Academic Connections: The International Learning Destination

July 23, 2008
Sydney Bessler

Academic Connections Itself

Since 2001, UCSD’s Academic Connections (AC) program has been offering a pre-college experience to high school students from grades 10-12 with a minimum G.P.A of 3.3. This year the program consists of 300 students, five of whom have come from another country.

Why Here?

Nearly all of the international students believe that they can get better schooling in the U.S. The international students in AC this year also say that California is one of the best places to get an education in the states. San Diego is especially appealing because is right next to the beach and has great weather. To these students, this is the epitome of the California way of life.

Theater for Different Reasons

Two very different people from different parts of the world have come to UCSD to take the theater course offered through AC. Deniz Senyuz,16, from Istanbul, Turkey enrolled in the theater class to learn about costume design. Moritz Tonn, 18, from Hamburg, Germany decided to take the course to learn how to direct films.

Turkish Passion for Fashion

At the beginning of the AC program, Deniz wanted to learn how to create her own fashion company as a future career. The class gave her a new perspective on an alternate way to sharpen her design skills.

She first was inspired when she saw a fashion show in Istanbul. From her experience there she wanted to be a model, but Deniz knew that as a model she wouldn’t be apart of the design process. Deniz wanted to express herself through the clothes she would design as a fashion designer.

During the class, Deniz was surprised how easy the course was and how her teachers weaved fun and learning together. A few nights out of the week, Deniz would get assigned a passage to read before class the next day. Although she thought some of the passages were lengthy, she liked reading them because she would always learn something new. “This class is so fun. I think it is the best class here!”, says Deniz.

Nearing the end of the three-week program, Deniz has learned a lot about design as a whole. Initially, she was only interested in costume design so she could use it in her fashion career, but now she knows how to design costumes, sets, and apparel for her future fashion line. Deniz says that because of her experience here in the AC program, she is now considering coming to UCSD for college.

Future German Speilberg

Moritz is a student from Germany who plans to become a world famous director. “I am allowed to visualize my own opinion with direction in film. I express myself with all types of film. I don’t have any idols because that is copying someone else, that is not being yourself,” says independent spirit Moritz. Although he tries not to idolize others, Moritz admires Ron Howard for his direction in the award winning film “A Beautiful Mind”.

His expectation of the theater course was to learn the basics of film direction. In the beginning of the program, he was frustrated because he felt like the teachers were focusing too much on trying to make the class fun. “I didn’t come all the way from Germany to play hide and seek,” says Moritz.

His frustration went away when he started to focus more and learn about all the aspects of theater. Moritz didn’t learn a lot about directing like he wanted, but he did learn all the necessary information about the background of theater. He enjoyed learning about set design the most because he found it to be the most helpful subject for his future directing career.

Moritz enjoyed this learning experience in California and got to know the UCSD campus very well. Moritz wants to go to college in Germany but wants to come back to California to direct the majority of his films.

AC the Career Builder

Moritz and Deniz both left AC with more knowledge on how to build their future careers.

Deniz has left with great memories, new friends, and most importantly the design expertise she needs to create her fashion empire. Along with his new group of friends, Mortiz now understands how a whole theater production is put together and can later translate this new found knowledge into an Academy Award winning film.

Academic Connections is popular with international students because it offers the pre-college experience with the California appeal. With their growing international population, AC is aiding in UCSD’s reputation as an internationally diverse university.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License