At first I was a little skeptical about how the first few days would go. How do I get from the airport to UCLA? How is the reception in the student dormitory? How do the courses run? etc. But all the skepticism was unfounded.
The bus transfer with the Flyaway Bus “LAX-Westwood” is inexpensive and fast. However, you still have to take a taxi in Westwood to get to UCLA from the station. You can of course also walk from the bus stop to the university, but with luggage it will be a very long and hard way.
I stayed at Sproul Hall and check-in went without a hitch. You should get the “Bruin Card” as soon as possible. This card is the student ID and at the same time the entrance ticket to the dinning hall, the pool, the sports hall, the student dormitories etc.
I stayed in a triple room. We were lucky because Sproul Hall was renovated last summer. The furnishings in the room were therefore in good condition and the size of the room was perfectly adequate for six weeks. The bathrooms were also in great condition and kept relatively clean.
In the dormitory you will immediately get to know other students from all over the world.
In addition, tennis and basketball courts, a pool and an “outdoor fitness center” are just around the corner (max. 5 min.). Everything else from the university can be reached in about 15 minutes. That’s why I would live in the student dormitories (Rieber Hall, Sproul Hall) as an off-campus or in an apartment for the duration of the summer session.
The food is American, meaning that every day there is pizza, burgers, hot dogs, French fries, soft ice cream and damn sweet cakes. Fortunately, other dishes are also offered. One stand offers Asian cuisine, another “Western cuisine”, another Mexican cuisine and there is also a quite large salad buffet, various types of fruit, etc. Overall, I can say that the quality of the food is good and the selection of dishes is sufficient. If you want a change, you can go out to eat in the numerous restaurants in Westwood Village.
The courses at UCLA are great. The lecturers are very friendly and always helpful. Emails are answered immediately, homework is corrected within a week, etc. I have taken the Urban Planning course “URBN PL 120 LEC 1 – Introduction to Cities and Planning” and the English course “ESL 32 LEC 8 – Conversation and Interaction for Academic Purposes” .
The level of the urban planning course was quite appealing and quite laborious. We had to read between 80 and 120 pages every week, write a test every week, and work on a project every week. At the end of the course we had to do the final project (write 20 pages) and present our results to the class. This course cost me a few days and nights at the beach, but it was worth it.
The level of the English course was very low. Anyone who speaks moderate to very good English should by no means take this course because you will be bored there. You all already know the skills that are supposed to be imparted there and the topics of discussion are drawn by the hair. Example: A man eavesdropping on his wife because he thinks she is cheating. Is that morally justifiable? You shouldn’t take more than 2 courses and instead enjoy your time at UCLA, LA and California.
The campus is well looked after and you can practice every imaginable sport there. A tip for tennis fans: bring your racket! As far as I heard, you can’t borrow a tennis racket there.
Of course, I also had free time. Los Angeles has a lot to offer and I never got bored. What you absolutely have to see and what not, you have to know yourself, but manage your time well! Six weeks is very short! I mostly got around LA by bus. Taking the bus is time-consuming, but it’s damn cheap and you don’t have to look for a parking space.
A tip: If you wanted to see all the beaches, you should rent a bike in Santa Monica and then cycle along the coast.
You should organize and book trips to other cities yourself, because the travel company on campus is quite expensive. If you want to go to San Diego for a few days, I can recommend the International Hostel. The hostel is well maintained and the location is superb.
For me, the summer session was a great experience and a lot of fun. I will try to go back next year.
Thanks also to your website, because you have taken care of all organizational matters and reduced the effort involved in the application process to a minimum. The advice was also excellent and emails were always answered immediately.