University: University of California Berkeley
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: neuroscience
Study type: Summer Sessions
Together with my boyfriend, I took part in Summer Session D at the University of California, Berkeley and the lower-division (i.e. courses without prerequisites) courses “Introduction to Functional Neuroanatomy” and “English as a Second Language: Grammar for Editing”. proven. As far as I know, my boyfriend and I were the only German students and will be doing our Abitur next year. Visit jibin123.com to get information about Semester Abroad In University of California Berkeley.
Since many field reports only describe positive things, I would also like to clarify negative aspects in this field report.
I applied as early as possible, about six months in advance, with the help of MicroEdu.com. I had to fill out a lot of documents and, among other things, I had to enter my passport number and the like a hundred times. I was surprised that for the visa, I had a student visa, you had to appear in person in Frankfurt, Munich or Berlin. That required a day’s journey for me. The conversation ended after a minute, I only had to say why I wanted to take part in the summer session and what my parents do for a living.
Otherwise, the application process was easy.
MicroEdu answered questions promptly, competently and free of charge.
Overall, my summer was very expensive. All in all, I came to about 6000 euros. I reckoned with about 4000 euros.
The costs break down roughly as follows:
Accommodation + Mealpoints: 1750€
Tuition fees (2 courses, 3 seasons each): 2000€
There were also hidden costs, such as the day trip to Frankfurt for the visa or textbooks for 60 dollars and other expenses, such as a trip to Yosemite National Park, train tickets, souvenirs, etc.
Accommodation and food
Like most of the others, I rented a triple room in the residence halls. There are 3 units and each unit consists of a huge residential complex. Some of the students also live there during a regular semester. We stayed on the top, 8th floor and could see the Oakland skyline out of the large windows. A very nice view! Luckily the elevator was fully functional.
The rooms were simply furnished. Bunk beds with somewhat uncomfortable but tolerable mattresses, a large desk for two and a half the size table for the 3rd resident. In addition, there were sufficiently large closets.
It took about 15 minutes to walk to the campus.
Whether you want mealpoints worth about $500 or not, you get checked into the residence halls. We usually ate in the large Crossroads cafeteria. Delicious sandwiches, pizza and fries were always available there. In addition, there were 2-3 main courses on the plan, which were not always particularly tasty, so that many gourmets only spent half of their meal points! Among us, “Crossroads” was sometimes exaggeratedly referred to as “Grossroads”. For 6 weeks I found the food enjoyable, but not particularly good either. What else can you expect from a large cafeteria?
A negative aspect was that breakfast was only possible from 7-9 a.m. and our courses only started at 10.10 a.m.
Someone I met rented an apartment in Berkeley for just €600 for 6 weeks and was much larger than the rooms in residence halls! So: research recommended!
The English course was boring and a bit too easy for me. We repeated all the basics of the grammar, which certainly didn’t hurt, but at 3 units=1000€ it was far too expensive. You can improve your English through everyday life and communication with people from a different origin than Germany. In retrospect, the language course would not have been necessary with 2x 2.5 hours per week. Better to grab a grammar book yourself and repeat something if you have catching up on grammar!
The other course, “Functional Neuroanatomy”, which dealt with structures and their function in the nervous system, was very exciting thanks to the professor. There were hardly any problems in understanding the content, as many things were compared with examples from everyday life. Ultimately, this course confirmed and strengthened my intention to study medicine.
All in all, the courses in Berkeley are definitely recommended, even if you’re still a student.
I visited the scenically wonderful “Yosemite National Park”. I did this with a Chinese travel agency, because at 135 dollars for 2 days and one night it offered financial advantages over other options. However, in hindsight it didn’t turn out to be worthwhile: On the one hand we were only one day in the national park and on the other in the castle complex “Heast castle” (very beautiful architecture etc., but you don’t have to have seen it), which I didn’t like before was not informed, on the other hand we only got out three times in the national park (1x one hour, 2x approx. 20min) and we spent the rest of the time in the air-conditioned bus. My hopes of hiking, mountaineering and experiencing nature up close have therefore not been confirmed. The hour at the largest waterfall in North America was great fun, but way too short. The overall motto was rather exaggerated: “Take a few photos quickly, but then get back on the bus quickly!”
So what can one conclude from this? Drive to the national park on your own, rent a car with several people and take tents with you, then you will certainly have more adventures to experience!
On the other hand, I met some nice people there who I will be in contact with for a long time!
Unfortunately, I didn’t visit Los Angeles because I asked around and those who were there spent about 400-500 dollars for the one weekend in LA, which was too expensive for me! In hindsight, I would have preferred to drive/fly to LA and not take the English course!