As someone who has always wanted to study at an American university, the Summer Session 2008 at UCLA was the perfect preparation. With the help of anycountyprivateschools, you will receive excellent and professional help in terms of preparation, paperwork and organization. I decided to take part in this program relatively late. Nevertheless everything worked out wonderfully.
The best way to get from LAX is to take a shuttle service. This costs 16 dollars. IN a van you and your luggage are driven to the Sproul Hall, which is very pleasant after a long flight. There is also the option of taking a flyaway bus, but this can be stressful because there is no exact schedule.
When I arrived at University of California Los Angeles, I was billeted in Sproul Hall. This dorm has been completely renovated and looked accordingly new. There are 7 floors. 2 lounges and 2 bathrooms each for men and women on each floor.
I had decided on a 3 bed room. For the simple reason that I hardly thought I would spend any great time in the room, which turned out to be true. The rooms are normally furnished. Two bunk beds, 3 desks and 2 large cupboards filled my room. My roommates were both Chinese. The English skills were limited but there were no problems. My impression was that this summer session consisted of about 80% Asians.
I would like to emphasize that the support for many questions and problems at the front desk at Sproul Hall was great. Be it bus and train information or general questions of any kind, there was always help. 2 cards are essential to life at UCLA. One is the BruinCard. With which you pay for your meals. This card can be topped up with money and also serves as an ID at the university. The second is the room key. It happens that you lose it. However, this is not so bad as you can get up to 3 cards.
The campus is great and cannot be compared with anything here in Germany. In addition to football fields, a stadium and large tennis facilities, there were also pools and a large gym. I had lessons in a room in the Kaufman Building. This was equipped with a projector, stereo system and large boards. More than sufficient for the demands of the course!
I decided on a 15meal plan and can only recommend it to everyone. 21 meals would be too many and would expire even if you don’t use them. Even if you get food, you still spend a lot of money on drinks and food outside of University of California Los Angeles. I really never would have thought so.
As a course I chose ENGLISH 4W, Critical Reading and Writing. An English / American literature course. The course was extremely well designed and so it was possible to address many literary genres. I chose “letter-grade” as the grading system, which is essential for crediting at a German university. After the first 1. 5 weeks there was already an “essay” to be written. A simple poem analysis. The so-called “midtermexams” take place in the 4 week and really require a lot of preparation. But they can always be done. At the end of the “quarter” I had to write a “final essay”. This was now demanding, as the “prompts” of the TA were a lot more explicit and moreover one was asked to show connections between different novels.
What I particularly liked was the support from teachers and classmates at UCLA. Questions could be emailed to the teacher at any time and were answered in detail within a few hours! My teaching assistant was a graduate student himself and may have been in his late twenties. The lessons were characterized by a very relaxed and informal atmosphere. Group discussions and group work were an integral part of every lesson. There was actually no homework. Only texts had to be read until the next time, which were then discussed during the lesson. Once there was a surprise test. There were 20 people in my course. 4 of them Europeans and the rest of them American. Accordingly, the level of spoken English was high, which could only be seen as an advantage. A course is definitely fine if the main objective of the stay is vacation. I don’t know whether it was the course or my preparations at my university in Germany, but the course wasn’t particularly difficult. Many of the people I met there, actually almost all of them, have attended economy courses and had a lot more to do. The only really negative thing about studying at UCLA was that the library closed at 10am and the lounges were often very noisy until midnight. Inevitably one had to go to a cafe in Westwood Village or study undisturbed after midnight. But it is also positive that there is WiFi within the building.
As someone who only chose one course, I had a lot of free time and was able to do a lot in the area! We definitely recommend Santa Monica Beach and 3rd Street Promenade, Venice Beach, Downtown LA, Getty Center, Beverly Hills and Hollywood and and and. . . Public transportation is not really great. However, if you don’t want to rent a car every time, you have no choice. The buses run irregularly, but once you understand the timetable, everything is half as bad. However, the bus takes a long time and stops at almost every bus stop. But you only pay 50 cents for that.
The first weekends should be used for excursions. At the end of the day, you usually have a lot to do and great weekend trips can fall by the wayside. San Diego is very beautiful. Exploring LA definitely takes a long time, but trips to Santa Barbara and San Francisco are always worthwhile! Renting a car is possible from 21 but it is more expensive. UCLA offers various excursions on weekends and weekdays, for example to San Francisco or Las Vegas as well as to the Dodgers baseball games.
The nightlife in LA was definitely a highlight of the entire stay. There is a bar in Westwood Village that is frequented by many, but not really worthwhile. Lots of TVs and cheap drinks but not really great.
Better to go to the clubs in Hollywood. The Sky Bar, The Opera, The Standard, One or Les Deux are highly recommended. Much better atmosphere and more interesting people. Music in clubs is a thing of its own, but you quickly get used to American tastes in music.
I will definitely consider doing more summer sessions. Not at UCLA, because after 6 weeks you slowly get to know the city and realize that it’s not nearly as fun without a car as it is with.