Dear exchange enthusiasts,
Above all, I would like to expressly confirm your desire to go abroad. This is the fourth time I’ve done it and I’m slowly getting addicted. Every time a sea of new experiences, impressions and acquaintances opens up and I feed on these experiences for years afterwards. By the way, of course, it also looks very good on your résumé
But first let me say a few words about my assessment.
Although I was very happy with the University of California Berkeley itself, I only gave it 4 out of 5 stars. The reason is the incompetence of my consultant in the summer session office on site (her incorrect information cost me a full course fee, and two friends and I were each wrongly charged for fees). Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about Norway higher education.
The campus, however, is very spacious and beautiful and you always feel like you’re in an American film. As far as I can tell, the buildings were well equipped, in good shape and, in some cases, structurally very attractive.
The course content section has also received a point deduction from me. I loved the Introduction to Modern Art course and found the content to be very relevant. However, the language course was very difficult for me and the Crime and Criminal Justice course was simply unsuitable for me because the perspective was purely legal (and not sociological / psychological as expected).
The courses are actually very good and most of the lecturers are extremely competent, but the choice of course is well thought out. In particular, I advise you not to take more than two courses, most of us have been busy with that. After all, it cannot be denied that you invest a lot of time in social activities and travel during a semester abroad. And that’s okay too.
That brings me to the next point, leisure activities. It was really diverse in Berkeley ! Free concerts were offered in Sterngrove Park on Sundays, as a UC Berkeley student you could spend free in the university’s fitness center, international dinners or a kite festival rounded off the weekends and every first Friday in summer there was a street party in the neighboring town of Oakland with musical and artistic performances as well as many food trucks.
My personal favorite addresses in San Francisco (you can probably guess that you could spend weeks exploring SF and the surrounding area) were Baker Beach (the beach with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge), Coit Tower (a fire hose replica tower on Telegraph Hill with a stunning 360 ° panoramic view of the city) as well as the bar The View on the 39th floor of the Mariott Hotel (cocktails as expected expensive, but the night view of the skyscrapers from their center makes up for it). For all Instagrammer interested in photography, I recommend a detour to the Museum of Ice Cream. At no other address in San Francisco you can eat ice cream to your heart’s content, bathe in a “sprinkle pool” and take a lot of brightly colored photos that are guaranteed to inspire everyone.
Yes, it is actually for children. No, it doesn’t matter at all.
If you also decide, like me, to live in the International House, the campus-wide known and popular international dormitory with noteworthy good cuisine, then there is also an exciting framework for you: Excursions to the national parks, karaoke evenings, discounted tickets for the next baseball game or a boat tour to the former prison island of Alcatraz will hardly leave you time for boredom. In general, of course: approach this experience and the people you meet as openly as possible and show a little charm and initiative every now and then, then nothing can go wrong.
Of course, the whole thing will cost you a bit. I received two scholarships from my university that covered part of my travel and living expenses, and there was still a lot left over. In view of the uniqueness of the thing and the wealth of experience, it is worth it. An investment in yourself
Finally, a few general tips. I personally recommend that you get a foreign health insurance for the duration of the program that covers ALL costs. So without a deductible. The reason is that a “simple” hospital stay for a broken leg in America can quickly cost you five-digit dollars or more. Just secure yourself. I called my insurance company a week before my trip (I have private insurance) and explained the situation. I was then presented with several offers, from which I chose the right one. This temporary addition to the insurance was completed in one day via email, so it is also an option for spontaneous travelers.
As for packing: don’t underestimate the climate! It was both much warmer than expected and much colder in the Bay Area in July / August. In both cases I had to go shopping again and in the end I couldn’t get everything in my suitcase. To the delight of those to whom I then gave my things away
And one last note: Overcoming jet lag will take you longer (much longer) than you think. But it’s the same for all international Summer Session participants, so you’re in the same boat. In any case, Berkeley says that you can meet a maximum of two of the three most important aspects: enough sleep, good grades and a healthy social life. That is probably true, but not an aspect that should put you off. On the contrary! It is proof that an intense and exciting time awaits you that will be remembered for a long time. And some of the new friends remain part of your life
The rest of the persuasion should be done by my attached photos!