University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: economics
Study type: semester abroad
It was always clear to me that I wanted to experience a semester abroad during my studies. Why I finally chose America and Santa Barbara in particular is quickly explained: Santa Barbara is the most beautiful city on the Californian coast and it has always been my dream to be able to experience “the American way of life”! See mcat-test-centers for Griffith University Brisbane. At this point I can mention that this was the best decision of my academic career and I can only recommend everyone to face the “challenge” abroad to gain important experiences for life!
Santa Barbara is a pretty, charming, and smaller city located between LA and San Francisco. The city has so much flair that you sometimes forget to be in America. The university is located in the Goleta neighborhood in a neighborhood called “Isla Vista”, 15 km from downtown Santa Barbara. But the bus connections are excellent and Isla Vista has its own charm and student flair. I felt so comfortable here from the start that I still find it difficult to think of Santa Barbara without nostalgia.
The UCSB campus is unique. The university is located directly on the sea and offers a beautiful landscape. Everyone is on the road with a beach cruiser or skateboard and there is something different going on on campus every day (concerts, demos, blood donation campaigns, etc.). I took university life in the USA with me as a particularly positive experience. At this point, I would like to give a big compliment to all the UIP employees who took great care of us from the beginning to the end of our stay. The courses I took (from economics to HR to sociology) were all very interesting and instructive. I was very impressed by the relaxed interaction between students and professors. Austria could take this as an example! The professors didn’t exude that typical “I’m a professor and you’re just a student” attitude. You were seen as a role model and you could count on support in all matters. I was also able to adapt quickly to the slightly different course system: In Austria I’m used to studying selectively for an overall examination and possibly writing a seminar paper or giving a presentation during the semester. In America, one was required to write one homework assignment each week, but not too much emphasis was placed on the overall exam. I had to get used to the “learning along” during the semester, but in the end it was a very effective learning method for me. At first we were a bit desperate as to whether we would actually get all the courses we wanted. Because the internationals have “lower priority” in the course registration and can only enroll for the courses after all other students. In most cases, these were already taken and you had to go to the respective professors and still try to be accepted into the course. The Economics Institute at UCSB in particular is very crowded. That’s why I advise you: let your home university approve a second and third course choice in order to be able to choose courses at UCSB more flexibly! But don’t panic, no one was left without courses and my alternative course choice turned out to be the better one afterwards =)
Housing & living
I stayed at the Motel 6 for the first 2 nights and looked for a place to stay from there. The primary source of information about life in America is www.craigslist.com. This is a reputable and widely used internet platform where you can place advertisements free of charge. This is how I found my apartment, bought my bike and bought and sold my car. I would advise you to look for accommodation in Isla Vista or the surrounding area. Some of us lived a bit further away in Goleta or even downtown. Despite the good bus connection, you only get half of Isla Vista’s student life. I was particularly lucky and found a nice, clean house at Storke Ranch. The complex was only 5 minutes by bike from the university, but it was totally quiet and I had 2 pools and a gym for free use! Isla Vista is a bit more expensive to live in and mostly you only get “shared rooms” to lower the rental costs. But you are close to the action =)
The first means of transport you need is a bicycle – you can get it used and cheaply from the craigslist above. I decided to buy a car because most car rental companies have an “under 25 fee” and therefore have to pay a lot more. I have not regretted my decision as I was able to resell the car easily.
In addition to everyday university life, party life in Isla Vista is not neglected. If you want, you have an invitation to a party almost every day, especially at the weekend you can always choose between several big house parties. On Thursday evening the “billy bus” goes from Isla Vista to downtown where almost all the students go out together. So don’t set classes on Friday mornings =)
If you plan to really enjoy the semester abroad, travel around a bit (Las Vegas, LA, San Francisco, San Diego) and go out a lot, it won’t be cheap. The rental costs alone in Santa Barbara are very high (a single room costs $500-900 a month).
The experience of a semester abroad is not easy to put into words. There are many more thousand individual impressions that you collect. From the beginning of the organization to the stay abroad itself and to “settling in” again in Austria, there are many individual sections in which you learn for your whole life.
I already know that I will remember these semesters forever and I would regret it if I had not had this great additional experience during my studies! So don’t hesitate and embark on your adventure!
Many thanks to the MicroEdu team! Thanks to your support and your great website, I dared to organize my stay abroad and received excellent support!