From my original application up until preparing to go home today, the whole experience of Berkeley summer session has been such a big harvest. Although what I came here to learn was not related to my own major, this experience really impressed me.
No doubt, the most important part has been study. The course I took was Films in History. It is a liberal arts course and I really enjoyed it, after studying science courses throughout the whole year. During the course, the teacher worked to promote exchanges between the students, and tried to get us to think deeply, communicate and discussion. Those ways were the main ways we gained knowledge in class and it really worked well for our studies, especially for a liberal arts curriculum.
Self-study (such as reading books, researching in the library, taking notes) is the main way for us to acquire knowledge, and this is also a big difference between the Chinese and American university education. Paying attention to self-study is one of the most efficient ways to improve our abilities. Improving your abilities is not only about gaining knowledge, it includes learning how to face our troubles, adapt to new environments and deal with different situations.
Studying in an American university there is heavy pressure. In UC Berkeley, undergraduate schoolwork is really stressful. In the cafes near the school, on the lawns, on the steps, nearly everywhere we can see people holding sandwiches while studying. It is common to see people in heated discussions at the gym or at the lunch table, or on the way.
Apart from study, I treasure memories of our life here. What impressed me most is how the Americans treat their culture and technology. On the one hand, there are old buildings everywhere. People are not allowed to change the appearance of their house, let alone building new ones. Even in San Francisco, such a huge and technological city, you can see wooden houses, graffiti, and plenty of old plants all over. On the other hand, we can find technology at every corner. The Berkeley bus tilts to make one side lower when it stops to offer convenience for people to get on or leave the bus especially those in wheelchairs. There are plenty of ingenious designs in this small but charming city which constantly reminded me of how huge the gap is between China and America.
Traveling was also an important part of our plans and I believe every one of us went to San Francisco. San Francisco is a city full of technology, talents and companies, due to well-developed education industries as well as the favorable climate conditions. Here we can enjoy sunshine, waves and flowers. San Francisco is similar to other international cities but not exactly the same. It respects its own tradition and culture. People there are mostly well educated and are under pressure but they also gain much. As for me, I was only overwhelmed by the attractive scenery and enjoying free time without study.
All in all, during those three weeks in UC Berkeley, I gained a lot of precious memories and found a clear direction for my future plan. I’m looking forward to coming again to this land full of humanity and science.
---By Lin Ziheng, School of Physical Science and Technology