This is from one of our students in class 2013.
My name is Yan Zhang, an incoming freshman now. Two years ago, I took part in the IPCP program, and it became one of my most unforgettable experiences.
Of course, I have benefited a lot from the excellent academics of UC Berkeley, but, as a matter of fact, social life, cultural shock, and travel also played a great role during my days in Berkeley.
It has so much fun to attend the event held by IPCP. In the grand Welcome Reception, I made friends with students from Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, and Germany. One of my friends I met at the
reception invited me to join his family dinner along with “4 corner”, a Christian group. Since then, I started to blend into the local life and experience a different culture. Every Friday, we hold a family dinner, play some party games, and study the Bible together. Sometimes, we would go to the beach playing Frisbee, having fresh oysters and BBQ. Being with them, I learnt about their lives, culture, and even the table manners. I really cherish my friendship with all people from 4 corner. Besides, the weekend trip to San Francisco and superhero nights brought some adjustment to our intense study life on weekdays.
Although achieving a nice grade is our first job in Berkeley, as a Grade 10 student whose college admission is not urgent, it is necessary to learn how American college works as well. To me, it’s my first time to get in touch with syllabus or discussion class, and I learnt about professors’ scoring rubrics. All of these are something that we have never experienced in Chinese schools.
When coming back to China, I used the similar rubric and mode of instruction to manage my high school club. As for those students who like travelling and enjoying life, they wouldn’t feel the time insufficient at all. Thanks to the flexible class schedule, I do not arrange classes on Friday. Thus, I have three days to explore the bay area every week except mid-term and final week. You can find it’s not hard to watch the sunrise on Twin Peaks, or take a trolley wandering around San Francisco, or visit the notorious Alctraz, or even experience the gay culture in Castro Street. Here in Berkeley, you can find countless possibilities to travel around.
Statement for IPCP
I was fortunate enough to be a mentor for IPCP at UC Berkeley. As a UC Berkeley student, I can say with confidence that IPCP proved to offer an outstanding experience that best simulates the lifestyle of current students attending the university. The experience that IPCP has developed encourages the students to mature in a short time and helps them prepare for the challenges that they will have when they attend college in the future. Being a mentor allowed me to witness these growths personally, and I can honestly say that this program helped me fully understand what it means to attend a university in the United States for an international student.
First, since the program is a program designed to instill the lifestyle of a successful student at a top university, the program must not be mistaken for a summer vacation. Rather, we as mentors wish to teach the students to balance their schoolwork with other extracurricular activities. This program is passionate about teaching students to be successful in their academics, and as mentors we are here to help guide the students in every way they need in order to reach their goals. The program does incorporate many fun activities for the students to participate in as well, which is important for their experience too. As a mentor, it is our job to ensure that the students study well and have an enjoyable time doing so. In fact, the mentors gather in meetings in order to come up with activities for the students that will contribute to their overall being while making sure they do not take away from the studies of the students. After all, this program highlights schoolwork as a priority, and the other activities as contributors to their scholastic experience.
Additionally, in order to successfully encompass the lifestyle of a college student, the students get the opportunity to live like a true college student. Students of this university live modest lifestyles in order to succeed academically. Therefore, the living arrangements are like the current college students in a dorm where you must expect to share space with other students. As a student, I feel that this opportunity allowed me to gain respect for my peers and learn to handle any conflicts amongst my roommates in a dignified manner. Learning to respect other students and gaining tools of communication are also very important for all college students. This program is a great way to get a head start on these skills, especially with mentors who can help guide the students to handle any difficulties that they may face.
Finally, the program works. My students have gained friendships, study skills, and knowledge about how life truly is as a college student in the United States thanks to IPCP. As a mentor, my job is to ensure that the students are safe and that they have an effective experience. Because of the design of the program, the students were able to learn from the university, live as a real student, and have a fun time in a beautiful location. My students were successful in the past, and I am sure the future students in IPCP will succeed as well.