Berkeley Study Guide
Mingzi Xi, 2016 Humanities
Six weeks of communication is neither too long nor too short. The days are gone when I wandered between freedom of independent life and nostalgia far away from home. Against the river of time, I want to share personal experience in the US with successors.
The weather in California is almost the same as that in Lanzhou. Whether It is cold or hot all depends on whether it is sunny or not on that day. However, the temperature fluctuation in California is larger than that in Lanzhou, and there is no air conditioner in the dormitory, so a thin quilt is not enough on summer nights. Although I brought some shorts there, I wore pants for most of the time. During many days in Berkeley, it never rained, but perhaps because of the near sea, it is not so dry.
Although most of the time our choice is the canteen, the student's meal plan is not enough for us to eat. Therefore, whether forced or voluntary, students will enjoy the delicate food outside the canteen. Berkeley happened to be a small town full of delicious food: Thailand flavor, Japanese flavor, French flavor and motherland flavor. The ice-cream shop on the street corner is our frequent patronage. Pizza and hot dogs are also good choices. At first, there will be some unaccustomed habits, but it will become better after a certain period of time. Of course, if you don't feel good about American food, you may need the Sichuan restaurant around the corner to save yourself.
The accommodation here is better than most of the universities in China, but it was not as luxurious as I thought before I went. There were separated bathrooms and showers, and also self-study rooms on the other floors. I actually felt the same way about living. Even because of too many obstacles, I often knocked myself. There was no balcony in the bedroom, but the laundry could be directly dried off by the dryer. However, the laundry fee of $2 is higher than that of a washing machine that costs three yuan per washing at my Alma mater. I brought a laundry soap and always washed with my own hands. It's not because you have to save money. It's mainly because there weren’t so many clothes need to be washed in each time during the summer.
If you want to go out, the public transportation in the big cities of the United States is not so convenient. The instruction of the subway was not specifically marked. A platform can be passed through by two subway lines, so you need to take care of the ride. In addition to that, there are buses or taxis or Uber. Whenever I needed to go out, I envied those who have bicycles. They were so happy. Besides, the airport in San Francisco was on the water side. Before the plane lands, it will glide along the water for a long distance, which feels good from the window.
The learning methods and learning content at home and abroad are quite different, which is almost known to all. Strolling through the vast Berkeley campus, you can see students in two or three on the vast lawn, sitting or lying, resting and reading, doing their own things in the relaxing and free sunshine of California. There are many libraries on the Berkeley campus. Moffit is one of the most typical ones. The design inside the library is modern, simple and colorful, and the exposed ceilings reveal a variety of pipes and rustic reinforced concrete structures. Through the huge glass windows of the library, you can have a superb view overlooking the campus, and the grass in front of the door is unobstructed. Reading and studying here, you can enjoy yourself greatly both in body and mind. There are also areas in the library dedicated to students to eat and discuss, and the free and active elements are bouncing in the air.
In such a campus atmosphere, Berkeley's classroom learning is also characterized by a sense of relaxation. Learning abroad does not require much memory as at home, but more emphasis on competence is needed. The teacher will give a lot of explanations and interactions outside the textbook in the classroom, such as discussing on certain topics, watching videos together, grouping assignments, and so on. There are also a lot of fieldwork after class, you need to go to downtown San Francisco or go to the park to watch performances, investigate the status quo, participate in activities, and so on. Teachers will score on the basis of students’ feedback, and scores will be instantly displayed on the online educational system. Before the start of the semester, the teacher will send each student a detailed syllabus with specific arrangements for each class. Living in a foreign country can make people feel a little uncomfortable, but foreign classrooms require students to overcome such awkwardness, boldly present their own ideas and listen to other people's ideas, and communicate calmly.
Although the homework after class is varied, it does not mean that it is fun and easy. Street interviews, shooting creative videos, watching a musical or dramatic performance, investigating the condition of a house in an area, etc. They all require a lot of effort to complete.
Although I have experienced travelling far away from my hometown, the moon on the other side of the ocean seemed not to be any rounder than in the hometown. Whether the learning environment at home and abroad is appropriate depends on the individual's learning characteristics and professional characteristics. For liberal arts students, reading a hundred volumes is a common thing, and leisurely enjoy history books with wine is a pleasure. It is not a bad thing to be a savvy. We don’t need to pursue hardware facilities and experimental equipment, for there is another feeling.
Regardless of whatever I have said, you should always open your eyes and go to a place outside the motherland to look at it. In another land, looking for another self that has not been developed, and just be yourself.
Before arrived at Berkeley, I was anxious and worried. After that, my horizon was wider and got different experiences. Reading thousands of books, traveling thousands of miles. I think that's what it means.