University: University of California Los Angeles
City: Los Angeles
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: music
Study type: Summer Sessions
Preparations for the stay abroad
I chose the University of California at Los Angeles because it offers a wide variety of music -related courses. In addition, UCLA was one of the few universities to offer summer study between semesters and for a longer period of time. It was only important to me to complete my stay abroad in an English-speaking country. Visit act-test-centers.com to get information about UCLA study abroad program.
Overall, the application process took one to two months. My contact person at MicroEdu supported me and put me in contact with the placement and compiling the documents free of charge. If I had any questions, I could count on an answer in a very short time. The compilation of the documents was simply described and finally had to be sent to Frankfurt. From there my application was forwarded to California.
UCLA offers many different housing models on and around campus to which you can apply. After a price comparison between private accommodation and life on campus, I decided to apply for a room on campus. You can choose up to five different room constellations and will be allocated before you arrive. I got the cheapest option. This consists of a twin room, with triple rooms also being possible, with a bathroom for each gender in the corridor on each floor. When allocating my roommate, the university took into account my preferences in terms of order and cleanliness, getting up, going to bed and the noise level. The room is very simply furnished. There are two beds, desks and closets in the room. The shared bathroom was cleaned every day, it was never crowded and you had privacy in small cubicles even when showering.
What should you pay attention to?
For the visa, which is required for the USA, a letter must first be drawn up by the university after receipt of the payment and sent to Germany. With this you finally have to make an appointment at the embassy in Frankfurt. You should be aware that this takes money and time, since you have to be on site in Frankfurt for a short interview.
UCLA also requires a bank statement confirming that you can fund your study abroad experience. Since no printout of this certificate is sufficient, this can also take some time until you finally have the bank statement and can submit it.
Description of the institution
The University of California Los Angeles site has a very nice campus. It’s on the west end of LA, near Bel Air and Beverly Hills. The dormitories are located on a hill in the north and it is very green and quiet. It can take half an hour to walk to the classroom as the entire site is very large. Finding your way around is relatively easy, since all addresses can easily be found with a mobile phone and you receive regular information via e-mail and on the homepage. the campus includes food markets, a medical center and even an optician and hairdresser. The classroom buildings where my classes took place were very modern and, given the Californian sunshine, also air-conditioned.
Studies and everyday study life
Before I applied, MicroEdu recommended that I only choose two courses. From their experience, the scope of work of more than two courses in the 6 weeks is difficult to manage. In the end I stuck to that and chose two courses in the field of music. ( Anatomy of a Popular Song and Musicianship through Repertoire in Studio ). In most cases, lessons per course take place twice a week. In my case, the courses only took place once a week, but in four to five hour units. There was also a weekly band rehearsal. Ultimately, I only had classes three times a week, and the amount of work in the afternoon was also minimal. The quality of the teaching was very goodand the professors often took several hours during the week or weekend to compose songs with each individual student.
However, I got to know a different impression from my fellow students. They had also taken two courses, lessons four times a week and many submissions during the week, which had to be prepared at the weekend. At the end of the six weeks, there is a final exam for each course. In areas such as languages, economics, media and pharmacy, the workload is very high.
Life and leisure
Packing clothes for a week or two is enough. With the campus card, you can conveniently wash and dry your laundry in the student residence for less than $2. If it’s too warm, you borrow a fan, if something breaks you fill out a form online and the next day the caretaker comes to fix it. With the campus card, students come to their halls of residence, pay for the washing machine and also have their meal plan saved on the map. Before arrival, in addition to the dormitory, one can choose such a meal plan of 7, 15 or 21 meals per week, for which one pays in advance. Once arrived, you show your card in the cafeteria and a meal is debited. There you can stay as long as you want and eat everything. On Sundays, the new meal plan will be sent by email with information about open dining options. Even if the choice between the semesters is limited, the offer is sufficient and of very high quality. In my experience, two meals a day are enough. It’s cheaper than buying groceries, especially considering that most accommodations don’t have their own kitchens.
Even if everything your heart desires is available on campus and it is very large, there is of course the opportunity to explore Los Angeles. I had a bus ticket issued, which can easily be charged by the bus driver. The bus stops are within walking distance of campus and I’ve driven to Hollywood, Downtown and Malibu many times. The buses run 24 hours a day, are very cheap and never crowded. The CityMapper app is very helpful in finding the best connection to your destination. In principle, every summer session student could use Saturday and mostly Friday for free time. If the lessons only take place in the morning, there is nothing wrong with an afternoon at the beach.
