University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: literary studies
Study type: semester abroad
I studied German and English literature at UCSB. My main subject is actually German, but it is obvious that there is not much choice. I also decided on this degree more because I wanted to live in the USA for a while, for which the degree seemed to me to be a suitable framework, since it is well known that it is more difficult to leave for a longer period of time in professional life. See mcat-test-centers for La Trobe University.
Since all the information should not be repeated, I will add my two cents here if it differs from the other contributions and only briefly touch on the rest.
I have to say a stay in California is not 100% what you expect. But it would also be kind of bad if.;) I have to agree with the previous speakers in this case when they say it’s often cold there. No one had ever written about it when I found out about a semester abroad at MicroEdu, and I’ve never heard anything like it from friends either. I don’t want to linger too long on this topic either, but don’t underestimate it, take a thick jacket and scarf with you (yes, I’m serious!). Of course it wouldn’t be California if there weren’t really nice days when you can really burn your back.;)
I can’t give a uniform assessment of the university. On the one hand, it is unbeatable in terms of the entire area and the buildings, above all it has its own lagoon (!!!), skateboard lane, etc. I found the lecturers very nice, competent and often they worked in the American manner the lessons very lively and entertaining. I found the content appropriate: interesting, not too baby but not totally demanding either. The downsides: the rest of the staff I’ve dealt with is nice, but nothing more. Help is offered, but not given, and when it does, it’s usually of no use. As a rule, one does not get a sensible answer to questions and problems. Unfortunately, I have to say at this point that I was very surprised by this ignorance. In addition, the so-called papers and exams were mostly not appropriate to the material and often – in German eyes – nonsensical. Why should I read a 1000-page novel within 3 weeks and then recognize quotes in the tests? You don’t need (to learn) academic writing/work there either, the whole thing is handled in a much more streamlined way than here. It definitely takes getting used to. That’s why I think the total fees are way too exaggerated.
I would definitely recommend Isla Vista, because it is very centrally located in the extensive area of Santa Barbara. The university is right next to it, as is the beach, there are good transport connections and yes, everyone actually lives there. Otherwise, I found this neighborhood more than just annoying. You know that from the past, you’ve hardly reached the “drinking age” when it starts to go off and you just have to be prepared for something like that in IV. It’s not for nothing that there are more cops driving around than anywhere else. You never have your peace there, the music actually only consists of the first 10 chart songs, so you get tired quickly. I know IV was liked by most, but there were a lot of people who couldn’t stand it. Del Playa Drive (DP) is the crowning glory of it all.
With Americans themselves, like everywhere else, it matters a lot who you bump into. They are all nice and helpful. Some are even really reliable, a trait not often found there. Not even for non-students. For example, you pay money, which by no means means that you get something in return. I never received my California ID, despite asking. The money is non-refundable and this is not the only occurrence of this kind.
It is indeed difficult to make friends, but there are a lot of Americans at UCSB who are very interested in Germany – and I mean really interested. They are also studying German and if you are looking for ongoing contact beyond your stay there, you should approach such people because they also have an interest in being in contact with Germans. Don’t let yourself be seduced into speaking German all the time.;) I no longer have contact with the other Americans I got to know there.
The diet is exhausting. It’s still cool at the beginning, you munch through everything, but after a few weeks you can’t stand the Mexican food and fast food anymore. It’s best to cook for yourself, but in my opinion it’s different than here and not necessarily cheap. However, I definitely recommend IV Drip, where you can find everything your heart desires, from chocolate biscuits and marshmallow ice cream to coffee. And Blenders is definitely worth a visit too! You won’t find a smoothie that cheap and good in Germany.
What struck me as the most impressive and beautiful thing about America and California, and what I will never forget, were the trips to other corners and cities of the state and Vegas. Nature is awesome because you have everything close by: sea, mountains, desert, forest, even snow. It’s right, really impressive and very different from home. I would watch that again and again. San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge was one of my personal highlights, to finally see something like this with my own eyes is really incredible. A tip: if there are 2 or 3 of you, try couch surfing! Living with real locals in these cities is so much cooler and more authentic than a motel. We did this in San Fran. Above all, they also speak English, you should only be traveling with Germans. Do as many tours as you can and also check out local events like basketball games. Money is ALWAYS well invested.
I would recommend a semester abroad to everyone, including one in California. It definitely changes you for the better and may also change your view of home, which you usually don’t think about too much in advance. Even if you can’t make friends with some things, I don’t want to miss the experiences, the things I’ve seen and the friendships!