For the semester break in summer 2008, I have decided to do a summer session at an American university. I tried to get information on the Internet, but found the offer very confusing and confusing – then I came across MicroEDU or uc-summersessions.com. Since I was already on the UCLA campus a few years ago (yes, the campus is even part of some city tours!), I also decided on this university. I was helped a lot with the first call and I was able to start preparing for the application.
The application includes:
- proof of your English skills (with me the IB-TOEFL)
- the completed MicroEDU contact form
- the completed UCLA application form *
- a copy of the passport
* In the UCLA application form you first select the desired courses. I only chose one course because you can enter the country as a tourist, that is, you don’t need a special visa and you don’t have to take out the otherwise mandatory UCLA health insurance. (The capacity and the number of participants for each course can be viewed online. If you apply early, the chances of getting into the desired course are very high.) You can also choose your type of accommodation and meals. There are apartments or dorm rooms, as well as 21 or 15 meals per. In my experience, 15 meals a week are easily enough. Read more student reviews on Maternityetchic.
Questions were answered by phone or very quickly and in a friendly manner by email. Shortly after the application was emailed to MicroEDU, the confirmation of acceptance came. The tuition fees were also transferred directly to MicroEDU.
A few weeks later I received the Welcome Package with some information about the university, course selection, visa requirements and, most importantly, life on campus.
Two months later I started my journey. There are several ways to get to UCLA from Los Angeles Airport: taxi around $ 35, airport shuttle around $ 16, flyaway bus $ 4. The university is located in the Westwood district, between Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, and Bel Air is also directly adjacent to the campus. It is arguably one of the best, most expensive, and safest areas in the Los Angeles area.
The campus is huge, a city in itself, and you will need a map for the first few days to find your way around. It is actually not comparable to a German campus. They have their own newspaper, their own police and fire brigade, restaurants or even small supermarkets and the bookstore, where you can get everything from toothbrushes to UCLA merchandise and iPods. Here are some old buildings worth seeing for the area and what is not a house or street is laid out as a park.
The sports offer is enormous. There are swimming pools, basketball courts, a stadium with a running track, a fitness center, several sports halls…… and all of this can be used for free.
I chose a triple room in a dorm. Rooms are relatively small, and shared bathrooms and coin-operated washers / dryers are in the hallway. All rooms are equipped with an internet connection and a TV socket. On the ground floor is the reception / front desk, where you can be helped with problems or questions.
An estimated 60-70% of the residents are international students, a very large number of whom come from South-East Asia. As a German you are still not exotic.
Eating took place in the house next door and, as already mentioned, you can choose the number of meals per week. I never reached the limit of 15 meals a week. The food isn’t bad, but I’ve been looking for alternatives over the past week. You can choose between different dishes and it is all you can eat.
As a course I chose Economins ECON 2, which was an introduction to economics. At first it wasn’t much new to me, but after two weeks it started to pick up. The lecturer came from Colombia and her English was understandable, but full of mistakes. I got along very well and had relatively few problems with the material. Each week there was graded homework to be done online. A total of two exams were written, one after three weeks and the other on the last day. I also took part in a few other lectures that I wasn’t enrolled in but were interested in. In my opinion, the lectures do not differ very much from the German ones.
Excursion destinations include Las Vegas, San Francisco and no less than 4 different amusement parks. There are organized tours. A visit to a baseball (Dodgers) or football game (UCLA’s own team) is also recommended.
Santa Monica or Venice beaches are 30-45 minutes away by bus, and Hollywood clubs are 20 minutes away by taxi.
In summary, I can say that I have not regretted the stay and would do it again anytime. You got to know a lot of people, saw a lot, had no rain all summer and learned something new.