Faculty Director’s Message

I am Trond Petersen, the Faculty Director of the Berkeley International Study Program (BISP). I have been a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, both in Sociology and the Haas School of Business, for over 33 years. It is here that I have had an incredible academic career and have witnessed the phenomenal opportunities our academic programs offer our students. UC Berkeley is a top-ranked university where cutting-edge research and contributions to society in a vast array of fields are made. I currently serve as the Executive Associate Dean at the College of Letters and Science, and I am engaged in a variety of projects that enhance collaborations among departments and institutions.

It was 16 years ago that I created the Berkeley International Study Program, as a way to provide a unique opportunity for international students to experience the incredible courses and campus life Berkeley has to offer. It started with a group of students from Norway that we sponsored, and it now has grown tremendously in numbers and diversity to include students from many parts of the world.

We welcome students to our campus, to do short-term study, for one or two semesters. Our faculty value the contributions our visiting students bring to the classroom, and many of our courses have a multidisciplinary and global focus conducting culturally-rich discussions and engaging students to share their perspectives from unique points of view. It is truly a multicultural learning environment for all of our foreign visitors and UC Berkeley students. The lives of students and Berkeley as a whole are enriched by this program.

We also value our collaborative relationships with faculty and staff at over 75 partner universities with BISP. Together we have created this opportunity for student mobility to experience the high-quality programs at UC Berkeley, that they may not have otherwise been able to participate in. When I meet with the students, they are so grateful and happy to be studying at Berkeley, and are impressed with their experiences in the classroom and beyond. We look forward to creating more partnerships with additional universities throughout the world to add to the diversity of students in our program in our classrooms. 

The program has grown tremendously in the last few years prior to the pandemic. Our hard-working BISP staff coordinate the program and support our students from start to finish, and are the primary contacts for partnerships. Please explore the newly revamped website that they have created, that is full of information and insight to the Berkeley Experience we provide, including many testimonials from our students. 
Sincerely yours,
Trond Petersen