University: University of California Los Angeles
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: economics
Study type: Summer Sessions
After much deliberation, partly because the costs are really high and I had to pay for it myself, I decided to do a summer session. So now the question was where? After the exclusion criteria, there weren’t that many universities left, so I chose UCLA, which was really a good choice.
Other universities were out of the question because the period didn’t fit (overlapping with the exam phase), because no subjects were offered for me or because the sessions were shorter and I wanted to stay at least 6 weeks since I’m not doing a semester abroad. Visit anycountyprivateschools.com to get information about University of California Berkeley study abroad program.
Full of anticipation, but also with a somewhat anxious feeling, I flew on August 1st. Amsterdam to Los Angeles in the morning. This was my first flight alone and also my first trip to the USA.
For these reasons I had also booked a direct flight. In retrospect, however, I would say that I would have found it ok to change flights once and therefore could have booked a cheaper flight.
After a flight of about 11 hours, I arrived in LA at noon (because of the time difference: 9 hours back).
There I took a shuttle from the airport to the campus. I can only recommend the Super Shuttle. It costs 15€ per person, which is cheap because it takes more than half an hour and the driver also let us out directly at the Rieber Hall (where you had to register).
I stayed in a triple room at the Saxon Suites. The Saxon Suites are a bit more expensive than the rooms in the Rieber Hall, but you have a living room and only six people share the toilet and shower and the sink only three. The rooms are simply furnished (loft bed, desk, closet only with a rod, but without a hanger *g*), but perfectly OK.
After the information event, I finally got to know my roommates, who were both very nice. There were also two Germans! On the one hand, this was very cool, because we understood each other very well and it is clearly easier for me to speak German than in English, but on the other hand, “at home” we only spoke German. There were a lot of Germans and even more Chinese there anyway. I would have hoped that there would have been a little more English-speaking students. I mean it was so great for fun, but not so great for learning English…
Now some notes on the courses. I had a lecture from Monday to Thursday. I had Finance on Mondays and Wednesdays (3.15-5.20 p.m.) and Tuesdays and Thursdays I had Business Communication (ESL, from 9.00 a.m.-12.20 p.m.). I really liked the Business Communication Course, although I found it a bit easy at times. In this course you do group and individual presentations and a lot of group work, so that you have really spoken a lot of English here. My second course in Finance, on the other hand, was more difficult. We wrote 2 midterms and a final exam. My “luck” was that some themes were repetitive for me. You really don’t have that much time or desire to learn because you can do sooo many other, much cooler things.
In the end I did better than expected in both courses! : -)
Now I would like to make a few comments about the campus and then about the leisure activities/sights in the area.
The campus is really impressive. The buildings are huge and absolutely beautiful. There is a free pool just a few meters from the Saxons/Rieber Hall, a gym (also free), as well as a few shops and restaurants.
The food was also really great, but after 6 weeks you are still looking forward to the normal German food. I had booked 15 meals, which was actually a bit too much. Since you’re hardly ever on campus on weekends, if I were to go there again I’d probably book 11 meals. If it’s not enough, you can always buy something else. Then it’s time for a change! : -) In the morning there was always fruit, cornflakes, scrambled eggs, omelettes, waffles, pancakes, yoghurt, muffins, bagles… At lunchtime and in the evening there was always burgers, hot dogs, pizza (almost always salami), a salad buffet, pasta (or rice ), bedside table (cake, biscuits, pudding, dounat, ice cream…), a changing dish…. So there was always something for every taste.
Now briefly to leisure activities.
In Westwood itself (that’s where the university is) there isn’t that much. A cinema, a few pubs (including O`Haras), a few shops and In `n Out Burger! But you can take the bus to Santa Monica or Venice Beach in 30-45 minutes. By the way, bus travel is very cheap. The Big Blue Bus rides are only $1 and the Metro is only $1.50. In Santa Monica there is a very nice shopping street and the pier (with a kind of fair) and the beach are also well worth seeing. Unfortunately, when we wanted to go to the beach (because it was still really warm at UCLA) in Santa Monica, it was often too windy and cold.
For many attractions it is advisable to rent a car because the distances are simply too far. If you’re under 25, you pay $25 more per day. So it’s really good to have someone older with you.
We were then, for example, in San Diego, in Las Vegas, in Universal Studios (by bus), Huntington Beach, Dodgers Game (baseball, by bus), Hollywood (Walk of Fame, Hollywood Sign), Six Flags, Malibu, Getty Center. The others I used to do things with were also in San Francisco. However, since I went there after the session, I was in LA that weekend. I really liked all the things, only the Dodgers Game was a bit boring, but “you have to see it.”
For the evenings, the Limo rides to the Playhouse, for example, are highly recommended. It’s not expensive and it’s really cool. The only thing to note is that you must be over 21. Since the controls in the USA are very strict, under 21 year olds are very restricted when it comes to going out (including in Las Vegas). In
summary, I can say that I really had a great 6 weeks. It was an unforgettably beautiful time. We were also really a little sad that it was already over. Time has flown.
Unfortunately, my English has improved only slightly, if at all, but I’ve still had a lot of good experiences that you just can’t have when you go on holiday with friends/boyfriend/family. The savings were definitely worth it!