After thinking about it, it was definitely clear to me that I wanted to do a semester abroad in the 4th semester . With the help of your website, I quickly chose California State University in Fullerton, and it was a very good choice!
First of all, I have to say that Corona messed everything up and that unfortunately it ended too quickly. The first 2.5 months, however, were really nice.
After pre-registering at the home university, it was time to register at the host university. The entire preparation was carried out with the constant support of your website. After I had chosen the university as mentioned above, I was told which documents and the like I needed.
This includes, for example, proof of English skills . I did the DAAD test at agi in Stuttgart. There you can register free of charge via the DHBW Stuttgart. However, the test required varies from university to university. It may be that another university is required to provide a different proof.
You also need proof of sufficient financial resources. You can usually request this from the bank. In my case, my bank asked for € 10 and then sent me the certificate by post.
In addition, you need a student visa for a stay in America , which you can apply for online and then pick up personally at the embassy. The responsible embassies are in Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin. Getting the visa there personally went without any problems and very quickly (there is a machine in the waiting area where you can take passport photos for € 5, which meet the requirements for the visa).
As soon as I had all the documents together, I forwarded them to CC. There they were checked and sent to the CSUF. The confirmation was then sent to me. Your website is always available and can always help with any questions or ambiguities .
Apart from the formal requirements, I haven’t made any further preparations. Many things are also best clarified on site. The International Office at the CSUF is also very helpful and is always available if you have any questions. Check act-test-centers to see more reviews from current students.
The CSUF is quite a large university. With around 45,000 students, there is actually everything you could want (except for a football team). Since I am studying business administration , the CSUF scored extra points, as the “Mihaylo College of Business and Economics” faculty has a very good reputation and is one of the largest business faculties in America .
The campus is big and really nice . There are always events, markets or even concerts (even if almost everything was canceled in my spring semester …)
There are a lot of sports possibilities in the context of various clubs or the Rec-Center (costs nothing for normal students, for internationals who do not do an exchange (i.e. with F1 visa) $ 120), which is also on campus. This is a huge fitness center with a climbing wall, pool, etc.
The Pollack Library extends over four floors and also includes everything you need and is definitely no comparison to a normal German university bib. Due to the many seating options and workplaces, groups of students often meet there for joint projects or simply between lectures. Depending on the faculty, there are flat screens, computers, drawing boards, VR glasses and so on everywhere.
Due to the many clubs, there are also many workshops, excursions or various meetings . I can’t say that much about that, because most of the things didn’t take place due to Covid-19.
In addition, the atmosphere is generally very different than at my university at home. For example, there is music all over the campus and people spend a lot more time there . This could of course also be due to all the leisure activities, such as the bowling alley or the five Starbucks branches or the food court. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it feels definitely nice to, to study under the palm trees .
I personally stayed at Oxford North . In itself it is a good dorm , which I can only recommend. But there are a few things to be aware of.
First of all, I would advise you to inquire at the university beforehand or to put yourself on a list that you are internationals and want to live there. Otherwise, even after the semester is over, you may still have to pay two months’ rent because you won’t get a shorter lease. You also have to pay the last two months’ rent in advance. Unfortunately, just like the deposit, which you can probably say goodbye to right away ($ 250).
That also leads me directly to the biggest disadvantage: the management. The employees (who are not residents or students) are mostly unfriendly and uncooperative. Since I had to go home two months earlier due to Corona and therefore couldn’t live there, the rent was gone. There wasn’t a single penny returned.
If you arrive too late when the office has already closed, there is no way to get the key or the apartment. Therefore, if you decide to go ahead, book a hostel in LA for the first night to be on the safe side, should it be a little late. Spontaneously finding something in Fullerton can firstly be very expensive and also quite stressful, especially if you are alone and maybe you don’t even have the internet.
