The CSUCI is an idyllic and quiet campus. Compared to universities like UCLA or Fullerton, the CSUCI is rather small. The university is in the middle of a small mountain range. The campus is beautiful and well maintained. The buildings are built in a Mediterranean style. The university offers a high quality library as well as competent and helpful staff. There are enough workplaces for studying outside of the lectures. In the fall semester of 2014 there were around 5,000 students, of which around 35 were international students. Studying at CSUCI means “becoming a local”.
I was classified as a business major and had to take four courses. Course crashing was a challenge for me because I like to plan in advance. However, I have planned my schedule in advance. On my orientation day I got the email addresses of the lecturers of the courses. I wrote to them directly, introduced myself briefly and explained why it is particularly important for me to take course X / Y. Every lecturer answered me and I was allowed to attend the first lecture. I was lucky and got into each of the courses I wanted: Management of Organizations, Organizational Behavior, Media Campaigns and New Product Development & Management. The courses took place once a week for three hours. I borrowed the necessary book for each of the courses from Amazon.com for one semester and returned it at the end of the semester (borrowing from the bookstore on campus is overpriced!).
Basically, you can expect the following workload per course:
- 8 written homework, 2-3 pages each
- 1 midterm + 1 final (multiple choice)
- Group work (presentation at the end of the semester + 15-page report)
- Reading the book chapters
Living in Ventura County:
According to liuxers.com, the term county is comparable to the German federal states. In Ventura County, Ventura is the capital and Camarillo is one of the suburbs.
I decided to live in Ventura during my semester abroad. Due to an internship in the past, the center of my life is in Ventura. Ventura is about 20 to 30 minutes by car from the campus, depending on traffic conditions. It is a beautiful city with around 120,000 inhabitants. The city is located directly on the Pacific and offers excellent shopping, good restaurants and bars as well as a wide range of leisure activities (surfing / pedal boating / hiking / cinema / theater). Ventura Harbor is one of my favorite places, as is the Channel Islands National Park, which can only be reached by boat.
I found my accommodation through Airbnb.com. I have written to various people and asked whether I can live with them for a period of X. It worked very quickly that I had a place to stay.
Unfortunately, I cannot provide any information about living on campus.
To be on the safe side, I bought an international driver’s license. You should always carry this with you in combination with your German driving license. I rented a car through my friends. They had two cars and only one in use, so I was allowed to use their second car for a monthly fee. I was insured through my friends’ insurance.
An international fellow student from Germany rented her car in Germany through SIXT. Car renting at companies in Ventura County, such as AVIS or Enterprise, for 5 months, requires a monthly investment of around $ 1300 (in my opinion that’s outrageous!).
I was able to use my Samsung Galaxy S4 in America without any problems. I had taken out a tariff with Telekom. This tariff included: unlimited data, call and text within the USA. I always had good network coverage. Because I had unlimited data, I was able to communicate with people from Germany via Whatsapp and Skype anywhere without any problems.
Below I have listed all the costs that I incurred in advance and on site. The total of € 13,575 is certainly shocking, but I’m a dual student and therefore had a monthly income, which covered my fixed costs.
Before the trip:
Visa € 120
SEVIS Fee € 160
Flight € 1100
International health insurance € 350
Tuition fees € 3950
Parking fees on campus € 145
Other preparation costs € 250
Monthly Costs in California:
Housing $ 700
Car $ 500
Gasoline $ 150
Cell Phone $ 30
Grocery $ 200
Leisure $ 250
$ 1,830 € 1500
TOTAL for 5 months € 13 575
For me, the semester at CSUCI was very enriching. There was always a lot to do, but I had fun doing it. The level corresponded to the German level at my university. During the semester, my focus was on getting to know the locals about studying, and I managed to do that here. It seldom happened that I had contact with students from Germany. Living in Ventura made my everyday life very varied.