Cost of living
Once you have paid for your accommodation and meal plan, there are only a few additional costs. There are a few dollars for laundry and the bus, everything you do in the city is an extra expense that does not count as part of the normal cost of living.
Amount of free time
Personally, I had a lot of free time and was able to drive into town for the entire weekend and usually two days during the week. In general, however, every student was able to organize their weekend as freely as possible. By the time the six weeks were up everyone was busy with their final exams, so many students used the last weekend to study. Since there is usually only one course per day, you always have half of the day free, be it in the morning or in the afternoon. How much of it you can use for yourself ultimately depends on the homework and presentations that you have to prepare.
The workload varies widely here. Some students wrote a small test each week, while others had to submit a 300-500 word essay per week. In still other courses, punctuality, attendance and cooperation made up a large part of the grade.
Tourist and cultural recommendations
Los Angeles doesn’t have a big skyline and is very spacious, but you can still explore a lot more in just six weeks than the classic tourist. The adjacent neighborhood to UCLA is Westwood, where students often spend their day and evening. It takes about half an hour by bus to West Hollywood or in the other direction to Malibu. In western California you should definitely take a trip to the beach and pier of Malibu and Venice Beach.
In addition to the other classic museums and attractions that every travel guide lists, you should definitely apply online for free tickets to various sitcoms and talk shows. The advantage here is that you are there for a longer period of time. For example, I was able to get free tickets to a recording of the series “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mom”. I was also able to watch the talk shows The Late Late Show with James Cordon and Jimmy Kimmel Live. The Universal Studios, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour and a short hike up to the Hollywood Sign were absolute highlights of my trip.
In addition, the university offers weekend trips to Las Vegas and San Francisco. These cost a bit more money, but are a great way to see more cities in the US and meet new people. The Farmers Market or the outdoor shopping center “The Grove” are definitely worth seeing. Only one bus stop away is the Getty Museum for free entry and if there is still a lot of time on Sunday you can also take the comparatively long bus ride and drive to the east of the city to the outlet where you can find clothes and much more for great prices are.
The University of Los Angeles is modern and well organized. As a student from abroad, you are well taken care of. The range of courses is large and there were no problems registering. If it doesn’t take place, you can easily change your course. The only requirement for a stay at UCLA is a language certificate, since the language of instruction is of course English. The lessons themselves were very well structured, the professors motivated the subject matter and conveyed it with experiences from the real world of work. I got to know many people from different countries and made many new contacts.
The only thing that left a somewhat negative impression was that over 70 percent of the students in the summer session came with large groups from China. This was not only noticed, but in most cases it also made communication, living together and cultural adaptation in general more difficult. Unfortunately, there was little willingness to speak English in such cases and if you had to share a room with several Chinese, there were often differences.
Since this was also a big part of the Summer Session, it should definitely be mentioned as well. At some points in time, the feeling of being in America was lost because one often only heard Chinese and the learning curve of one’s own English stagnated. Basically, getting used to American culture is not difficult. I was warmly received and welcomed by all Los Angeles based students. There were no language problems, but mainly because UCLA is used to the fact that many students come from all over the world and English is not the mother tongue. In any case, the University of California offers a very good academic education and is highly regarded all over the world.
Nevertheless, my English has become more fluent during my stay and I was able to acquire some technical terms. Traveling alone in a foreign country and finding my way around has made me personally more independent and more open to strangers. The challenge of taking the search, the application and the actual stay into your own hands is rewarded with a great sense of achievement.
However, studying in the USA is also known for not being cheap. For me, the six-week summer session was a good alternative to a semester abroad. In comparison, a semester abroad in the USA can cost as much as 20,000 euros. Six weeks Summer Session is a lot more cost-friendly, but still not cheap. Together with the tuition fees, the course fees, the visa, the health insurance, the accommodation, the meal plan and the flight, the entire stay cost me around 6,000 to 7,000 euros.
For many, it is crucial how such a stay is credited at the home university. I can’t answer that for myself at this point in time, but since additional key competencies play a role in many courses, such a study abroad can also be classified there. Regardless of the credit, studying at UCLA has always been worthwhile.