University: University of California Berkeley
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: Summer Sessions
Preparation (application process / visa / Housingorga):
Great support from MicroEdu in the application process, great guide! Portal opened in February 2014 – it is best to register directly as many courses have limited places. If you need an F1 visa (due to the number of credits or the length of your stay), you should apply for it immediately. Embassy appointment (supposedly 2-3 hour interview) only lasted so long because I had to wait forever (first outside – take umbrella and jacket if necessary!! – then inside). The actual conversation was less than 10 minutes. Registration iHouse started in March 2014, but in my opinion it is uncomplicated. Visit jibin123.com to get information about Semester Abroad In University of California Davis.
I had three UGBA (Undergraduate Business Administration) classes at Haas Business School in one session (A). This is basically feasible, but (depending on the type of learner and the professor) it can be really exhausting. For each course, you have to expect to read 1-3 books (completely), hold 1-2 presentations, do several written homework (assignments, approx. one page) and write at least one final exam, usually an additional midterm exam. The overall grade is usually made up of the performances mentioned as well as the oral participation in the course. The Haas School grades according to a relative system (curve), so you pass without any problems if your performance is average for the class. In addition to the course fees, you have to pay additional costs for books (tip here: at amazon. com “rent”, much cheaper!) and course materials (to be ordered online). I had taken courses on Consumer Behavior with Bill Fanning, Topics in Corporate Social Responsibility with Omar Romero-Hernandez, and Negotiation and Conflict Resolution with Cort Worthington.
Overview of my experiences with Bill Fanning / Consumer Behavior:
3 times 2.5 hours per week. Seemed strict at the beginning, but is difficult to deal with. A lot of reading material (a chapter of up to 50 pages per appointment plus various articles), have carried out an interesting market research project with and for “real customers”. In addition, two presentations, two exams each with multiple choice and one free text question (short), an assignment, three guest speakers.
Cort Worthington / Negotiation: 3 times 2.5 hours per week. Really, really great person and great teacher – managers in Germany pay the full course price for a one-day soft skills seminar of this quality. A total of three books to read, but doable. A presentation plus assignment, two exams (multiple choice, true-false, fill-in-blanks and free text), two guest speakers.
Omar Romero-Hernandez / Topics in CSR: 2 x 2.5 hours per week. Prof. has a very strong accent and unfortunately (not only) I often had trouble following, and he also thinks he’s incredibly funny. Otherwise you get to know interesting topics and tools. Only articles and case studies were read, but case studies were plentiful and long! In addition, a total of 5 or 6 assignments had to be processed. There was a final exam (only free text and a lot, related to a case from the course) and a guest speaker.
In this combination, it was feasible for me to take the three courses (a maximum of 2 per session is recommended, but I needed at least 8 credits and could not stay twelve weeks) and still take some or almost all weekends off. The workload for “Human Resource Mgmt.” seemed to me – from the reports of the participants – higher, so that it might have become tight. In terms of content, it was nothing groundbreaking for me personally (I work in marketing and take part in an MBA program alongside my job), but overall I would rate the courses positively and recommend them. Basically, I have to say that the requirements were very high (at first glance), but in my opinion the grading and evaluation was all the less strict.
Urgent recommendation when it comes to housing to orientate yourself privately (cheaper) or to head for one of the large dorms (iHouse or Residence Halls). The rest (Fenwick/…) seemed rather questionable in terms of hygiene! You also get to know more people. I can say the following about the iHouse: The check-in time on the day of arrival actually only starts at the specified time, if you get there earlier you’re unlucky and have to wait. Rooms are only assigned upon arrival, room changes are then only possible to a limited extent. Rooms are also spartan, but clean and perfectly adequate (for a limited time). Bathrooms are shared (the girls have keys to their washrooms), but are reasonably clean. The showers are big enough and have a lockable anteroom, so there is enough privacy. Some of the food isn’t exactly up to par with the Ritz, but if you’re not quite that demanding when it comes to food, you should be able to find something. The brunch on weekends and public holidays (10: 30-13: 00) is highly recommended.
Tip 1: The linen packages (blanket, 2 sheets, pillow, towel) were exorbitantly expensive at $70, and since the things are brand new anyway (and actually need to be washed first), you can also go straight to the airport on the way stop at IKEA and stock up there (literally).
Tip 2: the Cal1 card includes credit for the International Café for iHouse residents. Depending on the length of stay, this ranges from $54 to over $100. We found that out by accident… The card also entitles you to free bus travel as far away as San Francisco (and within San Francisco).
Everything possible!! San Francisco (!!!), Sonoma, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, LA, Las Vegas, Hawaii,… whatever the travel guide says. The Bay Area alone is amazing. Tip here: Rent bikes in SF and ride over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, eat at Napa Valley Burger and then take the ferry back!