I took part in the Summer Session of the University of Irvine from August 3rd, 2013 to September 12th, 2013. The summer semester served me personally more to prepare for my Abitur. For this reason I chose the math and English courses.
The math course was a very good repetition because I had already covered many of the topics in school. The course is divided into a “Lecture” and a “Discussion” (practice). The opportunities to participate were not very high here, however, as the teacher usually wrote down the bill on the blackboard and did the math himself.
The English course for “non-native speakers” was a great help to me. My English, especially speaking, as well as my vocabulary have improved significantly in the 6 weeks. The course was really very effective and, in my opinion, is very recommendable for everyone who wants to improve their language (including dialect) again.
With two generously equipped libraries and a book store where you can buy everything you need for life at the UCI, the UCI is really well equipped. In the beautifully landscaped park of the university you will always find an empty bench on which you can either relax or study. Those who still prefer the interior can retreat to one of the many study rooms. Learn more about University of California Irvine on andyeducation.
Free WiFi is available on the entire university site, which is very helpful because the school network (EEE) is used everywhere at the university.
I was accommodated in the Arroya Vista dormitory on campus, which is highly recommended as it is where most of the other international summer session students are around. In sunny California is life just wonderful. Between studying, you can take a break at the pool or in the great sports hall.
The people are all very nice there. Since you are mostly with the international students, it is important to also talk to the American mentors who are responsible for you. They are very friendly and are also really happy when you talk about your life outside of America. That way, you come into more contact with Americans, since that’s not so often the case otherwise. With a little luck, they’ll take you to an American event or a house party, where you can meet many other students at the university.
It is possible to purchase a kind of meal voucher at the university, which enables you to eat in all restaurants on campus. However, and that would be my recommendation, you can also cater for yourself, cook with others and now and then stop at an American or other restaurant.
Next to the dormitory there is a supermarket (Albertson), which can be reached on foot in 10 minutes and where you can buy everything you need. In the dormitories there are also large kitchens, which are well equipped with appliances (oven, microwave, rice cooker…). However, there is a little lack of dishes. You are responsible for keeping the kitchen tidy yourself. Most kitchens have dishwashers, but you have to get the tabs yourself. My advice: simply buy cheap crockery and a set of cutlery, plus a cleaning rag and a drying towel, which you can then stow away in your own small kitchen cupboard. So you are on the safe side when it comes to completeness and hygiene. You can of course bring this with you from home.
The university’s Summer Session Office offers many different activities around California. Also included and highly recommended is Universal Studios. There are also weekend trips to San Francisco or Las Vegas. Of course you can also organize these trips yourself. Renting a car isn’t a big deal. About 10 minutes by car (taxi) from the campus, there are several car rentals at Irvine Airport, which also offer free return transport. However, it would be helpful if you are 25 or older as this will make the car rental cheaper. Tip: You should find out from the car rental company in advance the age from which a rental is possible, as this varies. With the German driver’s license, however, it is no problem to drive from the age of 18.
With the ID card of the university you have free entry to the sports hall, which is located right next to the Arroya Vista dormitory. The sports hall is well equipped with several fitness studios, a pool, three basketball fields and other sports fields. Balls and other equipment (rackets, towels,…) can be borrowed free of charge.
The whole beaches (Malibu, Venice;…) are of course a must ! Surfing is part of California. In my opinion, anyone who has not had any experience with this should definitely take the surf course offered by the Summer Session Office. Surf equipment can be rented anywhere on the beaches. The probability is also not small that you will encounter a sea lion or dolphin on the surfboard.
The summer session was simply brilliant and a complete success, because I learned a lot, both professionally and personally, and despite the summer session and learning, I had a lot of fun!
Other important tips
- Always have your university ID card with you (buy a key fob with a card holder in the Book Store)
- read the manual (before the trip!)
- inform yourself in detail about courses