University: University of California Los Angeles
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: English Studies / American Studies, organization and management
Study type: Summer Sessions
I came to Los Angeles a few days earlier so that I could get to know the city a little more. Me and my girlfriend, we booked a nice hotel on Beverly Boulevard from Germany. The hotel is called the Beverly Inn. Very friendly staff, helpful. Didn’t have breakfast, just coffee. The hotel was very conveniently located just 5 minutes to the Farmers Market (a large shopping center with all kinds of shops on small cozy Italian-style streets). The hotel has W-LAN, room prices are OK, all rooms have a bath and toilet. Visit existingcountries.com to get information about University of California Los Angeles student review.
Our university apartment in Gayley Towers on Gayley Avenue in Westwood was off-campus, but that didn’t mean it was far from campus. It takes 10 minutes to walk to the center of campus. Very fast! This apartment was very spacious and clean. A room that was a bedroom with a loft (bunk bed) and a living room with a comfortable couch and an armchair at the same time. In the corner at the entrance was a large kitchenette with a stove, fridge and even a dishwasher. However, there were small kitchen utensils or crockery. We had to bring some of that with us from Germany and buy some of it in LA. If you need cheap plates or mugs, you can buy them at World Market on Westwood Boulevard. This is a furniture store. There are often good deals there. For example, 5 plates for $6.
The washing machines are located in the upper garage (2nd floor). From my own experience I can say that they are not capable of anything. All stains have always remained on things. Maybe that was due to washing powder, but I don’t think so. For washing machines and dryers you need 25 cent coins, the others don’t work.
Anyone can get into such student apartments. There is no check on who lives there and no checks are made. However, the supervisor Pam Chan, who also lives in this house, reprimanded us at 11pm on Friday night for laughing out loud and said she would forgive us if we quit our game for good. Interesting to know is that Thursday, Friday and whole weekend there are loud parties all around the house and it is difficult to sleep with the windows open.
Don’t forget your bed linen when you arrive on the first day! It’s included in the apartment price and cost about $40! Then it will also be ours, theoretically we can take it with us to Germany. You don’t need to bring it back and you can leave it on the bed in the room when you check out. The room needs to be cleaned on the last day, there is no cleaning lady. Pam has the makeshift vacuum cleaner that doesn’t vacuum anything.
We booked our second hotel not far from Santa Monica. Ocean Park Hotel is new and pleasant. Run by a German woman and her husband. There was a small breakfast with sweet pastries, fruit and juice. There is internet through cable and the cable is kindly lent at the reception. The showers and toilets are on the floor, but everything is very well maintained, clean and locked. Each room has its own key. Ladies and gentlemen separately. We paid $180 including tax for 3 nights for 2 people. The hotel is really recommendable. There is a fridge and a TV in the room. Everything modern furnished. 10 minutes by bus from the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade (major shopping street). From there to the beach is a few minutes walk.
We didn’t rent a car and were very surprised that public transport doesn’t look too bad. The buses run very frequently, are very cheap compared to Germany (75 cents and $1.25), travel very long distances for the same price and can take you anywhere. It was only 10 minutes to Beverly Hills, 30 minutes to Hollywood, 35 minutes to Santa Monica Beach on a one-way Blue Bus (15 minutes on Rapid Bus), 40 minutes to Venice Beach. Down Town LA was quite a distance (about an hour), but also accessible by bus.
Trains to Santa Barbara or San Diego depart from Union Station in Downtown. We took the train to San Diego. There are enough places and you should come and buy tickets only 20 minutes before departure. The timetables can be called up without any problems on the Internet.
A Fly Away Bus circulates regularly from and to the airport. Very convenient and cheap ($5 each way), stops in Westwood, off campus.
We flew to San Francisco because it takes 8 hours by car. It only takes an hour by plane. If you book early (2 weeks in advance) you can find tickets for as little as $80 (round trip). We flew with United Airlines, very satisfied. Some acquaintances took the bus, which is not recommended at all. It’s a bit cheaper, but it takes 8 hours, it can break down on the way, and such buses are often used by dangerous “elements”.
Taxi is very expensive because long distances.
UCLA is very beautiful and huge! In order to find a building, you definitely need a university map. There are many restaurants and cafes on the premises. Most things are much more expensive than the supermarket in Westwood. For example, the same sushi or sandwich can be bought almost $2 cheaper at Ralphs (supermarket).
Really recommendable is the salad and soup bar in Ackermann Union.
I did 2 courses: Management 180 and English for Academic Studies 33C.
Management at Prof. Ullman was easy, although there was a lot of talking and interviewing different people on the course. Was very interesting and creative. On the last day to say goodbye there was a lot of eating and drinking and no one wanted to do the lessons.
