University: University of California Irvine
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: biology
Study type: Summer Sessions
I was at the University of California in Irvine for 6 weeks this summer and took part in Summer Session II there. The choice of university was taken care of for me because I had applied for a scholarship and the university had already been determined as a result. During the application process at the UCI, I was looked after by MicroEdu. I received all the application documents directly from MicroEdu and was able to contact MicroEdu at any time with any questions or uncertainties about the information requested. The other documents from MicroEdu, such as information about applying for a visa or similar, were also very helpful andthe entire support provided by MicroEdu was great ! Visit existingcountries.com to get information about California State University Northridge student review 2.
I took two courses at the UCI. In Germany I study food science and biotechnology and, fittingly, there were no courses at the UCI. I wanted to use the Summer Session to find out for myself whether I could imagine studying in English, since the Masters for my degree program at my home university are only offered in English. Both courses were courses that you would take in America at the beginning of your studies.
One course was called “Molecular Biology”. Most of the content of this course was already in Germany, but the lecturer taught the subject in a completely different way than my German professor. In Germany it was rather dry theory and the American lecturer explained many experiments to make the theory understandable and clear to us. As the second course, I had actually chosen an English course. We were only able to access the exact course description just before the start and I realized that this was a course for native speakers and was therefore not what I was looking for. I switched courses in America on the first day and took the course instead”Brain and Behavior”. This course had nothing to do with the courses I had previously attended in Germany. But the course was incredibly interesting and I was totally fascinated by the subject. It was about the senses, reflexes or basic instincts like hunger and thirst and how they work. How the signals are converted and how they are sent from the organs to the brain and where they are processed there. In the first week you could change any course without any problems as long as there were still places available in the new desired course. The only thing you had to pay attention to was that you didn’t take too many or too few “units” depending on the visa.
Differences America vs. Germany (with regard to the university)
Right from the first lecture, it is noticeable that the relationship between lecturer and student in America is very different from what I know from Germany. The lecturers seemed much more interested in who exactly is sitting in the lecture. One lecturer was able to address almost everyone by name after the second lecture. But also the structure of the lectures in itself differs. In both courses I wrote a total of four tests or exams in the six weeks. In both courses there was a reading plan for a book that was supposed to be bought, and in the “Molecular Biology” course you would be stuck without reading it because the material was then assumed in the lecture and experiments were taught that you could do without the basics would not have understood. In addition, there was a quiz before each lecture with 5 to 8 questions about what you had read and during the lecture you could use a so-called “clicker” to answer multiple-choice questions that the lecturer had on his lecture slides, and thus score points get for attending. The grades are made up of many partial performances.I found this system much more pleasant than the one exam at the end of the lecture, as in Germany, even if you really had to prepare or follow up on something every day, the pressure was significantly less.
I stayed at Arroyo Vista Housing for the 6 weeks. A dormitory complex with many houses. I lived in the International House with about 20 other internationals – mostly from Asia. We had twin rooms and had one bathroom for women and one for men on each floor and a kitchen and a large lounge for everyone on the ground floor. Of course, the order and cleanliness always depends on the roommates, but the kitchen and the bathrooms were cleaned every day and therefore it was bearable. Because my scholarship also paid me for so-called “meal plans” and thus on campus in the canteens and restaurants I actually only used the kitchen on the weekends. Depending on your speed, you could walk to the campus in about 20 minutes.
Contact with Americans
It wasn’t difficult to get in touch with Americans if you wanted to. In contrast to Germans, Americans are very open and as soon as you ask someone for directions, they actually start small talk. Most of the time, however, it stays with small talk. I had expected that the courses would be mostly internationals, but on the contrary there were at most a handful of foreign students in each course and otherwise it was either students from the UCI or Americans who actually study at another university and only for the summer spend the UCI. So if you wanted, you could talk to many Americans.
I used my free time to see as much of California as possible. During the week I often took part in offers from the university, which offered excursions with a small guided tour to the nearby beaches or campfires on the beach, which were offered by our dorm. I also often visited the pool in the Anteater Recreation Center (sports hall with gym and pool) ( entrance is free for internationals! ). The activity center of the university also offers excursions every weekend, for example to Universal Studios, Disneyland or to San Francisco. The trips are well organized and often cheaper than planning it yourself.
On the weekends, I often rented a car with a few other people and drove to different destinations. Irvine itself doesn’t have much to offer as the city is still quite young. The Spectrum Center (shopping center with many restaurants and a Ferris wheel) is definitely worth a visit. For that I think Irvine is in a great location to see much of the rest of California. The coast is only 10-15 minutes away by car and has many great beaches. To cover short distances without your own car, I can only recommend the “uber” app, no matter where you are in America. The Beaches (Laguna, Newport, Corona del Mar or Huntington Beach), Los Angeles, San Diego and some small national parks in the area (Crystal Cove State Park, Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, or Limestone Canyon Wilderness Park) make great day or weekend trips. San Francisco is worth a long weekend or a road trip, as well as a detour to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, but Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon or Death Valley are also within reach.
The time in California was incredibly beautiful and I was enthusiastic about the people, but also especially about the cities, beaches and nature. The time at the UCI was unforgettable and I took a lot with me. If I could I would go back in a heartbeat!
I hope that I was able to give you a little insight with my report and if you have any questions, please contact MicroEdu and let them give you my email address!