University of California, Santa Barbara Review (15)


City: Santa Barbara

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: economics

Study type: semester abroad

University of California, Santa Barbara Review (15)

Experience report semester abroad at UCSB

USA – University of California, Santa Barbara
Niklas Spelten
Industrial Management 2009
January-July 2012


The so-called F1 status visa is required for studying in the USA. You should plan 6 months for the application, as there can also be delays and problems. See toppharmacyschools for Riga Stradins University Study Abroad.

I started planning the entire stay about 1 year in advance, but that’s enough!
MicroEdu supported me with the application, coordinating the entire application process and providing support in every respect. The MicroEdu team can only be recommended!
You are insured during the study period and within the USA via UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara), but I recommend additional international health insurance (approx. 300 euros for 6 months). I also had to make use of this because the university insurance does not cover all cases.

I lived in Isla Vista (IV), THE student residence right next to campus! You have to live here, I advise against everything else. You’ll understand that at the latest when you’re there;) The distance to the university is very short, everything can be reached by bike and on weekends you usually stay on “DP”, the street on the beach where the parties take place.
I organized my apartment myself. KAMAP (Appartment-Vermietung) is recommended in any case, but you should say goodbye to German cleanliness standards for the time being (throughout Isla Vista! But after a few weeks you got used to it!) The rental prices are also quite high, which is partly due to Santa Barbara as a celebrity spot, exclusive oceanfront location, and limited space. In my opinion, you should budget 1000 euros (and more, depending on how you want to live).


The cost of living in Santa Barbara is clearly very high. You can eat cheaply, but then only fast food comes into question. Fruit, vegetables and high-quality groceries, as we know them from Germany, are very expensive.


I studied economics. The regular academic courses have to be “crashed”, which can be quite stressful in the first 2 weeks. The extension courses (I recommend a mix of both) can be enrolled online.
The size of the academic courses can vary greatly, extension courses usually consist of 20-30 members, so very pleasant! The extension courses are often chosen by international students and especially Germans, so you should take at least one regular course in order to get in closer contact with Americans.
Basically, the choice of business administration and economics courses is rather limited, but I can highly recommend the courses I have taken (Practical Project Management, Buying Behavior, Principles of Marketing, Communications, Global Economics). In most cases, the professors and lecturers are very motivated and happy to answer questions. The work is often very practical and many small projects are carried out.
Contact details of the contact persons can be found on the UCSB extension page.
The extension department is headed by Lilly Byall.

Everyday life and free time

There are many ways to spend free time. Santa Barbara itself is a fantastic city right on the sea, with a great shopping street (State Street). You can do wine tasting tours, whale watching, surfing, climbing and much more.
Thursday evenings are mostly in the clubs downtown, the weekends have to be spent in Isla Vista!
There is the so-called Excursion Club, which I recommend! Excursions are planned there, with something for everyone! From rafting on the Colorado River to dinner nights out;)
Also, sign up for the Recreation Center, a huge fitness center with tons of options, swimming pools, jacuzzis, etc.
A car is not absolutely necessary, a bicycle is sufficient for 3 months, especially since it is not easy to sell a car again. If you are in Santa Barbara for 6 months, a car is very helpful! Shopping is easier, you can do lots of smaller trips over the weekends, and you’re generally more flexible.
I bought a car on craigslist, from a private person, and sold it again for the same price. You should be careful with dealers in the USA.

Overall conclusion

I had a truly unforgettable time in Santa Barbara. The city is not particularly big and still offers a lot. Life there is so great and relaxed that you should return to Germany after six months.
You get to know a lot of great people, the university is fantastic. I can hardly think of anything that bothered me during this time.
My decision to go to UCSB was absolutely the right one and I can’t imagine a semester abroad that was more enjoyable and richer in experience!

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