One last point is the distance to the campus. OXN is located on the upper part of the campus, which means that if you have to go to the business faculty like me (which is at the completely other end of the campus), you have to be prepared to walk around 20 minutes. I bought a used bike on the internet. That was a good way to get to the lectures comfortably and quickly. Alternatively, many have a skateboard, scooter, …
I would advise you in the application specially specify that you do not want to live together with Germans. At least I benefited a lot from it. I then lived with an American and a Korean woman and learned a lot and of course spoke a lot more English. Other Germans usually still live somewhere in the dormitory anyway.
There are various other housing options. The UH is very popular and known for the student parties . It’s at the other end of campus and closer to many fast food restaurants (so it can be disastrous too). In addition, as far as I know, it is a bit more expensive and it is also a bit difficult with the terms of the rental agreements.
Other friends stayed at the UCA. Another great advantage is the location. Opposite are a lot of places to eat and a supermarket next to it. This dorm also has a hot tub. However, families live there too, not just students, and my friends had quite a problem with insects.
The CSUF is well located. A lot of places can be reached very quickly in southern California . We’ve been to LA quite a few times and to San Diego a few times . Of course, it’s also quick in Las Vegas and on the beach .
The airport is also easily accessible. Without traffic you can be there in an hour. An Uber from Fullerton to LAX costs approximately $ 50 in normal traffic.
If you are in San Diego by the way, I would recommend you to take a look at Tijuana. Many advised us against it, but we were there during the day and only in the center. Nothing happened to us and we had delicious tacos and magaritas and of course everything is much cheaper than in the USA.
Otherwise, right next to Fullerton is Anaheim with a large baseball stadium and Disneyland . About 20 minutes away there is a really nice big mall (Irvine Spectrum Center). Route 66 can be reached in about an hour .
The cities such as Palm Springs or Palm Desert (Coachella also takes place nearby) are also easy to reach. So there is always a lot to do over the weekend .
- Telephone : I had a telephone contract with T-Mobile. This one was for two people and we paid $ 65 together. It might sound expensive, but that’s normal there. But you have unlimited data and actually pretty good reception everywhere. I also bought a Sim card in advance on Amazon in Germany, which is actually intended for tourists. I didn’t want to be at the airport and not even be able to call an Uber. I found that was a very inexpensive, good solution. This expires automatically after two weeks. So you have enough time on site to find another solution for yourself.
- Textbooks : For many courses you need quite expensive textbooks (quickly and easily $ 150 per book). I would advise you to wait and see if you really need these books. Mine were sometimes quite unnecessary.
- Credit card : I had a credit card from the DKB with which I was very satisfied and never had any problems. Things like the credit limit can be easily controlled via online banking and the first year includes a premium membership with which all international transactions are free. In addition, there are no account management fees. So I can only recommend this, but of course it’s up to you.
- Car : As a group of five Germans, we rented a car from “Chico”. There it works on a monthly basis and is reasonably affordable. Uber driving all the time is unfortunately very expensive and public transport is frowned upon. Nevertheless, I can recommend the Flixbus from Anaheim to LA or San Diego, for example, if you don’t have a car. If you are old enough, normal rental cars for the weekend or the like are affordable. Without a car it will unfortunately be difficult in the land of freedom, especially because everything is incredibly far away in relation to Germany.
For the Bachelor’s degree, you have to take at least four courses to meet the requirements for the visa. If you are not forced to have all courses credited from your home university and you thus have the opportunity to take subjects outside of the actual course, the CSUF offers you a variety of offers. For example, sports courses such as surfing or yoga , film and photography courses, theater, biology and countless other courses are also possible.
I didn’t have the opportunity to experiment a lot, but I was still very happy with my courses and had a lot less to do than my friends. As always, of course, a lot depends on the lecturer, but I was lucky with that too (“Rate my Professor” is a good guide if a course is offered by several lecturers).
MGMT 343 – Human Resource Management (Rommel “Bombie” Salvador)
He is a very friendly lecturer who teaches his subject with great commitment. He really tries to please every student and answers questions extensively. The grade is made up of an employee grade, which is noted after each lecture, smaller in-class assignments and four multiple choice exams (with us only three due to the corona situation).
