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California Dreaming in University of California Berkeley

By Nadiah Abu Bakar and Tuan Badrul Hisham Tuan Jusoh

Our life-long dream is to study at the world’s top public policy school with world-class facility and faculty. This dream came true when we flew to the United States in January this year to spend the Spring semester at the University of California Berkeley, one of the US partner school for Universiti Brunei Darussalam under the Masters of Public Policy and Management program.

When we arrived, the first thing that came to mind was how efficient everything was. We opened a bank account in less than 30 minutes and received a debit card on the spot. Orientation week went smoothly and we were able to get our student cards, insurance, library grounding and classes selection quickly thanks to Professor Sudha Shetty and her team at International Partnerships and Alliances at Goldman School of Public Policy as well as Ms. Olga Paly and her team at Berkeley Extensions.

Coincidentally, we both applied for the same classes as we have similar academic and career development interest. This semester, we enrolled in Negotiations; Ethics, Policy and the Power of Ideas; Storytelling for Leadership; and Energy Regulation & Public Policy. The extensive readings and interesting discussions in class makes you engrossed in the topic thrown at us in each class that the three hours class sessions flew by quickly. For the Energy Regulation & Public Policy class we get to write a policy paper for a client on the energy issues in California, which we look forward to doing as it will certainly enrich our knowledge on the Energy Regulation and Policy in the US and hope to apply analytical and research skills when we return to our respective employers. Thankfully, the grueling modules and classes that we took in the first semester in UBD helps give us a solid grounding on the statistical and analytical methodology to help prepare for this semester.

Apart from the rich experience and exchanges from discussions in class, we also met lovely fellows from the Government of India and Tuaropaki Trust in New Zealand, who will certainly be lifelong friends.

The Berkeley town is a nice college town, with diverse restaurants and healthy organic food sold at affordable prices. It is also less than an hour away from San Francisco City which makes for easy getaway to relief stress after handing in mind grueling assignments. We will certainly make the most what California has to offer from this semester and look forward to our one week working visit in Washington D.C. We also hope to see the next batch of bright and hopeful students of MPPM having the opportunity to do so in the future. Go Bears!

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