One thing I can say on behalf of every international student: Time flies quickly. In Norway, the semester is longer, which only means you should cherish your time here even more! One of the main tips is: Say yes to everything. Netflix will be there when you get back, so get out and meet people. I was lucky enough to move into a house with four athletes and another international student, whom I have come to love and adore very much.
I know it might sound weird, but there are so many wonderful and cute cafés in the Bay Area just waiting to be explored. Most of them have free WiFi—not a crisis if they don't; easier to meet people this way. If you don't have the opportunity to travel far, campus has many cafés and study spots—make it a goal to explore every single one. Not only is it a great place to study and get some peace from your roommates, but it is also a great place to meet people and taste wonderful new coffees and cupcakes.
Reseach, Research, Research
Ew, I know. But Berkeley has so much to offer, so I recommend researching the area and seeing what is available depending on the season. (Some things are free with a student ID card.) Museums have free days for students, there are buses going to different hiking areas and the beaches here are wonderful when it's warm. Plan ahead on assignments and quizes so that you have more time to enjoy weekends and holidays.
California is filled with different kinds of cultures and adventures. Rent a car and drive down the coastline like my friends and I did.
Berkeley is full of different sports depending on the season, so make sure to attend a game or two as they are full of life and school spirit—most of them are free for Berkeley students!
Explore. I cannot stress this enough. Plan ahead and say yes to every trip. In the spring there is a famous week called Spring Break, which means different things for different people. It is no secret that Spring Break is a big thing in the U.S., with popular vacation spots in Florida, Hawaii and Mexico. We went to Mexico for Spring Break, which obviously isn't a must considering San Francisco is a BART trip away, but it was fun regardless.
If you are here studying during the fall, I am certain there are other holidays that are as widely celebrated as Spring Break. Americans love to do it big. If you can't afford to go far, there are many parties and activities in the Bay Area to join. There is no pressure to travel far and wide when you've already traveled far to be right here. California is big and exciting enough alone to explore.
Let's Not Forget About the Studying
As mentioned earlier, the cafés are a great spot to study. Not only that, the libraries at campus are big, cozy and full of resources. Many of us seem to forget how many helpful people we are surrounded by. When you know your selected courses, note down your professors office hours and contact librarians for help:They truly are the secret key for good sources.
You Got This!
Studying abroad and far from home comes with its ups and downs, but talking to a friend or an adviser when things feel out of place is always helpful. There is no pressure to see and experience everything. Berkeley is a top university; you are supposed to be swamped in schoolwork. Don't be afraid to ask for help and guidance while also making sure you enjoy your time here.
Enjoy California while you can—you'll miss it when you're back home again.