Summerfuel Summer Programs: Study Abroad Programs for High School Students

UC Berkeley

Spend your summer West Coast-style on campus at UC Berkeley, a premier research university with access to the exciting city of San Francisco.

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June 28 - July 25, 2015
Program Fee:
Completing grades 9 - 12
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Summerfuel at Berkeley?

Berkeley is known worldwide as a center for academic achievement, scientific exploration, cultural activism and the arts. Summerfuel Berkeley is hosted on the campus of UC-Berkeley, the nation’s premier public university, attracting over 30,000 students from more than one hundred nations. It boasts a faculty that includes eight Nobel Laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and more top ten graduate programs than any other US university.

Summerfuel Berkeley is an opportunity for high school students to explore academically and grow socially. The program structure balances enriching academic coursework with exciting extracurricular activities and excursions. Each day is designed to encourage learning and exploration through a combination of guided coursework and activities and the freedom to explore independently.

Please note this program is operated by Summerfuel at UC Berkeley, one of several locations where Summerfuel operates a program. The University and its Conference Services are not responsible for the program in any way.

Program Schedule

  • June 28 • Welcome to Berkeley!
  • June 29 • Orientation / Classes Begin
  • July 04 • Six Flags
  • July 05 • San Francisco
  • July 11 • Santa Cruz & Surfing
  • July 12 • SF Giants Game
  • July 18 • San Francisco
  • July 19 • Stanford & Palo Alto
  • July 25 • Goodbye, Berkeley

Learning in Berkeley

Select two courses and a workshop for an opportunity to pursue as varied a curriculum as you would like. Whenever possible, courses use the resources in Berkeley and in San Francisco to provide applied, practical experiences for students.

Discover Berkeley

Berkeley is composed of several eclectic pedestrian friendly “villages”—from Telegraph Avenue with its urban street vendors to the upscale specialty shops of North Shattuck—offering students an excellent mix of boutiques, restaurants, and nightlife activities as well as “only-in-Berkeley” people-watching opportunities.

Experience Northern Cal

Together we will explore the beautiful city of San Francisco, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. We will also make sure to visit the beach and boardwalk in Santa Cruz, Stanford University in nearby Palo Alto, and Six Flags for some thrills.

I learned how to live in an environment in which adults trusted me and gave me a lot of freedom. I met people from around the world, explored Berkeley and San Francisco and took interesting and challenging courses. I loved my RA and my RA group. The people I met here fascinated me and made me laugh every day.”

Sara D., Connecticut

More Testimonials
Read the Berkeley blog Berkeley Summer Blog
Student Life Intro
LIfe in a day

Each day attend exciting classes, fantastic activities and have plenty of time free to get to know Cal and your new friends.

Student Life 01

Every morning wake up in UC Berkeley’s beautiful Foothill Dormitory.

Student Life 02

Discover what you love while enjoying interactive, engaging courses.

Student Life 03

Lunch in Foothill Dining means good food with good friends.

Student Life 04

Explore Berkeley while uncovering new talents or enhancing existing ones.

Student Life 05

Grab dinner on campus and then take some time to relax.

Student Life 06

During free time the Summerfuel team will make sure there are always organized options.

Your Summer Home

Your home with Summerfuel at Berkeley will be Foothill Dormitories, located in the beautiful wooded northeast corner of campus.


Foothill offers spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. Surrounded by eucalyptus trees and nestled into the hillside much like a ski lodge, Foothill is a comfortable and relaxing environment to call home. You will share a double room, grouped in a suite with a living room and bathroom. All suites are single sex and are overseen by a dedicated resident advisor. Foothill’s exterior courtyards are complemented by excellent interior facilities: a game room, modern lounges and laundry facilities.


Foothill dormitories have 24-hour security, with separate key access required for entry to each building entrance, suite door and bedroom door. Cal security is on 24-hour patrol and available to any student that may need assistance.


Join Cal Rec as a Summerfuel student and have unlimited access to the center’s expansive indoor and outdoor facilities, including weight rooms, cardio machines, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, exercise machines, group exercise classes, and a running track. (Supplemental Fee Required)


Summerfuel Berkeley students enjoy three meals a day on program. All meals on campus will be at Foothill Dining Hall, conveniently located a few minutes from student and staff bedrooms. Foothill provides a good variety of menu choices, including vegetarian, vegan and an organic salad bar. When we are off campus on weekends, meals will be provided off-site.

Berkeley Highlights

The city of Berkeley is at your doorstep with myriad eating, shopping, arts and entertainment options.

