With only two days left in our program, so many things are drawing to a close here at Oxbridge at UCLA. We only have one full day of classes remaining and today was our last full afternoon of trips around Los Angeles, so the end of our month together feels very near indeed. Our acting majors gave their wonderful teachers, LJ and Amanda, miniature Oscar statuettes to celebrate their last day all together. It’s such a sweet example of the strong relationship between all our students and faculty at this point in the program.
After class in the morning, we split into two groups to visit two of Los Angeles’ hippest shopping areas: Silverlake and Melrose! Both feature so many coffee shops, vintage clothing stores, brand name merchandise, and delicious food.
It was our second trip to Melrose, but we went back due to overwhelming popular demand! Our students especially loved the Glossier store, Urban Outfitters, Golf, and another round of food at Sweet Chick.
Our Silverlake group visited a farmers’ market and thrift stores, and had a delicious lunch of Thai food at Night+Market Soong.
This evening, our students are continuing to write each other’s farewell notes.
The kids met with the majored minor classes for the last full class period yesterday. Though the goodbyes are going to be sad, we had very successful and fun presentations from each class!
During the day, the acting major went on a field trip to the Warner Brothers production company. They got to see the Ellen set, sit on the Central Perk couch from Friends, sit in the living from the The Big Bang Theory, see the real costumes from Aquaman and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and even more! They got to learn all of the history of Warner Brothers and some insider secrets too; and even filmed their own Harry Potter scenes on broomsticks in front of a green screen!
We then got to see what all of the students have been up to all month when they presented final projects to everybody.
After great day of presentations, many of the kids went out to dinner in their formal-wear and we ended with a casino night and dance party where the kids all got very invested in their poker game with one of our deans, Josh, dealing.
Today the movie business class got to visit Oprah Winfrey’s studio Harpo and experience a real film studio! They even got shirts as a “party favor”!
Meanwhile, the acting class went to a self taping studio to learn about how to do it themselves– a vital skill for an actor!
Due to many requests from the kids, we brought them to the Westfield Century City mall, via public bus. They all had a blast going to the wide variety of stores the mall has to offer and made some great purchases– including souvenirs for friends and family!
Our day concluded with “36 Questions to get to Know Each Other” –though the kids could not have bonded more during this month, why not learn even more about each other!
Today, we wanted to make the very most out of our last Sunday together. It’s hard to believe that we’ve already had three weeks with our amazing students, and it’s bittersweet that we’ve got just one more week to say goodbye.
This morning, 18 students braved a 7:15 am departure time to hike from just below the Hollywood Sign, to above the sign, and all the way to the Griffith Observatory. In total, it was about 5.5 miles- and wow, was it hilly sometimes! But everyone made excellent time, and we arrived at the beautiful Observatory tired but proud.
After the morning hike, almost our entire program went to Venice Beach! We had been to the area before when we went to First Fridays at Abbot Kinney, but this time, we were there during the day, and had access to the beach as well.
The food on and around Venice Beach is one of the best parts of the area – students dispersed to so many restaurants and enjoyed coffee shops, plant-based meals, and more.
Check out these students’ cool new purchases from some of Abbot Kinney’s beachfront shops!
In our assembly tonight, our students got to sign up for the next week’s activities for the very last time. As time winds down, they’re already writing each other farewell notes and putting in work on their final class projects. We know we’ll miss them already!
Thank you all for bearing with us during our brief hiatus from the blog – all our students, staff, and faculty at Oxbridge at UCLA have had a jam-packed end to our third full week here in Los Angeles, and we’re just starting to catch our breath!
Following the students’ major classes on Thursday, we piled onto a bus bound for just about the most unapologetically fun spot in Los Angeles: Universal Studios Hollywood! It’s an iconic piece of living movie history, and the star of it all is a tour of the studio’s back lot. We saw the original shark from Jaws (his name is Bruce) jump out of the lake on Amity Island, a massive plane crash set from Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, a realistic simulation of a flash flood in an old Mexican town, and so much more. Our students were also among the first to experience the newly reopened Jurassic World ride, as well as other attractions like Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade Village and a convincing replica of the Simpson family’s Springfield. We were at the park for eight glorious hours. The mood on the bus on the way home was electric – we were so lucky to have had a day there.
Check out the beautiful views of the city from the hill Universal Studios sits atop! And see below for two highlights from the Studio Tour – the New York City street sets on the back lot, and Bruce the shark jumping out at the tram.
On Friday, we had a slightly calmer schedule to account for the students’ busy workdays in their major and minor classes. In the evening, our students split into groups to explore The Broad, a new contemporary art museum located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, or to see an improv comedy show right here in Westwood!
Saturday was possibly our busiest day yet, with a full schedule starting after the students’ morning major classes. We left Westwood and headed straight for Hollywood Boulevard, home to Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the El Capitan, Madame Tussaud’s, Ripley’s Believe it or Not – and, of course, the Walk of Fame. When you think of Hollywood, those stars are perhaps the first imagery to come to mind after the Hollywood sign itself, and for good reason. They’re an iconic part of the city, honoring everyone from Aretha Franklin and Marilyn Monroe to Jeff Goldblum and Motley Crue.
Our filmmaking students were plenty busy Saturday morning as well, with a visit to Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank. They took the studio tour of the lot, where they saw lots of movie magic – including this massive spider from the Harry Potter films!
