I did a language stay at the College of the Desert in the spring semester from March 23rd to May 15th. The program I attended, called the Intensive English Academy, offers an 8-week and / or 16-week course. Note: according to AbbreviationFinder, College of the Desert is often abbreviated as COD.
If you are interested in studying at this college later, you should attend the 16-week course so that you can then take the TOEFL test and the entrance exam for this college.
There are three different levels in this IEA program, into which one is divided on the basis of an aptitude test. The school runs from 8. 15 am to 12. 15 pm and from 1. 15 pm to 2. 45 pm. After school there is usually homework that needs to be done. The school sometimes offers excursions and there are some activities that you can take part in.
There are different lessons such as Reading, Listening, Pronounciation, TOEFL, Grammar. There is a lot to learn in each lesson, but self-discipline is also required.
During this time I lived with a host family. It is certainly also possible to rent an apartment or to live with a colleague, but I think my solution was the cheapest and easiest. Our host mother cooked very well and worked in college, so she could always take us to school and take us home in the evening.
The advantage of a host family is that you can get to know the culture and nature of Americans better and that you can only talk in English and thus learn a lot. Another advantage is that you are very independent, because the host family is strange and nothing is asked of you, so you always have your privacy. I had several student colleagues who moved in with family friends or colleagues, most of them had a lot of trouble because something was usually asked for, such as help or conversation. It’s different with a host family, you pay a certain amount and you don’t owe that person anything else, which I really appreciated. I paid $ 550 a month including food. If you live with a host family who lives far away from school, it is advisable to rent a car or a bike because you lose a lot of time with public transport. It is sometimes even possible to buy a car, because it is usually cheaper than renting one. You have to find out about this early on, but I got to know some colleagues who did it that way.
The weather in Palm Springs is beautiful and usually very warm. In summer it gets hot, between 40 ° -50 ° Celsius. There are many golf courses in Palm Springs and many old, mostly retired people live there. If you want to see something in Palm Springs and the surrounding area, you have to do your own research. There are many things to see in the area, such as Joshua Tree National Park. Otherwise it is worth doing something with the other students. There are numerous international students eager to explore and the funnest things to do with them. We went on numerous day trips. You can rent a car together, always split the prices and it’s usually a lot of fun.
It is definitely worth taking a few more weeks to explore California and the surrounding area. There are so many beautiful places to visit such as; San Francisco -> Highway 1 -> Los Angeles, San Diego, Death Valley, Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Gran Canyon, Bryce Canyon, etc.
There are many more. . . What you definitely have to pay attention to when planning such a trip is that it takes a lot of time, because the distances are huge, mostly they are underestimated.
Of course, what also helped me a lot was getting in touch with MicroEDU. The help, the information and the mail traffic saved me a lot of time. The people who work there have the expertise and know exactly what it takes to have access to an American school without any problems. Accepting this help is highly recommended.
In summary, I can say that it was a great experience and I can recommend it to others at any time. A semester or year abroad is always a very good reference.
And remember, California has a lot to offer. . .