An Undergraduate at Berkeley from Delhi
Arman Puri, Senior @ UC Berkeley.
I am a Senior at the University of California, Berkeley studying Computer Science and Data Science. Berkeley has been an incredible experience for me. As I have grown older, I’ve learned to appreciate all that Berkeley has to offer. College life changed drastically for me when I joined a fraternity in the second semester of my freshman year. It gave me a sense of belonging and it was great to be a part of my own community. I also spent a semester studying abroad in Madrid – an experience I would highly recommend to anyone studying in the US.
My life at Berkeley started out pretty well. I attended an International Students’ Orientation which, while routine, introduced me to a large variety of students from all across the world. I made a lot of friends, some who are my closest friends now.
My dorm was pretty nice and I got lucky with my roommate who is a close friend.
Making the academic transition was tricky. I went from tiny classes in High School to massive introductory classes at Berkeley. CS61A, the introductory Computer Science class at Berkeley, is one of the largest classes in the country. I went from a relatively sheltered environment to being thrown into the deep end – something that took some getting used to.
I have primarily taken Computer Science classes for my major. I am particularly interested in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning so a lot of my upper division classes have been related to these fields. My favourite professor at Cal so far has been Josh Hug. I have taken two CS classes with him and I highly recommend taking CS61B with him as an instructor.
Since Berkeley is a public school, signing up for classes can be pretty tedious. As a freshman, I took advice from my friends who were sophomores or juniors on what classes I should enrol in. A great resource to figure out the right classes to take is a website called Berkeley Time.
A relatively unknown feature about classes at Berkeley are the student run DeCal classes. They are for 1-2 units and can be taken for a pass-no-pass grade, and are focused on a diverse set of topics. Some of the classes on offer are a Harry Potter class, a Virtual Reality class and a Meditation class.
Outside the Classroom
Berkeley has a large campus that houses over 30,000 students. It was the crucible of the Vietnam War protests in ‘69, home to many a Nobel Prize winner and is a hub for technological innovation.
I highly recommend Memorial Glade if you want to unwind and soak in the sun with some friends. Café Strada is a great place to grab some coffee as well.
I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to explore different initiatives durin.
I consider myself fortunate to have had a diverse range of opportunities to occupy myself with during my summers.
At the end of my freshman year, I went back to Delhi to work with my father to learn about our family business.
In the summer after my sophomore year, I interned at an Investment Bank, Cantor Fitzgerald, in New York.
My junior summer, I worked at a start-up accelerator in Silicon Valley where I had the opportunity to work with start-ups in the seed to series A level of funding.
It gave me a good perspective about working in the real world and also gave me a chance to evaluate what was NOT for me!
After I graduate from Berkeley, I plan to work on my start-up SoundOff. Ideally, I would like to be in Los Angeles to be close to the Music and Entertainment industry.
Advice to Aspirants
I would highly recommend that students apply to Berkeley. Berkeley has some of the best programs in the world - Computer Science, Chemical Engineering and Business to name a few. It is a holistic undergraduate education with a great student body located in one of the best places on Earth!
The classes are difficult, you will be pushed hard, but at the end of the day you will grow great amounts as an individual. My decision to join the school with the best CS department in the world definitely paid off.
If you have questions about my Berkeley experience or life as an international student, feel free to reach out to me on the Forum.
All the best!