Summer Options

 

As week 9 comes to an end there is one thing on almost every Bruin’s mind… Summer! After one of the best quarters of the years, Bruins cannot wait to finalize summer plans and figure out where their next three months will take place. A great part of UCLA is the various options available to students who want to not only enjoy their summers, but also continue their educational course work.
A very popular summer option is studying abroad. There are a huge amount of study abroad programs available to students. One of the popular choices is the UCLA Travel Study program. These programs are connected to various departments and majors. For example, I am studying abroad in Paris through the history department. I get to travel with fellow Bruins in the history major and be taught by one of the most renowned professors in the department. The advantage of this program is the direct transfer of unit credit. Many other students take advantage of other programs that are taken through universities in other countries. One of my friends is going to Sussex England to study engineering.
For students who want to stay in Los Angeles and spend the summer in that phenomenal Southern California weather, they can take summer classes at UCLA. There are classes offered in all different majors, languages, and GE’s. This offers students the chance to get ahead in their coursework and take advantage of living in Los Angeles. Summer classes are unique in that they are shorter in duration. Instead of a ten-week quarter students take a 6 or 8-week course.
Yet another option for UCLA students are online summer classes. This allows students to travel, go back home, or even stay in LA but take their classes online instead of in a classroom. I took one last summer and loved it! I was able to be at home in my p.j.’s while watching lecture videos at my own pace! Summer break takes on a whole new meaning for UCLA students and there are endless opportunities.

Summer in Spain (and Morocco)

Half-way through the first full week of the quarter! I am starting my first science upper divisions, and not to brag or anything, but I got to look at human brains during lab today!

But first, a little bit about me, since this is my first entry… My name is Gina and I am a third year student now. I am double majoring in Physiological Science and History. I love both my majors and it definitely permits me to have a balanced schedule and lots of great opportunities. This summer, I was able to participate in, as far as I’m concerned, the BEST Travel Study Program. I spent about four weeks in Spain and Morocco taking two history classes. My program traveled to several cities through Spain and Morocco including Madrid, Granada, Tangier, and Fez. My professor has done the program for about twenty years and definitely has figured out the perfect blend between enjoying traveling and studying. It was pretty amazing to learn about a historical event one day in class, then walk through the building where it happened, the next! I also enjoyed getting to know about 30 other Bruins. We all came from different majors and interests but truly formed a family on our trip.

I could go on for days with how amazing my trip was but there are amino acid structures to memorize and Scandinavian Sagas to read.

GO BRUINS!

UCLA Goes to London (Week 2)

Second week in London!  This week began with a trip to Camden, a town known for its thrift shops and food.  It was like going to a giant outdoor market; vendors everywhere trying to sell you so much stuff.  A group of us spent a few hours there and my friend Evan and I broke off to go see… WICKED!  We went to a really low-key ticket seller who sold us seats for £37 each (a little more than $50 each) and they were 2nd row!  Such a great experience!

The next day was a performance day, meaning we had class and then we got dressed up to see a performance of Richard III at the Old Vic Theater.  Before the performance, a large group from the program went to the National Gallery to see some of the amazing portraits they have on display.  It’s strange to stand merely feet away from the paintings you study in school for years but never have the chance to experience first-hand.  After the National Gallery, we headed to the theater for the performance.  Wondering who was starring as Richard III?  Oh, just Kevin Spacey!  It was amazing to see an American actor doing Shakespeare theatre in London.  The production was quite memorable, to say the least.  Luckily the theater was far away, so it gave us another opportunity to wander the London streets, which always turns out to be a great time.

The next day was our last day in London.  It was pretty sad to imagine it, but we had a lot to look forward to.  That day’s class had a guest speaker, Chuck Iwuji, who played Buckingham (one of the main roles in “Richard III”).  He was very insightful, talking about acting all over the world.  Then we went for a picnic lunch in the park; it was a beautiful day to enjoy a good meal with friends.  For dinner, we wanted some really good Indian food that was closer than Brick Lane, so we went to a place called Punjab.  It was excellent!  After dinner, we decided to live up the last night on the town and go to the most amazing place called IceBar.  It was a bar that was a giant freezer, made entirely of ice.  When you entered the bar, you received a large parka to keep warm and gloves to hold your glass.  The gloves were very important because your glass was made out of ice!  It was a great time and we had some really tasty drinks, as well.  The last night was finished with pub hopping all over, reminiscing about our time in this magical city.