Telegraph Ave

Once a focal point for the hippie movement, this thoroughfare is now home to popular shops and restaurants. Make sure to visit Rasputin’s where you can buy any and every CD or record you can imagine.

Berkeley Marina and Pier

Enjoy beautiful views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge while watching fishermen pull in their catch on the pier. Located next door is Cesar Chavez Park, a kite-flying mecca.

Gourmet Ghetto

Laden with hipsters, foodies, and everything in between, the Gourmet Ghetto is home to the area’s most revolutionary and innovative restaurants including Chez Panisse, Cheeseboard, and the original Peet’s Coffee, a haven for Bay Area coffee-lovers.

Downtown Berkeley

A highly eclectic commercial district in Berkeley, it is also the location of the Berkeley BART station, the hub of transportation into the heart of San Francisco.

Lawrence Hall of Science

A hands-on science museum that also offers panoramic views of the entire Bay Area.

Hearst Greek Theater

Known locally as The Greek, this venue is host to pop, rock, and world music concerts as well as the annual Berkeley Jazz Festival.

Pacific Film Archive

Home to the most extensive film archives in the world, PFA hosts many film screenings throughout the year, focusing on directors, eras or artistic movements.

Fourth Street

The most upscale shopping district in Berkeley features restaurants and specialty shops with a distinctly bohemian Berkeley feel.

United Artists Cinema

Catch Hollywood’s latest hits at this popular student hangout while indulging in classic movie snacks.

Academics 01

Classes are just a short walk from the dorm.

Academics 02

Curricula are structured to engage students and foster critical thinking.

Academics 03

Whenever possible, Berkeley becomes the larger classroom.

Academics 04

We place an emphasis on hands-on learning

Academics 05

With opportunities to be active and creative.

Academics 06

Course offerings vary from Economics to Sketching and Painting.

Academics 07

All students finish their courses with a much clearer view of their future interests.

At Summerfuel we believe learning should be inspiring and fun. We have worked hard to design courses, field trips and guest lectures that reflect the strengths of the university and the greater Berkeley area. Whenever possible, classes are held outdoors, on-site or in a lab-type setting to allow students as many ‘hands on’ opportunities as possible.

Choose a morning course, an afternoon course and a workshop. Explore new interests in active, stimulating classes with creative, dynamic teachers. Our faculty consists of engaging professors and experienced professionals, experts in their respective fields selected for their ability to captivate students and utilize all that Berkeley and San Francisco have to offer. Field trips and guest speakers take the learning experience beyond the classroom.

Morning Courses

Applying to College

SAT Prep with The Princeton Review

With 32 hours of small-group instruction and individual consultation plus 4 full-length SAT tests, your Princeton Review program will prepare you to perform at your highest level in SAT math, critical reading, and writing. All students have an online Princeton Review account to review their performance and continue practice. Princeton Review's satisfaction guarantee applies to this course. (Supplemental Fee: $895)

Art & Architecture

Introduction to Architecture

Explore the field of architectural design and learn about the concepts of form and space, site relationships, and how social, technological and environmental factors all affect structures and buildings. Gain an understanding of different design styles and study architectural techniques that have been adapted through history. From the Golden Gate Bridge to the skyscrapers of San Francisco, let the Bay Area be your architectural playground. (Supplemental Fee: $125)

Business & Entrepeneurship

Introduction to Economics

As the American economy stagnates, and the European nations hover on the verge of insolvency, what better time to educate yourself on the intricacies of economics? This course will first consider microeconomics, focusing on the economic activity of individual households and businesses. The second half of the course will explore macroeconomics, and will help students understand the rationale behind national and international economic policy.


Are you a self-starter who is always looking for the next big idea? Do you want to develop your leadership skills and learn how to run your own company? This practically-based course will teach you how to create your own business from start to finish. Learn how to identify a market, attract investors and manage growth and expansion. Work with a team of your peers to develop your own original business plan and to promote your innovative idea.

Law & International Affairs

International Human Rights

In this course, we will examine the historical background of human rights development within the scope of such international organizations as the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union, as well as human rights protection regimes in the rest of the world. We will also briefly examine the interrelationship between international and domestic law and what happens when they conflict, and why international cooperation is a prerequisite towards the continued development of an even more effective human rights protection scheme.

International Relations

Explore international relations both as a theory and as events affecting the lives of ordinary people. You will examine current events relating to war and terrorism, human rights, global health crises and aid for the developing world. Think critically about arguments from all sides of the political spectrum and learn how nations use diplomacy to peacefully coexist. Through research, discussion and debate, you will tackle key issues of our world today.

