University: University of California Berkeley
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: economics
Study type: Summer Sessions
My Summer Session at the University of California Berkeley began on Monday July 6th and ended on Friday August 14th, 2009. It is without exaggeration to say that these six weeks will be remembered as one of the most interesting and enjoyable of my college days will stay. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about University of Portsmouth.
After landing in San Francisco on Friday evening, I was able to move into my accommodation for the next six weeks on Saturday. I stayed in the Residence Halls Unit 2 which is about a five minute walk from campus. Booking and payment were made online, just like the entire application for the summer session at the university and the selection and payment of the desired courses are done online, which makes the enrollment process extremely easy and quick to complete. Regarding the accommodations: As stated online before departure, I was staying with a friend in double occupancy. Considering the price, our room was rather spartan, every hallway had a shared bathroom and washing machines were available. In the Residence Halls themselves, students from all over the world could be found, the number of Americans was limited. Overall, life in the Residence Halls was very varied, with a constant program ranging from free picnics in the park and movie nights to visits to baseball games or amusement parks to sailing trips in the San Francisco Bay. From the outside, the Residence Halls made a rather simple impression, but there was a large courtyard where social life pulsated in the evenings, but generally you should be careful with spontaneous parties in your booth, as some “corridor officers” react a bit stuffy to it.
As a resident of the Residence Hall, you received so-called “Mealpoints” for the university canteen “Crossroads” included in the price, which are enough for about two meals a day during the 6 weeks. There was a more or less rich buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you don’t set your own standards too high and overlook one or the other bad day, then there was something good for every taste, there wasn’t even a lack of fruit and fresh salad. If you like American cuisine and “all you can eat”, the Crossroads is definitely a good address. Otherwise, you could get rid of your meal points in a small cafe right next to the Crossroads or Bistro directly on campus without any problems.
Of course, Berkeley itself also offers numerous pubs, restaurants, bars and fast food stands. A large part of it is concentrated around the beautifully designed Telegraph Avenue, which is in the immediate vicinity of the university and the Residence Halls and also houses the “Blakes” – a mixture of bar and disco – where there is a risk of falling, especially on Thursdays are almost exclusively students. If you like crazy partying American style, you shouldn’t miss the fraternity parties that take place on weekends, relationships with fraternity members or enough beer and female companionship are an advantage. All in all, the party life in Berkeley is definitely worth an experience and a lot of fun, but if you prefer big clubs,
If you like nature, swimming in the lake and wonderful views of San Francisco, you shouldn’t shy away from a walk to the Berkeley Hills, located above the university. For less enthusiastic hikers, a good distance to the idyllically situated bathing lake can also be covered by bus.
As for the university, the park-like campus alone (designed by none other than Frederick Law Olmsted, creator of New York’s Central Park) is more than impressive. In addition to the countless different museums and collections, the library, one of the largest libraries in the country, is worth a visit for its atmosphere alone.
About the courses: The amount of work required for a course varies, of course, but it shouldn’t be underestimated. If you want to experience something of the country and its people during your studies, you should definitely not choose more than two courses. For my part, I only took a course there in economics about international trade and had two and a half hours of lectures three times a week, but had to spend at least the same amount of time for follow-up work (graded problem sets), reading and exam preparation (3 exams in 6 weeks). The professor who taught us was always well prepared, easy to understand and very helpful. In addition, he always made an effort to loosen up the sometimes somewhat dry material through his own experiences. In my case, a conversation with him was particularly worthwhile, because he was happy to support me in the search for literature for my upcoming bachelor thesis. The lecture halls were in line with the high costs of the courses, state-of-the-art and in impeccable condition. The relatively small number of course participants (maximum 40 participants per course) also contributed to the creation of a good working environment.
In addition to the teaching buildings, the sports facilities of the university were also very well equipped. While the Residence Halls already had small fitness rooms, the university’s own Recreation Center on campus, which included a swimming pool and several sports halls, left nothing to be desired.
Finally, I have to mention the great atmosphere among the students, whether it was on campus, in the dormitories or at the numerous liaison parties, everywhere there was the opportunity to get to know nice people from different parts of the world and to get to know one’s horizons in the expand on social skills. This gratifying experience, combined with the memory of being part of the action at one of the most prestigious educational institutions and of course the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking scenery and a beautiful city, make a stay in Berkeley totally worth it and more than compensates for not quite cheap summer study.