Learn from leading professors in the day, walk around San Francisco in the afternoon, and experience exciting nightlife in the evening.
At the other side of the Atlantic ocean and across to the U.S. west coast of California lies a golden state and the San Francisco bay. Due to its great weather, political history, innovative environment and vibrant people, the area has a lot to offer prospective students eager to learn. Another very special part of what natives call “The Bay” (short for the San Francisco Bay or the Bay Area) is one of the world’s highest-ranking universities: UC Berkeley. It’s known for its prestigious alumni, high quality academics, long line of Nobel Prize winning faculty members, and much more. Even better, you can experience this too for a semester or longer!
My name is Hege, I’m a student at the University of Oslo, and last year I came home to Norway after spending the best semester of my life in California. One of the reasons why I chose UC Berkeley is for the vibrant culture, as Americans’ limitless way of thinking appealed to me. When I discovered the Berkeley International Study Program that many Norwegian colleges and universities share with UC Berkeley, I applied at once! Whether it was our political discussions in class, the vintage shopping in Haight-Ashbury, or the inspiring architecture in the Financial District, every aspect of every day was filled with opportunity. It’s also the perfect place to grow your interests. Whether you’re into innovative technology, greasy street food, niche coffee or world-renowned art, you’ll find it here – and possibly the best of it.
The academic environment is also a great reason why you should choose UC Berkeley. Even though UiO like many Norwegian institutions are of great quality, none of them are one of the top global universities in the world like UCB, which may become obvious once you step onto the impressive campus. With 32 libraries, a diverse student body, the world’s second largest T-Rex, and top professors in their respective fields, the possibilities for academic growth are endless. Interestingly, in class, it was also clear that the Norwegian perspective we hold is just as valuable for Americans as theirs is to us. The people you meet and your surroundings inspires you to see your life with a new perspective. Looking back, it’s evident that this was my most important semester academically.
Lastly, another reason to go is because the Bay Area is a great place to be social! If you’re a bit shy, don’t worry because there are numerous Norwegian students the program will arrange for you to meet and other friendly students from Berkeley and other parts of the world. The campus and surrounding areas are also filled with easy-going students that you can grab coffee with after class, meet at movie-like fraternity parties, attend football games or discover various fun dating apps. You’ll never get tired of all the places you can travel and the things you can do with these people either. The city and its hills are a must, and sunny Los Angeles, exciting Las Vegas and the coast during sunset are also well within your reach. Not to mention, there are so many great culinary experiences that both Berkeley and SF can serve you. Ultimately, you’ll appreciate and grow during a semester at UC Berkeley no matter who you are.
By Hege Bellika Hansen, University in Oslo, Political Science, BISP student, Fall 2018