Sixiong Peng attends university 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 at UC Berkeley. This post originally appeared on his personal blog. It has been edited for clarity and length.
Hello. I'm a graduate student who studied in UC Berkeley through the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program. I am originally from Japan. I would like to provide useful information for those who want to participate in this program! I'll introduce the program and provide some information that may be helpful to prepare for studying abroad at UC Berkeley.
What exactly is BHGAP?
The Berkeley Haas Global Access Program (BHGAP) at the Haas School of Business consists of:
Preparation for Study Abroad
I already knew that the process of preparing to studying abroad would be difficult, so it was no surprise to me when I discovered that it was just as—if not, more so—difficult as expected. What to bring, where to live, food, visas, money, mobile phones… there are so many things to check off!
Tip 1: The International House Experience
Tip 2: Finding Housing
Seventy percent of Berkeley students live in off-campus homes. Berkeley rent is twice as much as Tokyo, so most people share rooms and houses. Usually, single rooms are around $1,800, while a double (two people sharing one room) is half that. It is good to look at as much information as possible to find affordable housing. The following sites might be helpful:
Tip 3: Prepare for Bay Area Weather
When a tourist first imagines the Bay Area, they think of blue sky, temperate weather and cool breezes. Although there may be an image of this, in fact, it is usually cloudy, the sea is cold in San Francisco, and the mornings and evenings are usually cold. Be sure to come prepared with long-sleeves and pants, as this seems to be a popular option for locals.
...The mornings and evenings are usually cold. Be sure to come prepared with long-sleeves and pants, as this seems to be a popular option for locals.
Tip 4: Where to Find Japanese and Other Asian Food for Home-Cooked Meals
There is a supermarket that sells a large amount of ingredients of Asian cuisine called 99 Ranch, and you can get seasonings and foods from Japan, China and Korea. There are quite a lot. I bought tsuyu-no-mushi there.
Tip 5: The Cheapest Phone Plans
If you want to stay for a long time, SIM card can be essential. Here, AT&T and T-Mobile are major carriers, and international students who arrive usually go to stores during their first week at Berkeley to buy SIM cards. When I went on my own I was offered contract for a personal plan. However, there is a cheaper option—a family plan, and a Chinese friend of mine formed a "family" with about five other individuals and included me in this plan. It’s easy to find other individuals who need a plan, especially since nearly everyone who is coming from another country and in need of a new or updated plan. I found a group of individuals at the BHGAP orientation, and many others find people early in the year. It’s not too hard!
I'm Here to Help
Throughout this article, I tried to provide helpful information and assistance on how to better prepare for international study in Berkeley. If you have any concerns, please feel free to comment below, I would be glad to help!
Special thanks to Sixiong Peng for sharing his BHGAP experience with us.
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.