“If you value equality, diversity, curiosity and inclusiveness in addition to hard working, dedicated and passionate professors…UC Berkeley would be an excellent option!”– Caroline Hop, former BISP student and program Ambassador
The US has long been the world’s best loved international study destination. Fuelled by visions of world-class universities, vibrant campus cultures and the American dream, it’s no surprise that 1.1 million of the total 4.6 million international applicants enrolled worldwide in 2017 selected a US study destination.
Ranked among the world’s elite six universities, the University of California-Berkeley is an education hub for aspiring learners. The Berkeley International Study Program (BISP) is a sought-after short-term study abroad option, encompassing a path in which students pursue enriching programs in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities.
“To be honest, I like many aspects about the campus—relatively cheap dining halls with great beverage and food, the great environment and trees and squirrels, lectures of high quality, performances at Sather gate and so on… On weekends, what I like most is to go outside. Museums, scenic spots and shopping malls in San Francisco are my preferences,” says Zhen Quin, an arts and humanities student from Nankai University.
Silje Ormaasen is just one of many students who looks back fondly on her time at BISP. Undertaking a semester at Berkeley as part of her University of Oslo undergraduate degree, Silje gained a wealth of new knowledge, experiences and perspectives she claims have carried through to her further studies and working life.
“Many students have different perspectives from my own…I was surprised how differently we looked at things,” she adds, “but instead of just knowing each other’s opinions, these classes provided me with the background information and told me why we think so differently.”
BISP motivated Silje to continue with her studies, recently gaining admission to a renowned Master’s program. Here, she took the opportunity to pursue a semester in Bologna, further instilling the global perspective she’s come to appreciate and admire.
Lars Kolbeinsen, a fellow former BISP ambassador, leapt at the chance to live side-by-side with domestic American students. On top of giving him the chance to meet students . . . this gave him a valuable insight into other subjects and classes, allowing him to experience parts of the campus he might otherwise never have seen.
“And that was also one of my favorite parts of the campus, the number of libraries and their own unique feel and setting,” he says. “We would often try to study together when possible and mixing up the libraries was something we often did…Coming from the northern parts of Norway, the sun and parks around campus were things I fell in love with, and just chilling there with friends before or after class was always fun.”
Caroline Hop came to BISP as a Master’s student in innovation in the fall last year.
“I miss the campus atmosphere – especially on game days, those were amazing and so cool!” she says.“I truly miss my professors and the classes I took,” she adds. “The professors are dedicated, engaged, supportive and passionate in their fields.” This, she says, made the subjects far more interesting, with teachers passing on their love of learning to every member of the class. “I miss living in a place where people are so diverse, outgoing and just being themselves. I loved my semester at UC, Berkeley so much that I volunteer to support in-coming students back home. They say I am the ultimate UC Berkeley student and they are beyond excited to begin their semester and Berkeley adventure.”
Tsai-Hsuan Chung from Taiwan’s National Chengchi University shares “Sitting in a class taught by prestigious professors in the world, discussing and exchanging ideas with the students from different countries, and learning the knowledge excites me the most, all of these make me appreciate that I had this opportunity to be a student in Berkeley. All of my professors and my classmates value my perspectives and respect my culture.”
Experience greatness. Experience brilliance at the University of California, Berkeley.