Mathematics & Technology


Explore the science and technology behind robots and learn how robotics applies to everyday modern life. This course will enable students to gain an understanding of the history, in addition to exploring contemporary happenings in robotics - current robot lab research and applications. Students will have an opportunity to visit the labs of graduate students at UC Berkeley, working on the latest technologies in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence. Robotics will also teach individuals how to use C++ programming language - to control their own microcontroller to build robots to solve task while learning about electronics. (Personal laptop required; Supplemental Fee)


Introduction to Medical Science

This exciting interdisciplinary course will introduce you to some of the fundamental concepts of medical science. Learn how the immune system functions, and sometimes malfunctions, with respect to disease and how health care professionals and organizations work to prevent, treat, and cure illness. Besides the scientific, you will also investigate the social, political and cultural dimensions of the experience of health and wellness.

Developmental Psychology

Examine the behavior of yourself and others through the psychological theories of Freud, Skinner, Maslow, Erikson and Piaget. Critically evaluate the validity of these theories in light of your own experiences of physical maturation, intellectual and moral development, sensuality and sexuality, family and peer relationships, and coping with stress and problems in everyday life. View films and read relevant articles that provide an applied understanding of developmental psychology.

Writing & Literature

English for Non-Native Speakers

Improve your reading, writing, and speaking skills in order to succeed in college and beyond. Designed for non-native speakers of English, this course will expose you to a variety of texts and writing styles. You will be taken through the entire writing process--from crafting their work to the final editing process. This course compliments your immersion in a US college setting, while providing a supportive environment to boost confidence and achievement.

Essay Writing

Master one of the most important skills for success in high school, college, and beyond. Reach higher levels of achievement by studying the elements common to all successful writing--defining an audience, developing a thesis statement, supporting your argument, and revising for grammar and style. Through peer workshops and teacher-student conferences, you will sharpen both your expository and persuasive writing abilities. Come away with polished essays for your writing portfolio.

Afternoon Courses

Applying to College

SAT Prep with The Princeton Review

With 18 hours of small-group instruction and individual consultation plus 3 full-length SAT tests, your Princeton Review program will prepare you to perform at your highest level in SAT math, critical reading, and writing. All students have an online Princeton Review account to review their performance and continue practice. Princeton Review's satisfaction guarantee applies to this course. (Supplemental Fee: $695)

Art & Architecture

Urban Planning & Design

Urban Planning & Design Berkeley and San Francisco will be your classroom as you study the intricacies of planning and developing an urban landscape. Study the fundamental techniques of urban planning and some of the major figures of the fields. Consider contemporary challenges in the field, like creating green spaces, revitalizing former industrial districts and minimizing carbon footprints. Collaborate with your peers to design an elegant solution to common urban planning challenges.

Photography as Visual Language

This class is an exploratory photography course with a specific focus on perception. In particular, students will investigate the various processes of gathering information from the visual and the utilization of visual imagery to form understandings. We will create images, as well as challenge our engagement with environmental and societal conditions via the photowork of Barbara Kruger, John Stezaker, Alfredo Jaar, the Guerrilla Girls, and Sophie Calle. By examining and discussing dynamic images, film, and television, we will expand our understanding of critical perception and societal effects. Specifically, we will address the processes of the ordinary into the extraordinary, the perceptual and the conceptual, and appropriation and collage. DSLR camera required. (Supplemental Fee: $75)

Business & Entrepeneurship

Introduction to Finance

Get ready to buy, sell and trade your way through the basics of financial markets. Learn to navigate the stock exchange, balance between risk and return and create a diversified portfolio. Discover why corporations succeed or fail and use current financial news to gain an applied understanding of the global market.

Marketing & Advertising

Marketing and advertising can make or break the success of any product. Learn how the right packaging, pricing and advertising can set any idea apart from the rest. Dive into the complexities of consumer behavior to develop a winning marketing strategy to promote and sell a new product of your choice. From advertising on the internet, to magazines, to the radio and TV, there's no limit to where your creativity can take you!


Public Speaking

Does your stomach sink when you hear the words "Oral Presentation"? Would you prefer to stay home sick rather than participate in a class debate? From speaking in front of a class to tackling a college interview, public speaking is a skill everyone should master! Develop your ability to express yourself confidently and clearly through speech writing and performance. Sharpen your skills with the aid of videos and texts of famous speeches to deliver a performance for any occasion.

