The application process takes a little time, which is why I would advise you to start early. Essentially, it just consists of collecting all the desired documents and sending them off in good time. The lovely Coco team will be happy to help you with any questions you may have and will check all documents for completeness. After about 2 weeks I have already received the acceptance from California State University Fullerton and arrange my appointment at the consulate directly. But you don’t need to be afraid of that; this is more an appointment with the authorities than an “interview”. I was only asked what I am studying, why I want to go abroad and who is financing the whole thing. You will be informed immediately afterwards whether you will get the visa and in my case my passport including the student visa was in the mailbox five days later. See abbreviationfinder for acronym of California State University Fullerton as CSUF.
The accommodation search I personally found quite difficult and you should at least with $ 800 – $ 1,000 per month for a room expect. In advance, I got together with three other German girls whom I met through a Facebook group, and we all looked for a flat share for four people. There is a wide variety of apartment complexes in Fullerton, which we contacted almost all, but unfortunately only received rejections. In the end we ended up in the University House, which in retrospect was really the best decision. The four of us had our own ensuite room for $ 1,039. The price seems to be very high at first glance and cannot be compared with the German standard at all, but in America you pay so much rent almost everywhere. The good thing about the UH is that it is only a five-minute walk to California State University Fullerton and all rooms are already furnished. It also has two large pools, several chill-out areas, solariums, barbecue areas, a billiard table and a parking garage, which is included in the price. The only disadvantage is the fact that you only get contracts for a term of twelve months. Since most of them are only abroad for one semester, you have to look for a new tenant on your own. But here too, as long as you take care of it early enough, the whole thing is not a problem. The UH team was always very friendly and will definitely help you and answer any questions that may arise during your stay.
Studying in the USA is very different from studying in Germany. The whole system is much more school-based and the workload spread over the semester is a lot higher, but generally easier. Tests and exams consist almost exclusively of multiple-choice questions and the final grade is made up of a lot of components, such as quizzes, homework or participation. In contrast to Germany, attendance is compulsory in the USA. What you should definitely know about in advance is the so-called “crashing” course. Since the national students have priority, it may well happen that you are not assigned your desired courses. In such a case you have to attend the courses in the first two weeks, introduce yourself to the professor and ask for a place. As soon as a place becomes free, you can move up directly. This procedure can make your first few weeks really exhausting, but thanks to Nathalie’s kind help, almost all internationals can be satisfied. I would therefore advise you to take alternative courses in advance so that you are on the safe side. You also have to expect that school books are very expensive in the USA. It’s best to borrow them from chegg. com or amazonbooks.
Leisure and excursion possibilities
Fullerton is of course the best base from which to explore California and neighboring states. In order to keep the whole thing as short as possible and not to anticipate anything, I will now list all the road trips we have made during that time: Yosemite National Park (my absolute favorite!), Grand Canyon (including Antelope Canyon & Horshoe Bend), San Diego, San Francisco, and Vegas. Of course we were often out and about in LA, where there is so much to discover. My favorite neighborhoods are Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Malibu. But we prefer to spend our time on the beautiful beaches of California. Huntington Beach, for example, is just 20 minutes from Fullerton and is a surfer’s paradise. The most beautiful beach in my opinion is Laguna Beach, 1000 steps – definitely worth a visit. California really has so much to offer and is one of the most beautiful spots in the world, so I can only advise you to travel as much as possible and enjoy your time!
DO’S & DONT’S
- Buy or rent a car. The transport network is really bad and you can hardly get from A to B without a car. We rented our car from Dirt Cheap Car Rentals in San Diego because it was the cheapest there. Everything went perfectly, so I can highly recommend it!
- Download the Uber app!
- Take with you all the Rems evenings that take place. (Explanation: on Wednesdays all Germans always go to the Rems, a small “disco” in downtown Fullerton, it was really funny every time)
- Be open and get to know as many people as you can.
- Eat as often as you can at In-n-Out (Animal Style Burger) and Panda Express (Honey Walnut Shrimp).
- Go to Disney Land, it’s right on your doorstep.
- Speak English!
- Check out the beautiful sunsets on the beach!
- Enjoy every moment, it will be the coolest time in your life!!!!
- Do not learn so much and never cancel Rems evenings because you have to study!: D
- Don’t spend too much time in your room.
- Don’t just do something with Germans.
- Don’t be stingy or thrifty, after all, you only live once.
- Don’t be disappointed if everything doesn’t work out the way you want it to.
- Don’t let university stress you out so much!
I hope my little experience report could help you, I wish you a lot of fun at the absolute best time of your life. Enjoy the California sun, I’m jealous!