I grew up in the capital of China, Beijing, and came to Shenzhen for my undergraduate studies. I'm majoring in financial engineering at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.
I really love studying abroad to experience a diverse campus. I have been to Australia, the United Kingdom and Singapore through exchange programs. It is not just visiting these schools as a tourist, but taking a deep dive into the local culture and study style. Choosing the Berkeley Global Access Program (BGA) for the Spring 2023 semester was my first opportunity to visit the United States, and everything felt brand new. I was excited to experience the academic atmosphere at one of the world's top universities and to meet the adorable Berkeley mascot, Oski.
For my courses, I selected Introduction to Artificial Intelligence CS 188, Principles and Techniques of Data Science Data 100 and International Marketing UGBA 167.
I specifically chose the data science course because I wanted to learn the whole process of data science comprehensively and systematically. I had already studied data collection and processing at my home university, so I chose to focus on data analysis and visualization to make data more meaningful in practical applications.
Thanks to the data science course’s discussion, I met my best friend in Berkeley, Hillary. We would study, have lunch, eat ice cream, talk for hours together—such a nice memory.
All of these courses aligned with my interdisciplinary needs. Berkeley's computer science courses are well-known, and I found the course material to be comprehensive and user-friendly. The teaching assistants were incredibly enthusiastic and responsive, providing detailed support on the forums. Also, thanks to the data science course’s discussion, I met my best friend in Berkeley, Hillary. We would study, have lunch, eat ice cream, talk for hours together—such a nice memory.
Outside of class, I want to express my gratitude to my landlord, The Berkeley Group, for providing me with a wonderful place to live. It accommodates tenants from various countries who are all participating in visiting-student programs, such those coming from Italy and Norway. Because we shared a kitchen—including a refrigerator—and a bathroom, we ran into each other every day, leading to a wide range of interesting conversations. We also had fantastic cooking exchanges and movie nights!
These international friendships are incredibly valuable. It's a unique opportunity to learn from each other, share experiences and create lasting memories. These friendships can last a lifetime and provide a global network of support and camaraderie.
For traveling, I explored San Francisco, Las Vegas, Death Valley and Monterey. During spring break, I ventured to Mexico with friends. Each place had its unique charm. I particularly enjoyed chatting with the locals.
My internship experience was the most delightful surprise. I applied for the URAP research project at the beginning of the semester, and I had heard that it's challenging for visiting students to be accepted. It was also my first research experience, but thanks to Professor Matteo Benetton at Haas, I made it!
I primarily worked on a banking loan research project in the finance field, responsible for data scraping and cleaning, and obtained interesting analysis results. I had weekly meetings at Haas with the professor and Ph.D. students to discuss and advance the project, which felt incredibly rewarding. We continued our collaboration over the summer (and beyond)!
These international friendships are incredibly valuable. It's a unique opportunity to learn from each other, share experiences and create lasting memories.
My top five things to do while at Berkeley were to fall asleep on the grass, visit Google, explore the SFMOMA art museum, spot squirrels on campus and watch the naked run at the library (unforgettable).
My advice for students starting next semester are:
Find a safe, quiet and reasonably priced housing option.
Familiarize yourself with the campus buildings and their names.
Remember, "Work hard, play hard!"
Check out my photo gallery below from my amazing time with BGA!