First of all, I would like to say that I actually always intended to do a semester abroad. However, I didn’t want to unnecessarily extend my studies. Therefore the possibility of the Summer Sessions to have at least one experience of studying abroad, albeit a short one, was ideal for me. I quickly chose UCLA, as I was particularly interested in the west coast of the USA and UCLA also has a good reputation. I had also considered universities like Harvard, but UCLA was the only university that didn’t start until August in accordance with my semester schedule in the course of Session C. (I always have exam time until the end of July) Learn more about University of California Los Angeles on andyeducation.
All in all, afterwards I can say: A good choice! However, you have to make a clear distinction here between fun and studies.
Before we started, we had to pay a lot of money. Tuition fees, plane tickets and accommodation alone added up to a few thousand euros. Melanie, my supervisor from MicroEDU, who deserves great thanks for the help and mediation provided, informed me that you should expect around € 5000-7000 in total, depending on your lifestyle. Unfortunately, afterwards I put my expenses at around 10,000 €. But I was also in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Las Vegas, where of course I wasn’t idle in the room. Therefore, the costs were likely to be foreseeable, since these cities are quite expensive.
But it’s also worth going to Vegas! I had the best party weekend of my life there so far. Santa Barbara is also highly recommended. So if you are already in LA you should definitely use the proximity to these cities or Hawaii. Domestic flights are also usually dirt cheap.
Regarding the course itself, it should be said that no courses were offered that correspond to my field of study. Only health science, for example cell biology and microbiology, went into my field of study. I didn’t want any of these “English as a second language” courses because the level is quite low, for my terms.
So I chose two biology courses and unfortunately had to realize that they built on each other. Nobody could tell me that beforehand either. In any case, the range of information on the courses is limited. But you can change courses without any problems and at no additional cost. Which I then did and chose Management 180 with Prof. Ulmen. I also liked the course a lot, but did not bring me very much professionally, apart from the soft skills, of course, that every student needs anyway. Furthermore, the two bio courses would have cost me almost all of my free time if I had followed them seriously, as you write various exams. For me, there would have been 3 large exams and 4 small tests on articles per course. So a lot of material in a relatively short time. If you want to get good grades you have to sacrifice your free time accordingly. But it is also logical, since the courses have the same scope in the summer sessions as in the normal semester, only compressed into 6 weeks.
Since you finally sacrifice your summer semester break, you also want to have fun and free time. Especially when you are in Los Angeles, a city that is indescribably diverse and restless.
So I chose my free time and enjoyed my time in Los Angeles and the other cities. During the day you can wonderfully watch, sunbathe, chill out on the beaches or stroll along the piers. Santa Monica is also easy to get to by bus, for example, and in contrast to the expensive taxis, the journey costs only $ 1! My favorite was Santa Monica Beach, because it is easy to reach and also nicer than Malibu and Venice, for example. Or the Recreation Center with the pool and beach volleyball field right on campus is also recommended. Furthermore, the gym is very good and I also found a few friends to play soccer. You should also go to the film studios and, as a student at UCLA, of course, go to a Bruins football game. The last few days I had rented a car which is also very worthwhile because almost everyone drives a car in LA and public transport is intended as an emergency solution. However, you can usually only make slow progress in the endlessly dense traffic of LA.
Then of course LA is also an incredible party city. The countless house parties in the surrounding apartments or the huge bar and club scene are ideal for this. Most and best clubs are in Hollywood, but as a male guest you often have to dig deep into your pocket or you can’t even get in without female companions. I can recommend the Hollywood Club Crawl and the Bruin Party Bus, whose offers are really great and I used them several times. You can of course find all information on this on the Internet. The free limousine service at the Busby’s bar in Santa Monica is also highly recommended. There’s always something going on in LA when it comes to partying, you just have to get together.
The accommodation was a horror! I even chose the more expensive Saxon Suites with a living room. Squeaky and wobbly loft beds, filthy carpets, smelly furniture, broken fans, no air conditioning, dark rooms, poor ventilation, bugs, moldy showers, etc. I’d rather stop, but the accommodation didn’t work at all! Especially not for over $ 2000 for just 6 weeks. In all honesty: you better look for an apartment, if possible. They are cheaper and mostly nicer. You can then invite whoever you want and you will not be checked. However, you are then away from campus and therefore have less contact with fellow students, which I would see as the only disadvantage. (and of course the longer walk)
It is best to be open and by no means shy of people. So also to approach people. Then you get to know a lot of interesting and nice people from all over the world. Of course you can get in touch with Germans more quickly, but that’s not bad either, because at least our group was always relaxed, funny and amusing and we always mixed with people of other nationalities. I was very happy to have made so many nice, interesting new friends, it was really nice. Some of us went on trips to Vegas for example. It’s twice as much fun with friends.