University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: law
Study type: semester abroad
When I finally knew at the end of March that I hadn’t gotten an Erasmus place in an English-speaking country, I came to College Contact’s office more or less by accident and was immediately given a list of possible destinations. After that, I quickly chose Santa Barbara as my place of choice and to put it bluntly: I didn’t regret it for a second! The application documents were put together quickly and fortunately the TOEFL test also worked before the end of the registration period. Of course, it is rightly said that you should take care of everything early enough, but if you are thinking about the last minute whether it is still worth trying, you should definitely do it. Everything went smoothly for me, even if it was tight. See toppharmacyschools for Swinburne University of Technology Study Abroad.
After the preparations, things finally got going at the beginning of September. Landed in LA, you can take the bus to downtown Santa Barbara for $40. There I had booked a bed in the Santa Barbara Tourist Hostel. In principle, I would not necessarily recommend it because it is relatively expensive for a bed in a 10-person room. However, there are not many alternatives and I would recommend everyone to first take accommodation locally for a few days and then go on the hunt for an apartment directly on site.
The “housing search” then runs via craigslist.org where you can find all the offers. You have to know that at UCSB all student life takes place right next to the campus in the town of Isla Vista and NOT in downtown Santa Barbara (20min bus ride away). It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to look for a room there (in Isla Vista) to be close and take everything with you. Let me tell you, once you get there you’ll know what I mean. Speaking of rooms: A compromise you have to make in Isla Vista is that you almost always only have a shared bedroom (yes, you share a room with 2). It takes a little getting used to, but for a limited period of time it’s bearable and the advantages outweigh the disadvantages (close to the university, in the student district where you can take 100% American college life with you) the disadvantages are clear. It may seem strange to many people that you should pay $600-$800 for “half a room”, but you live right next to the university, close to the sea and with about 20,000 students in one place. You can’t imagine what a great atmosphere that is, you have to see/live it. So don’t try to save a few $ a month by renting a cheap room outside, you’ll regret it! When looking for an apartment, it should be noted that you should have a little peace and quiet and may need good nerves. Don’t jump to the first best offer (even if you haven’t found anything after a week) but stay relaxed, everyone I know found good accommodation sooner or later. Overall, the situation on the housing market around UCSB is currently easing because the number of students is declining due to the poor economic situation in California.
At the university it is a bit stressful at the beginning because you have to “crash” the courses. This means that you can’t just enroll, you need approval from the professor to be allowed into the course (full time students have priority). But all the people I know got almost all the courses they wanted. It will only be difficult for law students (I speak from experience) to get courses that are recognized here by the examination office, since the Law and Society degree program has been closed. Luckily I just got 3 courses but it’s not that easy and you should at least know beforehand that it can be tight and deal with it early on. When you have the courses, everything is actually easy. Anyone who has passed the TOEFL test will also be able to follow a lecture in California and the level itself is in most cases not as high as in Germany. So don’t worry, even if it might seem difficult at first: It’s not that bad!
The travel options around Santa Barbara are certainly one of the reasons to go there. To make it short, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco and LA are of course “must see’s”. You should also go to Yosemite National Park. Also applies to everyone who is not a big fan of outdoor tours (like me), it was definitely one of the best trips of my time there. I actually really liked all of the other destinations, with the exception of LA, which you shouldn’t expect too much from. You should have seen it anyway. If you only do a quarter and still have some time until the next semester, you can also use the time after your studies (you can stay in the USA for another 60 days) for traveling or for an internship, which is also only recommended.
I also have to mention a few points of criticism, for the sake of completeness. The student idyll in Isla Vista is a thorn in the side of the local police, ie very strict attention is paid to compliance with volume regulations and “open containers” (ie alcoholic drinks in public). The latter is banned throughout California, and while you might get away with it in San Francisco, in Santa Barbara anyone caught having a drink on the street gets a big ticket. In addition, you should generally think twice about a semester abroad in the USA if you are under 21, since alcohol is then generally taboo for you, which is also very strictly controlled. It might sound a bit blunt,
All in all, I would like to recommend a semester abroad at UCSB to everyone and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the College Contact team again for their support.
So off to Santa Barbara
Take it easy!