I already knew at the beginning of my studies that I wanted to spend a semester abroad in the USA during my studies. After I unfortunately couldn’t get a place in the exchange programs at my home university, I decided in January 2017 to apply directly to universities as a free mover. MicroEDU was a great help to me in mastering the enormous organizational effort.
No matter what question I had, the employees helped me very quickly by email or phone. And even after I had already successfully applied for another university, but decided at short notice to apply to the CSUF, it was not a problem and I was helped to implement it within a few days. Visit jibin123.com to get information about Singapore higher education.
The California State University, Fullerton me mainly because of the location, the beautiful campus, the excellent reputation of the Faculty of Economics and the comparative white low tuition addressed. The selection of the courses was also decisive for me, as I wanted to transfer the modules to Germany!
Organization & planning
Application and payment of tuition fees
The application process was really very relaxed. All you have to do is fill out the self-explanatory forms from MicroEDU, a “Financial Statement” and pay the application fee of $ 100, and MicroEDU will take care of the rest. Since I had already passed a TOEFL test to apply to my university, I didn’t have to worry about it anymore. I applied on March 31, and received my acceptance four days later! Including sufficient information material to answer all questions. If something is still unclear, you can always write to the advisors at MicroEDU or the CSUF.
Before you can begin your studies, you must have paid the tuition fees. This can be done either by credit card on site, which caused problems for some, or via bank transfer in advance, which costs a little fee, but is the safe way.
You can read a lot about how time-consuming and complicated it is to get a visa, but in reality it is not. Sure, you have to sit down for a few hours and work on all the documents, but that is not a problem. Only the appointment at the consulate is a bit of a hassle, as there is only an embassy in Berlin and consulates in Frankfurt and Munich. The appointment there is also harmless. The officials only ask two or three questions about your intentions to study and your financial situation and then send you your passport with a visa within a few days.
Since I was not yet sure whether and how I would travel on after the semester, I had only booked a one-way flight – which, even if you often hear it differently, is not a problem when arriving. I didn’t book the return flight until the end of December. I booked both flights through STA Travel, which I can only recommend, as the prices were significantly cheaper than on all other sites.
In addition to the things mentioned above, there is a lot more to plan before departure. Regardless of whether it is a credit card, vaccination protection or insurance, it is advisable to organize everything from Germany.
Credit card: DKB = best. Withdraw and pay without foreign fees, moreover – never had any problems compared to other providers of other students.
Sim card: AT&T – have the best network! $ 40 for 6GB, calls and texts for free. It is best to drive to an AT&T shop (e.g. Brea Mall) and pick it up in the first few days.
Insurance: In addition to the (very expensive) insurance prescribed by the university, it is advisable to book a foreign health insurance from Germany, as (high) costs can be incurred if you are not taken care of on campus.
Vaccination protection: You have to show a vaccination certificate against MMR on site, whereby the vaccination certificate with a matching stamp is sufficient.
BAföG: Even if you should not get a BAföG in Germany (as it is the case with me) the chances of getting BAföG abroad are very high! It depends on each case, of course, but you should definitely clarify it!
There are four options to live in Fullerton. The dorms on campus, private student residences, privately organized flat shares and homestays.
Unfortunately, I can’t say anything about homestay because I haven’t met anyone who lived like this. The dorms are very centrally located on campus and offer different ‘Meal Plans’ for your own cafeteria, but at around $ 1,500 / month (double room!) It is the most expensive option and you have to move out on the last day of the semester. The easiest way to find private shared apartments in the many apartment complexes around the university (Homesteads, Points, UCA,..) is via the countless Facebook groups. This will probably be the cheapest option (~ $ 500 / month) but involves more effort because you have to organize everything yourself and it is often unfurnished.
There are private student residences, the University Village and the University House.
The University Village is at the north end of the campus and is a 20 minute walk to the business lecture halls. Costs around $ 1,000 / month, but includes two meals a day during the week and you only have a contract for one semester, so you don’t have to worry about succession.
The University House is south of the campus and it takes less than five minutes to get to the lecture halls. Cost: $ 1,039 / month for a 4 bedroom / 4 bath shared apartment. However, you sign a contract for the whole year and, if you only stay for one semester, you have to look for a successor.
Fortunately, I chose the University House (UH)! Yes it is expensive and unfortunately no meals are included, but the location (!) And the facilities beat any other option. Everyone who stayed in one of the other options and visited me was ‘jealous’ of the apartment. In addition, I was incredibly lucky with my roommates (3 Americans + 3 friends each)! I couldn’t have hoped for better roommates – but of course that’s a matter of luck…
I started looking for someone to rent again in October and found it relatively quickly. But I know that some of them had problems and that they were still looking for them until shortly before their return flight.
