University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: physics
Study type: semester abroad
I was about to do my master’s thesis, so it was “now or never!” for me. See mcat-test-centers for College of The Desert. Since my university (TU-Darmstadt) did not offer any interesting exchange opportunities in the USA, I decided to organize the study abroad myself. The people at MicroEdu were a great help.
In principle, if you have above-average academic performance, there are no problems at all with the application.
I chose the University of California, Santa Barbara because I loved the idea of living in perfect weather between the mountains and the beach. In addition, the university has a very good reputation in natural sciences (especially material sciences).
It should be clear from the outset that the University Immersion program is not a UCSB student in the true sense of the word. You can ride the bus for free, but that’s actually where the rights end. You have to make an effort to get an e-mail account and the (luxuriously equipped) Recreation Center of the university also costs a small fee. The biggest disadvantage is that you cannot use the GOLD system and therefore have to “crash” all courses. This means that you can only take UCSB courses on campus if there are still places available, which is never the case. However, that sounds much worse than it is in practice. Because if you talk to the professor and explain your situation to him, you will always find a way. In a wondrous way, you quickly slip ahead of all other enrolled applicants on the waiting lists. Each individual course is paid for, but you can change your mind within a month and get the course fee refunded without hesitation.
Overall, the support provided by the professors is excellent.
The level in the undergraduate area is not really comparable to that of a German university. The situation is completely different in the graduate field. The demand is tough and is in no way inferior to the German diploma or master’s degree. The workload there during the current semester is also impressive.
The facilities at the university are also first class. You notice straight away that the university is a business there and benefits greatly from sponsorship and donations from allumni. The university has its own beach (with great waves) and a very nice lagoon.
You won’t find a canteen there, but in the University Center you have a choice of various fast food chains (Wendy’s, Chilitos, Panda Express, Domino’s, etc…).
There is so much to do besides studying and it never really rains. The parties are just like you know them from the cinema and crass. Since you can only go to bars from the age of 21, it is better to let it all out at home. However, the cops have no tolerance when it comes to drinking on the street etc. and they like to break up parties. As an under 21 year old it becomes very difficult to get alcohol anywhere let alone in a bar. Even ID cards are not accepted in some places. At the age of 24 I often belonged to the scrap heap (unbelievable but true). And the parties sometimes got a bit too weak for me. But you can also take it easy.
There is so much to do around Santa Barbara. Be it with the International Students or with the Excursion Club. If you can’t find anything, you simply haven’t searched. Pretty much all sports are covered too. Even football is popular at UCSB. However, not really to compare with German level. Anyone who plays successfully in the regional league is probably the purest high-flyer there.;)
Surfing is harder than I thought, but it’s a lot of fun.
It’s relatively difficult to make friends with Americans, they prefer to keep to themselves. All the other exchange students are much more open and before you know it you are celebrating with more than 5 nationalities at the same time.
But the friendships I’ve made will hopefully last a long time. Plans were made, addresses exchanged and tickets for the next meeting booked long ago.;)
Overall, my time at UCSB was more than awesome and I would do it again anytime. But be warned… “Santa Barbara may not be easy to leave behind…”
-For apartments and actually everything used: Craigslist.com
-Buy a bike immediately (perfect paved bike path everywhere)
preferably in a bike shop in Isla Vista (they buy them back for 70% when you’re done) because the bus is laaaahm.
-UCSB Cycling Team (or another sports team of your choice)
-MTB and road bike -Membership
in the Recreation Center
-Comparable to a very exclusive fitness studio, but incredibly cheap (free squash, racquetball, tennis, etc…)
– Yosemite Park
-Coffee and Cake on Fridays at the Internationals Students Meeting
-Life in Isla Vista
-Buy a surfboard (and Neo, the Pacific is pretty cold especially in the fall)
-Get Music 5A and a key to the rehearsal room
-Chill out in the evening with a ChocoMuffin and coffee from Nicoletti’s at UCSB Lagoon or Campus Point.
-Walk barefoot in the surf of Goleta Beach after the party.
-Join the UCSB excursion club (great hikes and excursions)
-Shopping at the Camarillo Outlet (30min drive, incredibly cheap)
-Downtown clubbing (sharing a limo from IV, cheaper than taking a cab)
-Habit and in-and-out burger
-Rent a car from Avis.de (much cheaper than the American sites)
-Halloween on Del Playa
-Cycling on sidewalks
-Cheap bike locks
-Bread from the supermarket (inedible for Germans)
-Drinking on the street (costs $180, possibly one night in jail)
-Resistance against state authority in general (absolutely no tolerance and see above)
-Buy a car (you don’t really need it in SB and rental cars are cheap)
-Joe’s Coffee Mug (breaks immediately)
-downtown shopping (completely exorbitant tourist prices)
-rush hour in LA
-fly home… : (