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oakland skyline view of ihouse berkeley in california

The University of California Berkeley is an esteemed destination for higher education. The brightest minds flock to its campus each year to grow their minds and skillset as they prepare to set out into the world. An extension of Berkeley, iHouse, is just one of the main reasons that set this school apart from others of the same caliber.

International House, or iHouse Berkeley, is a program center and multicultural residence created to house students that attend Berkeley from various cultures across the globe. The “melting pot” residence stems from the early 1900s and is geared toward helping students gain knowledge in careers that can take them anywhere in the world, including teaching abroad.

With many programs to choose from, including a TEFL course that is a cut above, iHouse Berkeley is a magical place to pursue an education. Many things make iHouse interesting, but here are seven you may not know about!

It’s Almost 100 Years Old

The International House of Berkeley officially opened its doors on August 18, 1930. But that wasn’t the first talk of it. In 1909, a young man named Harry Edmonds, working with the YMCA, had a chance meeting with a young Chinese student to whom he said good morning to.

Upon hearing that the student hadn’t spoken to anyone in three weeks, Edmonds realized how difficult it must be for international students coming into a new country with no connections to speak of and nothing but their desire to better themselves.

This meeting led to Edmonds founding an “International House movement” designed to help international students avoid falling into the same fate as the student he met on the steps of the Columbia library campus.

This all occurred in New York, and because of it, a New York International House was born, paving the way for iHouse Berkeley to do the same. While the idea for Berkeley was first born in the 1920s, it was met with resistance before officially opening in 1930.

Its Creation Caused Some Controversy

People were not ready to accept the existence of an International House when it was first enacted. People resisted the idea of housing people of different sexes and ethnicities together in one place. It was a true testament to the times, but that didn’t stop iHouse from opening its doors and creating a special place where people of all colours, creeds, and cultural backgrounds could grow and learn together.

Edmonds met this resistance with gusto, and instead of pulling back on the idea, he pushed further. He opened iHouse on the same street as many of the sororities and fraternities that excluded people of colour so that he could change how people interacted. His main goal was to help international students and visible minorities fight back against the bigotry and exclusivity that plagued the country at that time.

Classic Architecture in a Modern World

The building that stands today is the same one that was used to establish the International House of Berkeley almost a century ago. It was designed by acclaimed architect George W. Kelham and paid homage to Spanish-Moorish architecture. The structure still stands today, in all its glory, because of how it was built to stand the test of time.

It Has Housed Thousands of Students Over the Years

Approximately 600 international and American students call iHouse home during any given school year. Students living in the residence are from across the globe, often representing as many as 70 nations. Since its inception, nearly 100,000 students have walked its halls and learned the magic of creating a community with those different from yourself.

People who have attended iHouse have also become accomplished contributors to society, with many earning esteemed awards such as the Nobel Prize. Governors of the U.S. as well as other countries, also got their start at iHouse, along with California Supreme Court Justices and highly regarded professors across the globe.

Traditions That Stand the Test of Time

While iHouse is there for students to live while they learn, there is so much more to it than it is a residence for all. Traditions that started in its infancy continue to remain strong today because they enhance the educational experience and foster relationships between the communities that temporarily call iHouse home.

For example, a Sunday Supper is hosted every quarter to bring everyone together for a time of reflection, community, and fun. These dinners are put on so that students can take a break from their studies and remember why they chose iHouse in the first place. Another tradition, Wednesday Coffee Hours, provides students with more interaction with one another and their much-needed caffeine jolt.

Community Events Bring Everyone Together

Among their traditions are also community events designed to bring together all the different cultures and people as they pass through iHouse. Since many students attend the school, including undergrads, graduates, and those working towards PhDs, community events help people expand their horizons and learn more about others, their work, and what each can bring to the iHouse experience.

According to a school representative, students choose iHouse for a specific reason: interacting with and learning from people that come from everywhere. There’s something to be said about learning from other cultures and those you wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to meet, and iHouse has managed to perfect this experience.

You Don’t Have to Be an International Student to Partake

While iHouse is dedicated more to students from abroad, roughly 25% of its residents are homegrown Americans. So, people living in the United States can still experience all that iHouse has to offer, meet new people, and enrich their educational experience simultaneously.

For those not able to stay at iHouse, don’t fret. Because the house holds community events and programs open to all students at Berkeley. By doing so, they give every person at the learning institution a chance to experience the magic of the melting pot. Even people in the general public can attend some of their events. iHouse does not close its doors on anyone, making it one of the most incredible places to learn.

iHouse Berkeley is Your Gateway To Global Teaching Opportunities

Just as the physical campus building propels professionals to success, iHouse Berkeley’s online TEFL certification course opens doors to global teaching opportunities.

Earn an internationally recognized TEFL certification from the Robertson Center for Intercultural Leadership (CIL) at International House Berkeley and qualify for ESL teaching positions all over the world!

Why TEFL from International House Berkeley?

100% online and self-paced

Get TEFL certified from anywhere in the world, at a pace that fits your schedule

Gives you the skills to teach abroad

You’ll learn essentials such as lesson planning, and classroom management, in addition to an advanced curriculum that gives you the skills you need to advance learning, understanding, and collaboration across cultures.

Over half of our TEFL grads received job offers in 3 months!

The Robertson Center for Intercultural Leadership (CIL) at International House Berkeley is a center of excellence for advancing leadership, understanding, and collaboration across cultures. Consultants have decades of experience providing leadership consulting, coaching, and training across a wide range of sectors, equipping professionals to work effectively in today’s global marketplace.

Experiential approach to professional development and continuing education. Learners gain practical skills and strategies through a unique interactive online experience. Going beyond traditional lecture-based learning, our online course provides you with tangible skills and tools maximize your effectiveness in the classroom and beyond. Enroll in iHouse Berkeley’s online TEFL certification course today!

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