Living abroad for a longer period of time – that has always been a dream of mine: I was able to fulfill this last semester and spend a year in the USA . Right from the start of my studies it was clear to me that I also wanted to think outside the box in order to get to know student life in another country. Where I would like to have this experience has always been clear to me: In America – the land of unlimited possibilities . I chose California as my place of study and I have never regretted it. I chose California State University in Fullerton because the university has a good range of courses in media. Furthermore is Fullerton is a good starting point for touring California .
Since my university in Germany unfortunately has no partner universities there, I decided to organize everything myself. It wasn’t that easy at first, but I knew from friends the organization College Contact, which places students at universities abroad free of charge. The organization helped me a lot with the application and all other organizational matters. First of all, I needed proof of my English language skills. Here I would recommend the DAAD language test to everyone, as it is significantly cheaper than the TOEFL test and can be taken at any university. A major effort was applying for a visa, which you should take care of very early.
There are many different options for living at the CSUF : The dorms on campus and numerous student housing complexes such as Oxford North or University House. I chose the University House as it is only five minutes from there to the campus . In addition, the apartments are well furnished and there is even a washing machine and dishwasher in each apartment. There are also many shopping opportunities nearby. Unfortunately there are only contracts there for one year, which is why many friends have lived in Oxford North. But there is also the option of looking for a new tenant via Facebook groups. I cannot recommend Oxford North because, for example, the location is not ideal.
Student life in the USA
The student life in the USA is completely different than in Germany . Every day there are events of some kind on campus and sport plays a big role here. It is definitely worth watching the university games of your own teams, as there is an exceptional atmosphere: the students cheer their team on with passion, there are cheerleaders and a mascot. The campus in Fullerton is huge : There is a fitness studio with its own pool and a climbing wall, plenty of retreats for studying or relaxing, a bowling alley and of course three Starbucks. As a student you can join numerous clubs.
As an international student you have to take at least four courses. Overall , I am very satisfied with my choice of course because I learned a lot and the courses were very interesting. In one course we saw a film every week and afterwards guests who were involved in the film came and talked about their work. One guest was, for example, Phil Johnston (Wreck-it Ralph), who has now even been nominated for an Oscar. Another course was called “The Disney Experience” where we were supposed to go to Disneyland as homework. The professors are all very nice and open . At first I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to understand everything, but that quickly subsided and you could understand the professors very well.
The “Golden State” definitely has a lot to offer . On the weekends and during the holidays I had time to get to know the state better. For example, I traveled to San Francisco, San Diego and Palm Springs with other international students. Everything is very easy to reach from Fullerton: Los Angeles is only an hour away and the nearest beaches are only 30 minutes away . Unfortunately, you shouldn’t underestimate the traffic here, so that one hour can easily turn into three. My highlights were definitely New York, Las Vegas and Antelope Canyon. The country is known for the beauty of its national parks, so go for itsee one or the other natural wonders . The best thing to do is to buy a national park pass. Even if Los Angeles is not the prettiest city, it has a lot to offer like great food spots or film premieres . I’ve seen so many stars, like George Clooney, Hailee Steinfeld, Dwayne Johnson and the cast of Stranger Things.
Anyone over the age of 21 has the opportunity to experience the bar scenes of Fullerton and Los Angeles . Wednesday goes to “Brians” and then to “Rems”, which has college night every Wednesday . The bar is a meeting place on Wednesdays for all international students and of course Americans. If someone comes by, please send them my best regards.
The time abroad was the best year of my life and I would recommend everyone to do a semester abroad, because you grow beyond yourself and simply have experiences for life. You also make friends for life, because I still have contact with a lot of people.