University: University of California Los Angeles
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Linguistics and cultural studies
Study type: Summer Sessions
I attended a UCLA Summer Session (C) in the summer of 2008 and I can truly say that the experience was worth it.
But right from the start:
In Germany itself I didn’t really have to worry about anything because MicroEdu took care of everything (application documents are described in detail and you can ask questions at any time if you have problems filling them out). I only had to apply for a visa. In this case, I advise everyone to find out about the necessary documents on the US Embassy’s homepage in good time and, probably the most important thing, to arrange an appointment there in good time. The waiting time can be up to a month. Once you have cleared the bureaucratic hurdles, nothing stands in your way. Visit existingcountries.com to get information about University of California Berkeley student review.
There are several ways to get to the university at the airport in LA – taxi, super shuttle or recently also a so-called FlyAway bus (it stops in Westwood Village and costs only $4 per trip).
The area of the campus is incredibly large. Be prepared for a lot of walking (uphill, downhill!). There is a campus shuttle, but it is useless to get to the individual buildings. The facilities of the university are really unique – especially in terms of sport. There are tennis courts, basketball courts, swimming pool, fitness center…(all free with the BruinCard). There are also shops and numerous cafés/bistros on the campus. In the canteen (Rieber Hall) you can also eat around the clock. Those who live on-campus have meals included in the price. Off-campus you simply use the BruinCard, which you can top up with money over and over again. The food was better than I thought (I was prepared for pure fast food) – large salad buffet, rice (in all variations;-),
In terms of living, I can only say something about the off-campus apartment complexes. I lived in Westwood Palm, right next to the campus, so to speak. Some apartment complexes are closer to downtown Westwood Village but further away from campus. But everything is within walking distance!
The apartment itself was very large – 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 living room with kitchenette. The condition when I arrived was ok. Of course it wasn’t as clean as at home, but it was bearable for 6 weeks. However, not everyone was so lucky with their accommodation. Unfortunately, some of them had problems with ants in their apartment (I only advise: complain as soon as possible, it might be possible to move within the apartment complex!).
Overall, I was happy with my choice of course. The literature course in English (English Literature to 1660) was very demanding and I was the only foreigner – only Americans otherwise! The communication course, Public Speaking, didn’t teach me that much in terms of language, but it was still nice thanks to the nice course instructor.
The groceries are usually quite expensive compared to Germany. Self-catering is not necessarily the cheapest solution in this case. The prices in the bars (if you don’t necessarily go to the IN restaurants) are generally affordable, or sometimes cheaper than in Germany (especially in the fast food restaurants).
The taxi is probably the most expensive means of transport there. Those who don’t rent a car (it’s worth doing) should use the well-structured bus system. You can get to Venice, Santa Monica, Hollywood or downtown and it’s dirt cheap (bus to the beach, one-way trip for students 50 cents). However, the journey can take up to an hour, because the bus really stops every 5 meters!!
Weekend trips are offered by the convenient location of LA – San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego. I myself was in Las Vegas – absolutely recommendable! Santa Barbara and Newport Beach are also two beautiful coastal towns.
Unfortunately, Westwood Village doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to going out. There is a kind of student bar (O’Haras), that’s pretty much it. If you plan to go out in the evening, you should definitely know where you want to go. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will get in there. The sooner you are there in time, the higher the probability and women have it easier than men anyway.
In summary, I can say that I wouldn’t want to miss the time in America. Of course, a summer session is not exactly cheap and if you really want to improve your language skills, you should probably go abroad for a semester (unfortunately very few American students took part in the summer session. The majority were Asians and Germans).
Thanks again to MicroEdu for the good support before and during the summer session!!!