Even after the Walk of Fame, though, we weren’t quite done with Hollywood! Later that evening, the whole program took our seats in the iconic Hollywood Bowl to see a wonderful new show led by our favorite Australian songman – “Hugh Jackman – The Man. The Music. The Show.” Singing for his full audience of 17,000 people in LA’s premier outdoor summer concert spot, Jackman brought so much energy and excitement to the stage with his Broadway chops.
Later tonight, we’ll bring you many more pictures and stories from our two group trips today. Thank you for reading along, and we hope you’ve enjoyed these updates!
Today was a busy day in academics for our hardworking students, especially as they begin to piece together their final projects. For example, our seventh floor lounge, which serves as the filmmakers’ classroom during the day, was transformed into a hospital set for a scene in a student-produced short film. Several major and minor classes also took advantage of Los Angeles’ unique resources to plan exciting field trips. This afternoon, the movie and TV business minors visited Lionsgate Studios for a personal meeting with two Lionsgate executives, who discussed their roles at the company and offered valuable advice based on their personal experiences of working in the film industry.
Meanwhile, communications minors visited the offices of Dublab, an LA-based nonprofit online radio station. They got to look in on the business side of producing radio content, as well as checking out a live recording happening in their studios this afternoon.
In the evening, we split our students into smaller groups to visit two of Los Angeles’ most exciting dessert spots: Sweet Rose, a creamery in Santa Monica, and Mateo’s, an ice cream and paleta specialty store in Culver City.
We can’t believe we’re already halfway through our third week together, and it’s even more unbelievable to think of how much both work and play we still have in store.
Today, many of our students able to join us after their morning major classes for a trip to Exposition Park, a huge complex in Downtown Los Angeles that houses the Natural History Museum, California ScienCenter, the Rose Garden, and more. It just so happens that the University of Southern California is right next door, too! It was amazing to have a tour of UCLA’s across-town rivals, if only to get a sense of how different the two campuses are despite their shared home base.
Many of our wonderful Oxbridge students opted to explore the California ScienCenter before our tour of USC, including the amazing gardens behind it. They ate in the food court, checked out the new exhibit on human-canine relationships, and stopped to smell the roses- literally!
Another group took off for a visit to the Englekirk Engineering firm, based near Exposition Park in Downtown. These students got an inside, in-depth look at the workings of an engineering company, from the big-picture concepts to the day-to-day logistics of running a firm in real time.
Then, we were all off to USC for a tour of their sprawling campus. The sun was certainly present, but the tour was worth the heat – it was a beautiful day to explore all that the prestigious university has to offer.
We ended the day with a panel on the college experience, led by our very own Oxbridge at UCLA staff! From current students, to recent graduates, to current high school teachers, we offered a wide breadth of experiences from which to offer our own perspectives on everything from admissions to student life.
We have a busy week still ahead, and are so excited for what’s in store.
The psych major got to go on an eery field trip today– The Museum of Death! They learned plenty of crazy stories and had fun doing it!
After the major and minor classes, all of the students gathered to listen to our guest speaker Javed Siddiqi, a neurosurgeon who also dabbles in photography! They got a peek at his photography book and learned the ins and outs of brain surgery.
In the evening the kids had the chance to showcase their skills to their peers in our talent show. We had many “contortionists” and musical acts, and even some of the staff joined in on the fun (yoga moves from activities director Perren and opera from our program director Peter)! Some other talents included reciting the preamble of the constitution and an inspirational speech.
Yesterday was an incredibly full but enjoyable day for our entire program. All our students and many staff members took advantage of the beautiful summer Sunday weather to visit the Getty Villa, Malibu, and Zuma Beach. Our first stop was the Getty Villa, former home of mega-rich oil tycoon J. Paul Getty – yes, that’s the same Getty of the Getty Center, which we visited Saturday! Built in the style of a Greco-Roman villa, the house now features a collection of statues and other antiquities, plus gorgeous Mediterranean-inspired gardens.
After the Getty Villa and a quick lunch in Malibu, we headed down the Pacific Coast Highway to Zuma Beach. We had so much fun playing in the strong waves and on the sand, and no one seems too sunburnt!
After our busy day, it was good to reconnect for our weekly assembly, where students had the chance to sign up for next week’s activities. The resulting scramble was hilariously chaotic, but rest assured that everyone will have the chance to explore more of Los Angeles next week!
Today our students got to visit one of UCLA’s most impressive next-door neighbors: the Getty Center! Our week of exploring Los Angeles’ array of art museums would’ve been incomplete without a trip to the Getty Center, located just across the 405 freeway from our campus. Perched high on a hill that museum visitors use a tram to access, the Getty offers stunning views of the city and impeccable gardens in addition to its permanent and rotating art collections. Students took in mega-famous paintings like Vincent Van Gogh’s “Irises” and religious art, including a new exhibit on medieval bestiary.
After the Getty Center trip, our students beat the heat with a trip to the UCLA Sunset Recreation Center – lots of water sports, resting in the shallow end, and, of course, beach volleyball!
It was certainly a warm day, but nothing a nice pool and a little air conditioning couldn’t fix. Many students also ended their day with board games in our office and Disney movies in the lounge. Tomorrow, we’ll see more of the Getty collection at another amazing LA treasure, the Getty Villa. We’ll keep you posted!