International House

International House

As predicted, I could access the International House only after the weekend (see my previous post).

The residence was built in 1930 to host students and researchers from all over the world (and partly from the US as well), so for about one hundred years it has somehow represented the “linking point” between UC Berkeley and the world.

One interesting fact is that when I was filling in the admission form that I mentioned in my previous post, I could read that the I-House staff always tries to have guests who be as heterogeneous as possible, both in geographical and in academic terms, which is surely a good thing. The website did report the fields and the countries for which the was an “excess demand” and that therefore would face difficulties in receiving a positive reply. Concerning the fields of study, law, economics, and engineering were predictably the most present ones, while China, Japan, Singapore, Germany, France, and Norway were indicated as the countries of origin of most guys. And what about Italians? None indeed. A couple of times I tried to ask the Residente Assistants – the guys living in the I-House who have roles of responsibility, some sort of “class representatives” – but I have always received replies such as “Uhm, maybe there is an Italian girl on the 8th floor, but I’m not sure”. Bottom line, I am likely to be the only Italian here! After all, the following picture is probably, although indirectly, really explanatory 🙂

The I-House is essentially as one can imagine it: it is very austere, classical; the Great Hall – which of course is the main room – immediately reminds an atmosphere like Oxford in the 19th century (I have never been to Oxford, obviously 🙂 ), and it is a pleasure to sit on the armchair and think about the past ages. Coherently, rooms are quite spartan, and bathrooms are shared, but it’s OK. Actually I have been experiencing a very annoying technical problem which has been affecting a bit my experience here… But I will talk about it the next posts, in case: enough talking about problems for now!

Rather, let’s upload some photos, and let’s start from the external view:

Here’s the Great Hall:

Random stairs (… it is indeed the staircase leading from the Great Hall to the dining hall):

The dining hall:

By the way, the pictures of the dining hall remind me that concerning food the level is very good (for sure related to my experience in these America months, but also in general terms, I must say).

Finally the library:

Naturally, the I-House official website reports a more complete and for sure better portfolio of pictures.

Now, as said in my previous post, this will be my house until August 12. Or better said, thereotically it will be like this: practically everything will depend on the solution that I will find for the future months. For instance, I could find an accommodation whose rent starts on August 1…

We’ll see. In the meantime, every day I go to the Great Hall to read the San Francisco Chronicle, smoke a cigar and drink sherry… Yes, sure! 🙂 Seriously, in the Great Hall it is much easier to find guests watching Game of Thrones… Oxford in 19th century, as I said 🙂

Comments are closed.