Hello my dears!
I did the Fall Semester 2018 in California at California State University Fullerton.
Application process and planning
I decided relatively late to do a semester abroad (6th semester) because I was a bit afraid of all the work as a free mover, since you have to organize everything yourself, but luckily MicroEDU has done most of the work for me and helped me with all my questions. It was clear to me in advance that I would go to California. I chose the CSUF because it had low tuition fees compared to other universities and the CSUF has a very good reputation in the business field. About 2 weeks after my application, I received my acceptance and I was finally able to plan my semester abroad. Note: California State University Fullerton is also known as CSUF on abbreviationfinder.
I have read in many reviews that you should join the groups (“Cal State, Fullerton (CSUF) Housing, Sublets & Roommates”, “CSUF Roommate Needed Database”) on Facebook for looking for accommodation. Said and done! I started looking at the different sites relatively early and unfortunately the search wasn’t as easy as I thought. Many Americans had posted something, but most of them only searched for 1 year and not for 4 months. However, I did not give up the search and in the end I found a “shared room”. But I signed a 1-year contract because we had set up a new flat share (Americans, Australians, Germans), which I wouldn’t recommend in retrospect, as I had to look after new tenants at the end of the semester, which wasn’t that easy.
The apartment in the UCE was only about 3 minutes walk from the Mihaylo business building and the complex was really well equipped with a grill, pool and a fireplace. If you don’t have that much budget for the accommodation, I would recommend it, otherwise I would choose the University House or rather look outside if you have a car.
PS: At the beginning of the semester, the church organizes a “furniture giveaway”, where you can equip yourself with kitchen utensils and furniture and all of this is free. The selected furniture is even brought to your door.
In the four months I used Uber and Lyft very intensively because I didn’t rent a car myself.
For longer road trips we rented a car through online portals.
The campus is huge! On Orientation Day, all internationals got a campus tour where they could make many contacts. It’s exactly how you imagine an American university. There are countless opportunities to learn or just chill out on the premises. There is also a food court in the TSU, where there is something to eat for every taste. There are also microwaves in the next room if you want to warm up your own food. The campus is very well maintained and there is always something going on. In the first weeks of the lecture there is usually a “Discover Fest” where all clubs are presented. As a CSUF student, you can also go to the university’s sporting events free of charge.
The Recreation Center offers countless opportunities to get active in sports. There’s a bouldering wall to climb, a pool, and two floors of new fitness equipment and weights to use. You can even attend courses (Zumba, etc. ) for free. If you only do one semester at the CSUF, you unfortunately have to pay for the Recreation Center, although it is basically free for CSUF students.
Before the semester starts, you have to submit a preference list of courses, but in most cases you will not get the courses you want. I was very lucky and only had to “crash” one course, which means that you have to go to the desired courses in the first two weeks and ask the professor if he can take you on as well. You can see online whether there are still vacancies in the courses. If you have the professor’s signature, you also need the department stamp. It’s stressful, but most of them were taken to the courses. I would recommend looking for the professors on ratemyprofessor in advance and reading through the reviews!
Even if the level in the USA is lower, you have to spend more time, as you have to hand in homework and assignments almost every week, which are then included in the final grade.
The courses I took:
- FIN320 – Financial Management I (Prof. Yue Laura Liu)
- FIN321 – Financial Management II (Prof. Yingdi Wang)
- Math120 – Introduction to Probability and Statistics (Prof. Mansour Abdoli)
- FIN360 – Principles of Insurance and Risk Management (Dr. Weili Lu)
There isn’t that much to see in Fullerton, but the location is perfect as it only takes about 40 minutes to get to LA. It only takes about 35 minutes to get to the beaches. I liked Laguna Beach best. Downtown Fullerton has bars and clubs where you can party. The Disneyland in Anaheim is just 10 minutes away, but I found it a bit overpriced. I can only recommend going to a concert because the atmosphere is just more extreme. Tip: Pack less because you can really shop in America and not only on black friday. What you should bring with you is an adapter and a German socket strip.
Must-sees / highlights:
- San Diego: La Jolla coast, college football game
- Los Angeles: if you like spicy chicken sandwiches, go to “bangin buns”, California Donuts, Dirt Dog
- Walk of Fame, Hike zum Hollywood sign, Griffith observatory, chinatown
- Venice Beach, Santa Monica Beach: it’s best to rent a bike or electronic scooter
- San Fransisco: it’s best to take Route 1 on the west coast
- Vancouver: Lynn Park, Stanley Park
- National Parks (Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Yosemite Park)
- Las Vegas!!
- Newport Beach
- Huntington Beach: Eat Banzai Bowl, Eat Chicken Waffle
- James Corden with Keira Knightley and Kathryn Hahn, KISS recording
- Drake concert
- “We can survive” festival
The time in California was very exciting and I would choose a semester abroad in California again! I had an unforgettable time meeting lots of new people and making friends and seeing great places. I traveled around a lot during that time, but time goes by so quickly, so enjoy every minute! The semester abroad is really expensive, but the best thing to do is to look for financial support, such as foreign student loans, if possible, and the best thing is that you have already saved up something. It’s been the best time of my life so far, so worth every penny!