I traveled to Los Angeles a few days before the course started and booked an apartment in advance through Airbnb that was about 2 km from the university. There is also the option of living on campus. Unfortunately, UCLA postponed the start of registration for the apartments on campus several times, so I looked somewhere outside. The UCLA is connected via several bus lines well to the transport . There are cheap student tickets ($ 33 for the entire summer session), so it is not a problem if you are looking for accommodation outside of the university .
When I first visited UCLA, I was impressed by the spacious campus area . The university is really beautiful. The campus is laid out like a large park, there are lots of green areas where you could lie down at any time, for example to study or just to relax. There are also plenty of trees that provide enough shade and plenty of seating outside. I often used them to study. The university consists of many, mostly older buildings. That’s exactly how I imagined an American university to be . Everything is very neat and clean. I felt very comfortable at UCLA from day one. UCLA is a place to come to.
There is a wide range of sports on offer, for example a swimming pool and a large fitness studio. These offers can be used free of charge as a student. There is also a wide range of food and drinks. I also really liked the UCLA store, which has a small supermarket and all kinds of merchandise. Every second student on campus wears UCLA shirts or sweaters that can be stocked up in the store. The university is located in Westwood, a district west of Beverly Hills. Westwood is a great place to go , but I’ll get to that later. Westwood has many shops, cafes and restaurants, supermarkets and cinemas. The district has me very much and it was great to see and experience life there over a period of several weeks. Registration on the first day of the course was easy. Many things could be done online in advance (e.g. applying for a student ID). A UCLA sweater, a drinking bottle and a UCLA bag were given as a welcome gift.
At UCLA I took the “ International Finance ” and “ Money and Banking ” courses. I was lucky that I only had courses on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I mainly needed the other days to study and rework. The professors were very competent in both subjects and were able to convey the subject matter well. ” International Finance“For me it was the more demanding of the two courses, because here some complicated models were dealt with that I was not familiar with before. The lessons in this course were based on a book that I bought in advance. There was also an online platform for both courses, on which the professors posted exercises and additional materials. In the middle of the summer session, after around three weeks, a mid-term exam was written in both courses, and the final exam on the last day of the course. The exams each counted 50% for the final grade . The courses were mainly attended by international students. Many students came from Australia , but I also met a few students from Europe. It was overall a very pleasant atmosphere and I felt comfortable in both courses.
A further advantage of the UCLA course, is that it is located in Los Angeles . Los Angeles is an interesting, fascinating city that has a lot to offer. And UCLA is really pretty central. I had booked a rental car and was therefore traveling a lot in LA. Of course, I especially liked the beaches in Santa Monica and Venice. It was great to just go to the beach in the afternoon or on the weekend. The beaches each stretch for kilometers, so it is never overcrowded. At Venice Beach you could even often see dolphins swimming in close proximity to the beach. Beverly Hills and Hollywood are also very easy to reach from UCLA. Other students who did not have a car also got around well by bus or Uber. Los Angeles is very spacious and it never gets boring here, because there is just so much to discover .
When the courses were over, I took a good 10 days vacation in Los Angeles, visiting Disneyland, Las Vegas and Malibu, among others. For a great view over the whole of Los Angeles, I recommend the Getty Center. This is located on a hill, you don’t pay any admission (only parking fee) and you have an indescribable view of the whole city from the buildings. You can also admire works by Picasso, Monet or Van Gogh in the museums of the Getty Center and there is a beautiful garden. Here I almost couldn’t stop being amazed . The Getty Center is not far from the university and is definitely worth a visit.
I really enjoyed my time at UCLA and I can only recommend choosing UCLA for a stay abroad . The university campus is impressive, LA is an incredibly interesting city and you just have to get to know the lifestyle in California . The people are relaxed and in a good mood, which is certainly also due to the great weather. I traveled to Los Angeles all by myself, but you have no problem making friends there. I found the people there to be very open and quickly felt “at home”. When I went home after a good 8 weeks, I was pretty sad. I am glad I had this experience. Such a stay not only helps you professionally but also personally. I will definitely travel to the USA more often in the future, because my stay at UCLA made me want more .