University of California, Santa Barbara Review (38)


City: Santa Barbara

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: economics

Study type: semester abroad

University of California, Santa Barbara Review (38)

In my opinion, the organizational effort before the semester abroad was limited. Like many others, I applied through MicroEdu. I started applying in early March to attend the 2014 Fall Quarter at UCSB. All I had to do was fill out a few forms, submit proof of English and a bank confirmation. Since the study places are limited to a total of 150 students per trimester, the first-come, first-served principle applies. See mcat-test-centers for James Cook University.

After confirmation from the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA (UCSB) and receipt of the necessary documents, an appointment for the visa can be requested at the embassy. Although the visit to the consulate in Bern was very lengthy, the issuance process and shipping went quickly.

When I arrived in Isla Vista, I immediately bought a bike and opened an account. Wells Fargo is used to opening accounts of this type and closing them at the end of the quarter. The account made it easier for me to pay in stores and online. I bought the bike on Craigslist for $50 and can sell it there for the same price. However, the bike should be uploaded early enough, as there are not many people looking for a bike at the end of the semester.

University and courses

Over 21,000 students are enrolled at UCSB, of which only about 4% are international students. The university is known for its research achievements (several Nobel Prize winners) and high-quality teaching. Located about 20 minutes from Santa Barbara, the campus is one of the few universities with its own beach and lagoon. The campus can be easily reached by bike from Isla Vista (IV), the adjacent quarter where all students live.

In contrast to previous years, we didn’t have to crash any courses. Crashing would mean that we sit in the lesson and get the signature of the professor at the end of the lesson, who assures participation.

All Economics courses were run by Mark Patterson in the Masters (courses numbered 200 or higher). He is responsible for the Economics Graduate Students. It is necessary to clarify in advance which courses can be attended. With his approval, however, you are guaranteed a place in the course and crashing is no longer necessary. In the first hour, course descriptions are handed out with the respective examination performances. These so-called syllabi are required to submit the application for credit transfer to the HSG.

After consultation with Mark Patterson and the HSG, I finally took the following courses:

ECON 274 Managerial Accounting and Economics (Compulsory Elective – Advanced)
This course provides an overview of the duties of an accountant. On the one hand, economic models for internal decision-making are presented. On the other hand, various options for presenting the external annual financial statements are presented. The material is strongly based on the book of the same name. The exam includes two midterms, a paper and a final. Although the effort is not insignificant, Cynthia Benelli is very concerned about the international students and you will be rewarded with a good grade. Benelli illustrates various models in the course in a simple and understandable way.

ECON 274 Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Econometrics (compulsory elective course)
Since I had little knowledge of statistics, this course was by far the most challenging. Gregory Leo is a PhD student and introduces different forecasting models in the course. Since the course has no structure, it is all the more important to take notes from the course so that you can assemble the individual chapters into a whole when studying for the final exam. The exam includes weekly homework (to be submitted in paper form) and a final. In addition to the subject matter, the homeworks also include Matlab tasks. Here, too, you will be rewarded with a good grade for the corresponding effort.

TMP 241 Managing for Innovation (Independent Elective)
This course is taught by Prof. David Seibold and provides an introduction to managing innovation. This includes, on the one hand, motivating the employees to generate ideas and the subsequent restriction, management and implementation of the idea. Furthermore, the influence of innovation on companies is considered and how important this will be for companies in the future. The exam performance includes active participation, a presentation, answers to questions posed online (based on texts read), and the written processing of a case (11-page paper). The grading was fair, although in my opinion the effort was too great.

From Los Angeles you can either fly to Santa Barbara or rent a car (approx. 120 km). After all, everything in IV can be reached by bike or longboard, which is why it is worth getting one of these wheels as soon as possible.

Apartments and vacant rooms can also be found on Craigslist. I would recommend that you start looking for an apartment before you arrive. The offer in IV is very limited and many have to switch to Goleta or even Santa Barbara. After a two-week search, I ended up living on Abrego Road (5 minutes by bike to the campus). However, I entered into a one-year contract for this and bore the risk of finding a new tenant and paying the transfer fee. If possible I would try to avoid such an arrangement. In particular, this is to be avoided because some of the students are very unreliable and a verbal acceptance is by no means a guarantee. It can be very tedious to look for a new tenant in addition to the learning stress. Those who would like to live on the party mile should keep an eye out for offers on Del Playa Road. This street is known for daily and also public parties.


Since IV is right next to the campus, this is where most of the students can be found. The people are very sociable and you can find everything you need. It is advisable to buy a Costco card per household for shopping. The card costs $60 and is equivalent to a TopMicroEdu or Prodega card. The advantage here is that you can buy everything in larger quantities and at lower prices.

Excursion Club membership is also very beneficial. The association offers organized trips, equipment for surfing or camping and many sports activities. Membership was about $35 for the entire quarter.

Since many students are away from home for the first time, student life is enjoyed to the fullest. Those who live in IV cannot avoid the college experience. Aside from the daily home parties, every Thursday is college night in downtown Santa Barbara. All students who are older than 21 ride together with ‘Bills Bus’ into the city and go partying in the clubs and bars of Santa Barbara. But there are also many other events and concerts in Santa Barbara and on the campus in IV. At UCSB there is a ticket office where all future events are listed.

UCSB is a football university. There are many games and the atmosphere is always excellent due to the large fan base. Although the gauchos (UCSB students) can go to the games for free, we as ‘internationals’ were not allowed to take advantage of this offer. Unfortunately, all students who are enrolled via the UCSB Extension cannot benefit from all the discounts.


In summary, I can say that I really enjoyed the semester abroad at UCSB. It never gets boring at university or in IV. Although most of the people were in their bachelor’s degree and therefore younger, it was always very pleasant to talk to the students.

A trip through California before or after the Quarter is definitely recommended. Santa Barbara is perfectly located to explore the whole coast from San Diego to Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Malibu, Bay Area to San Francisco. A trip to Las Vegas should not be missed. If you’re going to UCSB in the fall quarter, you should also consider going on vacation over Thanksgiving. Due to the importance of the holiday in the States, all students go home for several days and the university is closed.

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