It has been a busy 4 weeks here! If you were wondering what exactly is life here at Berkeley as an exchange student, here it is:

Waking up at 8am after snoozing 5 alarms. Then heading down for breakfast.

There was one amazing fantastic wonderful day where the hostel had wanton noodle soup for breakfast. They even had chopsticks to go with it. Ahh so happy.

And then it’s time for classes. There’s this thing called Berkeley time, which means that, for example, if the class is scheduled to start at 9am, there is an unsaid agreement that it will start at 9.10 instead. All the staff and students follow Berkeley time, it’s kinda amusing hahahaha.

The summer session here gives us a lot of modules to choose from; there are things like Astronomy or French or Liberal Arts. I take 2 modules: Urban Studies and Economics. Halfway through the term and no regrets! Although we have engineering majors, I thought i’ll give it a shot in subjects that we probably won’t be exposed to in SUTD  (Ok i thought very hard about this prior to coming here. Secretly tempted to choose some calculus mod. Nerd.)

This is where I have lectures!

A bit on the learning culture here in Berkeley: students love to talk. And they are generally quite eloquent. A discussion here is always active because there’s constant interaction between students and instructors.

Also something about learning  social sciences in a foreign country: it’s been a huge eye-opening experience. In Urban Studies we talk a lot about the social interactions in cities and suburbs; the politics of housing and rent; capitalism, justice and ethics, informalization and poverty… There’s so much more going on in the world that we should be more exposed to.  It really gets you thinking and makes you appreciative of what we have back home.

School can get quite exhausting because of the readings and material we still have to cover outside lessons. But the best way to end the day is going to climb!! It only takes a 20 min bus ride to get to Berkeley Ironworks, our climbing gym for this summer.

The gyms here are so much bigger than Singapore’s. We travel to the other gyms in California too. (This one is Hollywood Boulders in Los Angeles.)

The climbing culture in US is great. We spent some time getting to know the climbing community here. This sport is super fun, really because of the hype you share with your climbing friends when you tackle a new problem. 10/10 will recommend climbing to anyone. ANYONE.

And we end our day with supper nearby school. They usually open till late to cater to students like us. Nothing like warm pasta after an exhausting day.

(P.s. that’s garlic ON bread. It’s really good.)

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