Tana: Accommodation at UC Berkeley

I am currently sitting on my bed on a rainy (Yes, it rains in California) Sunday night, looking out at the city lights. I can’t believe that it has been exactly one month since I arrived in the States. I have done so much in the past month, and yet it feels like I’ve only been here for two weeks.

For my first blog post I would like to talk about accommodation because it was something that I was very worried about before coming on the exchange.

UC Berkeley has several housing options available for exchange students depending on their individual preferences, all of which I researched before making my decision. I encourage you to do the same, but I would like to make this blog about the international house (i-house) which was where I chose to reside for the next few months.

Taken at the i-house retreat


To live at the i-house, you must fill out an application a couple months before your intended stay. From what I remember, it wasn’t too extensive but it did require an essay, asking you to explain why you wanted to be a part of this community.

My suggestion would be to apply as soon as the applications are available because the rooms fill up fast. In fact, I was one of the first people to fill out my application and was bumped up to a premium room on the top floor.


As you do your research, you’ll learn that the i-house is located on Piedmont Avenue which is the home of all the fraternity and sorority houses here at Berkeley. It is also a two-minute walk from the Haas School of Business which is incredibly handy for me.

i-house entrance


Based on your application, the i-house admissions team will try their best to pair you with a roommate who has similar sleeping habits and tidiness preferences.

I am sharing my room with a girl from Hong Kong who is also studying at Haas. Although it is a little weird at first to share your personal space with a stranger, it’s another great learning curve that adds to the exchange experience.

Hands down though, the best part of our room is the incredible view from the window. We are one of the few lucky people here at i-house who get a view of the whole campus, the bay and the golden gate bridge!

My side of the room
View from my window


As a resident, our meal plan is included in the accommodation fees. For the Spring Semester, I have 216 meal swipes loaded onto my Cal ID Card which is more than enough since I plan on spending some of my weekends out of town.

All meals here are buffet style and we are free to go back for more food as many times as we like.

During the week, they serve three meals a day, and on the weekends, they offer brunch and dinner.

The chefs serve a variety of options for every meal, to accommodate all dietary needs. Now, to answer the question you’ve been burning to know the answer to- yes, the food is delicious! In fact, if you don’t want to take my word for it, you can ask anyone here at UC Berkeley; i-house is campus-famous for their great food!

Dining hall on Chinese New Years


The sense of community here at i-house is simply the cherry on top. Whether it be walking down the hallway, or waiting for the elevator, you’re bound to see a smiling face which makes being away from home a whole lot easier.

Additionally, most of the people here are international students who are all in the same boat as you, so you know you’re not alone.

The international house also offers retreats, coffee nights, Zumba classes, and multiple other events to help you meet new people, make the most of your limited time here, and ensure you always have something to do.

Taken at the i-house retreat
Taken at the Sunday supper event

All in all, I am extremely glad I chose to live at the i-house because it has exceeded all of my expectations and introduced me to some incredible people from all around the globe.

If you are considering living here and have any questions or simply want to know more, feel free to email me at tkap973@aucklanduni.ac.nz.

Thanks for reading! 🙂


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