University: University of California Berkeley
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Study type: Summer Sessions
In the summer of 2013 I spent almost 4 months in the USA. The main reason for this was attending the summer session at the “University of California – Berkeley”. To prepare for this and to get in the mood for my stay in the USA, I decided to attend a language school in New York and then I traveled around the west coast of the USA for another 4 weeks. First of all, I can say that it was a very formative time for me and enriched me immensely. I have summarized my experiences regarding the Summer Session below. Visit liuxers.com to get information about AUT study abroad program.
Regarding the preparation for the summer session, I was in contact with “MicroEdu” from the beginning. I explained my concerns to them and recommendations were sent to me. MicroEdu (who is responsible for me: Melanie Kucharczyk) is actually mainly responsible for the efficient and good preparation. It was really great support (quick with answers, correct information, attentive,…) and that made my preparation a lot easier.
Once you have decided on a program and an institution, everything actually goes step by step, form by form. Proper initiative is required for the visa and that depends on the length of stay and the reason for your stay. In my case, I applied for a student visa (F1) because my entire stay was planned to be longer than 90 days (tourist visa). For the visa I can only guess, read carefully and strictly follow the instructions.
I booked the flights via online platforms and I can only advise that the sooner the better.
I’ve sometimes chosen UC Berkeley because it’s known for being one of the best public universities in America. As soon as I arrived, I took a long walk around campus. I was immediately captivated by this campus life and very impressed. In a nutshell: “There is simply CAMPUS LIFE there” (students from different disciplines sit together and discuss, students learn in the beautiful park area, groups dance in front of buildings (hip-hop…), practice their sports (e.g. baseball, basketball,…)., hold public events…
I was also very impressed by the libraries and study rooms, you can just feel the high value placed on education.
Basically, I have to say that the learning effort for “only” two courses is very high. In particular, the scheduled “readings” are very, very intense. However, I have to say that a corresponding input is necessary for a good output and that this is the only way for the university to live up to its reputation. The courses aren’t cheap either, and that’s why the professors demand a corresponding commitment so that the output can be correspondingly good.
- Course: “Word and Image”
This course is assigned to the field of interdisciplinary studies and contents such as: metaphors, categorization, art and its effects,… were taught. I was very interested in the content because it sensitized and trained me for the different ways and effects of communication.
- Course: “Mythology (ancient greek)
This course is assigned to the subject of the Classics and the focus was exclusively on ancient Greek mythology. In America this course is offered as an introductory course for college students, so many 17th and 18th year old students have taken this course. It was a whole new experience for me too and I’m glad that I now have a basic knowledge of mythology. It is very interesting when you recognize where the origin of certain cultural developments lies and when you get an insight into the thinking of people at that time.
I was very careless in preparing the accommodation and I didn’t do very much to me. I didn’t book anything in advance and just arrived a few days before the course started, stayed in a hostel and went looking for accommodation. It wasn’t really a problem finding anything. I just went to the “rental office” and asked about it. Finally I ended up off-campus in an apartment (Campanile Court).
I paid $1,600 for 6 weeks and that’s cheap compared to the I-House and a bit more expensive compared to other shared flats. Even if the management of the house was very unfriendly, I was satisfied with the quality of the apartment. I lived in a two-bed apartment with a Saudi colleague and benefited greatly from that.
The range of leisure activities in Berkeley is very diverse, if only because of what is on offer on campus. The sports facilities on campus are particularly great. For as little as $10 a month, you can use whatever sports facilities are available.
San Francisco can also be reached by bus (free for students) in only about 30-40 minutes and is definitely worth a trip for weekend trips. We also took a trip to Yosemite Park and Lake Tahoe, which is perfect for a 3 day road trip.
For going out, there are 2 trendy bars in Berkeley for students, which are frequented by young people (Pappys and Kips). Otherwise, legendary “Fraternity Parties” (home parties) are usually organized by fellow students. Bring drinks and let’s go.
The University of California-Berkeley and the campus community have exceeded my expectations and I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the “campus community”. The experiences with American and international students and the content taught and worked on in the courses have enriched me a lot and I am glad that I made this investment.