I was in the states for the first time this summer and what can I say, I had the Time of my Life!
Los Angeles has always been the city that interested me the most. And since UCLA has the “Anderson School of Management”, it just made sense to spend the summer session there.
First of all, about the courses. I took MGMT 180 and MGMT 88, both of which are taught by John Ullmen. If you are considering doing MGMT180, it is best to take the seminar as well, because the content is very well coordinated. John Ullmen is a really cool professor. Simply completely different, as you know it from German universities. The courses are very interactive, so that a lot of group work takes place and the results are then presented to the rest of the group. This is actually how it works the whole time, so that boredom can never arise. In my course there were mostly Germans and Japanese / Chinese. Unfortunately only a few Americans.
The campus is also just a dream. Big as a giant, with its own fitness studio (free), tennis court, grocery stores, UCLA store, several canteens and the famous Royce Hall.
I lived in a 3-bed room in Sproul Hall, although I didn’t know my two flatmates (American, Japanese) beforehand. I would not take a 3-bed room again because there is very little space to live. The building itself was really good. The bathrooms were newly done and a good size and clean. There were lounges for studying and chatting on every floor. A TV lounge is available so that you can also enjoy the American TV program.
The cafeteria is also really recommendable. I ordered 15 meals a week and didn’t even make it. So absolutely sufficient. The breakfast takes some getting used to for German standards, but there is a huge selection at lunchtime and in the evening. There is a salad buffet, pizza, burger and dishes that change every day. And since it’s “All you can eat”, you don’t have to worry about getting full.
Regarding the leisure activities, I can only say that it is best to think about what you want to see while you are in Germany, because if you don’t start right away, you won’t be able to map out all your goals. I was out and about a lot in the 6 weeks, but even then I realized that I missed a few highlights.
In order to get the LA feeling at all, you should look at Hollywood Boulevard at the beginning. There’s just nowhere else like that.
If you are a shopaholic like me, you should perhaps set a limit beforehand, because otherwise it can degenerate very quickly. Great shopping opportunities are the Santa Monica Pier (largest selection in LA), The Grove at Farmers Market, Melrose Avenue & Robertson Boulevard, Beverly Center, Westside Pavilion. You can really save money in the outlet centers. We went to Ontario Mills and Las Vegas Outlet. For everyone who loves Juicy Couture, Guess, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, … an absolute dream!
If you can spend a whole day on the beach, you don’t have to do without it in LA. In Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Malibu, Laguna Beach you can really enjoy the summer temperatures best.
Since you would like to see celebrities in LA, it is best to keep your eyes open. We were lucky enough to see 3 film premieres in Westwood (Tropic Thunder, Housebunny, The Women). The best thing to do is to stay up to date. Otherwise you can still run into starlets on Robertson Boulevard, or like in our clubs (Paris Hilton, Will.I.Am).
Since San Francisco, San Diego and Las Vegas are really easy to get to from LA by car, you shouldn’t miss the experience and really go on such weekend trips. Vegas in particular is just amazing.
The nightlife in LA shouldn’t be neglected either. Since you don’t really have much to do with the Americans in the courses, this is the best place to socialize. The well-known student parties in the fraternity houses are definitely worth seeing. The people are very open-minded and are always happy to have visitors. But the club scene is also bombastic. Les Deux, Area, Opera are recommended here. There is always free entry for girls, but the boys have to dig deeper into their pockets (30 dollars).
However, in order to really get where you want, a rental car is really recommended. Since the bus network is not the best and the buses hardly run at all in the evening, you usually wait a long time until you finally get to where you want to go. If you take care of it from Germany, that is the easiest and cheapest.
In general, I can only say that it was really an unforgettable time. LA is really a dream city that we never wanted to leave. So I can really recommend Los Angeles to anyone who not only wants to go to America to study, but also to see something from the States. With the many leisure activities (beaches, shopping, amusement parks, city trips) it simply cannot be topped.
However, a little tip on the side. When we were at UCLA we spent most of the time with us Germans among each other. That’s not bad at all, but maybe you should get used to speaking English with each other, otherwise you come home and know all sorts of German accents, but unfortunately the English has not improved as one had hoped.
Everyone under the age of 21 should also think carefully about whether to wait a little longer before traveling to America. Since the controls and laws are really very strict, everyone under 21 was very restricted.