Sometimes the lectures were a bit dry, but I can really recommend the course . The textbook was helpful, but not absolutely necessary.
MGMT 350 – International Business (Pawan Tomkoria)
That was the best course I had! The lecturer has a lot of experience and knows what he is talking about. He has already worked in (I think there were 92) countries or traveled to them. He makes a very entertaining and humorous lecture and involves the students well. Conclusion: Very interesting lecture and super Prof .
The grade is made up of an employee grade from the lectures (including attendance check), three multiple choice exams and a group presentation at the end. I found the exams to be pretty easy and the employee grade is also very good, in order to compensate for a slightly worse exam if necessary. The presentation was a little more difficult, but that could also have been due to the lecture situation. Both the creation in the group and the presentation of the presentation took place online. With a time difference of nine hours, that’s not exactly easy. But if you have the opportunity to take a course with Prof. Tomkoria, I would take this chance!
ECON 340 – Economic Research Methods (Aaron Popp)
I have to honestly say that the subject is really not that easy, especially when you don’t really have any basics, as it was with me. It is very much about statistics and values and how you can calculate and evaluate them with the help of the “R” program. The lecturer has been really helpful and engaging . I think otherwise this course would not have turned out so well for me. And Corona was definitely a win, at least in this regard, because both exams were assignments for which you had a week.
The grade is made up of six assignments, which you work out with the help of “R”, the two exams and a scientific paper in which you collect data yourself or determine it from the Internet and then evaluate and assess it. The work must include a linear regression analysis. As I said, without the lecturer and his helpfulness and enthusiasm for the subject, I definitely couldn’t recommend the course. It didn’t do me very much either, but it was definitely interesting.
ECON 335 – International Economy (Nyema Guannu)
Also a very interesting course and with a clear difference to my German economics lectures. The lecturer takes some getting used to, but I think he can convey the content very well and will answer all questions. His way of lecturing makes it possible to retain a lot of knowledge. The topics were varied and practical . In addition, there were always theoretical phases and tasks in between, which were then discussed. That way you were always good at it and the lectures weren’t so dry.
The grade is made up of weekly homeworks, which have to be done online on the computer via the Moodle. This forces you to go through the material again and shows what is important. In addition, the exam questions are often very similar and you have two attempts. All notes and books can be used and there is no time limit. This is a very good way of creating a good basis for the final grade from the outset. In addition, three exams (partly multiple choice, partly arithmetic tasks) and a scientific paper are written. The level of the exams is easily manageable. )
For the courses, it’s worth saying: Use the office hours with the lecturers and ask questions if you have any. The lecturers are usually really committed and look forward to helping, especially with the internationals. This also counts for the employee grade. It is worthwhile to register and participate frequently, because on the one hand it makes up a large part of the grade and you are in the lectures very differently.
And one more thing: it may be that you don’t get a direct approval for every course and you have to go to “ Course Crashing ”. You may then not get a course. But I also gave myself a lot of thought, because only one course was definitely promised, but in retrospect I still got all of them and even changed one. So you don’t have to worry too much .
A semester in America is a really big financial expense. The largest parts are made up of tuition fees and rent. Still, I would say it’s worth it . The CSUF is also still relatively “ cheap ”. I applied for both BAföG and a scholarship through the DHBW. The foreign BAföG has different calculation bases than in Germany. Nevertheless, it was unfortunately rejected by me. However, if it is approved, it is worthwhile because, for example, the entire tuition fees are covered. With the scholarship , I was lucky to have received another one afterwards.So it’s definitely worth applying!
Everything got off to a great start, even if, of course, it was a bit of a change in the beginning. I met a lot of nice people and had great experiences . It is also exciting to see how things work in other countries and to get to know the culture there. In addition, you naturally speak a lot more English and you get used to it. It was a shame that I had to fly home early, but it was still worth it and I would do it again anytime!