Myself and a good friend from university decided relatively spontaneously to do a semester abroad after the summer of 2017. The concrete idea came to us in April and we took the opportunity to apply together with MicroEDU, as our university does not offer a foreign program. For us, the local weather was very important, and because neither my buddy nor I had ever been to the US, we decided to apply to California State University Fullerton. Actually, we both thought we were late because (until we had all the documents together) the application was not sent until May, and the new oneSemester started in August. However, this turned out to be no problem and I was surprised at how quickly the acceptance came.
After we had the approval, we had to look for accommodation. As we were comparatively late, it turned out to be difficult to get the accommodation offered by the university. In retrospect, however, these were very overpriced. Instead, we tried our luck with the Facebook group: “CSUF Roommate Needed Database”, which we got through MicroEDU. There we shared an ad that promptly responded to an American who owned a house near the university and offered two rooms for about $ 600 each. We were a little skeptical at first because the house is 4km from campusaway and the landlord Paul was around his mid-40s. However, this offer turned out to be a stroke of luck, as Paul owns several cars and gave us a Volvo for free. Compared to all friends, we paid the least, and in the end we had a two-story house as well as our own bathroom, a car, bicycles and a pool with jacuzzi. “Rem’s”, the regular bar for international students, was also only a few hundred meters away. Read more student reviews on Liuxers.
The first two weeks of college were relatively chaotic. You were well instructed the first two days, but only shortly before you got the message whether you had received the desired courses. If this was not the case, you had to do so-called “course crashing”, that is, sit down in the desired courses and at the end ask the professor whether you can still be admitted to this course. With this method we had mixed results, some professors reacted quite negatively, while others made sure that we could still take part in the respective course due to the international background.
After we settled in for the first few weeks, we started exploring the LA area. It turned out to be a stroke of luck that we had a car more or less free of charge, while others either rented or bought cars, and we were able to save that money. However, I can only recommend keeping a car (even if you live near the campus) as the area is extremely spacious and the bus network is not exactly good.
It is very important to start traveling as early as possible, as more and more time will be lost for university towards the end of the semester. My buddy and I kept forming travel groups, for example to go to the Grand Canyon and Antilope Canyon, to Las Vegas or even to San Diego. Furthermore, the following beaches are a must: Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Venice Beach, San Clemente and Santa Monica. I would have expected more from the city of Los Angeles itself. There is a very large proportion of homeless people there, many construction sites and a high level of pollution. Even if you follow the Hollywood Walk of Fame must have seen, it doesn’t look as glamorous and glamorous as you would imagine, because it’s very dirty there too and there were a lot of drug addicts on the street.
The university itself had a different system than I was used to at my university. So you didn’t just write an exam at the end of the semester, there were usually two midterms, a final as well as group work and other extra credit assignments. In this way, the work is spread more over the entire semester. However, since the group work tends to be tackled towards the end of the semester and the finals are usually more extensive than midterms, you can expect the last few weeks to be busy. My friend I made the mistake of flying back a few days after the finals. I recommend planning another two or three weeks for traveling, as you won’t be coming to California anytime soon and there is a lot to discover and experience.