University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: economics
Study type: semester abroad
After much back and forth, I decided to organize a semester abroad through MicroEdu. The application went smoothly and relatively quickly. Aline always helped me a lot and was open to all my questions. After receiving the visa, it was time to go to California on New Year’s Day. See mcat-test-centers for Hawaii Pacific University.
I had already organized an apartment or a room in Downtown Goleta via Craigslist from home. The only downside was that I was relatively far away from the university. But after I bought a bike from my landlady, the way was finally manageable in a quarter of an hour, which is actually quite ok. Nevertheless, I would advise renting a room directly in Isla Vista (it’s right next to the university), because it’s much more central here and you don’t have to worry about bus departure times etc. all the time. However, it has to be said that the bus system is excellent in my opinion. The buses come regularly and it is not a problem to take a bike with you. If you are a student at UCSB, you can get a ticket to the Quarter for free.
The first days at the university were relatively stressful because you had to try to get into the courses. You have to “crash” them, which is not so easy as a visiting student, since the regular students have priority and the courses can fill up very quickly. So you should definitely have several courses in reserve in case the desired ones don’t work out.
Nonetheless, on the first day, our supervisors definitely scared you too much about not being able to get your 12 credits, which leads to the end of the visa. But in the end that was pure scaremongering, because it wasn’t that difficult and I didn’t hear from anyone that they didn’t get the required credits.
After I got into three courses relatively easily, the quarter could really get going for me.
The lectures were at a much lower level than in Germany, but still very interesting, which was largely due to the very committed professors, with whom you have a much more personal relationship than in Germany. The “Global Economics” lecture in particular was great fun. I couldn’t get them credited at home, but the professor was just brilliant.
Otherwise, there is a lot of work to be done in American universities during the lecture period, since you always have to write midterms or homework. But that way you always stay on the ball and in the end the exam is no longer a problem. As I said, the level does not correspond to what you are used to at home anyway.
But the university itself offers much more. The campus is just a dream and I can’t imagine there being anything like it anywhere else in the world. You are surrounded by the sea with fantastic beaches and a lagoon, around which you can jog and enjoy the panorama.
In addition, you should definitely buy a ticket for the recreation center, as you can use all the sports facilities here. Furthermore, many interesting courses are offered. I attended an ocean kayaking course, which was great fun and where I also learned a lot. Such activities can only be recommended, as it is easier to get in touch with American students here, which is difficult only through lectures.
For me, the city of Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s not very big, but it has all the more flair. There’s always something going on in the bars on State Street, so you never get bored. At the beach you can rent a surfboard and go surfing, which is simply a must in this area.
Of course, a stay abroad in California includes exploring the wider area and visiting great cities like San Francisco or Las Vegas or making a detour to the numerous national parks. As a student at UCSB, you can rent a car relatively cheaply and can therefore get anywhere without any problems, even if the distances are tough. But it is worthwhile in any case.
The only negative point is of course the cost. You can still ignore the high tuition fees, but if you then have to pay $200 or more for a book for a course, then the fun stops. You can resell the books after the quarter, but you don’t even get back a third of the purchase price. I would try to buy the books used on amazon or ebay right away, then it won’t really hit the spot. Of course, the rents are also not without, but that’s just the way it is in this area and you live in a fantastically beautiful area.
I definitely don’t want to miss this great time and would do it the same way again!
It was a once in a lifetime experience.