What Berkeley and ShanghaiTech Share


Fang Xue, School of Physical Science and Technology

This summer, we spent 21 days in USA for summer session of university of California, Berkeley. I really appreciated this experience as it taught me so much, both in study and in life.

The course I took was Peace and Conflict Studies, which was about conflict resolution and was somewhat similar to courses in SEM. Our teacher was a very kind and friendly older woman. She encouraged us to practice in the class and explore the world by ourselves, so she let one day free for us to arrange. This is a special phenomenon in UCB that almost every class has one day free. We could take advantage of this time to visit the campus, or visit cities nearby and improve our living ability in a strange surrounding.

I tried to talk with every foreign student during the class and listen to their stories. There were students from South Korea, Belgium, Greece, Russia, Italy and North America. When arranging the following classes, she would divide the topic into different nationalities and arrange so that the each table was multi-cultural. Conflict means change and difference, and we easily understood this concept because we found that students from different area had extremely different opinions.

Since I’m already a sophomore student in ShanghaiTech, I found it easy to participate into a new class. The environment at ShanghaiTech is quite similar to UCB. The bilingual classes at ShanghaiTech helped us step into the UCB class very quickly. When hanging out in the bookstore, I found many textbooks that I’d used at ShanghaiTech, like inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry, which proved to me that ShanghaiTech is consistent with top undergraduate education around the world.

In our free time, we visited the campus, especially the labs and library. Berkeley has over 70 libraries, corresponding to the majors it offers. The main library is huge church. I visited the departments of Chemistry, EECS, Life Science, Business, Law and Architecture. They had so many aspects similar to SPST, SIST, SLST and SEM, especially the modern facilities and the study environments. UCB Students were working hard everywhere. Even in the café, almost every student was tapping on their laptop while eating salad, which reminded me of ShanghaiTech students coding while having lunch.

The extracurricular life was very colorful. We formed different groups and travelled around together. We enjoyed the views of modern San Francisco as well as Yosemite and Lake Tahoe. It strengthened our abilities to cooperate and to manage our lives, teaching us so many things beyond class.

I really enjoyed this summer with friends and it was a fantastic chance for us to practice our comprehensive skills and to prepare our future academic life.