University: University of California Berkeley
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Linguistics and cultural studies
Study type: Summer Sessions
On May 25th, 2008 the time had come: My boyfriend and I flew from Berlin to San Francisco to spend half a year here. My friend works for his German company and because I didn’t want to sit here alone all the time, I decided to do the Summer Sessions at UC Berkeley. Since I finished my speech training studies in Germany a year ago, I wanted to study something similar here to refresh my knowledge and learn something new. That’s when I came across “Speech and Vocal Communication Skills”. That sounded interesting! Applying was very easy with the help of MicroEdu.com. The employees helped you with every step – at this point a big thank you again! Visit jibin123.com to get information about Semester Abroad In California State University Northridge.
Nevertheless, I was a bit afraid that I might have problems with the language. I went to the first lesson with mixed feelings. We were a very small group of 18 people. The lessons took place three times a week for two hours on a dark stage in the basement (unfortunately that’s often the case with art courses). Luckily I didn’t have any problems understanding my teacher Deborah Sussel. That was probably also because she spoke very clearly. Each lesson began with a warm-up for the voice and organs of articulation. In the first four weeks we then worked out an additional speech, which we repeated several times in front of the class. We were free to choose what we wanted to talk about. In the last four weeks we were allowed to choose a monologue, which we also performed several times (which was very tiring at times). I have chosen a text by Kurt Tucholsky in English translation. In between, Deborah taught us phonetic transcription and we wrote a test about it. Since I had already learned all this, it was not a real challenge for me. But that was clear to me from the start. But I can take a few exercises with me and integrate them into my lessons. Linguistically, I learned a lot from this course, as Deborah corrected all the pronunciation errors that could be heard during the presentations. I can recommend the course to everyone who often has to give lectures and wants to improve, but also to people who struggle with stage fright. If you want to improve your voice quality and articulation, approaches will be presented in class. However, eight weeks may not deliver great changes.
Since I lived in San Francisco and not at the university in Berkeley, I can unfortunately not write much about campus life in general. In any case, there are plenty of shops (partly alternative) and international restaurants (many Indian and Chinese restaurants) in Berkeley. It certainly won’t be boring. Still, I was glad to have lived in San Francisco. Our apartment was near Union Square, so it was very central, so I was right in the city on the days when I wasn’t at university. I took the train (BART) to Berkeley for about 25 minutes. And I have learned to appreciate our German S-Bahn. The BART is partly carpeted here and it sometimes looks and smells very filthy. But for the short time that was ok.
And now for a few more travel tips:
We usually borrowed a car on the weekends. Driving on Highway 1 in the direction of Santa Cruz and stopping at one of the numerous beaches is great. However, you can’t swim – the water is very cold! Carmel by the sea (an artist village) is also great. When in San Francisco, don’t miss Fishermen’s Wharf (the harbour). However, Pier 39 is more of a tourist trap. It is better to walk in the direction of the Marina District. There’s always something going on at Union Square. Smaller concerts, art exhibitions or the like take place there several times a week. For the ultimate flower power flair head to Haight and Ashbury. There you can buy everything from colorful wigs and sunglasses to unusual shoes and numerous CDs. Afterwards you can relax in Golden Gate Park and someone is guaranteed to be drumming or dancing. Anyone who thinks: “Actually, I would rather be in China now.” – no problem: There is China Town here, which stretches over several blocks. And you really think you’re in China. There are all the ingredients for Chinese food and lots of kitsch (e.g. umbrellas, pillowcases and fortune cookies). If you want to drink a delicious cappuccino or eat a good pizza, you should do so in the North Beach district. There are many Italian restaurants, cafes and bars. You can also shop very well – for example in the Westfield shopping center or in Macy’s. If you don’t want to spend so much money, the best thing to do is to go to one of the many outlet malls. Gilroy, for example, is recommended. There are numerous shops
The nightlife also has a lot to offer. There are many bars and discos, but most of them are not open as long as in Germany (but then at least you still have something for the next day).
Unfortunately, I’m only in San Francisco for two more weeks and I’m going to miss the city very much.