The semester abroad at CSUF was the right decision for me. Even if everything doesn’t always go smoothly or as you imagine it, after this time you can look back on the last few months with pride.
I had the first day at CSUF on a Friday. On this orientation day the dean gave a speech and we were all warmly welcomed. There was also a small buffet and you got to know the first people.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an introductory week in the USA, but you still get to know your people quickly enough. At the same time, I moved into my accommodation that day, the University House Fullerton. I reserved my room here in advance. The whole process turned out to be more than time-consuming, which is why I would have decided in retrospect for another alternative. In addition, I did not receive any of the e-mails telling me that the rooms are unfurnished and the best thing to buy. So after the greeting I stood in an empty room and thought about what to do next. Here I would have liked more help from the employees.
Accommodation is an issue in itself. In the UH you have a pool and if you know enough people, you can celebrate often enough with the people from the house. On the other hand, you have to sign the contract for a whole year and you are responsible for finding someone to take over your lease. So life in the UH is really cool, but not really cheap and unfortunately you can’t expect any help from the office.
Here you come to the point of locomotion. You should really try to get a car. Cars are sold on all online platforms, but as a non-mechanic that wasn’t an alternative. Fortunately, a couple of guys noticed that you can’t get around so well without a car, which is why we rented a car for four months quickly and paid a total of around $ 500 per person. The first weeks in Fullerton went by in a flash because everything is completely new. From class crashing to sunny weather, there is enough to do.
In general, I needed four courses to be accepted, which corresponded to 12 credits. In consultation with my home university, the courses I chose were also credited at home . In the course of the application you have to submit a timetable with the preferences of the courses and times. However, you shouldn’t assume that you will actually get these courses.
Of the four courses I submitted, I received two. I thought it was a mistake and so I got in touch with the International Office . Here I found out that there are even international students who did not get one of their courses as requested. So here you have to be flexible and choose enough alternative times.
In general, the course cannot really be compared with Germany. A course is offered at different times by different professors. The content is the same, but the forms of examination are quite different. So planning is called for here if you don’t want to submit a term paper every two weeks and three additional midterms. Among other things, you can use www.ratemyprofessors.com to deal with the professors in advance. The class crashing process means as much as that on the first day you sit in a class whose timeslot you are interested in, although you have not been admitted here. Sometimes the professors have the opportunity to admit a few more students. Remain persistent, it was worth it for me. As an international student you unfortunately do not have the options that a domestic student has, such as reserving places. I took four courses, all of which I found really good. The courses are much more practical than I am used to from Germany. At the same time, you don’t overwork yourself, since a timeslot is 70 minutes. With a timetable with four subjects, you don’t get that much time that you put into the university yourself. The level of the courses themselves is, however, simpler.
After the first few weeks at university, the “Labor Weekend” came in the USA. We used this weekend to go to Las Vegas. With the car and the right passengers, this trip is definitely worth it. In addition, it is still really warm at this time of year, so there are still many pool parties taking place in Vegas. They are definitely worth it. Otherwise, Vegas is also great for getting out for a weekend later in the year. If you look carefully, you can also find cheap deals and hotels. If you don’t want to go away for the whole weekend, the beaches along the coast are also worthwhile. Santa Monica and Venice is a must. Here it is worth renting a bike and just going for a ride. The canals in Venice are really beautiful and the shopping streets in Santa Monica are really special, especially when it is dark. In addition, Santa Monica has the famous pier, on which there are still some rides etc. The Thousand Steps Beach at Laguna Beach is a little insider tip. Less than 40 minutes from Fullerton, it’s one of the nicest beaches I’ve seen so far.
If you want to get out into the great outdoors, you can either drive to Yosemite National Park or stay in the Fullerton area. Yosemite Park is an eye-catcher in every season, either in summer, when everything is still green, or in autumn, when you can already see snow even in California. Here we rented a motel for a weekend and were out in the park during the day. Alternatively, there is the Saint Gabriel Mountains, very close to Fullerton. There are a variety of hiking trails or waterfalls to see in the park. At the same time, it is also worth driving off without a plan and simply enjoying the nature that you can get through. We drove up to San Francisco over a weekend. SF is a really great city, if not very close and cheap. Besides the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, there may not be as many must-see sights here, but the city as a whole is really an eye-catcher.
I can’t say much about LA . Of course you have seen the Hollywood Hills, but it’s not as special as you imagine it to be. It is worth a visit, but it stayed with me. The observatory, however, is a must for anyone visiting LA. Especially at dusk, LA is at your feet here. For me, however, it only worked the third time due to the parking situation.
The Uni Gym offers good leisure activities for athletes. The gym is a fitness studio and sports hall in one. If you want, you can throw a few balls or just go for a workout. Otherwise there are also some meadows on campus where you can play football or do something else. The Brea Mall is also only 10 minutes away if you need some new clothes or just want to take a stroll.
All in all, the semester abroad was definitely worth it. I got to know a lot of great people, albeit mostly other German internationals. There are an infinite number of them in Fullerton. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful things, from weekends full of parties to beautiful nature. The semester abroad also pays off for studying .