The days of winter break before I left for Japan felt immeasurably long. The previous semester, I had applied to a winter travel study program in Japan, a partnership between the Haas School of Business and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Kakehashi program. The program was a week long, and I would earn my final two elective business units before graduating in May 2017. Best of all, the trip would be completely free! I had already devoured the Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet reviews for every landmark I could extract from our Japanese-heavy itinerary. I prepared a mental list of all the Japanese cuisine I hoped to sample: spicy tuna sushi rolls, gooey mochi ice cream, heaping bowls of yakisoba. I grew up in a rural mountain community of about 1,000 people where only one restaurant attempted Japanese food, Pangea. Their menu was a hodgepodge of different cultures, vegan choices and local foods. Beyond that, however, I did not know how to prepare for the trip. Before that week, I had never been to a country where I didn’t speak the local language. I resolved to say “yes” as much as possible, and keep diligent records in my journal.
I hope that everyone had a lovely winter break and holiday season! We are about one month into the spring semester which means that classes are in full swing and believe it or not, midterms are nearly upon us. During the precious month we had off, I split my time between the rain (and even snow!) in my hometown of Seattle and the desert sun of Palm Springs, where I was able to get in some hiking and yoga. While winter break was relaxing, it is definitely good to be back and it’s surreal to be marking this as my last semester at Cal. My hopes for the next couple of months are to enjoy my classes and the opportunity to learn before I start work. Luckily I was able to take some classes that I’ve been wanting to take since freshman year, such as French and Development Studies C100: the History of Development and Underdevelopment.
The freedom to speak, to stand up for what we believe in, is an integral part of UC Berkeley. This usually manifests itself in the form of protests, a unique and well-known aspect of our campus. And lately, news of them has been popping up everywhere. The 2016 presidential election affected the student body deeply, as it has been one of the most controversial and emotionally charged in our nation’s history. The results of the election were, of course, the highest point of emotional fever. And, to top it off, the recently proposed tuition hikes for the university and the sexual assault policies of universities across the country have left many students feeling powerless.
I walked into the room and was greeted by colorful furniture, clean white walls, and an eager group of my fellow Bears with laptops and notebooks out. It was my first meeting for the Financial Inclusion Collider at the newly opened Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (SCET). A representative from the social impact venture capital firm Omidyar gave a presentation about the issues surrounding global financial inclusion; we were then assembled into small teams in which we discussed potential solutions, whether it be expanding access to obtaining credit cards in rural regions of South America or creating mobile financial literacy curriculums. At the end of the meeting, we left the Sutardja Center excited and full of ideas and questions to tackle in the weeks ahead.
Here at UC Berkeley, the number one public university in the world – yes, I’ll take any chance to say that – we are offered opportunities that are pretty special, and ones that are offered to us alone. Usually when we think about these kinds of things, the first thoughts that pop into our heads are the incredible chemists, physicists, astronomers and physicians that work on our campus, that are always on the edge of the newest discovery in their fields, making waves in the scientific community. However, though not as often basking in the spotlight, our bank of resources is not limited to the sciences; we also have a wealth of rare and remarkable literature at our disposal.
As an international student from the Philippines, I’m very grateful to find my second home here at Cal and to find a family with my roommates, classmates, teachers, and advisors. However, I still long for something that is very close to home, one of which is Filipino cuisine. I was surprised to see that even though the Filipino community in Berkeley is big, there aren’t many places that offer Filipino food. I can get my Asian food fix and my Western food fix right away, but not my home food fix. Thus, before classes began, my Filipino roommate decided to bring me on a 30-minute drive to Concord, CA (one can also take the BART train to go to this city) and visit the famous Filipino supermarket, Seafood City Supermarket.
Performing well in school, balancing a thriving social life, and maintaining a healthy diet plus exercise regimen—that’s the goal right? Though it sounds straight forward, it’s often difficult to juggle all the elements collegiate living has to throw at you. Thankfully, here at Cal, the RSF (Recreational Sports Facility) has all Berkeley students covered in regards to keeping active and healthy.
Nestled conveniently behind the Haas Pavilion, the RSF is UC Berkeley’s largest fitness center. The RSF spans an impressive 100,000 square feet, including an Olympic sized swimming pool, seven basketball courts, seven racquetball courts, three weight rooms, six squash courts, and plenty of workout equipment (treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, rowing machines, and stairmasters). In addition, the RSF also has space for group exercise classes, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, and martial arts. Best of all, the cost of using the facility is completely covered for Cal students—just swipe your ID card, and you’re in. It’s basically an exercise junkie’s paradise!
If someone were to ask me before I came to the U.S., “What type of cuisine would you choose to eat for the rest of your life?” and if I can only choose one, I would have to say that it would be the Asian cuisine (I had to combine all types of Asian cuisine into one, because it’s too hard for me to choose one among them). I have what I like to call an Asian stomach, which means that my stomach can usually just handle Asian food. I grew up with Chinese and Filipino dishes. I would not only eat them, but also I would always watch my parents cook them, until I would volunteer to help out and cook with them. When my family and I go out to eat, we always go to a same Chinese and/or Filipino restaurants. But sometimes, we would explore, but again it would be an Asian cuisine: Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese. I like to eat spaghetti, and even though this is an Italian dish, the tomato sauce we use is the Filipino style sauce, so it’s a lot sweeter than the original Italian sauce.
Did you know, the event that the Wall Street Journal dubs “the race even marathoners fear” is hosted exactly 13.6 miles away from Berkeley? Well it is—and that event is called The San Francisco Marathon.
Hosting approximately 26,000 runners from all over the world, The San Francisco Marathon is known for its amazing views of Fisherman’s Warf, its spectacular course along the Golden Gate Bridge, and, most importantly, its killer hills winding throughout the steepest inclines throughout SF. It’s a thrilling and gratifying experience, and best of all, it’s well within commuting distance from Berkeley!
This summer, I face the challenge of balancing studies and work. I’m currently taking two summer classes while working as both a UC Berkeley Campus Ambassador and a Planetarium Presenter at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Before summer, while I was making my summer schedule, I initially thought that it would be impossible for me to study and work at the same time, especially if I have in-person classes. I was also starting to feel sad that I won’t be able to work as much because I love my jobs. However, I was very happy to find out that the two classes that I’m currently taking are online classes, which give me lots of flexibility when it comes to studying and scheduling my work shifts. Also, I have never taken an online class before, so I was excited to get started and experience what it’s like. Now that it’s the middle of summer and I have concluded my first class, I would say that there’s definitely some beauty to online classes and also some disadvantages.