Demographics of Survey Participants
The international students who responded to this survey were mostly between the ages of 17-24, enrolled in the College of Letters & Science, Engineering, and the School of Law, and hailed from China, India and South Korea. Most students had no previous U.S. education experience (88%), nor did members of their families (78%).
Although many students had no restrictions on their ability to access online information (38%), a large number of Chinese students had limited access to Google products (Search, Gmail/Bmail, Drive, YouTube) and Facebook.
Computers are the primary device for accessing information, with mobile phones in second place. Tablets are the primary mode of accessing information for 42 people in this survey. Students prefer to receive information via email (94%) as opposed to Skype calls (1%).
Preparing for UCB
International students' top five information sources to prepare for UCB included 1) Berkeley International Office, 2) UCB website, 3) academic departments' websites, 4) consulting with UCB students and alumni and, 5) internet searches. Social media was chosen by 30% of the respondents as an important information source to prepare for UCB.
The top five challenges that international students expected to encounter at UCB included 1) understanding/meeting professors expectations, 2) work load 3) academic success 4) time management, and 5) cultural adjustment. At the bottom of this list included speaking and understanding English and maintaining relationships back home.
Comments from Students
Some of the comments received from international students about what would be helpful to prepare for UCB include the following:
"I hoped to get more knowledge such as signing up for classes (CalSo and Tele-bears) and moving in. I was not sure what to do half of the time, and had to email constantly to ask questions."
"More first-hand advising is needed. Many international students do not arrive until mid August, and thus will miss CalSo, which is the best opportunity to get advice on classes and social experiences. It would be great if international students can hear advice and experience from students on campus, not just "official website information," which is comparably abundant."
"More targeted information on how to transfer money/pay CARS (this was very difficult and confusing, especially considering the fact that it's rather large sums of money one has to pay I'd rather have more information on how to, safely, do this)!"