A Shanghai native, SAF Summer Correspondent Zhuofan Zhang is reporting from UCLA Summer Sessions.
Once I went up the to the front of the class to present how a problem is solved. It was kind of an easy one, but my English is just not good enough for me to present fluently. The classmates just waited for me to finish my presentation patiently and even applauded for me after finishing. It’s just so warm.
10/2 Top 3 Things I Learned at UCLA
First, classes are really intense. Even it’s just summer session, UCLA requires that you understand what they always teach during normal quarters. Professors all have different habits but they are all concerned about you. They all have multiple office hours. You may go and ask them questions during their office hours. You may also email them your questions even if it’s not their office hours. During classes, you may ask questions as long as there are some things you don’t understand. Professors always clarify them for you. One thing you should know is the syllabus is always the most important for every class. It has all the important information you need and all the important deadlines you need.
Second, life at UCLA is super convenient. Although it’s in summer session, you can also enjoy the fantastic dining service. During normal semesters, UCLA has nine open cafeterias serving food from all over the world. There is also a fantastic gym which is open 24 hours a day during the week. Swimming pools are also available. Housing buildings are also comfortable. There is a study hall in our building, and also a study lounge, on every floor, which is bright and perfect for self study.
Third, U.S. students are welcome and kind. They really helped me a lot during my stay in the United States. Whenever I have questions about classes or exams, they always answer my questions patiently, and give me as many details as possible.
In a word, I’m totally looking forward to going back again!
9/6 Art and Artisan Noodles
8/27 My Week of Contrasts
Last week was kind of a tough week. I had a midterm exam. This was an open note exam -- I never thought we could actually bring notes to a math exam. Although it’s open note, the exam was still hard. It really tests how you understand the course, not only how well you can make calculations. I think the main difference between Chinese university courses and U.S. university courses is that in the United States the professor will provide you with everything they have, and when testing you really need to make sure you understand the course, not only how to calculate. One important thing I learned here is that American students also work really hard. And they don’t work hard for an exam or for their parents -- they just work hard from the bottom of their heart. They love what they are doing.
Exploring LA as Shanghainese sophisticate
I explored LA a little bit: Hollywood, Universal Studios, Griffith Observatory and Beverly Hills. They are really beautiful. The good service and hospitality really impress me. My favorite is Universal Studios, where they built a Harry Potter Wizarding Land. I got myself a wand there, drinking the pumpkin juice, eating the jumping chocolate frog. I truly had a great time. Santa Monica is where I visit the most. It’s quite a cute place. Although it’s not as fancy as Shanghai’s shopping malls, the music covering every corner of the street every night and the passion it has makes you feel as though you just couldn’t love it more.
Attending an American birthday party and lunch with a professor
This week, I also got invited to a birthday party for my American roommate. That night was fun, and I got to know how U.S. citizens celebrate their birthday. The most interesting experience I had was with a professor I accidentally met at a Starbucks in Santa Monica. She is going to teach in China, so she needed some help to prepare for her trip. So, I helped to advise her and ease the stress of her confusions and anticipated problems. In order to thank me, she invited to me to UCLA Faculty Center and her house for lunch. UCLA Faculty Center is just so beautiful, quiet and elegant. It’s definitely a pure joy if you can have meals there everyday. Her house is beautiful, and her's is the first American house I have ever visited. Thanks to my roommates’ advice, I brought a carrot cake for the lunch. The Professor was really glad I brought a cake and the cake was also really delicious. I really love my roommates! I hope we can be friends forever.
8/17 My First DAys at UCLA
I arrived in Los Angeles on August 6, and with the help from SAF, I got to school without any difficulty. I was really impressed by how beautiful UCLA is and how passionate and helpful everybody is. Fortunately, I got two American roommates which really helps me get to know more about American life. They are also really hospitable and kind. I’m also invited to one of my roommate's birthday [party] which will be on August 24.
Classes are also cool. As requested, I signed up for two classes. Each class has a syllabus from which we can clearly see what we are learning and what we’ll get by the end of the class. You also have a clear deadline which helps you plan your days at UCLA well. The professors are so kind. They just don’t care about how your English is and whether your answer is correct or not. The only thing they care [about] is if you are fully participating in the class. But of course, during exams, answers matter. And the professors will explain everything clearly and patiently.
Cafeterias are also good. They change the menu every day. The workers there are so kind. And, the words on their shirts are impressive, ”Good food. Good time. Good life.”, which can not be felt in China. But don’t expect too much of American food, Chinese cook the best food.
Dorms are just so comfortable that I felt like I’m living in a five-star hotel. The housekeepers are so hard-working and polite that you just feel like you are home. Now, I just hope 2017 UCLA Summer Session C never ends.
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