Sixiong Peng is a Chinese student studying in Japan, and is a graduate of the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program, which brings international students from diverse backgrounds to study business and entrepreneurship. This post originally appeared on his personal blog. It has been edited for clarity and length.
My name is Sixiong Peng. I'm originally from China, studying here for a semester at UC Berkeley. I’d like to provide some insight into a typical day in my life here as a Berkeley student!
7:30 am—Wake Up
Since class begins at 9 am on most days, I get up at around 7:30 am. A typical breakfast consists of oatmeal and milk, which I consume quickly, in about 5 minutes. After that, I change into my outfit for the day, while doing some mobile phone work and sometimes even homework. There are five other individuals in the house that I live in, therefore, we share breakfast and toiletries, like face wash and toothpaste!
8:30 am—Leave the House
Because I live a little further from campus, I bike to school. From summer to autumn, Berkeley is sunny every day. I have only seen it rain once, something that I love. In case that it does rain, I usually go to school using the bus that stops near the house (UC Berkeley transportation is great—students get free rides!). It can be pretty chilly in the morning, and it's always cold when I'm out. However, the topography of Berkeley is hilly, so I get pretty warm when I walk to class. The slopes of the west end of the campus are steep, and the Haas School of Business is on the east end, so I'm always sweating by the time I get to class.
9 am (more or less!)—Class Begins
UC Berkeley has a unique system called "Berkeley Time," in which all classes and events start 10 minutes after the posted start time. Therefore, my 9 am classes realistically begin at 9:10 am. Morning classes are usually three hours long, with a 10-minute break in between.
"Berkeley is sunny every day and I have only seen it rain once, something that I love."
12 pm (Noon)—Lunchtime
I often go to the International House (often referred to as I-House) for lunch. Often, I eat with other Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BHGAP) students. The meals at I-House are buffet style and often include meat, vegetables, yogurt, milk and cookies. There’s quite a lot of variety, with additional items such as rice, pizza, sandwiches and ice cream.
I study in a library sometimes in the afternoon. Homework involves reading a business case and preparing your own solution for a given point, or sometimes means putting it together and writing two pages of text. There are so many beautiful libraries to choose from at Berkeley that I change places to study every two hours to change my mood.
"I often go to the International House (often referred to as I-House) for lunch. There’s quite a lot of variety, with additional items such as rice, pizza, sandwiches and ice cream."
5 pm— Events, Meetings, Club Activities
The timing depends on the day, but around this time I usually attend a talk or guest lecture, go to a class group project meeting, or do club activities. I also participate in the Language Exchange Program (LEP), which teaches languages, such as Japanese, to Americans who want to learn them, and helps us international students improve our English. For example, I ask questions about English words I don’t understand well that I've heard in daily life or in classes, and I am given feedback on how to correct sentences or my speech, which has helped me to the improve my English. One of the Americans in the program wants to work in Japan in the future, and he is quite active when asking questions about Japan. Sometimes I go to play video games at his house. We are all very close.
It costs around $15 to eat out, so I always cook at home. What I make is mostly pasta. I use Chinese cabbage and wine which I buy at a popular supermarket here called Trader Joe’s. I like dinner in Berkeley because the sun is normally out until 7:30 pm.
"One of the Americans in the program wants to work in Japan in the future, and he is quite active when asking questions about Japan. Sometimes I go to play video games at his house. We are all very close."
I have a lot of homework every day, so I usually dedicate the last part of my day to studying. To imagine this better, I have roughly 100 page readings, a 3–5 page essay, problem sets, job interviews, and other miscellaneous activities every week.
12 am (Midnight)—Bedtime
I try my best to get to sleep by midnight. Of course, I do not live this kind of life every day, and it usually varies on the weekends. Until I go to sleep I like to wind down for bedtime and take this time to relax from my busy schedule.
Special thanks to Sixiong Peng for sharing his BHGAP experience with us. Read more blog posts from Sixiong here.
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.