Preparation and application:
When I decided to do a semester abroad, I started the preparations in May 2017. I was glad that I had eight months for everything. The more time you allow for planning, preparation and organization right from the start, the less stress you will have before departure. There are always unexpected things and things that you cannot simply tick off, because they also need processing time. First I tried to get information about the CSU Channel Islands through the “International Office” of my university and to get support for my application there. Unfortunately, this was not the case. So I searched the internet and luckily I found MicroEDU. There I briefly described my case and explained what I needed help.Working with MicroEDU has been really enjoyable. You always received precise instructions and tips on what to do and how best to fill out forms.
After all application documents had been compiled and these were also forwarded to MicroEDU, I received the acceptance for the semester abroad within two days. That was really great! After I received confirmation from the University of Channel Islands, an appointment had to be made with the embassy to apply for an F-1 visa, which is required as an international student. In addition, as an F-1 visa holder, certain health insurance is required, which you must take out before the start of the semester.
If you really take enough time here to organize everything, everything will run smoothly.
The California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) is a small university with about 8,000-10,000 students in contrast to some other universities in the state of California. Despite everything, even Channel Islands was huge for me, but beautiful. The university comprised dozens of buildings in which lectures and events were held. There were the “dorms”, which were set up like a student residence. There was a gym and places to play basketball. There was also a huge library and its own police station.
Also, there were plenty of cafes and has prepared a canteen in the fresh one in his face the food is t. There were different flavors, from fresh pasta to pizza to burgers or burrito and dessert, etc. The best thing is that the canteen has “All you can eat” for only $ 10.00. So here you will definitely get full. The campus was really unique and equipped with many fountains. You could really spend a lot of time here and you felt comfortable.
It is worth mentioning the International Office, which always had their doors open for questions or support. In addition, the professors usually offer twice a week “Office Hours”, in which you can have the subject matter explained to you again or go through exercises with the lecturers. In addition, the library offers “tutoring”, similar to private tuition in various subjects, and there is a writing center that helps you with grammar and essays.
The university is really only recommendable and I would choose the CSUCI again and again.
Studies and courses:
With the student visa, you are enrolled as a full-time student at the CSUCI. The prerequisite is at least 12 units (4 courses) that you have to take. This number of courses / units is included in the tuition fees. If you want to take additional courses, additional costs will apply. Since I have concluded a learning agreement with my university in Karlsruhe in advance, which means I tried to take courses with the same content that I would have had in my theory semester in Germany in order to transfer the units. As a result, I was very tied to specific courses, which were often difficult to find in the CI. Often there were deviations or nothing like that.
The relationship with the professors is much more relaxed and pleasant. The professors know you personally by name and are always ready to help you in their office hours. The other tools, as explained in the “University” section, really made everyday life easier.
The university system itself takes some getting used to. At my home university I write an exam in every subject at the end of each semester and at the CI there were initially several exams in the subjects, you had to do homework, give presentations, analyze and interpret texts and you had to take online quizzes. I really felt like I was back in school and it took 3-4 weeks to get used to it.
Still, you certainly have a better chance of getting a good grade. What is perhaps still interesting is that most exams are “curved”, ie that you first achieve a certain number of points, then a grade average is formed and then the entire grade average is raised, which means that you even get a better grade Grade can receive.
I have taken the following courses:
ACCT 300 Applied Managerial Accounting – Prof. David Mitchell
Dr. Mitchell was a good professor, even if his classes were often very repetitive. The contents of accounting, but also cost and performance accounting, were dealt with here. It was always interesting. Here you had to really learn the vocabulary from time to time, as the technical terms could not really be derived. But Professor Mitchell has often met me and allowed me to use vocabulary lists in the exams.
Not the easiest course, because in class you really only copy from the blackboard and problems are dealt with, but then the exam demands things that you did not deal with in class. A bit more demanding course but feasible. Note: A
MGT 325.002 Entrepreneurial Management – Prof. Michael Seay
One of my favorite courses. No exam was written in this course, but there was a semester-long project in a group. A business plan had to be drawn up for a product or service developed in-house and presented at the end of the semester. Taking part in this course was really fun, as Mike was always very practical and you could ask so many questions and learn. Despite everything, Mike was very demanding on the grading. Note: A
Econ 311 Intermediate Macroeconomics – Prof. Dr. Claudio Paiva
My absolute favorite course, if not the easiest course. Here were issues related to macroeconomics. How are GDP, inflation and the unemployment rate related. Long- and short-term growth of the economy was considered. In addition, the IS and LM curves were treated, as well as the AD, AS and LRAS curves. In this course you have the choice between two options. Either you just write the exams or you write the exams and also do projects that are given by the teacher. You are then together in a group, you choose two countries that you analyze throughout the semester and are given various questions about the topics that were dealt with in class. I chose the first option for myself, only to write the exams, which was definitely the better option for me. Very interesting, time consuming and demanding. Note: A
MGT 307.01 Management of Organizations – Prof. Dr. Cynthia L. Sherman
Really simple and straightforward course. At Dr. Sherman always enjoyed classes. Different forms of organization were covered, ethical aspects, the mission and vision of a company, how you behave towards your employees, what kind of tasks does a manager have, etc. At the beginning of the semester you are divided into a group with which you stay until the end of the Semester things worked on and worked out. The final also consisted of an individual and a group part. For the fact that the course is so easy, you really have an extremely large number of work assignments, through which you can easily collect a lot of points over the entire semester. Note: A In
conclusion, I was satisfied with all of my courses and can recommend them to others.
