California Dreaming

BHGAP student Markus Bendele describes the attractions of Berkeley beyond academics

Markus Bendele is a graduate of the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BHGAP), which brings international students from diverse backgrounds to study business and entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley. This post originally appeared on his blog and has been edited for clarity and length.


Month #2: Berkeley Activities—Hiking and Horse Races

Markus posing with a group of friends and fellow BHGAP students at the Golden Gate Field Dollar Days

I’d like to talk about hiking and horse racesyes, you heard right. There is a lot of fun stuff to do around the Bay Area and even though my workweek is packed with essays, readings and group projects, I sometimes get to go on adventures with my new international friends. For instance, we went hiking when the weather was good. And let me tell you: In terms of hiking, Berkeley is the place to be. I can really recommend the Panoramic Hill→ Chaparral Peak→ Strawberry Canyon Loop. What a name, right?

But there is other stuff to do around here as well: one thing that might become a Sunday ritual is Golden Gate Fields Dollar Days. It is a place where you can watch horse races and pay $1 for everything: $1 entrance fee, $1 hot dogs and $1 beer. At the same time, you can bet on horses with funny names and have a great time with your friends.

A half-eaten meal paired with a wine glass perched atop a table, photographed with a view of the sun setting on the ocean through a window

Dining Attractions

Another thing that needs to be complimented is the food here in the Bay Area, especially in Berkeley. An area called the Gourmet Ghetto, the birthplace of Californian cuisine, offers a variety of different dishes from all around the world.

There are probably a ton of things I am still missing, but this is what my experience has been like so far. The good thing is: If you ever run out of things to do in Berkeley, San Francisco is just a 30-minute Uber drive away. And the surrounding Bay Area is worth visiting as well. Below is a picture of a weekend road trip we went on to Santa Cruz.

The Santa Cruz Boardwalk entryway sign, taking during the evening and with looming palm trees and people walking around pictured behind


Learn More 

The Berkeley Haas Global Access Program brings international students to UC Berkeley to study business and entrepreneurship. It also offers plenty to do and see outside of class.

Want to hear more student perspectives? Read more BHGAP blogs or visit our website.