Decision and preparation for UCLA:
The decision to take part in the Summer Session in Los Angeles was a very spontaneous one for me. I knew that I would start my professional life in November 2010 and wanted to study again for a longer period at a university abroad and then I learned from a friend that searchforpublicschools offered the opportunity to do so. I chose UCLA because it has a very good reputation, especially in the management sector.
After I received all the essential documents, I booked my flight and applied for the visa in Frankfurt, although I have to say that I thought more about the latter in advance than I actually needed. On the homepage of the Consulate General, a number of documents were requested that should be brought to the registration, but in the end only the SEVIS form, the biometric photo, my passport and the receipt for the payment of the visa fee were asked for. I received the visa itself in less than a week.
Since I had to hand in my diploma thesis a week before departure, I didn’t have time for further preparations.
I spent the first night in Los Angeles in the hostel, as it was only possible to move into the accommodation options at UCLA on August 1st. I can recommend the hostel: Banana Bungalow in West Hollywood, it’s not far from UCLA and very clean and inexpensive. In retrospect, however, I would always choose the bus to the hostel, not the shuttle, because that way you can save a lot of money and the bus drivers can always help you in case of doubt.
On August 1st I was able to move into my accommodation option, the Saxon Suites. These are apartments that you share with 3 other people, with two people always having a room. If I were faced with the choice again today, I would choose the Saxon Suites again, because you still live on campus but still have your own apartment with a living room, where you can receive guests from time to time and, if necessary, sit together in the evening. However, the apartments do not have a kitchenette, which didn’t bother me personally, as I don’t like cooking that much anyway and the food is not particularly cheap, so it is more advisable to eat in the cafeteria. Bed linen and towels are also provided.
Life at UCLA
Regarding the meal plan, I can definitely give you the tip that if you intend to go on excursions during your time at UCLA, it is completely sufficient to only eat 11 meals a week. Some of my friends have had 15 or more meals, but most of the time they haven’t used them at all. In addition, if you have already used up your food, you can easily buy more food. The food in the cafeteria was quite good, there was a lot of fruit and vegetables, so you didn’t just have to eat fast food.
With regard to telephoning among each other, it makes sense to first determine in the first few days with whom you have the most contact and then possibly buy a card from a provider together, since telephoning is then much cheaper. I bought a cell phone and a prepaid card from AT&T for around 35 euros and already had 20 euros calling credit with me. What was very good was an SMS package that could be billed from the € 20 call credit, where you could send either 200 or 1000 SMS for the equivalent of € 4 or € 8 in both German and American SMS. Because of this, I actually had no problems and was able to send unlimited text messages to friends and family at home.
Overall, the university courses were a lot of fun. I chose Management 1B and Management 180. Management 1B was an accounting course where you had to answer some investment and accounting questions and Management 180 was a communication course. Here, too, the lecturers and professors were always on hand with advice and action when there were problems.
At first I thought that it might have been a mistake on my part not to have booked excursions in advance of my stay in America, but in retrospect I can say that it was the right decision. Since individual groups quickly found each other with people who got along well and you can book excursions in America without any complications, it is more advisable to book spontaneously from there. I myself was in San Diego, a great city for swimming and partying, in Las Vegas, I don’t think I need to say much anymore, at the Gran Canyon, simply breathtaking and in San Francisco, you should dress really warm here, it is was incredibly cold the weekend I was there. In San Diego you should definitely go to La Jolla, there is a wonderful beach here, where seals can be seen. In Down Town you can party very well in the evening, although you should remember that women and men are very smartly dressed and that you are usually turned away by the bouncers in jeans and a baggy look. For Las Vegas I can only say, try to come to one of the legendary pool parties and enjoy the time in this colorful city. There is a lot to see in San Francisco, not only the Golden Gate Bridge, but also the winding street in the world, the cable cars and the Bay Bridge invite you to take a tour. However, one should not underestimate the difference in temperature to Los Angeles, we didn’t arrive with enough warm clothes overall and then all of us bought sweaters and jackets.
For these excursions it is advisable to rent a car, especially since it is no longer expensive if you are traveling with 5 people, although you do not need a car for Los Angeles itself, as the UCLA is so centrally located that you can take the All sightseeing specials easily reached by bus. Even in the evening you can easily take the bus to Hollywood to celebrate in the numerous clubs.
What should I bring with me?
Before I flew to the USA, I asked myself what I should definitely take with me and whether I had forgotten something, so I try to write down everything I absolutely need. Shampoo, shower gel, cotton pads and all the utensils for the bathroom are very important, as these are quite expensive in America and you only have to take them back with you but not again. Then I would suggest that you pack some detergent because you can wash at the university, but there is no detergent available. I have also heard that American laundry detergents are often fortified with bleach, which quickly fades the colored clothes. You should also remember that you will be in the USA for a few weeks and apart from the great outlets, Just because of the dollar alone, clothes are up to 20% cheaper and you inevitably buy clothes and I don’t think that I’m not only speaking for the female part of our population. For this reason, it is better to take a little less than more with you. I think rain clothes are superfluous as it never rained in the 6 weeks of my stay. If you really want to take towels with you, you should pack some that you may even throw away later. What was also very useful was to take a multiple plug with you in addition to the foreign plugs for the socket so that you can charge your laptop and mobile phone at the same time. For this reason, it is better to take a little less than more with you. I think rain clothes are superfluous as it never rained in the 6 weeks of my stay. If you really want to take towels with you, you should pack some that you may even throw away later. What was also very useful was to take a multiple plug with you in addition to the foreign plugs for the socket so that you can charge your laptop and mobile phone at the same time.
My stay in the USA and at UCLA gave me a lot of new impressions, I got to know an incredible number of people and every day was associated with new surprises. If I were to choose to do the summer session again today, I would say “yes” again. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.