University of California Berkeley Review (11)

University of California Berkeley Review (11)

North America

University: University of California Berkeley

City: Berkeley

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: Literary Studies, Linguistics

Study type: Summer Sessions

After a long research on which university I would like to attend a summer session at, I finally decided on UC Berkeley. The application went through quickly and easily thanks to the competent and friendly advice from MicroEdu. Even if there are still opportunities for spontaneous applicants to apply, I would still recommend registering for the courses early on, because that way you still have a free choice. Besides, anticipation is the greatest joy! Don’t think twice, UC Berkeley is a great university!┬áVisit to get information about Semester Abroad In San Diego State University.

I had applied for session D, which lasted six weeks. Most courses are offered during this period, but the offer also varies from subject to subject. Two courses of 3-4 units each keep you busy enough. Some courses also consist of parts, a lecture and a discussion. Even native speakers are challenged and rate the courses as intensive. You should therefore think carefully about the goals you are aiming for with your stay abroad. I had signed up for a Shakespeare course and Academic Writing from the special program for non-native speakers (SELS College Writing).

flight and shuttle

After an 11 hour flight I landed in San Francisco. You should have booked a shuttle to Berkeley in advance, because the university does not offer one. The journey takes about 1 hour and is relatively inexpensive ($36) compared to a taxi. For me, the Supershuttle had the best deal; just keep an eye out for deals online. You will be driven directly to the desired address and will be given help with your luggage.

If you want to live in one of the UC Berkeley dormitories on campus, you should do so as soon as you receive the confirmation of acceptance. The alternative I-House is also very popular and is therefore quickly booked out; it is not recommended to be placed on the waiting list as it is very unlikely to get a place through this. I then settled on a private apartment four blocks south of campus, which I found on Since many students have gone away over the summer, there is a large offer; but the demand is just as great. Since I only came to Berkeley at the beginning of the session, I had only seen the apartment in pictures. It might be more advisable, if possible, to come to an open house appointment beforehand and then make a decision. In general it can be said that the north side of the campus is the quieter and safer side, while the south side is where life is at the pulse. I would advise against apartments on Telegraph Ave, because there are a lot of homeless people here, which spoil the charm of the district a bit. After two weeks I moved to student housing, the Kluegel House, which I highly recommend. Here you can connect with like-minded people, both American and international students. The landlady really cares about the well-being of the residents! If you do decide to hit Shattuck Ave or side streets, for all those night owls, the University offers the BearWalks service, which offers a free escort service home.

First steps on site

On the first day you have to appear as an international for the document check. This is a prerequisite for being able to get a student ID card issued. The best time to go there is first thing in the morning when it opens, as this avoids long queues. The Cal Card is very versatile: you can pay with it, travel for free on the Campanile and even take the F Line to San Francisco for free (travel time about 1 hour). The International Office also offers an Orientation Day, where you can get valuable tips for your stay.


All buildings on campus are within walking distance and can be reached relatively quickly from one course to another. In addition, the clocks tick differently in Berkeley. After Berkeley Time, classes will not start as scheduled, but will start 10 minutes later. On the other hand, they don’t stop earlier. It is also possible to take two courses one after the other.

The campus also offers several libraries. In the Doe Library, in the Reading Room, learning is very pleasant. Whether books, magazines or DVDs, here you will find a very large selection of literature on various specialist and subject areas. You just have to be careful in the libraries that you don’t leave any valuables unattended. Several signs indicate that theft unfortunately also happens on campus.

UC Berkeley students feel a strong connection to their university, which is why it’s hard to find anyone on campus who isn’t wearing some form of the Cal logo or the Cal colors blue and yellow. Attention, risk of infection!


Unfortunately, after the requirements for the Shakespeare course were announced, I was unable to take this course on a grade basis. The professor was extremely understanding and cooperative and let me attend his lecture as an auditor. This gave me the opportunity to add another course: I chose the SELS English through Literature course, which trained the full range of competencies. The paraphrase went smoothly; The only thing to keep in mind is that as a student visa holder you still have enough units. The College Writing Program Office is here to advise you.

In some courses, such as the Academic Writing Course, an assessment was carried out on the first day to classify the students into different proficiency levels. This ensured that the course was progressing well, which I found very enjoyable. It was also very helpful that information about events organized by the English department exclusively for program participants was given here. For example, I was with a group of others at a Giants baseball game in SF, on a hike, film screening, etc. Important information for internationals is summarized in a small guide and offers for excursions are listed. In terms of content, it should also be emphasized that the courses include fieldwork. That means, among other things, you go on excursions together,

The teachers are consistently very motivated and extremely competent. Her goal is to advance you professionally and personally, which you notice again and again.

I would personally advise against the 1 unit courses and those of session E, because the level here was very elementary. In addition, you have enough to do in the last few weeks because of upcoming exams, which is why the 6 hours of course per week take up additional time. You will spend a lot of time doing homework as all assignments are scored and these points count towards the final score.

Food offer

Euclid Ave on the north side of campus is a small street with a variety of restaurants and cafes on either side. A larger range of food is on the south side; there you will find international cuisine and many delicious, unique restaurants and take aways. For dessert, make a beeline to Yogurtland (all flavors of frozen yogurt) and Cream (ice cream sandwiched between two delicious cookies, for just $2!). Shattuck Avenue (Main Street) is also lined with many good restaurants, some of which you should definitely try. The four dining halls are also open to anyone who has not decided on a meal plan. You should have this experience once, because everything is all you can eat, for 13 dollars without a plan.

Sports offer

You can work out all that food at the RSF, one of the college gyms that you can use all summer for only $10. In addition to cardio equipment, the card also offers access to the two swimming pools on campus and to group courses such as Abs & Back, Zumba, Pilates etc. The courses are really a lot of fun! Lockers for the lockers and towels are even provided. You don’t have to lug around soda bottles either, as there are water dispensers everywhere on campus.

Leisure activities

It is extremely worthwhile to see the surroundings and the whole west coast. The landscape is so diverse and simply beautiful! The best way to explore California’s treasures is on a road trip. I went on vacation for a few weeks after my studies, which in my opinion has the advantage over short trips that you are not under time pressure and can concentrate on university projects. Weekend trips to San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Stanford and Lake Tahoe are recommended. However, Berkeley also has a lot to offer for those who want to stay “at home”. No matter how and where: the time will be unforgettable!


I’m very happy that I chose UCB because I learned a lot and felt very comfortable in Berkeley. I’ve made significant progress in English and I can also say that Berkeley has had a positive impact on my thinking and horizons! To put it in a nutshell: an unforgettable summer!

University of California Berkeley Review (11)