It was clear to me from the start that I would go to LA and also to UCLA . The only question was how I should get there, or in what framework, especially since my studies in Germany had been a few years ago. The crucial tip was given to me by a friend who had already studied for a summer session at UCLA a few years ago . However, sufficient time should be allowed for collecting the documents. (The financial statement in particular seems to be too much of a challenge for some banks.) As soon as the registration is through, things start to get serious and you finally receive mail from Los Angeles, CA.
Accommodation and catering
Since I wanted to immerse myself in student life again, it was clear to me that I wanted to live on campus. After all, I wanted to enjoy college life as you know it from all American films and series.
The decision fell on the Hitch Suites, which are part of the Residential Suites. Each suite consists of a common room and two bedrooms. The main reason I chose the more expensive accommodation was actually to have my own bathroom. However, there were only two sinks in the hallway and a “broom closet” on each side, which housed a toilet and a shower.
In retrospect, I would probably have liked Hedrick Hall better, as I had never actually stayed in our common room and the shared bathrooms and rooms in the hall were much cleaner and more spacious. Still, the Hitch Suites had their charm and apart from a few inconsistencies in terms of hygiene and order, I got along very well with my five roommates.
For Housing , a meal plan is one in which one between 11, 15 and 21 can choose meals. Meals were taken in the dining halls, in which one could help oneself at the buffet. Since most of the students also lived on campus, you always met someone to eat when you wanted to.
I had decided on eleven meals, which was enough for me, as I liked going to the Kerckhoff Hall for breakfast or was out on the weekend.
Campus and student life
LA, the city in which you don’t actually go on foot – it feels like I’ve rarely walked as much every day as in the two months there. Since the campus is quite large and the dorms are all in the hills, you can plan a 30-minute walk to class every day.
In theory, you never have to leave the campus, as everything from all restaurants to fast food chains, the UCLA store to sports stadiums and swimming pools is on site.
Spread over the campus and also at the dorms, there are study rooms and seating everywhere, where you can often meet fellow students with whom you can chat.
The campus is absolutely a world of its own. The buildings are beautiful and as a film and series fan you can enjoy one or two Harry Potter moments (e.g. in the portico at Royce Hall) or Gilmore Girls moments (e.g. coffee in Kerckhof Hall) . I also loved the Powell Library, which is amazingly beautiful. Learning is much more fun and you feel a bit like in a movie.
Which brings us to the real thing, film studies.
Like most of them, I had chosen only two courses: Digital Cinematography and Film and Television Directing . Both courses took place twice a week and were quite labor-intensive. Every week there was actually all the essays to read, presentations to prepare and of course, as a film student, to watch or analyze films.
The lecturers were all from the industry and very well connected. Sometimes we had guest speakers in class who gave exciting insights into their respective subject areas.
I was absolutely happy with my choice of course and learned a lot from both courses. Check ehuacom to see more reviews from current students.
Leisure and excursions
Thanks to a 4-day week, you had enough free time to experience a lot. Nevertheless, you should perhaps make a list of what you really want to see, because most of the things I didn’t look at until after the summer session.
The campus is not far from Westwood, which has restaurants, shops and cinemas. Also Santa Monica with the famous Santa Monica Pier and a great beach is not too far away and can also be easily reached by bus and metro.
The visit to the Griffith Observatory was especially nice , from where you can enjoy a wonderful sunset and a great view over the city of angels. The typical tourist spots such as Walk of Fame with the Dolby Theater, Disney Music Hall, Urban Lights, Venice Beach and many more were of course also a must.
The many opportunities to attend live shows and tapings are particularly recommended. Free tickets are available from tvtickets.com. We actually managed to be part of “The Big Bang Theory”. With the popular series like Big Bang or Fuller House, however, you have to bring time (be there 4 hours earlier).
You can get from A to B in LA by bus or metro, rental car (parking fees are very high, however) or Uber, which was the most convenient option for me, but also very expensive, especially in the last two weeks.
If you want to see something outside of LA, you can also book various trips via usastudenttour.com. So I came once to Disneyland and over a long weekend to San Francisco and via Santa Barbara back to UCLA.
After the summer session
As expected, the six weeks passed relatively quickly. For the time after that I hadn’t really planned anything at home because I wanted to stay spontaneously. Most of the fellow students had friends flown in and still traveled through the country together, while others flew back home relatively early. So if you don’t like traveling alone through the area, you should perhaps think about what to do afterwards in advance.
For me, however, the last two weeks have been absolutely valuable. During this time I was able to really “live” in LA again and look at everything that was important to me in peace.
An absolute highlight was the hike to the Hollywood Sign and from there to the Griffith Observatory. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour was absolutely great and another highlight … wait for it … when Jack Black was awarded his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So I was able to catch a bit of Hollywood glamor.
If you like shopping, you shouldn’t miss the Citadel Outlets.
I lived a little outside in Redondo Beach. Hermosa and Manhattan Beach were not far from there.
All in all, I can only warmly recommend the summer sessions at UCLA and campus life. UCLA is a great university and LA is a wonderful city that has a lot to offer. This little study adventure is also a great change for no longer students.