English 33C, run by Trevor Kann (27 years old), was tough enough. The course is very related to psychology and we always had to write essays on such subjects and read scientific texts. The course helped me to express my thoughts better, to read and write faster. I have increased my vocabulary considerably through texts and I like psychological topics anyway. On the last day Trevor organized a picnic for everyone and after class we played baseball. There is always a lot of homework for this course, keep that in mind!
Other students who took courses like Accounting were overwhelmed and couldn’t even go out some days! So, you have to decide for yourself how often you want to have fun.
All teachers were very friendly and nice. We now have them all on Facebook and can always reach out to them!
To reach Las Vegas it takes about 5 hours by car. We rented the car for 7 together with other students. On Westwood Boulevard there is a car rental company Avis with fair prices for students. 3 days for Las Vegas is enough, but not less! The climate there is very different, not as comfortable as in LA. Even in the evening the air is very dry and hot, like in a sauna. Despite everything, Vegas is a wonder in the middle of the desert!
For San Francisco you need warm clothes. The city is a peninsula and very windy. While in LA it’s +30 degrees, in SF it’s only +18 a day. It’s even colder by the ocean. 2 days were enough for San Francisco. Cable Cars and Pier 39 with its numerous restaurants and shops are recommended for everyone. Souvenirs include California wine and typical San Francisco saltwater chocolate or toffees. SF is more European, like Paris or London, while LA resembles southern Spain.
San Diego is 2.5 hours from LA and the best way to get to LA if you don’t have a car is by train. San Diego Zoo and Coronado Island are must-sees. To Coronado Island you can catch a ferry from the port which is next to the train station, it’s quite cheap and slow enough to take nice photos.
Within LA, I quite liked Getty Center. Is scenically situated on Hollywood Hills, has large collections of paintings, beautiful gardens and is free.
Walk of Fame, Chinese Theater, Kodak Theater, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive and Down Town are worth visiting. There are many buses in Westwood that go there.
If you want to buy cheap but good clothes, there are some outlets in the LA area and Las Vegas City. Not far from Down Town (accessible by bus from Pershing Square at the Biltmore Hotel) is a Citadel Outlet. There are a lot of stores like Puma, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Calvin Klein and others. You are really recommended! In Vegas you can find La Coste, Ralph Lauren and Ed Hardy among others. Also very cheap!
It’s best not to buy typical UCLA things at the university, they are overrated there! There’s a nice shop on the corner of Le Conte and Westwood Boulevard where you can buy them much cheaper.
We bought groceries at Ralphs. There is also hot food, even very tasty soups. Can be eaten right there in the café after purchase! There is also Whole Food Market in Westwood. The things are expensive there, but better, everything organic.
Fruits and vegetables, typical Italian items and fish are quite expensive, although much of it is cultivated in California. You spend a lot more money there than you planned. A credit card is required for flight bookings and hotel bookings, but the hotels can also be paid for in cash.
For those who have a Deutsche Bank debit card, there is a great way to withdraw money from Bank of America ATMs. It’s free! Toll-free.
Play House in Hollywood: $20 entry, cheap drinks, good music, dress code, you can meet celebrities. It’s best to be there around 10 p.m. Palms in Las Vegas: Many different discos on several floors. Very impressive, nice view of Las Vegas. Free entry for women but drinks very expensive. Viper Room in Beverly Hills: Jonny Depp ex-owner, too small, but nice rock concerts in the evening, expensive drinks.
The premieres take place almost every day. We were at Inglorious Bastards in Hollywood. Was an experience! There is a Fox cinema in Westwood where most of the premieres take place. You have to look it up on the internet. You can easily take a lot of photos with actors and the tickets are really cheap. In Hollywood, the premiere tickets are quite expensive.
In general, the cinemas in the USA are more expensive than in Germany. The price can vary from 12 to 15 dollars.
Unfortunately I had to go there once. In Westwood there is Ronald Reagan Hospital, where Michael Jackson was taken after his death. That’s where I went. I had a fever and a headache. I had to wait in reception for almost an hour, it was already 9pm. After that they took me to the back. There they examined me many times and asked a hundred questions. I then waited an hour for the doctor. In the end I got medicine and was discharged. Overall I was very happy with the service despite spending three hours there. It was all for nothing. Glad I had insurance.
All in all, I’m very happy I chose California and MicroEdu has been a tremendous help. So everything went pretty quickly with the visa and preparation.
The 7 weeks in Los Angeles were the best days of my life. I met many interesting people from all over the world and made good friends. If I had a chance to do this program again, I would always say yes.