Preparation and application
Since my home university in Germany only offers a full year abroad and that also with a limited number of students who are selected from the applications, I took care of a semester abroad myself very early in my studies and quickly came across your website on the Internet. I can say right at the beginning of my report (and I know everyone writes that, but it’s really true) that your website was a great help. Be it filling out forms for the application at the university or in the dormitory, help and tips with visas, visiting a consulate and choosing a course, or with other questions that arise during the entire preparation process. I felt really well looked after, especially because you always have someone on the phone.
Regarding the actual preparation, it should be said that the application was really very easy and quick. You fill out a few forms and about a month later I was accepted (but I also applied very early, about 1 year in advance). Accordingly, I was able to book a flight early and still had some options. I would recommend everyone to book their flight early, as a lot of people fly to LA in the summer, as I was told, and the flights are quickly booked out. It is best to think early on whether you still want to travel around and whether you then really take the return flight from LA or maybe rather from Miami or NY, because rebooking the city is much more expensive than that of the date !!
Applying for a visa is quite annoying and expensive, as you have to ask thousands of strange questions in forms, pay fees for everything and make an extra appointment at a consulate. But you just can’t avoid it and in the end everything was not so bad, just a bit annoying.
When I was admitted to the CSUF, I immediately received information about accommodation in the University Village (UV), an apartment complex in which I also lived. With just under $ 1000 rent per month it was of course anything but cheap and there were also small negative points such as broken loungers at the pool or internet access, which was so bad that basically every apartment had to take care of its own internet, but since I ( as far as I know) the only accommodation where you can get food (2 times a day Mon-Fri) AND a single room for the price. If that is not so important to you, you can easily find more accommodation in the vicinity of the university for less money, such as the Homestead Apartments, the Lake Apartments or the University Crossings. By the way, you can also live on the campus.
Right at the beginning of the semester there was a big welcome event for all international students, at which a lot of things were explained (such as “crashing courses”), tips were given, contacts were introduced and there was a campus tour. Also in the first week, every international student had an appointment at the ISS (International Student Service) Office, where you were told which courses of the weeks previously specified desired courses you could safely get into and additional information such as the so-called crashing of courses works. Basically, you attend as many courses that interest you as possible in the first two weeks and ask the professor at the beginning or at the end of the lecture whether he still has space in his course and whether he will accept you. Does the professor agree you still need your signature, a stamp from the relevant department (comparable to chairs) and hand everything over to the ISS. In the beginning everyone was afraid of not getting into enough courses or just those that don’t appeal to you, but in the end almost all students are always satisfied. For example, I had to crash 2 courses, which I was really a bit “afraid” of at the beginning, but which actually turned out to be easy in retrospect because the professors are mostly quite relaxed and sometimes a few more students Leaving course as actually intended. Check jibin123 to see more reviews from current students.
Incidentally, the tuition fees only include 12 units, which makes it possible to attend a maximum of four courses in a course with mostly three units. If you want to prove more, you have to pay more per unit. I would personally advise against doing this if you don’t necessarily have to do more courses in your semester abroad or if you absolutely want to do an additional course that may not be available at your home university. The reasons for this are, on the one hand, that you want to get to know “the country and its people” in the short time of a semester and, on the other hand, you have to note that you have to learn less for an exam than for the final exam in Germany (at least that was the case for me too), but there are also so-called midterms (one or even two per course), as well as quizzes (tests mostly covering the last three or four lectures), group work, presentations, essays and finally finals. Although these are usually okay in terms of difficulty, they can be very time-consuming, which becomes particularly stressful when the submission, lecture or exam dates of the individual courses overlap. In addition, there is a participation grade in almost all courses, which is made up of attendance and participation and is included in the overall grade (in my courses between 5% and 30% of the overall grade). So you can see that the American university system is much more academic than in Germany.
Since most of the international courses only had 4 courses, most of them laid them out in such a way that they either had Monday or Friday off (I even only had Mon-Wed Uni) so that there was a lot to do on the weekends. That’s great because Southern California and the United States in general really have a lot to offer. In the UV you made a lot of friends really quickly and there was never a weekend when nothing went. Be it bus parties to LA, parties in the apartments or clubs nearby, weekends in Las Vegas, BBQ by the pool or NBA games. There was always something going on. And LA and all the beaches around LA and in OC such as Laguna Beach, Newport, Huntigton, Venice, Santa Monica etc. etc. can be reached really quickly by car. San Diego is also approx. 2 hours. By the way, I would definitely recommend planning a little more money and buying an old car (together with others) right at the beginning, as the public transport system is not necessarily very good and renting a car if you are under 25 is relatively expensive is. You can get to the mall in the neighboring town by bus and LA is relatively easy by train, but everything else is just stressful because it takes far too long. Otherwise, Fullerton’s location in Cali is really perfect. During and after my semester in Fullerton, in addition to Orange County, the many beaches and LA, I also saw San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Hawaii, New York and Miami and I am just amazed by this diverse country.
The only two things that were a bit negative about my semester abroad are that the costs are relatively high and that there were a lot of Germans in Fullerton, which means that my English has not improved quite as much as I originally wished . Despite everything, (my English) has improved and I had an indescribably great time, saw a lot and met great people and that is why I would go back there anytime.