Law & International Affairs

International Law

This course will start by examining the sources of international law, who creates it and how, as well as who its subjects are. As we proceed, we will review the main sub-areas of Public International Law (e.g. law of treaties, law of the sea, international environmental law, diplomatic & consular law, and human rights law) and of Private international Law (e.g. international family law, international commercial law, and international business law). We will also talk about dispute resolution as well as compliance and enforcement mechanisms.

Mathematics & Technology

Video Game Design

How do you invent, design and build a video game that is really original and fun? What makes video games such a popular form of entertainment among children and adults alike? This course provides an introduction to the technologies behind computer and video game design, as well as the factors that distinguish fabulous and forgettable games. Evaluate the strengths of some of your favorite games to help you conceive and develop your own video game. (Personal laptop required)


Abnormal Psychology

In an era of booming technology, our ability to better understand the human brain and how it relates to behavior has vastly improved. Investigate the ways neuropsychologists differentiate healthy human behavior from abnormal functioning. You will examine the causes and definitions of mental illness and brain disorders from schizophrenia to Parkinson's disease to bipolar disorder. In addition, learn about the symptoms and effective treatments for these conditions, such as different types of therapy and medication.


From Mendel's pea plants to Dolly the cloned sheep, the field of genetics has progressed a great deal in the past 100 years. Study the basics of inheritance of genetic traits and explore new discoveries in genetic research. Consider the social and political implications of these advances, and discuss topics such as genetic testing, the genetic basis of disease, the Human Genome Project, as well as the use of genetics in criminal cases and forensic science.

Writing & Literature

Essay Writing

This course will explore the process of building an excellent essay by beginning with the pre-writing stage and continuing through all steps to a post-work revision. Each week students will work to master one element of the writing process before moving on to the next. This course will provide preparation for both high school and college writing assignments. Enrollment is limited to enable faculty to provide ample feedback and guidance.

Short Story Writing

Hone your writing skills, develop your voice, and capture the moment in this course devoted to the art of the short story. We'll read, dissect, and discuss great stories from all corners of world literature to inspire and improve our own writing. This is a dynamic and interactive workshop, offering a combination of independent writing time, observational field trips, group writing exercises, peer editing, and revision. By studying and practicing a wide variety of genres and styles, you will not only build your own collection of great stories, you will also see improvements in your academic writing (and maybe even your emails and texts!)

Workshop offerings


Debating the Issues

Should public funding be used for stem cell research? Is the death penalty fair consequence for a crime? Consider arguments for both sides of such types of debates and decide where you stand. Become an informed and critical thinker of ethics and the legal system by researching your opinions and debating with your peers.


Personal Fitness

Using UC-Berkeley's state of the art Recreational Sports Facility (RSF), you will have specialized instruction on weights, cardio, nutrition, and more. (Cal Rec Membership required).


Take some time to de-stress, stretch, and breathe deeply. Join an intimate yoga/pilates class and learn the time-tested techniques that have helped people to relax and decompress for centuries. Work with an instructor who will focus on your own strengths and weaknesses, to walk away with skills that will be useful for the rest of your life.

Workshop: Zumba

Switch up your workout routine by trying Zumba, the latest fitness craze. The combination of amazing Latin music and dance moves will definitely get you into shape!


Community Organizing & Leadership

Take your passion for service work to the next level by planning and executing a self-designed community service project with a team of dedicated peers. Develop key leadership skills such as taking an initiative, motivating others and working towards a common goal, all to benefit the local Berkeley community.



Develop your basketball skills through drills, contests and games. All levels are welcome -- the only requirement is a desire to have fun on the court! (Cal Rec Membership required)


Develop the fundamental skills of organized volleyball: forearm pass, set, spike, block, dig, and serve. Enhance these skills not only through drills, but actual play of the game. (Cal Rec Membership Required)

The Arts


Hone your acting ability by learning skills that go beyond the stage. Discover the importance of communication, team work, laughter, self-respect, and community involvement, and have a chance to explore your creative side. Work as a group to put together small sketches and perform for your peers at the program end.

Foreign Films & Food

How do food and film combine to portray the unique cultures of different nations? View films and visit local restaurants and shops for a taste of the similarities and differences around the world.

Berkeley Sketchbook

Berkeley is a very colorful and animated city, providing lots of material for a corner sketch artist. In this workshop students will learn core elements of picture design: linear calligraphy, marks (texture) and patterns, and color shape and line. They will have time to experiment and play - making small thumbnail sketches of select Berkeley scenes using varied techniques– black and white marks and pattern, black line, brush and calligraphy, color shapes, and colored line. Production of art will be followed by informal critiques and if desired, a student show at the program close. (Supplemental Fee: $45)

Activities & Trips 01

Each day is filled with organized activities and opportunities to have fun.

