Study Abroad at UCLA: Explore from Campus to Coastline

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Study abroad at UCLA is certainly an academic adventure, but Los Angeles offers so much more opportunity than ‘just’ some of the finest education in the country. A UCLA study abroad program is an exciting journey to embark on as an international student—you’re stepping into a whole new world. But if you have a taste for the finer things in life and a wallet to back it up, a truly lavish lifestyle could be your everyday reality at UCLA. 

Imagine swapping university stories over Michelin-starred meals, turning study breaks into shopping trips on Rodeo Drive, and upgrading your weekend into a luxurious escape with wine tasting, a five-star stay, and spa sessions at the Ritz-Carlton. 

Michelin-star magic

First up, food. We’re talking the crème de la crème of dining experiences far beyond your UCLA abroad meal plan. Los Angeles’ Michelin-star restaurants are a playground for the palate. Picture this: One night, you’re sharing a plate of perfectly seared scallops, the next, you’re experimenting with an exquisite fusion dish. These aren’t just meals; they’re multisensory journeys that open your mind as much as your UCLA education abroad.

For Bib Gourmand pizza, Pizzana is an outstanding taste of Italy just 15 minutes by bike from class at UCLA. This is lunch at the next level.

Also 15 minutes by bike (or 10 minutes by car or, for fun, the Line 2 bus) is Beverly Hills, where Italian Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura, sushi heaven Nozawa Bar, and Maude contemporary Californian cuisine compete to win your heart with their Michelin-star fabulousness. The question is which do you take your parents to when they visit?!

Rodeo Drive retail therapy

Rodeo Drive means fashion. Here, shopping is an elite sport. On one of the most expensive streets in the world, luxury is in the air (and on the price tags), and walking out of a store with a brand-new designer bag feels like winning a gold medal. 

Between classes, you can meander the iconic two-mile street on the Golden Triangle, pop into art galleries, enjoy a gelato, peruse Vera Wang, Maison Goyard, Patek Phillipe for retail therapy at its finest. Head into any of the designer flagship stores to pick up something that will turn heads back on campus.

Vino ventures

California’s vineyards are legendary, and there are many just a short drive from UCLA. Of course, they beckon you in for their wine and wine tastings, but they’re also wonderful places to visit with a picnic. Many run yoga sessions, nature tours, even movie and karaoke nights too. 

Each vineyard has its own story and a unique blend of grapes to try, provided you’re older than 21. You can learn how to taste wine, get an understanding of what wine pairs well with which foods, and pick up some tips that will impress at business dinners throughout your career.

Vineyards are picturesque escapes from your textbooks, with the rolling hills as your backdrop, and wonderful places to share with new friends on your UCLA abroad program. Malibu Wines is a 30-minute drive from campus, but it feels like a world away in the San Fernando Valley. This stunning vineyard has food trucks Friday to Sunday and a silent disco every Friday and Saturday evening. 

Mountain-top Cielo Farms has some serious summer Tuscan vibes and stunning views of Malibu Hills, with ancient olive trees, mature oaks, and line after line of vines. You can hang out in The Barn tasting room for the day or join a wine-tasting experience. And if you’re not ready for wine, try a Serenity SoundBath or Breathwork retreat surrounded by vines. 

Study abroad spa days at the Ritz

Can you study abroad at UCLA without visiting the spa at the Ritz-Carlton at least once? This is one of the world’s top 20 universities—UCLA study is intense. You deserve a break, a slice of heaven to melt away the pressures of student life. A day here and you’ll forget all about your deadlines, emerging refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on whatever comes next with a serene smile. The Ritz-Carlton is in Downtown LA, so 30 minutes by car.

For more local pampering, Float Lab Westwood is a stunning experience in zero gravity, floating in splendid isolation to free your mind of all its stresses.

With a rooftop pool and every spa treatment you could dream of, The Peninsula Spa in Beverly Hills is a glorious retreat—and a great suggestion for a birthday gift if your family back home is feeling generous.

Life at UCLA for the well-heeled international student is an adventure in luxury, a blend of academic rigor and opulent leisure. This isn’t just studying abroad; it’s living your best life, seizing every opportunity, and living life one lavish moment at a time.