University of California, Berkeley Student Review


The choice of university was by no means difficult for me. If you want to study at one of the best universities in the world – even if only for two to three months – you should choose UC Berkeley . The content and scope of the course are correspondingly demanding. Before I decided on two courses, I researched the lecturers responsible for the courses on the Internet (e.g. at, as I believe that the learning success depends on them. I finally decided on the following two courses (Session D):

  • MARKETING, D. Robinson (3 units)
  • STRESS & COPING, C. Gade (2 units)

At my home university I am studying business administration with a focus on financial management and marketing management. Nevertheless, I decided on the marketing course and didn’t have to regret this choice. Although the lectures were by and large a repetition for me, the focus of the course was on the processing and analysis of various case studies. So I was still able to learn a lot of new things. The lecturer Dr. Robinson also awarded class participation points, which means that you had to take part in the case discussions. This system is demanding, but also extremely beneficial. Furthermore, you have to pass 2 exams, write two “one-pagers” and submit two group work, one of which is a presentation.

The content of the psychology course “Stress & Coping” was very difficult, as medical terms were often used in the lectures. But even I, as a business administration student, was able to pass the course with above-average grades with a reasonable learning curve . In the beginning, however, it was difficult to follow the lecturer (speed & vocabulary), which is why it is all the more important to print out the slides and prepare or rework. The course includes 3 exams and a final paper (similar to a term paper).

The UC Berkeley campus is one of the most beautiful in the United States . Many cafés can be found, the rooms are bright and very well equipped, the faculty buildings all have their own individual charm and the various libraries are breathtaking. You should take a full day or two to see everything that is worth seeing on campus, such as the Museum of Paleontology.


Unfortunately, I was influenced by all the positive reports about the International House and had to learn exactly the opposite.


The International House has a very beautiful architecture. The historic ambience in the Great Hall is fascinating . The library on the first floor is small, but you can always find a place to study. Here, too, everything is very nicely left antique and air-conditioned. The various events that are offered both in-house and outside are very different, so there is something for everyone. The prices for the various events are also reasonable.


I had a single room and the only good thing was the size and facilities. The floor and the furniture are very dirty. If you wipe the desk with a damp cloth, the cloth turns yellow-green. Everything under the bed was covered in dust. There was no way the room was cleaned prior to arrival. There were strange dark spots on the walls and ceiling as well. You should bring your own bed linen. You cannot rent pillows and blankets, you can only buy them. The purchase price is $ 70, which is way overpriced. At Walgreen’s (similar to DM) down the street, I was able to buy a blanket and pillow, which were also much better quality, for $ 50. Unfortunately, the bathroom was almost always dirty. On the wall next to the bathroom door there is a sign with the days and times (10.45-11.45), in which cleaning is carried out and you are not allowed / should not use the bathroom or toilet. Strangely, these times were never kept, but the cleaning staff came as the mood took them. The library’s beautiful, historical-looking furniture also turned out not to be antique, but simply old and worn. The rules, such as that it is not allowed to eat and drink, were not observed. I can understand drinking because you can’t concentrate without drinking water, but once I couldn’t study because the person sitting next to me literally had a picnic. The smell of his food spread throughout the library. Learning was impossible. I would have liked supervision here. Unfortunately, I can only say negative things about the dining room. Especially as a vegetarian, you won’t get full here – unless you like the taste of pasta that has been cooked too soft in strange sauces or a salad that doesn’t look fresh anymore and vegetables that have been cooked too hard. I could only get full at breakfast. One day there was french fries – that’s when I was full too. And in a pinch there was always a selection of muesli.


Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the International House to anyone. The price-performance ratio is significantly poor. Furthermore, in addition to the high price, you have to pay a deposit of $ 1000, which is due immediately with the booking and the refund will only be made four weeks after check out. Many new friends I made at UC Berkeley had rented a room or apartment through airbnb. I decided against this option for security reasons, but I deeply regret this decision as they only reported positive things.


On an introductory day for the summer school participants, brochures were distributed by a provider that offers excursions to Los Angeles, Yosemite, various outlets, etc. especially for summer school students. However, the prices are too expensive in my opinion. It is much better to take the time before or after the summer sessions to plan private excursions – this way you don’t have to worry about the assignments to be complied with. However, on weekends, you can take time to explore Berkeley and San Francisco . A tip regarding Alcatraz: You should book a tour months in advance, because Alcatraz is ALWAYS fully booked!

You shouldn’t miss the following other sights / activities (in SF):

  • Bike tour; drive on Golden Gate
  • Picnic in Presidio Park (next to the Walt Disney Family Museum) – various food trucks are on site on Sundays!
  • Japanese tea garden
  • Golden Gate Park – De Young Museum, Palace of Fine Arts
  • Coit Tower (beautiful view!)
  • SS Jeremiah O’Brian – at Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Take a photo on Lombard Street
  • Baker Beach (… when the sun is shining)
  • Union Square (handy if you want to go shopping)
  • Breakfast at Mama’s (

If you have organized yourself privately, you should rent a car and plan trips to Yosemite, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and, if you still have time, the Grand Canyon. Long driving is also fun together with the new friends you have made. By and large, you have perfect recreational opportunities when you study at UC Berkeley.

Cost tips

As expected, the planned cost was higher than what I ultimately spent overall. For two courses (a total of 5 units) and a single room in the I-House, including books, flights, excursions, etc. I paid a total of around $ 10,000 (excluding the $ 1,000 deposit for the I-House). The number varies, of course, depending on the choice of hotels in which you are staying or the choice of vehicle, etc. In order to reduce costs, in my opinion one can and should do without student dormitories like the I-House. The food is bad and you mostly eat outside anyway. You should also have as little cash with you as possible – you should have a credit card in order not to have to bear the exchange rate costs yourself take with you (prepaid credit cards can also be used), because the banks bear the exchange rate costs and you always get the best rate. Otherwise you will almost always get fewer dollars for the euro, even if the euro is stronger.

University of California, Berkeley Astronomy Department

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