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International Student Reflects on Semester Abroad at Cal State Fullerton

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Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience. For one international student, Cal State Fullerton’s University Semester Abroad program, offered by CSUF Extension, proved to be just that. The program provides international students with an opportunity to study at CSUF for one or two semesters.

Liane Rudolf, who is enrolled in the international management of business and information technology program at Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University in Germany, spent the spring 2024 semester at CSUF.

With the semester now wrapped up and her visit coming to a close, Rudolf reflected on her time abroad.

Why did you choose the University Semester Abroad Program at Cal State Fullerton?

I really wanted to do a semester abroad ever since I started my studies. Since I am studying international management of business and information technology, a semester abroad also really fits with my major. Our university in Germany gave us a few universities all over the world to choose from, and CSUF was one of them. I thought it would be a good pick because I’ve never been to the U.S. before and wanted to experience the variety California has to offer and get to know the people and American culture.

What was it like being in this program and studying at Cal State Fullerton?

I loved it. In those four months, I had the opportunity to experience so many different things and meet so many amazing people. The class structure and learning experience were so different from Germany because there were midterms and quizzes all semester long and not just one exam at the end of the semester. Of course, there were some hard and stressful moments too, but for the most part, my time here was filled with so much joy and happiness.

What was your favorite class and why?

My favorite class was Principles of Macroeconomics with Cris Vega, lecturer in economics. He was really enthusiastic about teaching us and used many different resources. We had quizzes every week, which was a bit of work but also good because our grade didn’t rely on just one midterm and final. We also participated in a debate, which was scary at first, but it was also a new and interesting experience.

What was your most memorable experience in California?

While studying at CSUF was great, one of my favorite memories was watching the sunset over the Los Angeles skyline from the Griffith Observatory. But the moments I will miss most are when we met up with all of our new international friends at CSUF to talk and play games.

Would you recommend Cal State Fullerton’s University Semester Abroad program to others?

I definitely would recommend it. It might seem scary at first to leave your home for so long and fly to the other side of the globe, and also the cost of a semester abroad might seem deterring, but coming here was the best decision of my life. I would say don’t be scared and risk it. People are so open here, and just talking to them will give you so many new views and insights. From the beaches over big cities to the mountains, California is so versatile. It has everything, and you won’t get bored. We saw so many beaches like Malibu and Huntington and went to Downtown L.A.

What advice do you have for students entering the program?

Try to enjoy every moment and get out of your comfort zone. Don’t only hang out with people from your home country, but try to meet Americans and other international students.

Rudolf will be returning to Germany to complete her studies. She hopes to meet up with other international students she met at CSUF in the future and return to California within the next few years.

To learn more about the University Semester Abroad program, visit the CSUF Extension website.

Charis Hill