University: University of California Berkeley
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
It was clear to me from the start that it should go to English-speaking countries. I was particularly attracted to the USA. At the same time, I didn’t want to go to any “field and meadow” university, but rather, if possible, to a world-renowned institute. That’s how I quickly came across the UC Berkeley Extension through MicroEdu. Of the programs on offer, the IDP Entrepreneurship appealed to me the most. I then got in touch with MicroEdu and received excellent advice on all my questions and support in the application process. Since I started early enough, I was able to go through the entire application process ( TOEFL, proof of finances, letter of motivation, etc.) relatively stress-free. After a few weeks I finally got a confirmation and took care of the visa, flights and accommodation. Visit jibin123.com to get information about Semester Abroad In California State University Long Beach.
I stayed at the I-House during my time in Berkeley and I highly recommend it. The cost of $7500 per semester for a double room and shared bathroom facilities is not exactly cheap, but in general you will hardly find an apartment in Berkeley for less than $1000 per month, and the I-House also includes 3 meals, for which you can check the local prices otherwise you would surely pay $500.
The location to the extension building is not the best as it is about a 25 minute walk away. But now to the positive part: With around 600 students from all over the world, you can make friends very quickly, many joint activities are offered by the I-House and private events and trips are also organized from time to time. In addition, I was able to book my room from Germany and therefore no longer had to go through the stress of looking for an apartment on site. Since the I-House is very popular, you should apply for it as early as possible.
The University: UC Berkeley Extension
You have to make a clear distinction between the extension and the “normal” UC Berkeley. The courses are not the same as for the regular students, the building is off campus and the level of the students and teachers is also visibly lower. World-leading professors and Nobel Prize winners, as in the other departments of UC Berkeley, are not to be found at the Extension. In addition, you pay more for the gym, you do not get a free bus ticket and you cannot benefit from many other discounts for Cal students.
On the other hand, the admission criteria for the extension are considerably lower : With a TOEFL score > 79 and 3 years of study experience, you have already fulfilled the formal requirements. Letters of reference, a good GPA, etc. are not necessary. Fortunately, most German recruiters do not know the difference between UC Berkeley and UC Berkeley Extension, so this new point in my CV has already given me a top internship and a scholarship.
The program: IDP Entrepreneurship
Despite the low level, the learning effort is considerably higher than at German universities, as there are always essays and presentations to be prepared or books to be read. In terms of difficulty, it is still easier than at German universities and the grades are awarded very generously.
The lecturers have different degrees of qualification and mostly have an entrepreneurship background. A big plus of the program was the guest contributions from actual Silicon Valley founders and the field trip to an accelerator program in Redwood City. The class consisted of about 30 students with different professional and academic backgrounds from all over the world, but mostly French and Brazilian. There was close contact between the different IDPs.
California was exactly how I imagined it. In my four months I had about 5 days of rain and otherwise always a pleasant 15-25° (and that in winter!). For windsurfers and sailors, I recommend the Cal Sailing Club at the Berkeley Marina, where for $100 and two hours of volunteer work you can surf and sail as you please for three months. San Francisco is only a few minutes away by subway and offers breathtaking scenery. A three-and-a-half hour drive northwest and you’re in beautiful Lake Tahoe ski resorts. Various national parks are also located in the vicinity of the Bay Area.
There are plenty of ways to party in both Berkeley and San Francisco. If you want to expand your entrepreneurial knowledge and network outside of the university, you can take part in one of the many meet-ups in the area or visit the nearby big names like Google or Facebook. For the latter, however, you have to be invited by an employee from the company. But someone from your new circle of acquaintances will definitely know someone from the company.
Compared to studying in Germany, tuition fees (especially considering that it’s not the real “UC Berkeley”) and living costs are very high. The prices in the supermarket are at least twice as high and the rent – even compared to the most expensive areas in Germany – many times higher.
All in all I paid around $20,000. But I also have to say that I didn’t want to pay too much attention to the money during my semester abroad and paid $600 each for two weekend ski trips at Lake Tahoe alone. As a small relief, I received about €1,000 in foreign student loans (I do not receive domestic student loans).
I was absolutely blown away by the area and the I-House. I improved my English enormously even in this short time and made many new friends from all over the world. I was a little disappointed with the university itself, as I expected a higher level. I’m hoping to come back to Berkeley for 1-2 semesters for my master’s degree, but then to the Haas School of Business.