UCI Exchange Program

UCI Exchange Program

Getting there:

I was picked up together with other Summer Session participants at Los Angeles International Airport by the pick-up service of the UCI Summer Session Team. They were easy to find as they were standing right by the terminal holding up signs. A shuttle bus then took us to the accommodations. This made the journey very pleasant and you could relax yourself after the long flight.


I was housed in the Arroyo Vista student residence complex. This one is quite big and has a lot of houses. We were about 24 people in one house. On the first floor there was: laundry room, equipped kitchen, study, couch and television. The rooms were all double, which means you had to share the room with one person. Everyone has a bed, table and wardrobe. Sheets and towels were provided. The following were not available: mirrors, trash cans and clothes hangers. Depending on your needs, you can also buy it cheaply on site at the Target. There were a total of four sockets in the room. However, two of them were behind the bed and therefore difficult to reach. A multiple socket can be very practical.

The Arroya Vista also has a community center and a basketball court. The Community Center was a popular meeting place with friends and a place for many programs. Not only was there Netflix, but there was also a pool table, a kitchen and workrooms!

Campus and Transport:

The UCI campus is really big. To me it almost felt like it was a small village. Everything is within walking distance from the Arroyo Vista. Nearby there is a supermarket, dining options and the popular fitness center “Anteater Recreation Center”with a pool. According to Abbreviationfinder, UCI is the abbreviation of University of California Irvine.

It takes approximately 20 minutes on foot from Arroyo Vista to the classrooms at the university. In itself it is doable and many actually walk there and back every day. I can recommend buying a skateboard on the Uci for Sales Facebook page. It doesn’t matter if you can’t skate. I did it and did pretty well within a week. You quickly notice that skating is totally normal at the UCI is. You see so many students skating as it is very convenient to get from one point to another within the campus. You can also borrow a bike. However, that would always have to be connected somewhere. The skateboard is more practical because you can either use it or carry it if you want to walk. Another option would be the UCI shuttle bus. $ 2 per trip, $ 45 monthly ticket. Not absolutely necessary in my opinion.


The university offers numerous activities. You can really say that EVERY day something happens at the university. That means you always have the opportunity to switch off after learning and do something else.

The Summer Session Office will send you an overview of the activities they offer before the start of the Summer Session. Some are free and some are paid. Before arriving, it is sufficient to write down the activities in which you would like to participate. From the first few days you can register for it on site. I can highly recommend the activities because they are very varied: karaoke evenings, beach trips, city trips, culture, fun. There’s something for everyone. They also take care of the organization, which is good because you couldn’t have organized so much yourself in a short period of time.

Otherwise, the beach is only 15-20 minutes away by car, if you want to do something spontaneously.


I have taken two courses: “Brain and Behavior” and “Human Physiology”.

Human Physiology: A very interesting but demanding subject. Nevertheless, the professor made the course very clear and made the content very understandable. I can only recommend the course to those who already have anatomy knowledge from Germany (it may even have been a prerequisite for the course). Otherwise it would be very tedious to learn them again.

Brain and Behavior: I can strongly recommend this course. After the first lesson, I considered changing the course, as the structure of the lesson was totally alien to me and I could NOT keep up with the content. In addition, we didn’t have a book in which we could look everything up again. So it was said: either you are there and write down what the professor says or you have no chance to catch up on the material. So I decided to give the course another chance and haven’t regretted it. It was probably “the first shock”: something like that shouldn’t discourage you. In the following lessons I got along much better and was able to ask the professor again in her office hour about the important content of the first lesson. The professor managed to show anatomical structures and their importance for certain behavioral structures on the basis of experiments and scientific research. This type of teaching was new to me. Overall, I found that Event super interesting and also very efficiently designed. I learned a lot and started to be interested in research. In the end I passed with an A +.

A few general things I noticed:

In both courses, 90 percent of the participants were regular UCI students and the remaining 10 percent were summer session participants or freshman. I was very surprised because I assumed that the courses were specifically aimed at international students. That pleased me all the more, because then it cannot be said that the level was lowered in any way. So we got exactly THE lessons that the regular students of the UCI also took. The professors I had were very friendly and helpful. They always saw you at eye level and were open to questions and objections. In general, I found that the professors were very good at explaining things. It was less important to speak in a highly complicated manner in order to appear competent, but more to


I had bought two meal plans before arriving. Once the block 40 (40 meals + $ 125) and the block 25 (25 meals + $ 100). A total of around 700 euros. With this meal plan I was able to eat in the morning, at noon and in the evening in the so-called “Pippins” and “Anteatery” on weekdays. Both have a large selection of starters, main courses and desserts and much more. You can also take something with you. After a while, I unfortunately found the food no longer as tasty, as only a small part of the menu is changed daily. In retrospect, however, I have to admit that it is better than cooking yourself. You save time, energy and the tedious carrying of heavy bags at 25 ° C from the supermarket to the Arroyo Vista. However, I recommend buying block 40 first and then if you want / need block 25.


Excluding the cost of accommodation and meals, I spent around 1800 euros on site for food on the weekend, activities and personal purchases.

It is important that you always have to expect taxes when you buy something. In addition, tips are very common and often taken for granted.

Something I would have liked to have known before arriving: You have to pay the money for the chargeable activities that you undertake with the Summer Session Team in the first few days after arrival. Since I took part in almost all of the activities, I was already going for $ 900 after the first few days. To be able to roughly estimate: many trips like the ones to the beach are free, some small trips cost between $ 50- $ 110, larger trips like weekend trips to Las Vegas and San Francisco $ 300- $ 400. It varies depending on whether you want a single room, double room, etc.

An American SIM card can be bought on Orientation Day for around $ 40 dollars.


The weather is very good! Don’t forget sunscreen! However, I strongly recommend that you pack a jacket and warm clothing (including long trousers). It is very COLD in the mornings and evenings as well as in the buildings because of the air conditioning!


I had six incredibly instructive, eventful but also intense weeks at the UCI. I made a lot of new friends – with Americans and Summer Session participants from different countries.

I can strongly recommend the Summer Sessions. For those who have always wanted to study at an American university, the Summer Session gives them the opportunity to actually do it and experience American student life first hand ! It is definitely an unforgettable experience!

For those who are about to take part in the Summer Sessions: Learn a lot for your courses, but take the time to meet up with friends and do something. Enjoy every moment and take advantage of every opportunity. The university offers so many opportunities – also for leisure activities! Have fun!

University of California Irvine Exchange Program

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