So I have to say that the six-week summer session in the Legal Studies department at UC Berkeley far exceeded my expectations. Learn more about University of California Berkeley on andyeducation.
It all started with the fact that, as a law student, I wanted to gain experience abroad, but because of the problem with the crediting options, I didn’t want to go away for a whole semester, because the semester couldn’t be credited to me and I would only collect language experience for a whole semester, so to speak.
So I thought that there was another way to learn the language without spending a whole semester abroad, for example as part of a summer session. However, I have to say that it is not worthwhile if you only have basic knowledge or no knowledge at all of the respective language, as 6-10 weeks is far too short to learn a new language. So you have to have pretty good knowledge.
Then I did some research on the Internet and came across MicroEDU. The good thing was that you had a contact person (free of charge) who had many offers from partner universities. I quickly got in touch with MicroEDU and received an extensive answer to all my questions and even extensive help with the application within a very short time. Everything went so far without any problems and with the help of MicroEDU I applied online to UC Berkeley and was accepted. I have to say that MicroEDU was really a very good help, because you were accompanied through the entire application process and always had a contact person, so that you were never left alone in the rain when there were difficulties. I even got a birthday email during my stay in Berkeley. 🙂 You could always be reached by phone or email and I am really very satisfied with the service and would go abroad again at any time via MicroEDU. We even received a list of participants shortly before we all started our trip, so that we could establish contact with each other in advance (of course only from those who had ticked the box beforehand).
When I arrived at the UC Berkeley campus, I felt like I was in the American films about typical college life. It was just a dream. Starting with everyone walking around with UCB t-shirts and the fact that the campus was just huge and even had a swimming pool and all sorts of sports that a UCB student could do for as little as $ 10. You even got your own student ID card with which you could take a certain bus to San Francisco for free and otherwise take advantage of all the offers. Depending on the subject area, the courses were of different sizes. I was probably lucky and ended up in a course with only about 25 people, so that the anonymity was not too great and one could quickly get in touch with other international students and even with regular UC Berkeley students. That was a big plus because it made the level of the courses quite high, not only in terms of language but also in terms of content. The respective tutors were technically very good and some of them had already been to universities such as Oxford and Yale. When you hear “Summer Session”, you always think of a relaxed summer course. But that wasn’t the case, which I found very good. These are streamlined courses that actually last 12 weeks and have now (in my case) been shortened to 6 weeks. That means double the amount of material in a week and that means reading at least 20 pages every day. Nevertheless, time for free time, travel and and and remains enough. 🙂
If you live in Berkeley, I would try to come to the International House (i-house for short) for you, because especially if you travel alone, you can quickly make contacts there and every meal is, so to speak, a buffet where you can then eat your fill. 😉 The i-house also organizes many movie nights, where movies with popcorn and cola are shown, but also all kinds of travel options, such as a trip to LA, the Napa Valley and so on. As a resident of the i-house, you can also have guests, so that it is not a problem at all when friends from Europe come to visit. You can even rent a bed in addition. When you enter the i-house, you get a feeling of Hogwarts 🙂 Everything is very rustic and elegantly furnished, and there is even a piano in the living room.; -) Furthermore, the location is also well located and you can walk to the famous gate in 5 minutes. Unfortunately, I can’t say so much about other housing options such as the residence hall.
Aside from the campus, in Berkeley you also have many opportunities to spend your free time nicely. Individual restaurants with low prices and the best food adorn Telegraph Avenue, a street that leads directly into the campus. However, San Francisco is more suitable for going out, but with the beard or with the AC Transit you can get there within a very short time and of course easily back.
I am very happy that I took this step and attended the six-week summer session in Berkeley. I would have liked to have spent 10 weeks there. My English skills have greatly improved as a result, the course was a lot of fun and also brought a lot, and campus life in general was a unique experience. Berkeley more than lives up to its reputation and I can only recommend it to others. I’m already thinking about when I will do my next summer session. 🙂