Summer School 2010 at UC Berkeley – an unforgettable summer!
“Please fast your seatbelt and enjoy your flight”, it echoes one last time from the loudspeakers before the plane takes aim at my next vacation destination, Phoenix, AZ. I have 8 weeks full of memories and stories behind me. Stories that write life. I think about my own experiences and find myself indulging in a nostalgic mood.
8 weeks of exciting and challenging courses at an elite American university as well as countless fits of laughter and conversations with new friends from all over the world. Was that what I expected before I left on June 19th? No. Maybe hoped, but all expectations have been exceeded in the past 8 weeks. I close my eyes and recall my everyday life during the summer school in Berkeley…
7.55 am: “Jelena… JELENA! Your alarm clock has been ringing continuously… for five minutes! You’d better get up, ”reports my dear roommate or“ Roomie ”Ann-Christin. Still exhausted from the last night, when I – thanks to Red Bull – sat on my paper until 3 a.m., I roll around in bed for another 20 minutes until I finally get out of bed.
8.45 a.m.: Breakfast at the Crossroads. The receptionist greets me warmly (with her dark sunglasses) and swipes my meal card through her scoring device. I hear happy murmurs and laughter all over the room as I fill my tray. A large selection of different cereals, bagels, oatmeal, pancakes and fresh strawberries ensure that the hungry “Cal” students start the day well.
10:10 am: My “Introduction to Acting” course starts right at “Berkeley Time”. These ten minutes allow every student to get to their courses on time because the campus is large. In a good mood, everyone submits their scene analysis of the controversial piece “Anyplace But Here” before the group begins with the daily warm-up. Muscles are stretched, tongue twisters recited and voice exercises repeated. Now everyone is awake and can perform their assigned dialogues in front of the class. Read more student reviews on Hetongdiy.
12.00 p.m.: lunch break! I step out of the theater building and look forward to the bright blue sky that now stretches across Berkeley. In the morning hours it is usually rather fresh and cloudy in the so-called Bay Area. But now it is pleasantly warm and sunny! My cell phone rings – it’s my Indian friend Pooja: “Jelli !! How are you? Let’s have a coffee! ”I won’t miss that and meet her quickly in the popular Strada student café to plan for tonight. But time is running out and I have to go to the next course again. With my Frappucino 2 go, I hurry across the student-crowded campus and greet many familiar faces. The paths cross.
1:10 p.m.: 120 students open their documents for today’s lecture of the “Organizational Behavior” course in a lecture hall at the Haas Business School. Many interesting and work-related topics such as motivation, stress or personality are covered here. Our charismatic lecturer – imagine a power woman with the appearance of a Julia Roberts – after her lesson today about teamwork, invites us to do some challenging group work. With the variety, the 2.5 hours pass very quickly.
3:30 p.m.: As I walk back to our “Unit 2” dormitory, I mentally go through my to-do’s – because there is no shortage of them here. I still have to memorize my monologue, meet with my project group, write two more papers and study for the final exams. When I get to the room, I open my laptop and do some research on the internet for interesting sources.
6:00 p.m.: After the drums, the gym calls for a sporty workout! Here you can really find everything your heart desires. From various cardio and strength machines to several swimming pools or courses such as tennis, hip hop dancing or spinning. Today I choose Stepography and I am happy that I can keep up a little with the other ambitious course participants.
7.45 p.m.: Well-balanced and freshly made, I meet my new friends for dinner at the Crossroads. They come from Egypt, India, Lebanon and many other countries in the world. As always, we hardly get to eat for all the chatting and tell each other about our day.
10:00 p.m.: Now the Blakes, the most popular bar on campus, is attracting many students. Most celebrate Thursday evening as the beginning of the upcoming weekend. It’s amazing how many international people you have met in a very short time and meet again here. After a while it leads us to the infamous “frat parties” organized by fraternity students.
2:00 a.m.: Official night’s rest on the Berkeley campus. After we let the evening fade away in the “Courtyard” of Unit 2 and made our first plans for a reunion, it’s time to go to bed. Exhausted but overjoyed, my eyes close…
When I open them again, I have already arrived in Phoenix. It’s a shame that this wonderful time is over again. For me it was indescribable to witness an international get-together of over 10,000 summer school students as well as a real student life in the USA. Not to forget the weekend trips exploring San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Los Angeles and many other places. A summer I’ll never forget!