Arriving at the School of Information in Berkeley really felt like coming home. The university lives up to the expectations we had prior to our stay. Besides being one of the best academic institutions in the world, the campus lies in the beautiful scenery of California and the spirit of the vibrant city of San Francisco can be strongly felt. And on top of that, Berkeley is surrounded by inspiring and visionary atmosphere of the Silicon Valley.

Being able to study and work in an environment like this leaves a lasting impression for both the professional and personal development. There is more to Berkeley and the bay area then only its exceptional education, research and entrepreneurship. Barely have we ever seen a melting pot with such a variety of people and such a high tolerance and even encouragement for being different. People don’t hold back at all and express themselves in the most colorful ways. Be it at spontaneous artistic performances on Campus or the monthly first Friday festival in Oakland. Most certainly this is what fuels the “innovative-ness” of Silicon Valley. If Germany could learn something from this area than it is thinking big, taking risk, and embracing failure. Above all there are no strangers in this environment and there are very few places in the world that will make you feel that welcome and at home in such a short time. This not being enough, California further embraces you with the most stunning landscapes and vibrant cities. Even in a year of El Nino this state truly earned its image as sunshine state.

We were hosted by the School of Information and our professor became a mentor and friend to us. It was both, fun and enriching to discuss our individual ideas, global issues, and potential career paths together – be it on a hike or during lunch. The students studying at the School of Information welcomed us with open arms and shared their interdisciplinary skills and diverse experiences. The whole environment is very similar to the CDTM and its spirit and probably that’s why we felt like coming home to Berkeley.

CDTM has a biannual exchange program with Berkeley and last semester four students used this opportunity to visit UC Berkeley. More information about CDTM exchange opportunities can be found here.

Authors: Anne Greul & Jann Speyer