University of California, Berkeley Student Review
The Berkeley campus is one thing above all else: beautiful! Park-like with lots of green space, trees and beautiful buildings like the Doe Library. I loved running to my class and the Californian sun smiled every day, so you just have to be in a good mood! Since I had to read a lot for my courses, I often just sat in the sun on a meadow on campus . One of the numerous tame and very cute squirrels will be happy to keep you company. The sunset view from Big C over Berkeley and the Bay Area is indescribable.
I have taken literature courses and would take these courses again .
In “Shakespearean Tragedies” by Professor Puckett , we addressed five tragedies. We had to write five keyword analyzes, a final essay (5-7 pages) and a final exam, consisting of an essay question, as well as give a group presentation. Professor Puckett is rightly a very popular lecturer in English, who also has a real fan club among the “auditors” (seniors who are allowed to attend courses for free). He always gives detailed, individual feedback by email. It was also very nice when we watched a broadcast from Hamlet’s London National Theater with Benedict Cumberbatch in the cinema in Berkeley. I really enjoyed attending this course and it gave me a lot of inspiration for my bachelor thesis.
I can also recommend my second course “The 20th Century Novel” with Donna V. Jones . We read 4 novels, wrote a midterm as well as a final essay (5-7 pages) and a final exam. This only consisted of passage identification and did not include knowledge and essay questions as in Germany. You do not need background knowledge that you have learned by heart for the exam, so attentive attendance and thorough reading of the literature are sufficient to pass the exam. Above all, Prof. Jones impresses with her very humorous manner , has already been to Harvard and Princeton and, thanks to a semester abroad in Berlin, can even speak some German.
In one course I was the only non-American among Berkeley students, in the other there were 4 Asians who all failed. In terms of level, however, there was no difference for me between the English language courses at Berkeley and those at my home university. I was delighted to be able to finish the courses in Berkeley with very good grades. Who counted: There were nine books to read in six weeks. Not everyone likes that, I often sat and read on campus in the sun.
Due to the many articles I have the International House as accommodation chosen and I would do so again. The application process is online and you have to write a short text about why you think you fit into the International House. The Ihouse is very well organized, safe and kept in a beautiful, time-honored architectural style on the inside. The community there is great, through rituals like coffee hour on Wednesday evenings or while eating, you can quickly make contacts and make friends with people from all over the world. My single room wasn’t very big, but it was clean. However, I had to get used to the shared bathrooms, even if they were quite clean. Sheets that aren’t great cost $ 80. The foodas “All you can eat” surprised me positively and I heard that the Ihouse has improved a lot on this recently. One can eat well and healthily. For breakfast there is always muesli, Greek yoghurt with toppings such as cranberries and almonds, bread / toast / bagels, scrambled eggs, bacon, sometimes even pancakes and omelets, and even waffles for brunch on the weekend. In addition, there is a salad buffet and fruit for every meal, in the evening there is always pizza and pasta, even ice cream and the world’s best, often still warm, soft-baked chocolate chip cookies. At the beginning, the rowers of the Cal Crew were often there for dinner and the athletes have to eat well after all. We used to sit in the dining hall for a long time just because it was so fun. You also get meal points for the Ihouse Cafe, which does not open at regular times in summer and closes at 4 p.m. I loved having a library in the house and I worked there a lot. At the beginning of Summer Session A it was also empty and only slowly got full when the other sessions started, but according to the management, it was much quieter than in the semester.
The university itself has an excellent range of sports with gyms, many courses, swimming pools and with the CalCard all of this is free! The Bay Area also has a lot to offer and San Francisco can be reached from Downtown Berkeley in 20-30 minutes with the Bart. We also took trips to Lake Tahoe and Napa Valley. Some who really only had the six weeks of the session in California drove to LA or Vegas over the weekend. With two courses, however, it can be very stressful. I was very happy not to have had this pressure and went on a road trip with my parents after the session from San Francisco via Yosemite, Mammoth Lakes, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Page (Horseshoe Bend / Antelope’s Canyon), Zion & Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Palm Springs, San Diego , LA, Santa Barbara, Big Sur back to San Francisco. So I was able to relax and enjoy the beautiful landscape and all the impressions.
The high cost is actually the only downside. Many people have only taken one course, which saves course fees and also the fees for the visa, since you can enter as a tourist. I treated myself to the Summer Session in Berkeley a long-cherished dream and was very dear parents, who have supported me. The stated cost range of 6000-8000 euros for two courses, flight, accommodation in the Ihouse, fees for the visa and travel to the embassy, costs for bed linen and books etc. (excluding excursions) can hardly be adhered to. There are also excursions and the fantastic shopping opportunities and great outlets.
I am very grateful to have spent such a great unforgettable summer in sunny California and at such a great university, and I would return to UC Berkeley at any time.