First of all, I want to pre-empt a final verdict: This summer has been incredible in every way.
But let’s start from the beginning: I found out about MicroEDU through an internet search and in the following days I clicked a little through the homepage until I finally landed on the pages of the summer sessions. Since I unfortunately had no other opportunity to gain experience abroad during my studies, the summer sessions seemed to me to be the best option. After looking at all the relevant universities in the USA, the decision to go to UC Berkeley was made relatively quickly – and I have never regretted this decision!
So this is how the organization of an exciting summer began, and I was very much supported by the MicroEDU Team. At this point, many thanks to Melanie & Co.
I arrived in Berkeley a few days before moving into the dormitories and stayed at the YMCA Hostel, which I can warmly recommend to everyone. The accommodation was also relatively cheap at around € 40 per night.
I found accommodation in the International House. Even at the beginning of our session it was completely booked out and was actually inhabited by a wide variety of nations. In general, there were a lot of Europeans, especially Germans, and Asians. American students could be counted on a few fingers.
The rooms there are certainly not particularly comfortable, but perfectly adequate and also had a certain flair. I had a twin room and had to come to terms with a roommate accordingly. But since I got a really great roommate, that was absolutely no problem. In my experience, bathrooms and hallways are very clean. Meals are provided in the I-House up to 3 times a day. A so-called meal point is due for each meal. For a 6-week session you get 60 points, which is by far not enough to feed yourself exclusively from I-house food. But that’s not particularly bad, because I didn’t find the food necessarily tasty. Although everything was usually freshly prepared, But there was often a lack of choice or there was a lot of repetition (the meat offer was very limited due to the different religions in the house, for example) – the breakfast was also rather meager by German standards. Of course you can’t expect an extensive breakfast in America, but for sausage and cheese fans it will be really tough weeks. The food in the Residence Halls, on the other hand, was widely praised by its residents.
Despite the bad food, I would choose it again at any time, because once you take a look out the window, everything else is forgotten, because if you’re lucky, then you have a view of the whole city of Berkeley every day, all the way to the water Golden Gate Bridge. This view enchants!
UC Berkeley has a fantastically beautiful campus where you feel very comfortable. I felt like I was in a movie for 6 weeks!
I had decided on a sociology course and an English course.
In Sociology, I heard something about the “Sociology of Culture”, which was an incredible enrichment on the one hand professionally and on the other hand linguistically. What was initially intended as a lecture, which I thought would not throw a lot of work off, turned out to be a tough lecture and seminar course. The workload cannot be compared in any way with that of my German university. In 6 weeks I worked through a 1000-page reader and had to write 4 tests and 3 essays. That was really a lot of work, but in the end it was absolutely worth it! I took a lot with me and since I was in a native speaker course, it was also quite a high standard. The lecturer was relatively young and incredibly motivated. Every day she tried to convey her technical contributions to us in the most varied of ways. We also responded very quickly to questions. I felt that I was in very good hands there, not least because they took a lot of time for each individual student if he or she so requested. Read more student reviews on Act-test-centers.
The English course, on the other hand, was an absolute failure. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I was the only non-Asian out of 30 students. That alone is of course not a problem. It only becomes that when most of them can barely communicate in English, which led to the fact that the majority of them spoke exclusively in their mother tongue, even when I was sitting next to them. And then I found that relatively rude, especially since they didn’t allow you to make contact with them. Since the language level in the course was very different, we were able to cover very little in terms of content, as the lecturer always tried to ensure that everyone understood everything. I thought that was a shame. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take anything with me from this course because the level was simply not high enough for me.
On the weekends we traveled a lot in smaller groups. I can recommend trips to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park or Stanford. But there is much, much more to see there. You just have to convince yourself of that! The west coast offers so many interesting natural and city spectacles that you can hardly get enough of it.
All of my expectations have been met. For 6 weeks I felt like an integrated member of the campus community. I learned a lot and experienced a lot. And last but not least, I got to know some very nice people who I would no longer want to miss in my life! It was a fantastic summer! Anyone who chooses it can only win!