously. Even if the semester with all the trimmings ended up costing $ 13,000-14,000, it’s definitely worth it. To explore California, which offers so much variety, and to really get to know the people, an everyday life that you lead there for a few months is exactly the right thing. I’m even considering doing my Masters in California!