University & Campus
California State University Fullerton has an incredibly large campus, and in five months I actually couldn’t see all of it. The university was founded in 1957 and is home to 37,700 Titans, as all students are called there. Fullerton isn’t really a college like you know from the movies, as it’s a commuter college. Therefore, life does not only take place on campus.
With the Titans Recreation Center, the university offers a fitness studio with a pool and sports fields, where you can play basketball, tennis or volleyball for $ 120 per semester. There is also the Titans Student Union, with a food court (Orange Chicken at Panda Express !!), bowling alleys, billiard tables but also enough space to study.
I didn’t use the numerous clubs at the university, but it’s a good opportunity to get to know new people.
The level of study at universities in the USA in general is partly a joke compared to Germany. Things that we learn in the Abitur will be there in the 4th / 5th Semester treated.
At the beginning there are a few problems with the language barrier, but you can actually get in very quickly. When choosing a course before the semester, it is better to specify more options and not just choose the popular courses, otherwise you have to “class crash” in the first week if things go badly. I was lucky enough to get all four courses requested in advance, so that “class crashing” was not necessary for me.
MGMT 350 – International Business & Management (Prof. Tomkoria)
By far the most interesting course, which was also due to the way and humor of Professor Tomkoria to explain the topics to you. However, the level was very high and it is not possible to get a simple A. 3 MC exams, 5 case studies and a large group presentation result in the grade at the end.
MGMT 339 – Managing Operations (Prof. Khan)
With a bit of previous knowledge from Germany, it is probably the easiest course. Professor Khan is sometimes difficult to understand and it can get boring quickly, but an A was really not a problem here!
3 MC exams, 5 quizzes.
BUAD 360 – Entertainment Money Management (Prof. Tarantino)
Since I couldn’t credit the course in Germany, it was rather uninteresting for me. In addition, Professor Tarentino is incredibly exhausting and the topics are not as exciting as the course name suggests, but with a bit of work a good B / A is possible.
3 exams, 10 quizzes
BUAD 300 – Professional and Career Development (Prof. Shahbazian)
This is not a course in the true sense of the word, more of a seminar aimed at strengthening your own personality and learning everything you need to know about a future career in the USA. From the US résumé to career fairs to job interviews, everything is covered here. The effort is very high, however, because you have to write a diary every week, there are 3 presentations and you have to write an 8-page mid-term paper and a 15-page final paper. A good B is definitely possible!
Yes, of course you go there to study, but the real and, in retrospect, the most valuable part of the six months were the incredible number of beautiful moments and the new friends you made.
I was lucky, as I said above, to get into an apartment with three Americans and their friends, who became best friends (visiting me in Europe in a few months) and who always looked after me or helped me with everything to have. I was also fortunate to have friends from all over the world, which has helped me improve my English tremendously. Otherwise there were almost only German, French or other national groups, which you have to know for yourself whether it is worth flying to the USA to study.
Fullerton is just 45 minutes south of downtown LA. Apart from the rush hour, you can reach all beaches (Venice !!) and sights relatively quickly.
ABOVE! ABOVE! ABOVE! Without Uber, or Lyft, hardly anything works. There is no public transport and there are hardly any normal taxis.
You have to consider whether it is worth renting / buying your own car. You will certainly do a lot more than without, but thanks to my roommates and friends, I was lucky enough to have enough people with cars with whom I could go shopping or travel – so I can’t really judge that.
Clubs almost everywhere close at 2am, which will be very unusual for most. Means that you meet at 8 a.m. to pre-drink at the UH or go to Brian’s Sportsbar on Wednesdays – like almost all Germans – and then go to the Rems Club in Placentia.
There are a few clubs in downtown Fullerton, and Los Angeles is also a good place to party, but that’s not cheap.
The best parties are house parties in someone’s apartment or in fraternities (which are actually like in the movies), even if it’s very difficult to get in! Best tip: just have your own party – it’s worth it.
Travel as much as you can! No matter which national park (Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Sequoia), San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego,.. every trip was definitely worth it! We flew to Cabo San Lucas (Mexico) via Fall Break and spent a week there.
There is hardly a thing that I would not do the same again. I will never forget every moment that I experienced and every person I got to know in the five months. I have certainly been very lucky in some situations and there are many where the semester did not go so perfectly, but no matter whether the choice of university, my circle of friends, the apartment, the travel – EVERYTHING was the right decision and for me more than I hoped it would!
Yes, it is very expensive and takes an incredible amount of effort, but if you have the opportunity, do it! It was – even if it sounds cheesy – the best time of my life!