by Anna Cheung

I could hardly believe that two months had passed and my time at Berkeley had ended when I finally arrived the Narita Airport in Tokyo.

During this summer, I had taken two courses, one about “Business Speaking” and the other one about “Analytic Decision Modeling Using Spreadsheets”, in order to learn different cultural differences through formal discussions and sharpen my skills in data analysis.

In the former course, I was able to learn and understand the cultural differences and how the nurturing culture affects the way people negotiate, think, decide or act under varying circumstances. We were assigned readings and videos after class, which helped us better prepared for the next in-class discussions and better understand the business concepts, manners and cultures in the World. Furthermore, I could participate in several business events held in San Francisco as field works. I visited the University of San Francisco and sat for the admission talk held there, participated in a start-up networking event held in the hub in downtown San Francisco; and had the chance to sit for a marketing lecture in the Biotech area in South SF. I gained exposure to various formats of business events in different industries, and had the opportunity to socialize with and get to know the practitioners in these fields. Through this course, I did not only have the chance to “speak”, but also opened my mind, to new cultures, new industries and to know people not from my field. At the last day of the class, each student had to make a 10-minute presentation on any topic related to the course in any preferred format. I chose to conduct a case study on a real start-up business based in the Bay area and presented my results to the whole class. I had a strong sense of satisfaction when my classmates and tutor gave positive feedback to my performance.

Another class I had taken also gave me splendid experience. This course is about machine learning, a rather new business concepts in driving decisions by analyzing data. As a student majoring in quantitative finance, I think it is vital to learn how to get the optimal solutions when we face dilemmas in business operations. Unlike the previous course, we did not have many readings. Instead, the professor allowed us freedom in the study, as we had quite a long time for doing assignments and we could use online study system to plan and manage our own study. Mostly importantly, professor set a laboratory class every week to guide us through actual practice on machine learning. I could put what I had learnt into practice and really tested if it worked. I think his way of teaching was very effective and the lectures were very insightful.

Outside classes, I also gained eye-opening experience. I had been living in a house operated by the student co-op, so I was able to meet other students of my age but with contrasting cultural backgrounds. During weekends, we held parties, barbeque events and all kinds of social events. Since the house was run by students, we had compulsory hours of work shifts. We worked together, we dined together and we talked together. Even though we had different cultural values, we were able to grow our friendships and we are tied together. I really like the warm atmosphere and I felt like I have been at home. I also had weekend trips with friends made there to different places. I had been to oyster farms (to taste the yummy fresh oysters), brewing factory, Sacramento (the State Capital), outlets (for shopping) and we had even went camping on recreational vehicle. These moments certainly enriched my life at Berkeley

I am thankful for the support of FUTI. Had it not been by your support, I would not have had such an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience.