Study Abroad in University of California, Berkeley

From the beginning of January to the end of April 2014, I completed the International Diploma Program of the UC Berkeley Extension with a specialization in Global Business Management. Overall, I liked the program as a whole and it has brought me significantly forward in my international apprenticeship.

First some information about me. I am 26 years old, after graduating from high school I did a classic banking training and then completed a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. At the same time, I worked for three years in human resources management at a bank. Between the Bachelor and subsequent Master’s degree I wanted a international stopover insert. Here I came across MicroEDU , who supported me very well in the search , application and preparation for my semester abroad.

It was always clear to me that I wanted to spend a semester in the USA. Therefore, MicroEDU recommended several universities in the USA that offered interesting programs for me. After thinking about it for a long time – the entire process took almost a year because I made my first contact with MicroEDU very early in my bachelor’s degree – I then decided on the International Diploma Program at UC Berkeley.

  • Check topschoolsintheusa for more about The Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley.

Reasons for UC Berkeley

  • The university’s reputation is excellent. UC Berkeley has been one of the world’s leading universities for decades. In the current ranking of Forbes Magazine , it was once again among the top 5 universities in the world.
  • The program offered (Global Business Management) was exactly the direction I wanted to go. If international, then right. So the program was just right for me.
  • The university touted that it was a highly international program with students from all over the world. (Which was definitely the case!). This gave me the opportunity to build up a very internationally oriented group of friends and to orient my view much more globally.
  • The program fit my schedule perfectly. After completing my bachelor’s degree in November and before starting my master’s degree in the following summer, the program was very timely.
  • California – That actually speaks for itself! Studying in the Sunshine State with a view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge is, I think, a dream of almost every student. In addition, you are right in the middle of it all and have your finger on the pulse of the times. The proximity to Silicon Valley and the unbelievable future orientation of the Bay Area are two important arguments, not only for anyone who would later like to work in this direction.
  • I had read on the internet beforehand that the program was very intensive. That also worked. I didn’t want to just do a “party semester”

The preparations

The preparations, starting with the selection of the university, the entire application process and all organizational points that have to be dealt with in advance, are very extensive and take a lot of time despite the good support from MicroEDU. Therefore, especially if you are not sure where you want to go, you should take care of it at least a year before the planned date. (The pure application etc. then takes 3-6 months). The application and the chance to be accepted shouldn’t be a big issue if you meet all the requirements. What is relatively cumbersome and takes a lot of time are all the formalities with the visa etc.

The studies

The course itself is very variedand for the most part very interesting. However, what I had read in advance quickly came true. If you want to spend a relaxed semester abroad with as little time as possible, this is definitely the wrong place. The program is extremely time-consuming and requires a lot of work. Not necessarily because the academic level is too high, but rather because you are constantly preparing presentations in group work (according to the actual university program!), Writing papers (multi-page papers), doing homework, reading books and worksheets and preparing for quizzes and exams got to. There is not much real free time left. At the beginning you strive to really read every book, but at some point you get to the point where it just doesn’t work anymore, because you simply don’t have the time. So you have to divide your time as efficiently as possible.

As a rule, a normal university day looks like that you have two subjects per day, each with three hours each. It starts at 9:30 a.m., there is an hour’s lunch break at 12:30 p.m. and then the second part of the day continues until 4:30 p.m. Then, as I said, the further work mentioned above is still to be carried out. Basically 3-4 courses run at the same time, most of which run over 10 seminars. In our IDP there were 19 students with whom you go through the entire program from start to finish.

The program itself is not too demanding and should be easily manageable for anyone with a little effort who already has a comprehensive business management Previous education. (Personally, I was able to finish the program with an average of 1.3). But we also had some “non-subject” students among us who only had basic business management experience. For these students, of course, the workload was a lot higher. Finance in particular drove many to despair at first. Calculating futures, options and “hedging” currency risks are not necessarily for everyone, especially if you haven’t heard of them before. Nevertheless, in the end everyone passed the course. You should be able to speak English well (understand, read, write), but it does not have to be the most perfect and polished English. The lecturers know that English is not the mother tongue and evaluate more according to content than expression.

As in every degree and at every university, there are better and worse professors / “instructors”. Of all eight instructors, three were really very good, inspiring and very strong in character. Three were average but prepared and presented their material well and two were really weak. The lectures were repeatedly upgraded by really good guest lectures by start-up founders, internationally active managers or other business people from Silicon Valley and the Bay Area.

Subjects: Management Accounting (Management Accounting), International Business Law , International Finance, International Business Management , Economics ( Vokswirtschaft ), Global Negotiation (Global Negotiation ) International Marketing Strategy, Global Supply Chain Management , Entrepreneurship.

Note: Other IDPs such as “Marketing” are significantly less time-consuming and demanding.

The University

The UC Berkeley Extension is a kind of “branch office” of UC Berkeley (legally a separate company with a UC Berkeley license), which specializes specifically in international programs and students. All courses take place in a modern building near the actual campus. The campus is really very nice and just like you know it from Hollywood Movies. From the campus you have a wonderful view of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Studying here in bright sunshine is something.

The university is characterized by its great history and, above all, its “diversity”. The students come from all over the world. In our course there were: 6 Brazilians, 1 Argentine, 1 German, 2 French, 1 Australian, 1 Pakistani, 1 Indian, 2 Japanese, 1 Chilean, 1 Taiwanese and 2 Spaniards (proportion of women approx. 50%, age range 23-33). The instructors are all US-Americans with a lot of work experience.

Housing, food and leisure

I personally stayed at the International House Berkeley. The I-House is a very large student residence with around 550 students from 60 different countries. There are double and single rooms, three really good meals a day and an extensive range of leisure activities, as well as seminars or lectures. The price is around $ 1,600 per month. What sounds like a lot at first is actually not that much. For example, those who opt for an apartment near the university pays around $ 1000 rent per month, but they have to take care of food and everything else themselves. And food in particular is very expensive in the USA, so that in the end you end up with a similar price per month. AThe big advantage of the I-House is that you deal with new people from all over the world every day. (That was one of the best experiences of the entire stay!). Afterwards you see the world with different eyes.

One disadvantage is that it is relatively far from the university. We walked about 25 minutes every morning. On the way back, however, we mostly opted for the bus, as it is very uphill. Price per trip $ 2.10.

Of course, if you don’t overdo it, there is still time to take one or the other party with you on the weekend or to visit the sights around San Francisco. For longer trips, such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon etc., the time frame is very tight. Therefore you should definitely plan 2-3 weeks before or after the actual study program to explore California. I would definitely recommend it after graduation, as you can then spend a lot of time with your new friends.

The possibility of using the well-equipped gyms at UC Berkeley is also really good. Sport is extremely important at the university and you can benefit from it. Price for one semester $ 150.


The cost of the entire program is enormous! The course itself costs just under $ 14,000, accommodation in the I-House around $ 7,800, leisure activities around $ 1,000, mobility (bus, suburban train, occasional rental car) around $ 500 and, of course, a flight of around $ 1,000, Visa & preparations around $ 400, and other costs around another $ 250. That makes a total of almost 25,000 dollars – approx. 18,000 euros.

This is really a lot of money, but from my point of view it is worth it. Not necessarily because the program itself is so breathtaking, but rather because you have an incredibly international experience at one of the top universities in the world. The name “Berkeley” alone outweighs a lot. Everyone I told I was going to this university was enthusiastic beforehand and, of course, the whole thing doesn’t look bad on the résumé either. Even more, however, the new friends and contacts from all over the world are a huge asset. I wouldn’t have thought beforehand that I could take so much with me and learn from them. This new international “network” and the experience gained are simply priceless. You get a completely different impression of the world and other cultures.


All in all, the semester was a great experience that really brought me forward. Thinking and acting internationally and globally has taken on a whole new meaning for me and I definitely see the world with different eyes. I have learned a lot from my fellow students in particular and will definitely benefit from this knowledge in the future. If you are still thinking about doing the program , I can only tell you, do it! If you are still looking for the right university and are basically willing to do (and pay) a little more, I can only recommend going to Berkeley. You will not regret it! If you have any further questions, just ask MicroEDU for my contact details!

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