And how are things in Berkeley?

After an intensive process, I managed to get in at the best public university in the United States, University of California, Berkeley. I followed courses for one semester at the Industrial Engineering department. I had been dreaming of going to school or studying in America for a long time, and last semester it was finally the time.

file photo Tess Vercammen

I am writing this article at the end of my semester abroad. I look back positively on the experience. In the beginning I had trouble finding my way because unfortunately my accommodation was very disappointing. It was therefore very difficult to make contacts. In the end I managed to make some good and lovely German friends who I will probably see in the future again. My English has improved, but also my German a little bit. The courses at the university that I attended were doable to do and some certainly helped me a lot.

Besides studying, it is all about sports and student organizations over there (fraternities & sororities and business clubs). I also did some American things of course. I was part of a singing group called UC Women’s Chorale, I played softball, I visited some frat parties, I celebrated Halloween and I visited American Football games where the atmosphere is really awesome.

As far as it was possible, I also traveled a bit (in California everything is quite expensive). I spent a weekend in Yosemite Park and rented a Mustang with some German friends during Thanksgiving break and made a mini road trip to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and along the west coast of California. I really loved Las Vegas. I spent the days with gambling and night clubs with a large a pleasant group of Germans. In Las Vegas everything is really over the top. I also visited some nice places and national parks in the area during the semester.

Furthermore, Americans are not really able to use a bike. I saw a lot of people falling. I was surprised that the doors of public toilets do no close completely so that you can actually see someone inside. Americans expect you to tip every time you order something (even if you just order a beer for 8 dollars in a bar) and they use the word “like” in almost every sentence. I have to be careful I am not going to do that either. And by the way, Ubers are really great!

And to top it all off, one of my best friends Sven, who is a pilot, surprised me the last days in San Francisco and flew me back safely again to Schiphol.


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