Welcome to UC Berkeley

On the pier at the Berkeley Marina with the Golden Gate Bridge

On the pier at the Berkeley Marina with the Golden Gate Bridge

My new friend Rex

My new friend Rex

View from the steps at the Sather Tower

View from the steps at the Sather Tower

Welcome to UC Berkeley where I will be on exchange for the next six weeks exploring everything that the University and the Bay area have to offer; including the 27 libraries, 5 swimming pools, local cafes, farmers markets, sporting events, live music, museums and local Cal hangouts. As an American Studies student it was my dream to come on exchange to the United States and be able to experience first hand what I study. My exchange started on July 4th, American Independence day in San Francisco. I explored the city by foot and historical streetcar. It was very fitting that one of the streetcars was the Toronto colours and logo. After leaving San Francisco and crossing over to Berkeley, I was in heaven. The campus is twice the size of Disneyland and makes the University of Toronto feel small and easy to navigate. I have spent two days walking and getting lost, but to me that is part of the fun of exploring. During these explorations I found the two dinosaurs that live in The Valley Life Sciences Building, however they are just the fossils. In the end I joined a college campus tour and learned where different buildings were located and more of the history and services that Cal offers.
Berkeley was a pivotal place during the 1960s for student activism. Now this history is coming to light for me. Everything I have studied in the classroom at U of T is alive. Out of my bedroom window I have a view of People Park, an outdoor public space saved by the people of Berkeley in the 1960s when the university wanted to transform it into a parking lot. Today it has community garden and a space for people to enjoy the grass and sports courts. The best living legacy of the 1960s Berkeley is that the buildings only have one door handle, due to the lock in of the Chancellor by Free Speech Movement. The school is not the same as it was in the 1960s but its legacy continues.
From the steps of the Sather Tower, known to most as the Campanile, a 307-foot tall bell and clock tower on a clear day you can see the Golden Gate Bridge. This is one of my favourite places to sit on campus. You have an amazing view of the bridge in the distance and are in the heart of campus. As a Berkeley student I can go up the tower. I will do this on a clear day, as I want to able to see the full Bay Area.

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