After doing a lot of research, I decided to live with a host family in Camarillo. It was really a very good decision and I definitely couldn’t have made it better. In advance, I informed myself about living on campus. One requirement for me was a single room, which I could not be guaranteed. So I decided on the host family, which I found through an agency, on the CSUCI homepage. I would really not recommend the agency, because it took forever to get an answer and then you had to transfer $ 5000 without even seeing a profile of the family. Fortunately, everything went well in the end.
It also turned out that the information I received was incorrect, as the family was described to me at the age of 30 and when I arrived the couple was over 60. When I talked to my host family about it, they told me the same problems and they only knew my first name and nothing else. I heard from friends in the States that you could also watch Craigslist. Unfortunately, I was not aware of this page in advance, but if someone is looking for a family, he is welcome to contact me.
I hoped to learn something of the American mentality through living with the host family, but that was also a bit difficult, as it turns out that my family immigrated to the USA about 30 years ago. During that time I always looked after myself, but was able to use the family’s devices and utensils and so only had to buy my groceries. I also had my own room and bathroom, which was really a dream. The family was always there for you in emergency situations and supported you in everything that was possible. The house was really big and there were palm trees right in front of my room window. So here the holiday feeling is preprogrammed. The house was only 10 minutes by car from the university and was super easy to get to.
Because I only took four courses in the semester and each course is only taught three hours a week, I only had 12 hours a week of lectures. In fact, I always had a fixed day of the week when I didn’t have any classes. Of course, you still had to do a lot of work at home for this, but if you can organize yourself well, you shouldn’t worry about leisure time. Never in my life have I had so much free time as in the five months in California.
At home I am really always well planned, either working or at university, but here you were really always on the move, went to the beach or hiking, or went to a party, went to dinner or looked at a few sights. It was really amazing. Even if you didn’t want to do anything big, you could just go to the cinema or lie down by the pool. In addition, Camarillo is located in the middle of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, so you can make trips here on your own on days or weekends. You won’t get bored here, because every new place or view was just exciting and breathtaking.
I would like to mention here that a car really simplifies a lot, because the places are really not as close to one another as in Germany. At the beginning I went looking because I did a lot of research on the internet and many said it would be relatively easy to find a car. I found out exactly the opposite. At first I was alone, so I had no one to share the costs with, and then the quality of the cars was so bad that I would probably have had to go to the workshop very often. In addition, car insurance is extremely expensive for people under the age of 25 and registering the car costs money again. In this case, I was extremely lucky that my host family “leased” a car from them. So I gave them a certain amount of money a month, had a working car, was insured, and at the end of my stay didn’t have to worry about selling the car. I was only responsible for the fuel.
According to toppharmacyschools.org, Camarillo is a really centrally located place from which you can really drive to many places. We were traveling in Ventura County, which includes the towns of Camarillo, Oxnard and Ventura. Each place is unique in itself and are all close to Camarillo. You can also drive towards Santa Barbara or Los Angeles (approx. 1 hour each). You can stop by Malibu and Santa Monica on the way to LA. The Santa Monica Pier was really a favorite of mine. You can also go to Venice Beach. Here you have to check out the Venice Canals in any case. It almost feels like being in Venice.
If you are doing a semester abroad in spring, you are lucky that it is spring break for a week and that means you have vacation. I was lucky that my friend came to visit me and we drove to San Francisco and Yosemite Park in a rental car. We were also in Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon and finally visited Universal Studios. That was really really exciting. For those who like to party, Cancun, Mexico is of course not far away and can really experience a lot here. On another weekend I visited Disneyland, which was really one of my highlights. You really have a lot of opportunities to look at something here. Even if you don’t have a car, you can book cheap bus trips.
At the end of my stay I took another vacation and visited Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley and Joshua Tree in addition to the places already mentioned. Really all great national parks that shouldn’t be missed if you get the chance. In addition, the last stop before LA was San Diego. San Diego is a beautiful city in California. We visited SeaWorld there, which was really one of my nicest experiences. The show with the dolphins and orcas was just crazy and unique.
If you have the time, watch as much as you can and enjoy every minute you spend in the States.
The other side to all the beautiful things can be found in costs. Life in Camarillo, or California in general, is one of the most expensive, along with New York and Florida in the United States. You have to be sure that you want to invest that much money for “only” four or five months. You can definitely count on € 15-20,000 for your stay, as the university and accommodation alone are between € 10 and € 12,000. And once you’re here, of course, you don’t want to turn over every penny, which is quite normal. In any case, it is cheaper to eat out in fast food restaurants than to cook freshly, since food, especially vegetables and fruits, are extremely expensive. I know it sounds like a lot of money and I thought the same thing, but I have no regrets and it was worth every penny to me.
If I could repeat the semester abroad again, I would do the same again. Going abroad and choosing the CI was one of my best decisions and I have spent the time of my life there. Despite my initial homesickness, the time simply passed by and I am sure that my wanderlust for the country and my heartfelt friends will last longer than my initial homesickness.
Anyone who has the chance of a semester abroad is only encouraged to take it. Such an opportunity will probably never arise again, and if you knew what you were missing out on, you would most certainly get angry.
At this point, a very big thank you to everyone who has always stood behind me and supported me.