In 2013, more than 1,000 UC Berkeley students went abroad to 37 countries all over the world as a part of the UC Education Abroad Program. Using data provided by the UCEAP office, The Daily Californian created a map detailing where students have been this year, color-coded in various shades to represent the density of students abroad. Unsurprisingly, European countries are some of the most popular destinations, but students have also selected countries as far as Botswana and Taiwan. While these countries across the sea are a long distance from Berkeley, we have tried to bring the experience closer to home by asking Daily Cal employees what they miss most about their study-abroad experiences. Read their answers below.
I wish that after class I could eat hazelnut gelato and walk on the old fortified city wall as I did in Tuscany. Go for the architecture, sunny afternoons and bike rides in the countryside. Plus, there are two historic horse races every summer that are free and open to the public. Siena is unreal!
After summer classes, everyone rides the bus to Dolby to swim in the lake. On weekends, there are music festivals and soccer games a train ride away in Malmo. Be sure to catch the train back at midnight — unless you want to party with Swedes in bars until 5 a.m.
I have been back from the Netherlands for less than a month, and a huge piece of my heart remains across the ocean. I miss almost everything about that incredible country, but one thing I miss the most is the feel of the crisp air on my face as I swiftly darted through traffic or leisurely rolled alongside peaceful canals on my trusty, rusty old Dutch bicycle.
My bike was my constant companion, and it showed me some of the most memorable and meaningful experiences of my life as it carried me through narrow cobbled streets, across the low green countryside and beside the striking canals in the land that I will always consider a home.
Strangely, one of the things I miss the most about Paris is introspective time alone. In a city full of cramped studio apartments, I learned to appreciate the mental space granted to me by my few square meters of floor just as much as I came to disdain its impracticalities when hosting even the smallest of social gatherings. Not that I isolated myself completely while abroad — some of the best friends I’ve ever made were those I regularly sat with on the windowsills of buildings once inhabited by great writers, watching the sun set over the Seine as the city’s clouded skyline morphed from a bleak veil to a patchwork of dazzling, distorting hues.
The quaint Chilean seaport village called Valparaiso, an hour away from the hectic capital of Santiago, brought forth into the country an amazing creation called the chorrillana — a giant plate of french fries layered with meat, onions and fried eggs. Meant for sharing alongside beer, the meal was the centerpiece of many dinners as my friends and I butchered the Spanish language with our new Chilean friends.
For the Irish, Sunday as the day of rest is no laughing matter, but it’s full of laughs. Adopted by an Irish friend for this weekly gathering, I experienced what a day of rest encompasses. Feasts of black sausage and baked beans, never without an Irish coffee — or three. In a culture with the uncanny ability to nourish the small joys in life, Sundays become a sanctuary for just that.
I remember this one night when I met a group of Kenyatta University students. We were at this bar called “Makuti,” and they were passing around a cigarette. I said, “Y’all are a chill group,” and Kevin said, “Yes, Audrey is chill.” I asked why. He said it was because she smoked, and not a lot of girls smoked. “Yes, Audrey is dope,” I agreed. “What about MJ?” The other guy turned and asked, “Oh, Michael Jackson? We love Michael Jackson out here!” Simple nights like these are what I miss about Kenya — reminders that a continent’s worth of distance and culture does not separate the universality of music, pop culture and straight chillin’.