University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Electrical engineering, information technology
Study type: semester abroad
With an F1 visa, you can stay in the USA 30 days before the start of your studies and 60 days after the end of your studies. I would recommend everyone to use this time effectively to travel. See toppharmacyschools for Fudan University Study Abroad.
There are very cheap flights on Kayak.de. Ironically, a return flight was cheaper than a one-way flight. In total I paid 1000€ to California and back, with a stopover in New York (multi-stop flight).
3 mobile phone tariff
Cell phone tariffs in the US are more expensive. If you are simply looking for an Internet flat rate for your smartphone, the $30 monthly tariff from T-Mobile is a good choice. This includes 100 free minutes, free SMS (also abroad), up to 5 GB of mobile data. Apparently it’s only available at Walmart, but I’ve also seen it at the Home Depot in Goleta. I was very satisfied with the mobile phone reception and the internet speed. In addition, however, there is a one-time fee of $40 for the SIM card with the American telephone number. It is nice that mobile phone numbers in America have local area codes, ie mobile phones also have the local area code (805).
In addition, there is probably a fairly cheap offer from H20 for $25, with 500MB data volume.
Trader Joe’s is highly recommended. Was supposedly founded by one of the German Aldi brothers. There is a lot of healthy and cheap food there. Americans label organic foods as organic. Also recommended is Ralph’s and Albertsons. Both have cheap water and Ralph’s has pretty good French baguettes.
In general, it’s a bit annoying that the stated purchase prices in America don’t include taxes. This means that when you go shopping and when you eat in a restaurant, you still have to pay 8% taxes on top of that.
Food in the US is generally very fatty and high in sugar. Food in America is preserved much longer than in Germany.
But there are also many international restaurants such as Chinese, Indian or Mexican. What I personally liked the least was the American bread. It is not at all crunchy and has a very peculiar smell. That’s why it lasts forever.
In America it is customary to tip 15-20%. A good tip is to simply tip double the tax. The taxes are usually on the invoice. In California it is 8%.
By the way, when ordering, it doesn’t say “I’ll take the…” but “I’ll have the….”. Otherwise you will immediately be exposed as a German tourist. Germans are not the favorite guests in restaurants, as Germans are used to not tipping very much. In America, however, the waitresses only get a pittance and are dependent on tips.
Behavior in the restaurant: http: //www.usarundbrief.com/23/p5.html
The housing situation in Santa Barbara is absolutely catastrophic! This doesn’t seem to have been a big problem in recent years, but in the fall of 2014 there were no vacancies in the student area. I arrived 3 weeks before the start of my studies and almost all the apartments were already taken. In fact, the Housing Office was so desperate that professors and university staff were asked to let students sleep on their couches.
Buy 8 furniture
You can find cheap used furniture on Craigslist and Yardsales. Yard sales are garden sales and take place in the front yard of certain houses. Homeowners sell things cheaply that they no longer need. People often move out of their houses and then sell their things cheaply.
Craigslist is a website where private individuals sell all sorts of things. But it has a dubious aftertaste, since there is no right of return.
Kmart also has cheap inventory for the apartment.
9 Campus of the University of California – Santa Barbara
The UCSB (University of California-Santa Barbara) is not located directly in Santa Barbara, but in the town of “Goleta”. The campus is right on the beach in Santa Barbara, and it’s really pretty to look at. Amazingly, there are bike lanes and skateboard lanes everywhere. A lot of students drive around there with a longboard (long skateboard with larger wheels).
There is either the option of attending regular courses or so-called extension courses. Extension courses are for working people and international students, and tend to be a little easier and cost less. For a regular course you pay roughly $1000 per quarter, for an extension course around $500. In contrast to German lectures, there is a lot of homework at American universities during the semester, which affects the grades.
11 Excursion Club
Highly recommended. The Excursion Club is a club where you can rent surfboards, sleeping bags, and all kinds of sports and outdoor gear. Activities such as canoeing, paintball, slacklining, surfing lessons, camping trips and skydiving are also offered each week. Membership is $30 per quarter, highly recommended.
12 Recreation Centers
The Recreation Center is the university’s fitness center, so to speak. In addition to the fitness equipment, there is also the opportunity to play squash and racquetball, and there is also a pool, soccer fields, lacrosse, a basketball hall, a climbing wall, etc. Those who like to do sports or go to the gym are very cheap at $60 per quarter .
13 student life
The student district is called “Isla Vista” and is located west of UCSB (University of California – Santa Barbara) directly on Goleta Beach. Basically, the entire student life takes place there. There are plenty of fast food restaurants (Budda Bowls, Naan Stop, Silvergreens, Hana Kitchen…), as well as some shopping facilities (Isla Vista Market, Food Coop), which are usually a bit more expensive than Albertsons or Ralphs. In total, more than 20,000 students live in the student quarter in a very small space, so it is common to share a room.
14 party life
UCSB was voted the #1 Party University in America. In fact, you could party there almost every day.
Wednesdays at Woodstocks Pizza is beer night with beer refills for $2. To buy alcohol/drinks you have to be 21 and have your ID/passport with you. There is also a karaoke bar in Goleta, which is said to be very busy on Wednesday evenings.
On Thursdays, a party bus (Bills Bus) runs to the clubs in downtown Santa Barbara and back. In downtown, the Tonic and the Eos are particularly worthwhile.
The most extraordinary is probably the street “Del Playa”, also called “DP”. This is the street in Isla Vista that runs right along the beach. There are plenty of house parties along this street every Friday and Saturday (often midweek as well). All people wanting to party just walk down the street and then go to some house party along that street. Many are public, but some parties require you to know the people to get in.
If you want to party even more excessively, you can join a sorority (for women) or fraternity (for men). The initiation rituals are said to be very degrading.
15 Small talk
I find it very positive that in America you can just talk to any stranger. It’s not uncommon for someone in line at the checkout to suddenly start talking to you and say something irrelevant. In America, it is customary to ask how you are at the beginning of a conversation. But more out of politeness and not really because they care. In most cases, conversation begins with one of the following phrases
• How is it going?
• How are you doing?
• How are you?
No detailed answer is then expected as to how you are doing, but a simple answer like:
• I’m good. thanks How are you?
• I’m okay. Thank you.
Americans often answer the question “How are you?” simply with “Thank you”.
As a UCSB student you can use the bus for free. Most of the time the bus is a few minutes late, sometimes it doesn’t come at all. The bus drivers are extremely friendly.
In contrast to Germany, there is a bus stop every few hundred meters in America. As a result, the bus stops very often and takes forever, but at least you never have to walk far to the next bus stop. However, it is often just as quick to get around by bike as by bus. The bus can transport up to 2 bicycles.
An express bus (24X) runs from the university to downtown, which only takes about 25 minutes.
There are also party buses that run from Isla Vista to the clubs downtown and back in the evening (Bills Bus).
16.2 Uber, Lyft
Uber and Lyft are apps to order a taxi. A ride from Isla Vista to Downtown costs about $26.
In any case, I recommend buying a bike. There are dedicated bike lanes (even with bike roundabouts) on the UCSB campus. Bikes are very cheap to get on Craigslist. However, you have no right of return, which is why you should pay very close attention to whether the gear shift is working properly etc. when you buy it.