Why You Should Be a Visiting Student

UC Berkeley Extension
6 min readOct 11, 2021


What makes you interested in studying at UC Berkeley?

Selfie of students on campus wearing face masks

Top-notch academics. Amazing faculty. Diverse set of courses. Short-term programs.

These are just a few of the advantages you can take part of when you become a visiting student at Berkeley. But did you know that there’s so much more to studying in Berkeley?

Here are 6 reasons why partaking in a visiting student program is the right choice for you — as told by our recent graduates.

#1: Interactive Learning

Students sitting at round tables in a classroom while the instructor lectures

Sure, you’re learning from UC Berkeley’s renowned professors, who are esteemed professionals in their academic and research fields. But Berkeley classes require you to be an active participant. It’s not enough to sit in the classroom and take notes of the lecture. We require that you ask questions, have a dialogue with your professor and work closely with your classmates. This interaction brings the subject to life!

Letizia Fara sitting on a rock wall

“In Italy, the class size is very large and the professor just gives a lesson without a discussion. At Berkeley Global, I felt that each class was more of a conversation among classmates. I felt honored to be taught by instructors who want to listen and hear your opinion. With a classroom maximum of 30 students, I felt like I was able to learn and work with others more. We had a lot of team activities or breakout rooms when studying remotely.”
Letizia Fara

#2: Experiential Learning — Beyond the 4 Walls of a Classroom

Collage of Golden Gate Bridge, student in front of Google sign, students in front of LinkedIn sign and Welcome sign

In many of our visiting student programs, you’ll have the opportunity to visit world-renowned companies. The Bay Area is the innovation capital of the world, with Silicon Valley companies from virtually every industry within 50 miles of the campus. Bring your coursework to life with visits to leading San Francisco Bay Area companies.

Photo of Alejandro Ruiz in front of UC Berkeley Bear statue with Campanille tower in background

Every day, we also listened to experts from big companies who told us how in their professional lives they have implemented the things that we were learning. After that, we would apply the lessons to group projects. My project was working on what would become my startup.”
Alejandro Ruiz

#3: Join Activities on Campus

UC Berkeley students wearing Cal colors and holding banners

Get the full university experience by joining one — or more! — of our 1,200 student clubs and organizations. Make new friends, explore a new hobby, join others who share your interests! All great items to not only broaden your horizons, but also to put on your graduate-school application or resume.

Photo of Daniel Pham in the stands at UC Berkeley Memorial Stadium waiting for a football game to start

“There are also a lot of social activities and student clubs you can join on campus, which means that there is definitely something for everyone. In addition, there is always a lot of life on campus with dance, singing and sports happening during many of the gatherings at the university.”
Dan Pham

#4: Meet Students From All Walks of Life

Photo of numerous UC Berkeley students sitting around a water pond

Become a global citizen and expand your cultural awareness by interacting with students who come from all over the world! UC Berkeley annually attracts more than 10,000 international students each year, who come from more than 120 different countries. Being open to celebrating diversity, cultural differences and inclusion is what makes UC Berkeley so special and unique.

“Berkeley is a gateway to an environment where you can meet people from different cultures where everyone respects each other’s beliefs and different ways of thinking. I never thought I would meet people from Laos, Taiwan, Lebanon, South Korea, Australia, Japan, Scotland, Portugal and more. Everybody was looking for new challenges. Although in a competitive environment, both inside and outside the classroom, we were all still close with healthy friendships and competitiveness.”
Eduardo Ormeno

#5: Explore a New Environment

There is a whole new world to discover when you come to Berkeley, the San Francisco Bay Area and the great state of California:

When Josue Ccerhuayo was not deep into his school books, he found time to explore this new country and all it had to offer! He made his way to a variety of different locations in Northern California. He and his new friends from all over the world, traveled to the state capital, Sacramento, as well as took trips to Napa Valley and San Jose. Throughout his many road trips, Josue made it an important goal to eat his way through California — something we fully support! During this culinary experience, Josue discovered many new American foods such as potato croquettes, abalone and even dungeness crab. Read more about Josue.

Jonas Hellweg in a desert with three friends

“The landscape of California is incredibly beautiful. I cannot put it into words as you will just have to see it yourself! There is something for everyone, from mountains to the ocean to the most beautiful national parks.”
Jonas Hellweg

#6: Expand Your Network

Students pose under a TV screen in a classroom

The new friends you make will last a lifetime. The professional relationships you develop with your instructors are invaluable resources. Why? Because as you continue on with your educational goals or are ready to join the workforce, the larger network you create with a visiting student program means the more people you know who can help you in a job search — or who you can help!

“When it comes to networking, it is important to remember that you will never have the access to a network this large during your professional life as the one you have during your studies. UC Berkeley, with its countless student associations and clubs, offers quite a bit of opportunities to meet like-minded people. Take advantage of UC Berkeley’s opportunities and resources to network. Network with your classmates and get to know them. Network with professors as they have usually built a very large network of alumni over the years. A strong network can be very powerful and, if used wisely, can only be beneficial to your career.”
Jonas Hellweg

Participating in a visiting-student program is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience! You’ll get to explore a culturally diverse environment, learn exciting subjects from highly esteemed professors, broaden your vision of the world, realize your own educational and career goals and, best of all, make new friends that can last a lifetime.

We hope to see you in Berkeley very soon!



UC Berkeley Extension

UC Berkeley Extension is the continuing education branch of the University of California, Berkeley. We empower learners to meet educational and career goals.