I did my semester abroad (Spring Semester 2010) at California State University Fullerton. At around $ 5000 per semester, the course is of course much more cost-intensive than we are used to in Germany (despite tuition fees), but compared to other Californian universities this university is more in the low-priced lower mid-range. In addition, there is health insurance, which is compulsory and without which you will not even be admitted to study. You can try to complete this in Germany before you start your journey.
But from my own experience I have to report that it is a pretty tricky matter, because in principle the German health insurances seem to be cheaper than the American ones, but do not meet all the services that are required by the university. So you can save yourself this effort before leaving and simply take out the university’s own health insurance at one of the first visits to the International Office, which is a solid, inexpensive choice at $ 430 per semester (in American comparison). Obtaining the visa was far more time-consuming. A lot of paperwork, processing fees, and visiting the consulate are nerve-wracking, but doable. To avoid unnecessary stress, start 6 months in advance. I myself started only 3 months before departure and still got everything together on time, but would definitely choose the less stressful option next time. There were no problems when applying for a visa either, the “interview”, which is described in many documents in a frightening manner, took me about 5 minutes and was uncomplicated. I was even given the option to answer in German or in English.
My plan to have settled as much as possible before my arrival in the USA worked, which was due in large part to the team from Top-Engineering-Schools.com, as they supported me from the start. For example, I took the opportunity to find accommodation through the International Office. Unlike many other students, I didn’t live in the University Village, which is right next to the campus, but moved in with a host family and felt pretty comfortable there. What I found positive about my accommodation was that, at 2.5 miles, it was relatively close to the campus and I was also able to live with Americans for six months, who welcomed me with open arms and let me participate in their culture. I paid $ 600 a month for living, plus what food is added. The public transport leaves something to be desired every now and then (at least in local transport). They are available, but the bus timetables do not necessarily intersect with the study times. And if you want to avoid waiting times of up to an hour for the next bus, it is worth buying a bike. First I looked around the “bulletin board” at the university, but finally found what I was looking for online via “Craigslist”. So a bike is a pretty useful purchase if you can’t talk yourself into a car right away. If you haven’t taken a TOEFL test beforehand, don’t panic about the English test, which can be taken internally at the university instead. I had to do it myself and had no problems passing it. Preparation is
Studying itself inspired me. I am particularly positively surprised by the commitment and helpfulness of the lecturers. I have made the experience that the lecturers deal intensively with the individual students, do not shy away from extra work and that they mean it quite seriously when they offer the students to contact them with any content-related questions before or after the classes. In contrast to what I have experienced in Germany so far, studying there (and above all) contacting the lecturer at “eye level” is possible, which makes studying much more pleasant and, in my opinion, more effective. Since I study graphic design, I mainly stayed in the visual arts buildings, which are not as new as the business center, for example, but are (like the entire campus) in really good condition. In addition to the regular courses on offer, there are many additional, worthwhile offers on campus. Especially the integrated Recreation Center (monthly $ 25) is worthwhile for anyone who enjoys a new, well-equipped gym. A salt water pool is included;) All in all, I can only recommend everyone to do a semester abroad, and the positive impressions and experiences that I have gained both at Cal State University in Fullerton and in California make me definitely recommend this university! $ 25) is well worth it for anyone looking to enjoy a new, well-equipped gym. A salt water pool is included;) All in all, I can only recommend everyone to do a semester abroad, and the positive impressions and experiences that I have gained both at Cal State University in Fullerton and in California make me definitely recommend this university!