I attended Summer Session C at UC Berkeley from June to mid-August and can only recommend it. My summer in the USA was an unforgettable time that I wouldn’t want to miss anymore. The preparation and assistance from MicroEDU was super helpful and sufficient. According to AbbreviationFinder, UCB is the abbreviation of University of California Berkeley.
The International House dorm
I lived in the International House on Piedmont Avenue and had a two-bed room. I was very lucky with the room, because it was a room that did not have a bunk bed and was a bit larger. Some of my friends’ rooms were considerably smaller. But that was actually a matter of luck as I paid as much as the others. In addition, on the eighth floor I had an excellent view of the San Francisco Bay with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge in good weather. A dream. In my room I was a junction box, so that we really had enough power sources, a friend from Germany was so clever and had packed a large German junction box.
I had an Egyptian woman in my room for the first two weeks and a Taiwanese woman for the other 6 weeks. The coexistence worked out well, you just have to come to terms with the customs and habits of the other culture. But that was also the attraction for me. The food in the I-House was surprisingly good to begin with. There is a salad bar and a selection of hot dishes, and there were two barbecues or pizza evenings. Overall, the food is good and in principle it tasted good. After 2 weeks you just notice the repetitions and then you become a little more manic. But I always got full. Depending on how long you are there, you also receive a certain number of Flex-Points that you can use in the I-House-Café. There are sandwiches and burgers and various coffee specialties. Many only found out about these points at the end and then struggled to spend everything. Here is definitely a welcome change if you don’t feel like going to the canteen. But also Berkeley has a lot of food courts and delicious restaurants if you feel like something different.
The library in the I-House was a really good place to study at the beginning of the session, because I was often alone with many Asians. As the midterms or the finals approached, it became increasingly full and unfortunately also louder, so that in the end I couldn’t learn anymore. There are also libraries on campus, but I didn’t want to walk around alone at night either.
Overall, the I-House is a great place to get to know people from many nations and to make friends. You have to cut back on food and if you really only come for the university, you should also rethink the dormitory because it can get noisy at times. Not everyone is considerate. Especially if you have rooms on the lower floors and facing the street, you won’t find much peace at night either, because people are always sitting on the patio in front of the I-House and laughing, talking and drinking, as there aren’t really any other seating options outside. It was great for my purposes and I would go there again.
Since I already knew, thanks to the experience reports from MicroEDU, that the rooms would be booked out quickly, I applied as soon as the portal was activated and I got the room I wanted.
I only chose a 4 credit course that ran 1.5 hours 4 times a week. I did this consciously because I didn’t just want to study and also wanted to go on excursions. “ Labor Economics ” was a bit difficult for me at the beginning because I had no basics in economics beforehand. Accordingly, it took me a little longer to get in. However, the professor and grader have office hours that I used from time to time, which was also good. Overall, the course was pretty easy once you’ve read the book and solved the (quite a lot) of the exercises. Homework, extra-class tasks, 2 out of 3 midterms and the final exam counted for the grading. Overall quite complex, but very feasible.
In the course itself it was a bit strange at the beginning, there were almost no Americans, which is normal for the later summer sessions and many Asians. Due to the classroom teaching and only a few group tasks, there was very little contact with the other classmates. But then there was also a friend from the I-House and another German from the Residence Halls, who in turn knew another girl and so it soon got better. We then often solved tasks together.
Before I arrived, I was a little concerned about safety because I had read some negative things. But if you are careful and avoid certain sources of danger and zones, you reduce the danger. On Facebook there is also a Crime Alert from UCPD Berkeley, where reports are made a few days after robberies or incidents. Reading this makes you more cautious, but there’s no need to be scared or anything. You shouldn’t go to People’s Park alone or across campus at night. A Japanese reported that an acquaintance was robbed last year, but nothing else happened to her. So be careful and don’t carry around so much money with you. There are many homeless people who, in my opinion, are harmless.
We went on great trips and often rented cars. For example, we drove along the coast via Carmel to Big Sur, and watched the great sunset. Then we and 12 people rented a house on Lake Tahoe through Airbnb for 3 days, with a pool and jacuzzi. That was fantastic and unique! On the way back we made a little detour and were in Virginia City and Reno. We also spent a weekend in Las Vegas. We spent the rest of the weekends in Berkeley or San Francisco, exploring the area. There is just so much to see and do. The ride with borrowed bicycles from the Ferry Building over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito was also unique. We started in the wind and in Sausalito the sun was laughing. Back on the ferry and the bikes returned in Union Square.
In Berkeley you can use all sports facilities with membership in the RSF (Recreational Sports Facility). We went swimming in the pools many times, preferably in the Hearst or in the Spieker Pool, where there is “open rec swim” at certain times and with membership you receive a towel and a lock, which you then give back after each swim. Others were often in the gym. We still used the tennis courts, which you can easily reserve by phone. There were clubs in the I-House when they weren’t broken or borrowed. I then bought a simple club for $ 29 and took it home with me. I also booked tennis lessons for $ 100 because I’m just a beginner. The lessons were really good in the beginning, but then he started to just let us play without doing any exercises, which was just not worth the money. But friends of mine also attended the yoga and pilates classes, which should have been really good. And all for $ 10 in the summer session!
I’ve already talked about food above, but there are really little pearls in Berkeley. For example the “Joshu-ya” sushi restaurant. Highly recommended. Then we went to Great China, incidentally also with Asians, who really liked the food there. We ordered a few things and then there were these turntables so that you could take anything…. Make a reservation for both of them in advance! Just discover what is out there.
I was also in Oakland at a baseball game and a football game. I just wanted to experience both and it was really impressive to be in such a stadium. We also made a trip to Stanford, there was the tennis tournament Banc of the West in which Venus Williams and Sabine Lisicky also played. We also took the opportunity to walk across the huge and beautiful campus of Stanford University.
We were often in SF with the BART and once with the bus. The bus runs a little longer, but it’s free if you have a student ID. I think the BART was $ 4, and you had to change at the weekend. The BART station is also a bit away from the I-House, you can either walk 15-20 minutes or take the bus. The bus to SF is also recommended, because you can see the neighborhoods on the Bay and also drive over the SF Bay Bridge from Oakland to SF – something you should have done.
All the fun wasn’t cheap. You can find cost statements in other reports… But it was worth every penny and I would repeat it anytime. If necessary, you can try to get a scholarship through the DAAD, I’ve heard that this works in individual cases!