I stayed in one of the largest Berkeley Student Co-ops; Casa Zimbabwe (or CZ). Known for its hippie culture and crazy parties, CZ’s walls are covered in strange murals, extensive bottle cap art, giving the whole place has a strange Alice in Wonderland/museum/opium den feeling. In such a density of clever people from all over America and the world, I learnt something new every day. I’ll dearly miss watching the sun set over the Golden Gate Bridge from the roof with my CZar family.
The physics department at Berkeley is legendary, and I got to hear about a lot of inspiring research from my professors. I didn’t find the work much different than back home, aside from the challenges that come from being in a class with far more students than mine at Otago. I even had time to take a course in Chess tactics on the side.
California is beautiful. I spent a few weekends camping on the coast, or checking out the beaches with my new friends. I’ll never forget the amazing people I met in Berkeley, and I’m endlessly thankful for the experience.