Activities & Trips 02

Berkeley has excellent athletic facilities.

Activities & Trips 03

Summerfuel staff make sure there is something for everyone.

Activities & Trips 04

Evenings with friends can sometimes be a bit crazy.

Activities & Trips 05

A talented student body makes it easy to offer exciting programs.

Activities & Trips 06

Staff-student soccer is a perennial favorite.

Activities & Trips 07

There are plenty of places to shoot some hoops.

Activities & Trips 09

Every weekend offers organized staff led trips to area highlights.

Activities & Trips 10

San Francisco is popular with students for sightseeing…

Activities & Trips 11

shopping and eating of course!

Included Trips

Every weekend, we will take full advantage of all that the Bay area has to offer and visit some of its most exciting destinations and attractions. All weekend excursions are included in the program fee.

San Francisco Sights: Part 1

Start with a visit to Union Square, a modern shopping and dining mecca, with every major department store and specialty store imaginable within a half-mile radius. Continue to Haight-Ashbury or ‘The Haight’ –birthplace of America’s counter culture in the 1960’s (home to the Grateful Dead). The Haight is known today for its colorful mix of shops, restaurants and cafés.

San Francisco Sights: Part 2

Enjoy the view from Golden Gate Bridge as you walk across the remarkable 1.2 mile span before spending time in beautiful Golden Gate Park. Next, we’ll head to Fisherman’s Wharf to discover the Cannery Shopping Center, Ghirardelli Square and some of the Pacific Northwest’s best seafood. Finally, take a walk up Nob Hill for a view of the famous painted ladies of 'Postcard Row.'

Six Flags Marine World

Experience America's only combination wildlife park, oceanarium and theme park, which includes thirty-three exciting rides and "Roar," a classic wooden roller coaster.

Santa Cruz

After visiting the sprawling campus of UC Santa Cruz, enjoy a day on the beach or at the classic Boardwalk amusement park.

SF Giants Baseball Game

Catch the ever-competitive San Francisco Giants in their beautiful stadium by the Bay.

Palo Alto & Stanford

Tour Stanford University, including the Rodin Sculpture Garden and Cantor Art Museum, and explore the Bay Area's other great university town.

Something Extra


Learn to surf in Santa Cruz at some of the best surf spots along the entire West Coast. The coastline is part of the Monterey Bay marine sanctuary, which is an area of conservation and beauty, stretching from Santa Cruz, south to Big Sur. Includes transportation, a 2-hour surfing lesson, wetsuit & board rental plus lunch. (Supplemental Fee)

Daily Activities

When classes let out, you will have the freedom to decide how to spend your time. Join organized activities every afternoon, evening and weekend – or relax and take in a bit of Berkeley – you decide.

Past favorites include:

  • San Francisco Art Crawl
  • Cal Shakes Theater
  • Henna Tattoos
  • Sand Volleyball
  • Late Night Breakfast
  • Coffee House
  • Tie-dye
  • Sushi making
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Casino Night
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Capture the Flag
  • Jewelry Making
  • Hypnotist Show
  • Cooking & Baking Workshops
  • Mafia Night
  • Poker Tournaments

Senior Staff

The Senior Staff comprises a Program Director, a Residence Life Director, an Academic Director, an Activities Director and a Student Services Coordinator. At Summerfuel Berkeley, all senior staff members are experienced educators with collegiate or boarding school residential experience and great familiarity with our programs. All members of the senior staff live in residence with students and are available to assist with any issue that arises.


RAs are an essential part of the Summerfuel experience and are hired solely to support and act as role models to our students. RAs are college upperclassmen or recent graduates with experience in residential life. They live on each floor, with one RA for every ten students. RAs will always be available to organize activities, provide tours around Berkeley, answer questions and make sure our students get the most out of their summer.

Safety & Supervision

The safety, security, and overall well-being of our students is our utmost priority. We implement the following measures to ensure our students are well cared for and safe at all times.

  • 1 to 8 residential staff to student ratio
  • 24-hour security in the dormitory
  • Electronic key pass required for entry into Foothill Dormitories
  • Designated zone in which students can travel
  • Buddy system to ensure students never travel alone
  • 11pm daily curfew
  • Zero tolerance for drug or alcohol use