And now, on to Stratford-Upon-Avon!  It was a 2-hour bus ride from London through the countryside to reach the home of William Shakespeare.  When we got there, we all settled in to the new hotel and then went for a hike through the English countryside.  That was absolutely beautiful!  We took a bunch of pictures of everyone frolicking in the fields—clearly, city kids in a new environment.  We had a delicious barbeque dinner provided by the hotel and a pool party in the hotel’s pool.  It was a great night.

The Stratford adventure continues in Week 3.  More on Shakespeare and his hometown next time!

UCLA Goes to London (Week 1)

Yesterday, I arrived home from the most amazing trip to England.  I did Travel Study with the English Department and went to London and Stratford-Upon-Avon to study Shakespeare.  This post is one of four where I’ll describe my four-week trip.

Traveling to England was surreal.  It was my first time traveling internationally so it was particularly special.  It was strange to look out the window and see foreign soil.  I remember thinking “This isn’t America anymore.”  I rode the tube to my hotel – the tube is the subway system in London – which I couldn’t find and got lost.  Eventually, I found it, dropped my stuff in my room, and immediately began exploring the city.  Magical would be an understatement to describe the effect London had on me.  I was amazed and astounded at the history all around me, even in the simplest buildings.  In a span of two hours, I saw Trafalgar Square, the London Eye, Big Ben, Parliament, and the River Thames.  I went to dinner with a large group from my program and had a traditional English dinner at a pub and went karaoking right away.  I sang “Man in the Mirror” for the Brits, who went bonkers.  They really like American enthusiasm over there.

The next day, I went to the Great British Beer Festival, an entire convention devoted to different beers and ciders.  It was awesome!  We even met a few Brits who talked with us for a while about British and American culture, traveling, food, sports, and many other topics.  They were great and spent the day with us.  They even took us to Brick Lane, a spot famous for its Indian food.  It was one of the tastiest meals I’ve ever had—it was truly authentic.

My third day included a performance at the Globe Theater, the same theater where Shakespeare’s plays were performed when he was alive.  I saw a performance of “As You Like It,” which was awesome!  After the performance, we wandered a bit and saw Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park: truly beautiful sites to behold.

I even went for a run the next morning, to Hyde Park from my hotel with one of my friends; we got some curious glances from many Londoners who couldn’t fathom why we’d be running anywhere.  I was able to meet up with one of my friends from home by the National Gallery, a museum filled with amazing and well-revered paintings.  After, we went to a pub called Princess Louise, where they had the BEST cider I’d ever tasted!!  Only £2 per pint!

Before I knew it, we were seeing another performance: “Much Ado About Nothing”, which was another great performance.  After the show, a group of us wandered the pubs and clubs of London.  It was quite an experience where we met some of the most “interesting” characters the city had to offer.

This is what I was able to jam into a short 5 days in London.  Look for Week 2 in the next post.  Go London and Go Bruins!!

Missing the Bruins


This week I resumed my old job of working in a law office for a family law attorney.  I did this job for almost 4 years before leaving for UCLA and I was able to come back in the summer to do more work.  The attorney I work for is a Bruin Alumni, both Undergrad and Law School.  This past week, she told me, “I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to breathe and ask you how school was.  How did you like UCLA?  Was it great?”  We spent the next 20 minutes talking about how much we loved UCLA and everything that comes along with being a Bruin.  We talked about the football games and the atmosphere of a UCLA sporting event.  We gushed about the amazing architecture of the buildings including my absolute favorite, Royce Hall.  We also talked about the great opportunities there are at UCLA, especially for prospective law students; having the Law School right on campus is perfect for consulting counselors or current law students.  We talked about the Travel Study program and how it’s not uncommon to find great prospects like this at UCLA.  We both miss Westwood and the campus dearly and will probably make a trip up there in the summer to rekindle our love with the Bruin nation.  Go Bruins!!