I spent the 2012/2013 winter semester at California State University Fullerton. The diverse range of courses, the university’s good reputation and the meaningful experience reports convinced me to choose this university for my semester abroad. The location also played a very important role. Fullerton is very central and is a good base for weekend getaways.
I study industrial engineering and have only taken business and finance courses in Fullerton: Managerial Accounting ACCT 201B, Financial Management FIN 320, Organizational Behavior MGMT 340 and Principles of Management and Operations MGMT 339. Some of the courses (ACCT 201B and FIN 320) were with associated with a very high weekly study effort. For both courses you had to register in an online portal in order to regularly do online homework and online tests from home. This is not only associated with a lot of time but also with high costs. The access codes for registration are only available in connection with the procurement of new text books, which are usually very expensive. This means that you could not buy or borrow cheaper used books.
I found the level of the courses to be lower than in Germany. In return, the workload was considerably larger. Furthermore, I had to attend all courses except FIN 320. Days absent had a negative effect on the final grade.
The Cal State Fullerton campus is very spacious and has a lot to offer. I registered at the Recreation Center right from the start. There is a large weight room, lots of cardio equipment, a large sports hall for basketball, volleyball, badminton, etc., a running track, a swimming pool and much more. There is also a wide range of weekly fitness courses such as yoga, spinning, hip hop and bums-legs-bums. There is also a bowling alley, pool tables, a food court and a large campus shop. The library offers free conversation and writing tutoring. Here you can have assignments checked before handing in or have a conversation with native speakers to improve your English or learn typical idioms.
At the beginning of the semester, the clubs at the university also introduce themselves on campus. As is typical of the US, there is a wide variety of clubs and associations. It is best to find out more in advance via the Internet or to think in advance which organizations you are interested in. I approached the information booths relatively haphazardly and ended up not becoming a member of any club.
I have already looked for accommodation from Germany and decided on the University Village (UV). I also registered for the place to live through your website. The UV is only about 5 minutes from campus and is a student-only apartment complex. You share an apartment with living room and kitchen with two other students. There is a cafeteria where you can eat twice a day on working days. To get to the university faster or to go shopping, you can rent a bike there for a semester. Overall, I really enjoyed the UV and settled in quickly. However, a lot of German exchange students lived there, which bothered me a little.
Fullerton is very centrally located in Orange County. I found the city itself to be rather boring. However, this is a good starting point for excursions. Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and LA and all of its attractions are only 30 to 40 minutes away by car. San Diego can also be reached within 2 hours by car. So I would recommend buying a car or renting one for a longer period of time. I didn’t buy a car myself, which I regretted a bit in retrospect. The bus connections are very bad and it takes about 2 hours to get to the beach (30 minutes by car). However, bus travel is free throughout Orange County for Cal State Fullerton students. The bus card is available at the beginning of the semester.
In conclusion, I can say that the semester was an unforgettable four months for me and I had a great time at California State University Fullerton. The staff in the International Office on site and my professors were very friendly and open-minded. However, there were too many Germans at the university and in the University Village and it was very difficult to come into contact with Americans.
With the support of your website, the application effort was relatively low and I was always given competent advice.