University: University of California Berkeley
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: commercial law
Study type: Summer Sessions
It had been clear for a long time that I wanted to spend some time abroad before I finished my studies. Since I was doing an internship up to and including February, most of the “usual” semesters abroad (due to the start in Jan./Feb.) were dropped. When I was looking for alternatives, I came across the Summer Sessions. Because of the ratings and the good reputation of the University of California, Berkeley, I decided to go there – and I have no regrets! I can describe the time there as the best of my life. A unique, incredibly beautiful experience. I got to know people from all over the world, made friends, seen many beautiful places and broadened my horizons immensely. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about Xian Jiaotong Liverpool University.
UNIVERSITY & COURSES
At my home university, I’m studying business law for a master’s degree. In Berkeley, I also took some business courses. I stayed for both sessions (A+D) and took two courses each. I definitely wouldn’t advise anyone more! I didn’t expect the courses to be so labor intensive that I often even had to work weekends. This also depends very much on the choice of courses. Compared to Germany, you don’t just sit in the lecture, listen to something and leave. The grade also hangs not only from the final exam. The grade usually consists of participation in the discussions, the midterm and final exam, group work and presentations as well as various elaborations. Therefore, one is kept busy throughout the sessions. In retrospect, however, I am convinced that this is a much more effective way to learn more. Furthermore, I found it very good that there was usually a much stronger connection to practice and that specific companies were often used for clarification and analysis.
In the first session I have Managing Human Resources (Prof. Fellows) and Topics in Corporate Social Responsibility(Prof. Romero-Hernandez). The former was very interesting in terms of the topics, but the professor has extremely high requirements and involves a lot of work. Despite the great amount of work, the grades given were not satisfactory for most of them, which is not very motivating when you put so much into it. Statements like “I want to challenge you” and “I want to get you out of your comfort zone” were the order of the day. The second was a little more relaxed. The professor was very nice and presented the content well. However, you should be well informed about the topic beforehand. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it that exciting, but I was able to take something away with me. Everyone’s grades were better here, too.
In the second session I took Leading People (Prof. Brady) and Introduction to International Business (Prof. Himelstein). All I can say about the Leading People course is that it was absolutely the best and most interesting course of my entire degree. The professor managed to convey the content with a lot of fun and was very committed and often invited guest speakers and explained the content using short films or similar. Since the course was very small (about 30 people), regular group discussions on these were possible and very interesting. To hit the nail on the head: I can recommend this course to everyone without reservation!
International business was less exciting. The professor often simply lectured and regularly made it clear that America is the absolute best and the EU is good for nothing. The content was interesting, but you had to make an effort to listen;-) On the other hand, it was easy to get very good grades with a relatively small amount of work.
It remains to be said that the necessary books are often very expensive. Sometimes you can find these as a PDF on the Internet and you can print them cheaper than buying them. Furthermore, there are sometimes used books in the bookstores on campus and these stores also take the books back in payment.
The campus is very beautiful. Definitely check out the libraries and the stadium and see the area from the campanile (tower on campus). The gyms are absolutely great. There is everything you can think of there. Membership is only $10 for the entire summer and even includes use of the pools.
I lived in the International House. I have not regretted this decision. From the beginning I got to know many people from all over the world and quickly made nice friends. From partying in the gaming room and on site, relaxing by the campus pool, weekend getaways and day trips to San Francisco, etc., to dining together in the dining hall, you always had a lot of people around. I stayed in a double room and was incredibly lucky. We had twin beds, a larger room than most, and being on the 7th floor had an amazing view of the entire Bay Area. If the weather was good, you could even see the Golden Gate Bridge. My roommate was from France and was very nice. We got along well, so sharing the room was quite comfortable. The bathrooms, at least on my floor, were mostly clean and the showers have stalls in front of them so you could change your clothes without being disturbed. All in all the food was very good. A lot of things got repeated after a while, but the taste was ok. We were just unlucky as the Dining Hall was being renovated this summer and as a result there was quite a bit of chaos in the meantime and a lot was improvised. The weekend brunch is highly recommended and should not be missed.;-)
Furthermore, there was actually everything you needed. Washing machines, dryers, the Ihouse Cafe and small store for essentials etc. You have 60 meals per session and €40 to spend in the cafe. The short distance to the business campus was also great – less than 5 minutes on foot. As a tip: take bed linen and covers with you or buy them locally from Ikea, as renting them in the IHouse is very expensive. A downside is that few Americans live there. In hindsight, I would have liked to have lived in an American flat share for another month or two to get in touch with Americans more.
What you should definitely do are trips to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park. Incredibly beautiful nature and lots of fun guaranteed. We rented houses for a weekend with a large group, which can be done easily and cheaply via Airbnb. With your student ID you can also take the F bus to San Francisco for free. Of course you should do the typical things there, like the bike tour over the Golden Gate, to Lombard Street, ride the cable car, to Union Square, eat in the Cheesecake Factory… If you are a bit braver, you can also go skydiving in nearby Hollister for $99, a great experience with a guaranteed thrill;)
After my time in Berkeley, I traveled for another 3 weeks, which I can only recommend to everyone. We started in San Francisco and drove down the west coast. Via Route 1, stops in Monterey, Santa Barbara, LA to San Diego. From there we went through all national parks like Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon and finally to Las Vegas, from where we went back to Germany. My favorite is Zion National Park, incredibly beautiful, well worth the hike across the park, especially to Angels Landing for an incredible view.
… I can only advise everyone to embark on the adventure abroad and warmly recommend Berkeley for this. At this point I would also like to thank the MicroEdu team, especially Tanja. Without their help, it would have been very difficult to navigate through the jungle of application steps and applying for a visa, etc. She was always a great support, THANK YOU!