When I first got to Berkeley I was worried. The public transport was expensive, every meal costs at least 10 dollars, and the standard American fare seemed to be either burgers or ribs. On the upside, the gym was huge with state of the art machines, a swimming pool, basketball courts, etc. The downside was that it was 1 km or 0.62 miles away from boarding. To be fair, I going to exercise so complaining about walking would just be counterintuitive (but we all know that cardio is the enemy).

The point is I was in a completely new and unfamiliar environment, and I couldn’t even shower comfortably. The shared toilets in the hostel had no heater, left the windows open, and safe to say extremely chilly after a bath.

Obviously, the above misgivings were merely a product of my homesickness, and once I was comfortably settled in, managed to work around them.


The Bay Area Rapid Transport (train) and AC transit (bus) both work. However, their fares are steeper than Singapore’s. Thus it is recommended to either take Uber or Lyft, if in a group of 4.

If instead a longer trip is going to be taken within the vicinity. One can take a look into car loan companies like Gigcar and Zipcar. These are not like conventional car rental companies, and not only offer cheaper rates but also operate in a fashion similar to Obike.

On a longer weekend trip, companies such as Hertz and Enterprise are good go-to as well. Berkeley students enjoy a promocode: ucbgen for Hertz.


International house serves a pretty mean breakfast spread and decent lunch and dinner menus. It would be good to check  their menus (which change daily) online beforehand to see if it conforms to your tastebuds.

There is also a great Asian safe haven located in close proximity to the school, appropriately named Asian Ghetto.

For burgers, Pappy’s (has good ribs and pulled pork too), Super Duper Burger and Bongo Burgers are all safe choices.


There are two gyms. A smaller one at California Memorial stadium (right beside International House) and a larger one at the Recreational Sports Facility.

If you’re looking for a quick workout, the smaller one at California Memorial stadium should suit your needs. If looking for other facilities such as a pool, courts or just a wider space the RSF would be your go-to.

The weather is also great for jogging in the early morning and evening.


All in all, Berkeley was a lovely place to stay with great amenities all located in close proximity and a beautiful campus of course. I hope this post will help you better acclimatise yourself there and better enjoy your stay!


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