Berkeley has been described as the Athens of the West, with its university campus buildings being designed in such a way as to reflect the nickname. Life in Berkeley is like nowhere else in America, and it's considered laid back, even by San Francisco's incredibly chilled-out standards. There is a wide range of cultural diversity, with some fantastic museums and art galleries to be seen in the center and the Pacific Film Archive has a collection that is unsurpassed in quality. The Berkeley Marina is a brilliant site all on its own, but the addition of yachting clubs and hiking trails make it a perfect tourist attraction and a great place to visit while living in Berkeley.
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The people of Berkeley are very welcoming, so it's not hard to fit in. However, this doesn't mean you will not need an added support system when you are first moving to Berkeley. InterNations has worked hard to build up a community of expatriates across hundreds of cities throughout the world - the information that has been collected is invaluable to expats looking to start a new life. InterNations’ Expat Magazine, for example, provides useful information on a number of topics related to expat life, from expatriation to repatriation. This includes, for example, extensive articles all about the moving process; it has information on moving with your pet, the kinds of checks you need to make before setting off, how you will fare financially abroad, and the cultural barriers you need to watch out for.
Working in Berkeley, or any other new and foreign city, town or country for that matter, can cause high levels of stress; that's why the InterNations site has been working on developing a vast community of expatriates that can make expat life a little bit easier. Once you've settled down in Berkeley, you then might have to seek out a new job if you have not already got this covered. You could be looking for voluntary work to boost your CV during your stay, you might be looking to start an entirely new career, or maybe you are moving to Berkeley as part of a job promotion or relocation scheme. The InterNations community has forum posts and discussion groups that deal with any of the above topics and more. The Expat Magazine has articles written by both editorial staff and InterNations members, each article providing valuable information concerning expatriate life and touching on topics that might cause some concern during your stay abroad. The article on starting out as self-employed, for example, points out all of the potential problems you'd have to avoid as somebody who is paying tax, it lists details of what you should sort out before you move, and explains the benefits of self-employment whilst abroad.