University of California, Santa Barbara Review (29)


Country: United States

Continent: North America, Europe

Field of study: Business

Study type: semester abroad

University of California, Santa Barbara Review (29)

1. Registration

Registration was done through MicroEdu based in Munster, Germany. The necessary documents and support are guaranteed by College Contact. The service is reliable and free. See mcat-test-centers for Edinburgh Napier University.

Documents include: Application forms, CV, certified copies of academic transcripts, Proof of Funding through the bank of USD 10,000, TOEFL test with sub-scores > 20 completed within 2 years. Registration closes on an indefinite date as soon as capacities are full, which is usually around March. The host university University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) makes the final decision on admission. Registration fees including health insurance (mandatory and non-cancellable) are approximately USD 2,300.

2. Visa

Here, too, MicroEdu can help if you have any questions. Here you have to go to the US Embassy in Bern, appointments were available at short notice in my case. The costs are approx. USD 250, an extensive online registration is necessary beforehand. As a Master’s student, at least 8 units must be completed and a course costs just under USD 300 per unit. However, the HSG requires 16 ECTs from exchange students (including those that cannot be credited). With a conversion factor of 1.5, this results in at least 12 units or 3 large courses with 4 units each.

If you want to travel abroad during the semester, such as to Mexico, you need a stamp on your visa (I 20 form) from UCSB or the UCSB Extension Office. Entry before that is only permitted 30 days in advance. If you want to travel longer through the USA, you can enter via Esta for 90 days, but then have to leave the country (all countries outside of Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean are accepted) and then re-enter with the new student visa.

3. Flat share search

As described in many other field reports, the housing market is in no way comparable to St. Gallen. Prior arrival and organization on site is necessary. Online, the chances of finding accommodation for the desired, short period of time as a ‘foreigner’ are very low. It is quite common to share a room with one or sometimes even two other people. This is particularly true of the very popular neighborhood of Isla Vista, adjacent to the campus. Isla Vista is located directly on the Pacific and for the most part only students live there. Rent ranges from USD 500 to USD 800.

4. Course Choice

I am enrolled at the HSG for the Master in Accounting and Finance. There are Economics courses in the Master’s area, which can be credited as part of the required electives, but lectures in Statistics, Environmental Management and Technology Management are also possible. A prior clarification with the admissions and crediting office of the HSG clarifies many questions in advance and offers more flexibility in the future composition of your courses. The HSG is also accommodating when it comes to crediting it as an independent course, provided it is a Master’s course.

Each department has its own registration procedure for the courses, which is usually clarified with the administrator of the department or by ‘crashing’, i.e. attending the first lecture and obtaining permission/signature from the course provider. UCSB will contact you in advance and provide detailed instructions on the process .

1. Comparative Political Systems – 4 units – 1x per week – independent elective area

In the course, 3-4 different papers or chapters from books of 20 to 50 pages each are read on various topics such as voting behavior, welfare state, democratization. You have to give a presentation on one topic yourself, and a paper of 10 pages each has to be submitted on two topics. Finally, there is a final paper of 8 pages, in which different methods from political science are compared. The lecturer is very competent and the subject is an interesting change from the MAccFin degree. The workload is high and the grading is strict.

2. Carbon Accounting – 4 units – 2x per week – elective / independent elective

This is a course from the Environmental Management Department, which is primarily aimed at natural scientists. The necessary knowledge is therefore missing for the detailed calculations, but the course was interesting, especially with regard to the disclosure of pollutant emissions in companies’ final reports and the trading of emission rights. The lecturer is a pioneer in the field and technically top notch. The course is designed to be interactive and the exam consists of two homework assignments that prepare for the final paper and a 10-minute presentation. The grading is very fair, the workload manageable.

3. Global Studies Gateway Seminar: History of Globalization – 4 Units – 1x per week – independent elective

The course was offered in this format for the first time by the head of the Global Studies department. Here, too, new topics are dealt with weekly and the subject area is just like the subject and the background of the other participants very broad and ranges from political economy to racism and religion. The course is intended as a foundation course for newly starting PhD students and will cover Marx, Focault, Dubois, Weber and books by other social scientists and philosophers treated. The effort involved is immense: specially pre-structured summaries of around 2 pages for 4 works each have to be submitted each week. The individual books, chapters or papers have a size of 30 to 200 pages. The summaries serve as preparation, as the works are discussed each week and participation is graded. The course is very interesting and interactive (group work, guest speakers, discussions), but all participants rated the effort as far too high. Finally, a paper of 10 pages must also be submitted. The grade is in the very good range.

Attention: It is quite possible that some courses are not released by the lecturer, that the course is suddenly not offered differently than stated or that there is no space available. The procedure can sometimes be very time-consuming.

Attention 2: Extension courses are publicly accessible to everyone and are not comparable in level to regular courses through the UCSB. It is therefore not possible to offset these.

5. Conclusion

UCSB is located at the north end of Southern California and the location and campus are gorgeous. Due to the almost constantly good weather, you dive into the carefree Californian lifestyle quite quicklya. The location invites you to take trips to the surrounding cities and student life differs greatly from that at the HSG. The beautiful location and the comparatively low ‘hours load’ of the courses should not be misleading about the lack of intensity or demand. The effort for my courses has remained at a very high level throughout the semester, as attendance and various assignments are expected and graded weekly. Other exchange students can confirm this information in comparison to the European higher education system.

The semester – called the Quarter at UCSB – is very short overall, lasting a little less than three months. Accordingly, the time goes by very quickly. It is also important to note that you register at UCSB via the Extension Program. The UCSB also has its own exchange students, who are looked after much better and have the same status as local students.

In short: If you want to enjoy the Californian, light-footed student life, UCSB is the place for you. The academic demand is nevertheless given and challenging. However, you will not kiss the cultural muse at UCSB, the proportion of German-speaking students is simply too high for that (HSG exchange students in winter semester 2015: 16).

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