During the summer session from the beginning of August to the beginning of September 2015, I took the courses “ Introduction to Digital Lab ” and “ Network Analysis II ” at the UCI. According to AbbreviationFinder.org, UCI is the abbreviation of University of California Irvine.
In the run-up, everything went relatively smoothly. MicroEDU helped with the application, and the university provided a handbook with all the information you should know. The most important things are repeated in the introductory event, but you should still skim it. I found it particularly good that my professor published the course content and materials in advance. So I could already buy books in Germany and didn’t have to worry about them in America. However, this seems to differ from professor to professor.
After hours of travel, with great hunger and at the same time great excitement, one was already intercepted on the street in front of the accommodation. There you were immediately freed of your luggage and taken to a table with large sandwiches. The formalities were limited to the bare essentials. A signature for the key and you were shown into your house. There you were left alone at first, so that you had enough time to get to know your roommates. This created an exciting and entertaining game of poker for us.
The next morning most of them were up early because of the jet lag and you couldn’t wait to finally have breakfast. First they met at the Community Center and were taken to the university. There was a breakfast buffet with coffee, cake, fruit and a few other things and you could get into first conversations with other students. This was followed by a lecture with hints and tips, followed by a campus tour. You also got a plan with all the events and a map on which your own classrooms are entered. The organization is definitely great and you hardly need to worry about anything. For your first day I can only recommend that you plan enough time, because the campus is huge and at first you can get lost quickly or underestimate the distance. Also, don’t be afraid to seek help from others. So I got into one or the other nice conversation and was even brought into the lecture hall.
I stayed in Arroyo Vista. This resembles a nice and spacious off-campus settlement with houses for several people. The houses were all slightly different. On the ground floor there was always a common room with a TV and, depending on the house, a table tennis table or a table football. There was also a kitchen with enough space for everyone. Otherwise the house was rather unspectacular. The rooms were small, but you had everything you needed with a bed, a wardrobe and a desk. In practice, apart from sleeping, I never stayed in my room. It was nice that the sports center with pool was only a few minutes away from there. I thought it was a shame that there was no air conditioning in the rooms and also no WiFi. We did this ourselves in our house with our own access points.
My professors all tried very hard. The lessons were attractive and varied. Unfortunately, my lecture times were very late (7-10 p.m.), but even at this late hour, professors made time for one-on-one discussions if they were needed. You really noticed that they care about our training. It was also very good that you could always reach them by email and you usually got an answer after a few minutes. Something that one would sometimes wish for in Germany.
The campus is very large and offers almost everything you need to study. There are numerous options for dining, a library, a small supermarket, a large park and much more.
Regarding the restaurants on campus, it has to be said that the opening times are very limited over the summer. However, there are other restaurants not far from the campus, as well as a large supermarket (Albertson) that are open very late. The library is a little different from what I know from my university. There are some rooms that are actually quiet, and everywhere you will find sofas in which you can make yourself comfortable.
Otherwise, I find it very pleasant that it is very clean and tidy and that there is enough seating everywhere, both in air-conditioned rooms and outside in the shade. Regarding the weather, I can tell you at this point that we only had one day of rain and that very little. Otherwise it was very sunny and warm at around 25 ° C – 35 ° C, with a light, pleasant and refreshing wind blowing almost always. For me the perfect weather. In the morning it was often cloudy and a little cooler, so you should plan a sweater, especially for the evening hours.
What else was there
Numerous events were planned by the International Office. These included game evenings, cultural evenings and excursions. There is also an activity office at the university that can organize further excursions. For example, I’ve been to Yosemite National Park, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and SixFlags amusement park. Otherwise I can only recommend you to talk to the other students from Arroyo Vista and exchange your phone numbers (WhatsApp and Facebook have prevailed with us). Most of the time it was difficult to decide what you would like to do because of the sheer number of possibilities.
A few more tips
- There is an airport and a train station in the immediate vicinity of the university. Many exciting cities can be reached cheaply from here.
- Download the Ueber app. This is a kind of taxi that is very cheap. We mostly drove it to the beach.
- Renting a car is very cheap! Some have rented a convertible and drove it along the coast. Just make yourself familiar with the rules, because fines are very high: D
- Don’t take so much cash with you. A credit card is much more convenient and in some places you can no longer even pay with cash.
- Have fun!