Remembering the night when we arrived at the San Francisco airport, we. We got off the plane, surrounded by people of different colors, speaking different kinds of languages. We looked at the sign board written with "San Francisco" I had the sense of being in a foreign country. Sitting on the bus from the airport to the dormitory, we looked at the scenery outside the window, feeling the "foreign moon". After arriving at Unit 2 and getting our campus cards and dormitory keys. It was almost ten o’clock. I rushed to the dormitory and woke up the sleeping roommates accidentally. After simply saying sorry to them, I took a quick bath. Accompanied with the expectation of the new campus life and the excitement of arriving in the new country, and more misgivings: whether I can be well integrated into local life, whether I can communicate with foreigners successful with my poor English, whether I can really learn knowledge from the summer courses. I slowly fall asleep with all these worries.
The first class began on the second day. On the way to the classroom. I couldn't help but linger on the roadside scenery, UC Berkeley's iconic bell tower, the white and grand library, the green lawns all over the school, students and tourists were lying on the glass and enjoying the sun, and the squirrels scurried around the road. I took two classes in Berkeley, one was “English for Academic and Professional Purpose” and the other one was “English Language Studies: Popular Music”. Although the summer program was short with few courses, I deeply felt Berkeley's strong academic atmosphere and their open teaching methods. More than half of my campus life was filled with readings and after-class collation. The United States implemented small class teaching. The two classes I took had only about 15 people respectively. All the tables and chairs here are mobile, which were not only conducive to students’ free debate, but also beneficial to our group discussion. In American classes, teachers’ main purpose was not to impart knowledge, but to give passionate speeches. Most of their time was spent on discussing with students and encouraging students to think. To our answers, mostly teachers did not give direct comments, but lead us to further thinking in inspiring way. Larry, a knowledgeable person, asked us questions once he opened a new topic, then he commented and added contents to our opinions. What’s more, he enthusiastically recommended the most convenient and cost-effective food market to us. Another teacher Matt, a responsible teacher, also brought me a new learning experience. Matt assigned the fieldwork every week: We stumbled into the video store to "interview" the clerks and guests. We wandered around the campus to find out about pedestrians’ music habits. Once, Matt invited us to an outdoor concert together with his son and wife. I sit on the hillside, watched the performance on the stage. I deeply felt the freedom atmosphere surrounded by people dancing to the beat, although they did not have a fixed style of dance.
Berkeley has also been very successful in the use of the Web-based Curriculum Center. Teachers could upload all the information to the course center. The homework submitted on the network would be timely feedback and revised, the assignment results could be found in the course center, too. You could also query the average score for each assignment, which is helpful for us to analyze our relative ranking in the class. The system can automatically calculate the average score of all the grades that one had got automatically, which encouraged students to finish the assignments with high quality.
However, in foreign countries, there are many challenges, too. The most obvious one is my poor language knowledge reserve. We summed up several major problems: food ordering, remembering the names of the road and people. Every time we ordered food in a restaurant. we neither looked at the menu and randomly ordered some, or we opened a dictionary application and tried to translate them. We often made jokes when we ordered strange food. In the Berkeley canteen, we often used "more of this one, few of that one". On weekend trips, it's hard to figure out the local complex transportation system and identify where we're going. The names of people were also difficult, whether it was the name of teachers in class, or the names of classmates, we had trouble in remembering them at the first time we heard their names.
I had four days for classes every week. I could finish my homework in my spare time, then I could visit other scenic spots around the school. It took about half an hour from Berkeley to San Francisco by car. We could go to Union square to buy things, and go to Fisherman's Wharf to eat seafood, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge, Jiuquhua Street and other pleasant scenery which were so beautiful that looked like paintings. Feeling the charming scenery, breathing the fresh air, I felt very relaxed.
Berkeley is close to Stanford, another world-renowned university in California. Three other students and I went to Stanford on Sunday. When I got off the bus. I was attracted by the quiet and leisurely atmosphere of Stanford. I lied on the lawn, bathing the breath of life. I looked at the blue sky, felt very relaxed. We also visited the Stanford Museum, there were sculptures with beautiful lines, various styles of painting, which reflected the deep cultural heritage of Stanford.
The time in Berkeley was very short, but it was impressive to me. It's a wonderful experience to go to a new place and be in a new culture. Although I failed to see the whole beauty of Bo Village, the part which I had seen was worth a visit.