Where do you start after studying for 12 weeks at the greatest university in the best city in the world ? Probably by telling you how I got the idea to take this step in the first place.
Because a year ago I found out from Tanja from MicroEDU how I could finally fulfill my long-awaited dream of studying at the University of California, Los Angeles. She suggested the Summer Sessions (where you can take various courses in UCLA’s Summer Quarter for 6 weeks) and I couldn’t wait any longer and asked her monthly questions about visas, application procedures, etc., which she asked always answered very kindly and patiently, until the first definitive information on costs and courses was available at the beginning of this yearetc gave. As soon as I could, I booked through MicroEDU and applied for my visa. I have to say when it came to the visa and the payment it was a real advantage to have MicroEDU as the official UCLA Registration Center to help, because I was able to pay in euros and everything was always very clear – precisely because the registration itself is a lot of paperwork that has to be done. When a good friend of mine said in April that she would like to do something like that, I said to her “oh, just give MicroEDU a call, as far as I know, you can still apply”, which she did too did. As you can see, it is possible to get information a year in advance or to decide relatively “last minute” for the summer sessions if you have the right help. Read more student reviews on Educationvv.
Regarding the academic part of studying at UCLA, I first have to mention the huge range of options, which at first overwhelms you, but then actually has something for everyone. As an international student, in my time you had to take 8 units per session, which usually meant a minimum of 2 face-to-face courses. Since I was there for two sessions, that meant that I could choose four courses for my time there.
- Communication Studies 157 – Celebrity, Fame & Social Media
- Communication Studies 166 – Communicative Dynamics in Film & TV Production
I always had the courses on Mondays and Wednesdays, one after the other, from 10:45 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:05 p.m., so that I always had the rest of the time or days off. The courses were both designed to be super interesting and also provided a theoretical background. Since we had a lot to read and also had a lot of papers and exams, you definitely had to deal with the topics and learn on the days off, but if you did that together at the pool, it was hardly a problem, and the professor’s evaluation was more than fair. That’s why I decided before the start of the second session to take a course from this lecturer in addition to my film course:
- Communication Studies 156 – Social Networking
- FilmTV 183C – Producing III: Marketing, Distribution and Exhibition
The film course was with a German lecturer who was also very interested in conveying something interesting to his students, and the papers and assignments that we had to prepare in this course were also very interesting and more than feasible, especially since there are no exams here gave. Communication 156 was a bit more demanding than the first two courses, which was also due to the fact that there were now more UCLA students than in Session A, and of course, as native speakers and those used to the system, they raised the cut a bit.
To my fellow students in Sessions A and C, I can say that I felt that there were more international students in Session A than in Session C, but actually there were “real” UCLA students in every class. Since my Communications Professor always encouraged group work in the course, I also always got to know new people, and in Session C above all I made friends with people from China, Brazil, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Russia, USA East Coast, North California, LA ( and much more) that will last a long time there and that made my time unforgettable.
Of course, I also made friends outside of the university, for example through my living situation. Since the housing options offered by the university are very, very (!) Expensive (for my 12 week stay with 15 meals in a Residence Hall Tripple I would have had to pay almost $ 4000), I looked around for alternatives. On the one hand, the university offers the possibility of finding a sublet through a portal it offers. However, I had the most success in the official UCLA Facebook group(Entry only with UCLA email address). There I read through several advertisements and skyped and chatted with several people – because I didn’t want to fall for any fraud where you have to pay something beforehand or something like that. I found my home relatively quickly and early (April), a bed in a 3-bed room in an apartment with another 2-bed room for a total of $ 1800 including water / internet / electricity. Of course, it wasn’t the most modern or well-maintained apartment and sharing an apartment with four other girls can be worrying, but the enormous money savings and the pool that belongs to the apartment complex had convinced me.
And then, thank God, I was very lucky with my roommates. They were all UCLA students my age (22-23) and some of them worked the summer or even attended the summer sessions. We all got along really well, sometimes ate together, went hiking or surfing together and just had such a good time that I really miss it and don’t even know how I could ever live without roommates.
And when it comes to surfing and hiking, we have already reached my last point. If you study at UCLA, you have such a variety of options that I was there for 12 weeks and still had things that I would still like to do. With Uber or bus you could get everywhere super cheap, be it Santa Monica to the beach, downtown to go out, Sawtelle to eat or Burbank to the WB Studio Tour or a taping.
I will briefly write down a small selection of the things that I have done in my 12 weeks, and which in my opinion you should definitely do if you have the chance:
I have been to five TV show tapings, which by the way are all free:
- Jimmy Kimmel – via 1iota.com
- Late Late Show with James Corden – via 1iota.com
- The Big Bang Theory – via tvtickets.com (inform EARLY, are usually “sold out” in 1 minute)
- The Ellen Degeneres Show – via ellen.con
- Dance Moms – via Eventbrite.com
Incidentally, via 1iota.com, like me, you can also go to free “pre-screenings” of films or concerts, it is definitely worth a look there if you want to experience something. It is also worthwhile to google for other events and film premieres, because in my time alone there were two big cinema world premieres in Westwood – that is, directly at UCLA – that you could go to. We also found out about a free concert series in Santa Monica.
Then you should definitely take advantage of the UCLA International Center’s offer, because it brought me to an LA Dodgers baseball game and a day trip to Long Beach for little money.
And the Central Ticket Office of UCLA also has great offers, such as very cheap student tickets for the UCLA Football Games. That’s why you should at least have a look online there.
Of course there are also endless other things to experience in Los Angeles such as concerts by world stars or smaller bands, and the nightlife of the many districts such as Hollywood, Downtown or Santa Monica can be enjoyed even if you are under 21 at special “over 18” – Explore the nights of bars and clubs. If so, I would recommend “frat parties” to the younger ones, but maybe you should have done that in the group as well – if only to say “NEVER AGAIN!”: D. Or you go to one of the countless very good comedy shows. During the day you can visit all kinds of museumslike LACMA, The Getty (free) or the Hammer Museum in Westwood, explore various great hiking trails such as Runyon Canyon, Griffith Park or Temescal in Malibu or learn to swim, lounge or surf on the beach. Or you can go shopping on 3rd Street in Santa Monica or in various malls. When it comes to recreational activities in LA, you shouldn’t get bored for a second. Even if you want to stay in Westwood, you can go there for good food, jog down the campus loop, go swimming at the Sunset Rec Pool or shop at Victoria’s Secret or Urban Outfitters – or study in the beautiful Powell Library on campus.
Many also went to San Francisco or San Diego or Vegas, but that was too expensive for me and I finally had enough on my LA bucket list.
As you can read, if you have the slightest interest in experiencing American college life, come to UCLA for the Summer Sessions. I was previously worried “oh my expectations are so high, what if reality can’t keep up with them?” And now I’m sitting at home and think to myself “I would do it again anytime, my expectations were even exceeded. Now I’m broke like anything else, but it was worth every penny ”. However, don’t make the mistake like some of my fellow students of constantly learning to stay exclusively on campus, only to speak to your German friends and hardly use the countless possibilities, because then you can study better at home.
But if you do it like me, and get involved with new people and experiences and write something new on your plan every day, then you will have the time of your life.