In addition to the regular semesters abroad and summer sessions, the UCI also offers various language courses. I decided on the 4-week Business English “Finance” because I didn’t have any English during my studies, but I need it for my current job. According to anycountyprivateschools, UCI is short for University of California Irvine.
After my arrival and the briefing in the student residence on Fridays, there was an “orientation event” for the first time, where all newcomers were welcomed. Everything was explained in detail, both in terms of administration and studies. Here you had to choose the afternoon courses from various “electives”. It wasn’t compulsory, but everyone did, and they only went until 3pm anyway and didn’t have any homework or tests. The whole thing was followed by a placement test to put all participants in the right levels. I ended up on level 3, the highest.
Important for orientation: watch out which “activities” take place on the first weekend, as you have to register immediately afterwards. And I recommend you: do it! I immediately met super nice Brazilians, with whom I spent the rest of the time.
Back to the basics: the lectures! In the mornings I had “Business English” and “Reading & Writting”. The teachers were super nice and the lessons were really fun, but there was a lot of homework (for me). Don’t worry, they were all done in one afternoon, but first find a free afternoon! In between there was a small PowerPoint presentation and a final exam, which all together (including attendance) resulted in the final grade. But here too: don’t worry! (The German thoroughness is extremely well rewarded here!) In the afternoons I had “Business English II” on Mondays and Wednesdays and “Pronunciation” on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which I turned off after the first lecture because it mainly made sense for Asians who really didn’t Get word out! After two weeks, the “company outing” was done, which we completed in a packaging manufacturing factory, which was really nice all in all.
If you only know American universities from films: Everything is really exactly the same!A huge campus that you can barely cross in an hour’s walk! Each department had its own building, so that the first day was occupied with “room searches”. Each room was equipped with a projector and PC and had the typical chairs, where the table is screwed to it. Unfortunately, I was in July, when the “normal” students are currently on vacation, so there was relatively little going on on campus and hardly any Americans to be found. However, you are still forced to speak English, because during my entire stay I only met one German. And by the time we realized that we were both from Germany, we were already on the plane home. The most represented nations were: Taiwan, China and Brazil.
Whoever Starbucks, Wendyd, Panda Express, Taco Bell, In and Out Burger,. . . loves, doesn’t even have to leave campus. There is even a cinema and a huge supermarket. At the end of each 4-week program, a “Paper Based TOEFL ” is also offered, for free!
Life / fun
Anyone who has never been to America before will definitely freak out: Disney Land, Universal Studios, Sixx Flaggs, Venice Beach, Las Vegas, LA, San Diego, Grand Canyon, all the national parks,. . .
You’ll be SO busy, barely sleeping, and having SO MUCH fun. It is advisable to rent a car with a few friends here, as the distances can hardly be covered / paid for by taxi. Just to drive to Newport Beach in the afternoon takes 30 minutes. That is also a small flaw at University of California Irvine that it is relatively in the “Nowehere”. Public transport is available, but better leave it alone!
Lives in the student dormitory! But as soon as you get the confirmation from the “Housing Office”, write to them that you do NOT want to live in Toscana apartments. This is an apartment complex outside the University of California Irvine (45 minutes’ walk!), Which is absolutely beautiful (pool area, fitness, tennis courts,. . . ), But just outside! And life happens on campus. Buses run here every hour during the week, but on weekends: none. Especially a problem if you have to be at University of California Irvine at 8 on Saturday to get the “excursion bus”. My solution was: taxi for $ 15 each!! At some point I lived with friends in “Columbia Court” on campus, which has such a pool, jacuzzi, grill place, beach volleyball court. . . had.
Benefit / reference
Unfortunately, I have to say that the learning success was limited primarily for my Business English. I have certainly learned some additional vocabulary and also some general understanding of finance, but not as much as I initially hoped. Perhaps it was also because I read the Financial Times in English while in Germany.
But what you learn is: self-confidence! To speak, present and “network”. It’s hard to believe, but in the four weeks you also develop personally, because through the colorful mix of all these cultures, you learn that there are other ways to reach your goal. You are just too overwhelmed by the friendliness and openness of the Brazilians!
At the end of the “graduation ceremony” you get a nice certificate of participation and a few weeks later your grades are made available online. Since I am unfortunately no longer a student, I do not know whether a German university will recognize this achievement in any form. My employer did this with a handshake.
What you also take home: New friends! I have already booked my flight to Brazil for October to see some of my fellow students again. They have also already booked a flight to Germany for January.
Of course the program costs including accommodation are not a bargain, but absolutely worth it! In addition, there are of course immense costs for admissions, excursions, food and shopping (outlet centers are just too tempting!). But these four weeks will be one of the best of your life! How many times have you been to college in California?