Since I am studying chemistry in Germany and specializing in environmental chemistry, I took the opportunity at UCLA to take environmental science courses. The first course was called AOS 104: Air and Water Pollution and was based at the Institute for Atmospheric and Oceanic Science. The second course, GEOG 5: People and Earth’s Ecosystem, was taught at the Geographic Institute.
In AOS 104 we got to know the various pollutants and how to calculate their concentration in the model. So it was more of an engineering course based on the calculations. There were four homework sheets that the lecturer helped us with. Basically, it seems to be more common in the USA to visit the Office Hours to ask questions and to talk in more detail about the lecture material – or something private. In this course, however, the lecture was just as unspectacular as many in Germany – Power Point Slideshow.
In GEOG 5 we got to know different instruments with which one could classify and evaluate environmentally relevant topics. For example, we looked at the industrialized food system, what environmental influences it has and how it can be evaluated according to different approaches, e.g. the market, ethics or political economy. There were weekly thought responses in the form of small essays and, in the last week, a group work in which we represented different countries and should (or not) cut CO2 emissions. All in all, a more social science course, but which drew information and methods from all disciplines.
I found accommodation in a student dormitory on campus, in the Rieber Hall. There are only two or three rooms with a shared bathroom (and no KITCHEN!). There are meal plans for this, according to which you can eat as much as you want 11, 14 or 21 times a week in the affiliated cafeteria. The choice is huge, however, as a vegetarian, I quickly got bored, because the dishes that alternated contained meat. After asking around a bit, I was also allowed to go to other canteens – which should be possible in the normal semester anyway. After all, there was a whole food supermarket on campus with decent groceries. During the six weeks it also happened that I wanted some rest. My roommate almost never left the room and I couldn’t study in peace in the lounge. In the mornings, the yard is always nonsensically swept with machines, in the evenings groups meet there from time to time.
All institutes are located on the campus, which is beautifully landscaped. The buildings also look good – but be careful with the air conditioning! There is no shortage of sports facilities – several pools, sports halls, gyms,… were available and most of them were even free of charge. On the main square, the Bruin Plaza, there is a large UCLA store that mainly sells UCLA clothing (everyone is running around with it) and a bit of paperwork and groceries, but just as expensive as Whole Foods, which is known for its prices. Upstairs there is a cheap hairdresser (that’s what hair looks like), a post office, a blood donation center (Germans are not allowed to donate) and fast food restaurants. You will also find the Ashe Health Center at this place, which is the first point of contact for injuries and illnesses. All paths can be walked within 20 minutes. Read more student reviews on Iamaccepted.
The nicest place… to study is the upper floor of the Powell Library,… to swim in the Park Pool,… to experience art from different cultures is the Fowler Museum.
UCLA is in Westwood, almost on the western edge of Los Angeles. Santa Monica and the ocean with miles of sandy beaches (1 hour bus ride) are to the west. To the north you can find North Hollywood with its many small theaters (1h), to the south it goes via Culver City to Long Beach (very far without a car). To the east are West Hollywood (0.5 hours), Hollywood (1 hour) and Downtown LA (1.5… 2 hours). There are a couple of bars in Westwood for going out. If you have more plans, you will find the hottest clubs in Downtown LA, West Hollywood is known for its gay bars. The Fairfax district is home to the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where there are free jazz concerts on Fridays) and the Farmers Market with the small shopping district The Grove.Very close to the campus is the Getty Center, which has excellent exhibitions – and for free.
Travel in California
I myself traveled to San Francisco over the long weekend through Labor Day . This city takes at least three days, there is just too much to discover. San Diego is also well worth seeing, but maybe you can even explore it on a weekend. I traveled with the Greyhound buses because the trains were much more expensive. But I also heard (too late) about a UCLA ridesharing.