University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
LA International Airport, September 2006. I’m a bit lost waiting at the bus stop to wait for the next airport shuttle to Santa Barbara. Initially too tired for visionary thoughts, the bus ride on the beautiful coastal highway has an adrenaline rush and awakens anticipation for the coming months. See mcat-test-centers for Auckland University of Technology.
SB is a beautiful city, with Spanish-inspired architecture, palm-lined streets and dignified flair. The center is State Street, a promenade where you can easily spend a whole day strolling. The next cafe or restaurant that invites you to linger is never far away. A wide range of bars and clubs provide evening entertainment. Especially on Thursday evenings, a pub crawl through SB is a good idea because of the many happy hours (e.g. cocktail $2). However, it is very important never to forget your ID, no matter how far back your 21st birthday is.
The UCSB is not located directly in Santa Barbara, but in Goleta, about 15 km from downtown. You should definitely take this into account when choosing accommodation. Otherwise, the commute can take a lot of time and becomes very annoying in the long run.
The campus itself is very beautiful, wonderfully green and located directly on the ocean. The campus beach offers the opportunity to lie down on the beach or to surf between lectures. There is a wide range of humanities and engineering subjects. There is an economics department but no business school, so the range of economics courses is limited to economics courses and a handful of business administration courses (eg accounting).
Looking for a canteen is also in vain, completely privatized, a large number of fast food shops provide catering, whereby at some point one longs for something more varied food.
When choosing a course, it is best to limit yourself to campus courses. The extension courses are too trivial and are on the level of the adult education center.
Depending on the (time) effort, each course is assigned a certain number of units, usually four units per course. In order to meet the obligations of the student visa, at least 12 units undergraduate (i.e. 3 courses) or 8 units graduate (2 courses) must be taken in each quarter. You shouldn’t take more than that, since almost every course is associated with presentations, elaborations or weekly homework. In addition, there are two exam phases (midterm and the finals).
In order to be allowed to participate in campus courses, the consent of the respective professor is required. Permanently enrolled students have priority here and the undergraduate courses in Economics are among the most sought-after in the whole university. However, I have never heard of anyone saying they didn’t end up getting the course they wanted. Even if it doesn’t work the first time, you should just be persistent. Many local students are still changing courses up to three weeks into the new quarter.
I can only recommend all advanced students (6th semester and upwards) to choose graduate courses. The classes are small, the lessons are very interactive and it is not a problem at all to get a place right away. You can also save the cost of a third course because you only have to take 8 graduate units. The graduate courses are quite demanding but can be mastered with significantly less effort than in Germany.
If you select courses from the General Catalog that are of interest to you in advance, please note whether they are also offered in the quarter in which you plan to study at UCSB.
Although by American standards Santa Barbara and the surrounding area is relatively manageable, one should not underestimate the distances. As already mentioned, the university is located outside of Santa Barbara. Since a large part of student life takes place on and in the vicinity of the campus, you should definitely live close to the university.
The (student) district of Isla Vista is directly adjacent to the university campus. While it can be difficult to find somewhere, my advice is to definitely try to stay in Isla Vista. The district has retained much of the charm of its 1968 era and is the social hub of non-university student life.
Especially on weekends (and especially on Halloween) there is something going on around every corner in IV. Since many students are under 21, there is a large private party culture. There is simply a lot of celebration in shared houses and above all in the connections. Even if you don’t know the hosts, with a six-pack of beer and a European accent you’re usually welcome.
The virtual bulletin board www.craigslist.com is ideal for searching in advance. If nothing is found, accommodation with a host family can also be arranged on site at short notice in an emergency.
You should definitely get a bike as soon as you arrive. Either used or new and cheap (about $70-80) at K-Mart. In any case, invest in a good lock and, if possible, do not leave the bike in public places overnight. Even if crime is not usually a big issue in SB, bicycle theft is often the order of the day.
There is a relatively good bus system that serves everything in and around Santa Barbara. Unfortunately, the bus travel times are very limited, on the main lines up to 11 p.m. at most, and therefore definitely not suitable for night owls. If you then depend on a taxi, it will be an expensive evening.
The most important thing is to get a cell phone right from the start. Most students have Cingular as their provider, which has a very good prepaid offer for unlimited calls on the Cingular network for a dollar a day. It is also advisable to register at www.facebook.com, the intellectual role model of StudiVZ. Many party invitations are often just posted there and invitations are sent to the circle of friends on facebook.
Last but not least, I can only wish everyone who decides to study at UCSB that you have an equally great time as I had and conclude freely after Hunter S. Thompson:
Santa Barbara 2006 was a very special place and time to be a part of. But no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time in the world.