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!
It was a busy day at Oxbridge at UCLA, with so many majors and minors embarking on exciting field trips this afternoon. Thanks to our amazing faculty, students have many opportunities to extend their learning beyond the classroom.
The movie business minor, for example, went to the rooftop lounge of a ritzy Beverly Hills hotel to practice pitching their script ideas – it wasn’t too unlike what most writers lucky enough to be pitching can hope to experience!
Meanwhile, psychology students took in the Museum of Tolerance in Century City. The moving exhibits and commentary helped give more dimension to their classroom discussions.
Finally, our acting students had the incredible opportunity to see a live taping of an episode of the hit Disney Channel series “Raven’s Home”! They waited in line outside the studio on Sunset Boulevard until it was time for the audience to be seated, and were happily surprised to learn that it was one of the show’s star’s birthdays! Everyone left with an autographed memento of the day. We’re so excited that our students got to see professional sitcom actors in, well, action!
But we weren’t done yet! After their classes, students met in our lounge to welcome guest speaker Joe Twist, a successful composer with experience scoring films. They loved hearing his unique perspective as an industry professional with a job that holds so much interest for the budding musicians and filmmakers in our program.
Finally, we ended the night with a high-energy karaoke and dance party in our office! So many students ventured out to sing favorites old and new, from The Eagles’ “Hotel California” to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”! We interspersed the music with dance breaks to songs like Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” and They Might Be Giants’ “Istanbul, not Constantinople”. It was exhausting, but in the most fun way imaginable. We were so excited to see our students sharing their talents and enthusiasm!
Our Oxbridge students continue to balance their workload in major and minor classes with amazing extracurricular experiences all over Los Angeles. They spend their morning creating shot lists for short films, learning how to properly wrap injured legs with kinesiology tape, and discussing how the script of The Godfather helps make it such a powerful film. Our faculty are keeping them busy! But in the evenings, we encourage them to explore beyond the classroom.
Tonight, twenty-one students got to attend an LAFC home game! The Los Angeles Football Club took on the Portland Timbers at Banc of California Stadium, and we were there to watch from the moment the game began (despite the best efforts of some freeway traffic!). Even though the LAFC lost in a nail-biter, 1-0, students loved the energy in the stadium, particularly coming from the LA cheering section. We’re so proud of our home team!
Our students who opted against the soccer game were also in for a treat…literally! They walked to Sweet Rose, a hip ice cream spot located just next to UCLA in Westwood. We loved seeing them experience a local favorite.
Today, Oxbridge at UCLA used Los Angeles public transit to work our way five miles down Wilshire Boulevard, all the way to LACMA! LACMA, or the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is the largest art museum in the western United States. It’s especially famous for its Urban Light installation, a series of different-sized lampposts arrayed next to busy Wilshire Boulevard, and Levitated Mass, a massive boulder suspended over a concrete walkway. Students also stayed to explore the La Brea Tar Pits next door, an incredible archaeological site where tar has preserved the skeletons of animals that roamed the area long before humans, including mammoths, sabertooth cats, and dire wolves.
Another group made their way on foot from the museum towards The Grove, an incredible outdoor mall connected to the historic Old Farmers’ Market. A green trolley runs from one end to the other, passing shops from Barnes and Noble to Nike.
It was such a full afternoon, and we hope our students are ready for a busy evening tomorrow, when the Los Angeles Football Club plays the Portland Timbers. We’ll be there cheering them on!
Today was a busy Saturday for the students at Oxbridge at UCLA! Marking the first full week since everyone arrived, most of the program dispersed in the morning to different brunch places around Los Angeles with our staff, seeking some delicious food and the chance to explore the neighborhoods around it.
Our activities directors Mila and Perrin teamed up to take a larger group of students to Mexican restaurant Gracias Madre, an LA mainstay with an incredible menu of vegan delights. After brunch, the group headed down Melrose Boulevard to experience the Los Angeles Glossier store, sampling makeup most people outside Los Angeles only ever browse online, and the famous “pink wall” outside Paul Smith. We even managed to time our visit at the same time as a bride and groom taking photos for their big day!
Meanwhile, our program assistant Arameh took his group to The Henry, an upscale spot near The Grove, an amazing outdoor mall with a trolley running between stores and a choreographed fountain to boot. It was the perfect double-header for the afternoon.
Our program dean Yael took her group to Sweet Chick, a chicken-and-waffle mainstay that offers so much more than even its name or this picture suggests – some of the chicken is even vegetarian! They certainly didn’t arrive back to campus hungry!
Our activities director Camila took a small group to Botanica, a local hotspot specializing in great coffee and seasonal California cuisine. As you can see, they nabbed a table outside in the beautiful sunshine! Finally, our executive coordinator Michael took his group of students to Clementine, an amazing bakery and sandwich spot. They were too busy with their food to snap a picture, but if it was anywhere near as good as they make it sound, that’s an easy one to forgive!
After brunch, many students made their way to Sunset Recreation Center, where they enjoyed the pool and other amenities. A few students even joined our activities director, Perrin, for an hour of Vinyasa yoga! (This blogger couldn’t keep up as well as all everyone else in attendance – well done all!)
Finally, to end the day, several students seized the opportunity to see an outdoor screening of Bring It On! The cheerleading cult classic was screened on the side of the mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, an amazing piece of LA history tucked in behind Paramount Studios. As a special surprise, star Gabrielle Union was there to introduce the film. It was a moment that could only have happened in Los Angeles!
This evening, students and staff made their way to Abbot Kinney Boulevard, one of the trendiest destinations in Southern California. Just minutes from Venice Beach, on the first Friday of every month, this street hosts dozens of food trucks convening from all across the city. From authentic Nashville chicken sandwiches done vegan to artful funnel cakes, from mango sticky rice to more mac and cheese than we could count, there was no shortage of excellent food to choose from.
Students spent their evening sampling the amazing food trucks as well as shopping at the permanent storefronts and restaurants of Abbot Kinney, and just taking in the incredible energy of one of the hottest events in the city. Lively and fun, this really was the place to be.
We’d like to conclude tonight with another acknowledgement of a second sizable earthquake to rock Southern California. Most students did feel the earthquake that hit this evening during our visit to Abbot Kinney, a 6.7-magnitude quake with its epicenter in the same town of Ridgecrest that was affected yesterday. It still hit well over a hundred miles away from where we are, and our students and campus are safe. We’d most like to reassure you that our priority is always the safety of our campers, and that we will absolutely notify you if we are ever concerned that that security may be threatened by these earthquakes or anything else. As it stands, all is well here at UCLA, and we look forward to a weekend of more fun activities in our beautiful city, which has mostly weathered these shocks without a scratch.
Today, for July 4th, we wanted to make sure that our students had a chance to experience a grand celebration of American Independence Day – and what better place to go in Los Angeles than Dodger Stadium?
After their major classes in the morning, students braved three freeways to watch the Dodgers take on their National League West rivals, the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers are having an incredible season, so we went hoping for an exciting game. We weren’t disappointed! The Dodgers came away with a 5-1 win in what was the first baseball game many students had ever seen in person. Perched above right field, students had a wonderful view down to the players on the field, sampled stadium food, and bought lots of LA Dodger merchandise! If that weren’t enough, the game was followed by a beautiful fireworks display set to patriotic American tunes. We may well be tired tomorrow, but it was an unforgettable evening.
We’d like to include a brief postscript for parents who may be concerned: the earthquake that hit Southern California this morning had its epicenter over 150 miles away from our campus. We did feel some shaking down here, but it lasted less than a minute and caused no damage to us or our campus.