University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
Preparation for the stay abroad
I started the preparations about nine months before the start of the trip. Application, passing the Teofl test, visa, flight, accommodation, international health insurance… The application to the foreign university was processed entirely via MicroEdu. See toppharmacyschools for Dublin Business School Study Abroad.
I found my accommodation through contacts from my practice company. It was a flat share with 6 Americans very close to the campus in Isla Vista. I shared a room with another girl and paid $700 for it. Many others I know took a motel room or air bnb room for the first week and looked for accommodation locally. Both involve a risk, ie you just have to be a bit lucky. However, if you want to live with Americans, you should be prepared for the fact that they have a different (much lower!) standard of hygiene.
The university alone incurred the following costs. This does not include any expenses such as books or writing pads.
$1160 Program Fee
$750 International Student Services Fee
$200 Application Fee
To get my 12 credits, I took 4 courses, which resulted in an additional $2055. So a total of $4165.
I was able to finance part of the semester abroad with the money I had saved and for the rest I had to take out a loan.
The cost of living in Santa Barbara is very high. As already mentioned, I paid 700 dollars for a shared room in a 7-person flat share. The food is also very expensive if you want to cook yourself, which is much healthier than eating out every day (burgers, pizza, tacos, etc). The cost of living is difficult to estimate, but it is by no means comparable to Germany… Including rent, I would estimate it at $1500 per month. But of course it depends a lot on the person.
C) Studies at the host university
Academic courses and extension courses are offered at UCSB. Academics are the traditional courses taken by ordinary American students. For these you have to go to the university about three times a week per course and they cost about twice as much as the extension courses and are just as demanding. The extension courses are offered both for international students and for professionals who enroll in HR courses alongside their job in order to obtain certain certificates. These courses are much more practice-oriented and can definitely be compared to the courses at a German university of applied sciences / dual university. I only took extension courses in HR and management.
Actually, I wanted to book three of my four courses online in advance and crash one on site. However, when I found out the stress of how many courses you have to go to in order to possibly (!) get one of them and that one is around $1400 (instead of $630 like an extension course), I decided to take the last one can also be booked online.
I finally took the following courses:
BUSAD X411.1 – 005 Strategic Business Development for the Global Marketplace; about 30 students. The lecturer really tried his best, but I didn’t really learn much that was new there.
BUSAD X450.40 – 036 Legal Aspects of Employment Practice, approx. 10 participants. Super interesting, the two lecturers were very committed. However, it was only about legal regulations in American working life, which was therefore only partially helpful. However, I work for an American company, so I’m sure this information will come in handy someday;)
BUSAD X450.41 – 033 Effective Recruitment, Selection, and Retention. Great course, great teacher, learned a lot. Really recommended. about 20 students
LING X491.2 – 024 Communication for International Students – 10 students. Very high workload, but also learned a lot and “taken a lot”. To recommend!
The proportion of foreign students at UCSB is just under 10%, ie out of 23,000 students, around 2,300 are foreign students.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy to get in touch with local students as we had hoped. Of course, it was easy to converse with Americans. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in line at a cash register or at the university. But neither I nor my fellow students on site (also German) were able to establish real contact, so that we might meet for a coffee or on the beach. However, we had a lot of contact with other international students like Norwegians or Brazilians.
All courses were taught in English only. If you had any questions – no matter what kind – you could contact the Extension Office at any time. The employees always tried to help. Even if you didn’t have a personal advisor, there was always someone you could turn to. Roger in particular has always been extra helpful: Roger Davis, UCSB Extension, 2160 Kerr Hall, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-1110
D) Everyday life and free time
The Excursion Club offers various tours and leisure activities every week such as surfing, volleyball, slackline, standup paddling, etc. This club is not only for local students, but also international students can register for a quarter. Membership costs about $30 per quarter. However, with the high number of students it is sometimes very difficult to get a “spot” and so you often get a rejection when you register for any activity. It is best to register as soon as you receive the weekly mail on Tuesday evening, then you have a chance. If you are interested in sporting activities, ie football, volleyball, ultimate Frisbee or any other team, there is a group for EVERYTHING at American universities;) Just get information and join in.
Regarding public transport: A sticker is stuck on the student ID with which you can ride the bus for free throughout Santa Barbara. A car is not necessary in Isla Vista. Actually, everything is done by bicycle, skateboard or even by bus. If you want to start a big purchase: just ask other students who stay in Isla Vista for about a year, they usually have a car;) But for a quarter it’s really not worth it.
What you should definitely have taken part in: in any case, you should try to surf at least once. SUP was also a highlight for many because you can even watch whales, dolphins and seals. Target shooting is an absolute must for some and one or the other house party at Der DP (Del Playa) is definitely a must-see. On Thursday evenings you should take at least one party bus ride downtown to celebrate. Don’t miss the basketball games played by our gauchos either.
The cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and San Francisco are simply a dream and definitely worth a visit. The national parks of Yosemite, Red Wood and of course the Grand Canyon are also breathtaking and should not be missed.
E) Overall conclusion
In the four months of my stay I saw and experienced so much, developed personally and surpassed myself. For that reason alone I would recommend a semester abroad to everyone. Even if the financial loss of around 13,000 euros is still a bit painful, I am convinced that it was definitely worth it in the long run. Not everyone has the opportunity to experience all the beautiful and impressive cities and national parks, the incredible landscape and meet great new people on the other side of the world. So I would definitely recommend the semester abroad at UCSB.