Through my academic scholarship, I heard about the opportunity to do a summer session at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) and then applied for a place. In addition to the documents to be filled in, I also had to submit proof of language skills and write a two-page letter of motivation in English. The letter of motivation should show the MicroEDU “jury” why I am the right candidate for the summer session in the USA and what I am hoping for from the study visit.
After I had received a preliminary acceptance with great pleasure, many other documents and forms had to be filled out and collected so that nothing stood in the way of entering the USA and studying at the university. It was important to apply for a personal visa at the US embassy (the student visa can be applied for in Berlin, Frankfurt or Munich) and to submit important documents to the host university in order to receive a final approval from the American university. After I received the go from the UCI and had my visa in my pocket, I was looking forward to preparing for the summer session and packing my first things. According to AbbreviationFinder, UCI is the abbreviation of University of California Irvine.
Since I decided on Summer Session I (there are Summer Sessions I and II or the 10 Weeks Session), I flew to Los Angeles at the end of June. The “International Summer Session Office” of the UCI is very well organized and takes care of a shuttle service from the airport to the university, so that you have a relaxed arrival, as well as all introductory measures and great events for all international students.
Distributed in three student houses on the edge of the campus, you live with an assigned roommate in a pleasantly large room and share the remaining common rooms with the other summer school students. This allows you to get to know your roommates pretty quickly and is always in good company. You can quickly find new friends with whom you can go to lunch in the dining halls, cook for yourself, spend the evening together, do sports or go on excursions together. You definitely don’t stay alone.
Campus and studies
In addition to great leisure activities on campus, such as nice events, cafes, restaurants or the really cool sports center (Anteater Recreation Center) with several sports halls, soccer fields, fitness studios and a huge pool, studying at the UCI is of course in the foreground.
I chose two courses in advance that were similar to my studies at home and decided on the sociology lecture “Deviance” and a film & media seminar in “New Media and Digitalization”. During the week you had a total of six hours per course, spread over several days. The midterm exams had to be completed halfway through the summer session and the final exams at the end. The professors were always very competent and the sessions were informative and cross-media, which made the lessons very interesting. After a few days you can learn English well and overcome the hurdle of communicating and studying in a foreign language.
Although the short course is very intensive and you have to prepare and learn a lot for the courses, there is still time for free time and great excursions. If you don’t want to rent a car yourself for a trip, the International Office offers really cool weekend trips that are completely organized and great fun. You pay for the trips in advance and bus transport, hotel accommodation and excursion destinations are planned by the office. The tours have always been very popular and this gave me the opportunity to explore and visit more distant places such as Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, but also closer places such as Los Angeles, Newport Beach or Laguna Beach.
The national parks and the coastal sections of California are a real dream and a “must do” when visiting the American west coast. But you shouldn’t miss San Francisco or the Pacific Coast Highway either.
Even if you spend most of the time with other international students from all over the world, it is still nice to get to know the “locals” better. Especially in the university or in the city it is easy to get into conversation with the Americans and to learn more about their mentality and culture. I can only recommend this to everyone so that they can learn more about the country and its people.
In retrospect, I had a really great and intensive stay in California and was able to take away a lot and learn a lot, both at university and personally. If you have the opportunity to do a summer session at the UCI, take the step and get advice from MicroEDU.
The short course is a really exciting experience and you will certainly remember it forever.