The best summer I have ever had

Yuanqi Gu (Genki Ko)

Six weeks. It seemed so long for me before the start, but it turned out that it’s rather too short at all. This summer, I took part in UC Berkeley Summer Session for six weeks. It was my first time to study abroad. Although I had long wanted to have such experiences, I never actually tried to do it, because I felt anxious about leaving a familiar place and putting my self in a different environment. However, I realized that it was the time for me to break out of my shell and have courage to do something challenging. Now, when I’m writing this report after coming back to Japan, I’m quite sure that it was one of my best decisions to apply for this program.

I took two classes, “Marketing” and “Technology vs Psychology”, during the Summer Session. My major is psychology, especially judgement and decision making. These two classes were both unfamiliar to me, but I was happy to try a different area to be gain various points of view.

Marketing, I guess, was one of the most tough classes during this summer. It was provided by the Haas School of Business, a world’s leading business school in US. The professor required us to write three briefs, take two exams, and do one group presentation, as well as the daily preparation and review for the class. In addition, class participation was highly emphasized, and students were required to express their opinions loudly in class, which was hard for me because I was not used to do it. The professor was strict, and the amount of materials and assignments were overwhelming. I felt I made a big mistake to choose this class as a beginner of marketing at first. However, the professor had a sense of humor and his lecture was very intriguing. My interests in consumer behavior also deterred me from swapping this class. As time passed, I was getting a sense of fulfillment every time I finished a task and started to enjoy this class. There were many stories about famous companies in materials which you could feel were very close to the real world. Also, even we would learn some basic principles, there was no exactly right of wrong answer when applying your knowledge to a practical problem and find a solution. It was encouraged to think creatively and have your originality. Group discussions were also important and exciting because they would provide a useful idea you might not come up with otherwise. We also deepened our friendship in carrying out a project together. In the end of the Summer Session, I was able to grasp the whole image of basic marketing. Though what I learned was a little different from what I expected before because there were not so many references from a psychological point of view, I appreciate all the experience I had in this class.

The other class, Technology vs Psychology, sounds close to my major, but psychology covers a wide range and the content of this class was totally new for me. The lecture reviewed the effects of the Internet technology on human beings, which included both pros and cons, introducing some practical usage and mental disorders. What I struggled in this class was how to deal with exams which required a short answer in English. Although writing an essay in basic English is not a great difficulty for me, it was challenging to take an exam of subjects with some difficult verbs and technological terms. The exams required students to answer questions in sentences instead of providing multiple choices. At first, I could not find a good way to prepare for the exams and do nothing but memorizing the sentences on materials almost exactly as they were. However, I came to realize that it was useful to interpret the essence on materials in your own words even they were basic English, which I believed was what teachers wanted students to learn the most. Eventually, even though I could not improve my grade dramatically, I was satisfied with my findings in this class.

Outside classes, I also had amazing life. I lived in a dorm, which is located near the campus. I met many nice people from all over the world there. The dorm held some exciting events such as coffee hours on every Wednesday and Alcatraz tour on weekends. Their food was also delicious, and the dining hall was a place allowing me to get relieved of my homework and enjoy meals with my friends. During weekends, I visited several places I had long wanted to go in California with my friends; Disney California Adventure Park, Charles M. Schulz Museum, and so on. I was also lucky to see the fireworks on the Independent day. Just a simple day with my friends made my heart warm. All these experiences I could not have had without this Summer Session.

I really appreciate the support from FUTI. This program changed my way of living in various respects, giving me courage to enter a new world and teaching me to be patient on the way to my dream. Again, thanks for every support I received, and thanks everyone I met during this summer.