UCLA’s Diverse and Immersive Opportunities

Hi everyone! My name is Alexa Garcia, and I am an Economics major and Environmental Systems and Society minor at UCLA from Santa Barbara, California. As a 4th year student, I have been involved in various organizations on campus such as Bruin Women in Business, Greek Life, the Bruin Ambassador Program, and gained work experience from off-campus internships.

I chose UCLA for many reasons, but what truly convinced me was the incredible weather and diverse student life. As a first-generation college student, a diverse student body was very important to me because I wanted to meet people with similar backgrounds as me, while also surrounding myself by students with different cultural backgrounds, interests, and much more.

Once I stepped on campus to take a campus tour, I could immediately feel the strong student community and life at UCLA. Seeing students hang out between classes on Janss lawn, grabbing coffee and listening to live music on Kerckhoff Patio, and passing by the spirited students waiting in line for a basketball game displayed the lively, involved, and passionate student body at UCLA – which is exactly what I’ve experience in my 4 years here.

From my academic courses to the 1,000+ student clubs and organizations to the extensive alumni network, I have learned and loved so much at UCLA. My classes are challenging but rewarding, as us students come together to share our varying knowledge and insight of different fields with each other. As an Economics major and Environmental Systems minor, I have had the opportunity to take classes in many different fields. My two favorite classes at UCLA (so far) have been Personal Financial Health and Environmental Justice. In Personal Financial Health, we learned all about maintaining healthy personal finances in regard to investing, health insurance, credit cards, and so much more that is important for our lives post graduation. In Environmental Justice, we learned about the equalities and inequalities that exist among varying communities across the world in regard to the way their environments are polluted and/or protected. Both of these courses highlight what I think is very special about UCLA’s academics – each course helps students have a more in-depth and empathetic view of the world.

One of my favorite aspects of UCLA is the wide variety of inclusive student clubs and organizations on campus. From professional development clubs, such as Bruin Women in Business, to fun community-building clubs, such as the Cheese Club, there are endless opportunities to find your community on campus and gain experience in interests that you did not even know existed. UCLA encourages students to be involved with the Los Angeles community off campus as well. Volunteering and teaching at local high schools are some of my favorite ways that I spend my time here in LA.

Similarly, I have gained a tremendous amount of professional experience and career preparation from off-campus internships. LA is filled with a wide range of industries – you can find almost any field that you are interested in in LA. UCLA’s extensive alumni network, the career center, and your academic department works hard to connect you with opportunities that you are looking for. I’ve had three internships throughout my four years at UCLA. I discovered two of the roles through alumni connections and the other through an email newsletter from the Economics department.

In addition to the experiences I’ve had on campus and in the LA community, UCLA has broadened my knowledge of different cultures with its immersive study abroad program. I chose to study abroad in New Zealand at the University of Otago, where I took some of my general education requirements among Kiwi students and other international students. Each weekend we would camp in the mountains, surf on the beaches, and backpack through forests of New Zealand’s great outdoors. I highly recommend studying abroad and finding the right program for you and your degree, especially because the financial aid you receive from UCLA transfers over to your abroad program! I truly appreciate UCLA’s drive to make sure there are no barriers to you if you want to study abroad.

All of these diverse and immersive opportunities at UCLA make this school so special to me. It all is tied so strongly together by the unmatched Bruin spirit and love for each other and our university. Go Bruins!