To the university and the courses
The entire campus is really very impressive. The libraries are well equipped. Even German-language titles are available in impressive numbers. Depending on the topic, even more than at some universities in German-speaking Europe.
I took a history course and an American Language and Culture course.
The history course was very interesting, especially because I didn’t know too much about the world region. The professor was also very nice, an easygoing guy who made learning fun and understood international students and their needs, as well as the requirements of their home university. As a result, I was able to achieve a modification of the examination performance, which, however, was more demanding and time consuming than the normally required final exam.
The course on “American Language and Culture” has become a course on Asian or Chinese culture. Learning about the Chinese government’s 5 year plan or life under communism can be very interesting. In view of the subject, however, more intensive references to the USA would have been desirable.
In any case, I had actually registered for a course on a different topic than the one I suddenly found myself in on the first day. Apparently the students from two courses had simply been mixed up and one course canceled without informing us beforehand.
In principle, the lecturers were always open to questions and suggestions, had an understanding of individual needs and were really very nice.
Conclusion of the courses: all in all very interesting and useful. Check mcat-test-centers to see more reviews from current students.
To the “Rochdale” accommodation of the “COOP” in Berkeley
In advance, I looked into accommodation options in Berkeley in Germany. Various options – with and without meals – and price ranges are available. I have chosen an accommodation option without meals.
I lived in a “COOP” accommodation for 12 weeks. In the “Rochdale” accommodation. Big plus: Very close to the campus, only 5 minutes on foot.
The accommodation is funded by an organization that provides affordable housing. Especially in summer, when the American students are at home, these accommodations are also suitable for foreign students.
The application process for a room was very easy. I have printed out the form that can be downloaded from the website, filled it out and faxed it over. There is a US $ 50 registration fee, of which US $ 10 will be withheld in any case. Even if you don’t take or get a room in the end. You should tick as many accommodation options (preferably apartments) as possible in order to get a room.
Compared to other housing options, the accommodation was actually inexpensive. This is achieved, among other things, through so-called “workshift hours”. Every student had to do 8 hours in the summer (1 working hour = usually 1.5 workshop hours (landscape maintenance, cleaning, etc.)). I missed two deadlines and had to pay a relatively large amount of “fine” as a result.
Unfortunately, we international students in particular, who have a lot of other things to do for a limited period of time, have not been explicitly pointed out to the fact that up to a certain period of time they could have “bought themselves freely” with USD 12.30 per workshop tour.
The room itself was a single room, which some American students consider a small luxury. There are also rooms that are shared by two, three or even four students!
The “regular” residents of the COOP rooms are students who are not financially well equipped. The property dates from the 1960s or early 1970s. It doesn’t seem that much has changed since then.
Everything is also very noisy. However, if you listen to the music of those who live above, below or next to you, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Seven evenings a week long into the night, and that’s no exaggeration, were noisy conversations on the sidewalk in front of the accommodation. Some music was also played.
All in all loud, day and night. If you come here to really study, you should spend a few euros or dollars more and maybe choose an accommodation option with meals, even if you don’t use it or, I think, best to look for something with a family . Maybe in San Francisco. The website www.homestayfinder.com is ideal for this. Then you get a lot more of the environment and language. With your student ID you can use the F bus from San Francisco to Berkeley free of charge (journey time approx. 1 hour each way). Just like the AC Transit bus system (without guarantee), including in Berkeley and the surrounding area.
Berkeley can also be reached in 20-30 minutes on a rapid transit system from San Francisco.
To the environment
About Berkeley I have to say that the small town, just like the people here, is really very “interesting”. Whereby “unusual” or “special” are perhaps more appropriate. In Berkeley there were and are many things that are considered to be particularly “progressive” here, but in the rest of the country are just eyed with suspicion. The legacy of the hippie era can be felt here. Unfortunately, this also left negative marks.
If you walk down Telegraph Avenue from the “Rochdale” dormitory towards the university, you can easily be asked for change five times during a 5-minute walk. The dormitory itself is not provided with iron grating for nothing.
San Francisco, 20-30 minutes from Berkeley, is truly inviting at any time of the day or night. Most of you probably already know the many positive sides. At least from the glossy brochures. San Francisco is really beautiful and fascinating too. A unique city.
But also the negative sides, which are reported about less, should not be left out. And these are perhaps more important to future travelers. Not all districts of San Francisco or neighboring Oakland look the way tourists from all over the world might imagine. In some parts of the city the conditions are bad compared to Germany, as at least I personally have never seen them in Germany. Some McDonalds in San Francisco – Mission District can be compared with a German social station, especially in the morning.
As sad as it sounds and is, you have to see it all! In general, you learn a lot about your own country when you spend a long time abroad.
Now I really don’t want to spoil your good mood at Berkeley and San Francisco. All in all, it’s really very safe. And after some time of getting used to it, life here is really a lot of fun!
The old saying “travel educates” applies.
Lots of interesting and nice people and one of the most attractive areas this huge and incredibly diverse country has to offer. I was almost always treated politely and courteously throughout my entire presence. The people here are really very open.
Unique experiences and experiences as well as a fascinating and not for nothing outstanding university are guaranteed.
Personally, I would come back for two or three months at any time and I can only advise you to take the chance of a summer session!