University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Electrical engineering
Study type: semester abroad
Even before I started my studies, I knew that I wanted to do a semester abroad. On the one hand, to just “get out” and on the other hand, to improve my English and get to know a foreign culture. UCSB in Santa Barbara was a good choice because I’ve had the dream of spending a longer time in California for a long time and the semester times matched my study times, which wasn’t the case at many other universities. UCSB also offers some courses that suit me and also has a very good reputation. It should be noted here that this is not a semester university, but that three regular trimesters plus summer sessions are offered. The year is divided into four lecture periods. Since I went to California as a freemover, everything had to be organized by myself. MicroEdu was a great help right from the start. Every stupid question I had was always answered in detail, friendly and quickly. Nevertheless, a semester abroad with all the trimmings is a big project that takes a lot of time. Financing, application, accommodation, travel, course selection and a visa have to be taken care of. asThe UCSB only accepts the TOEFL test as proof of language proficiency, which also consumes a lot of money and time – but the whole effort is worth it! There are two types of courses at UCSB: the regular courses, which American students also take (very expensive, around $250 per unit), and the international courses, which cost about half that and tend to be easier to pass are, but where it can happen that you sit in a room with about 90% Germans. See mcat-test-centers for Lakehead University.
The UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA is located about 20 minutes by bus from downtown Santa Barbara in the town of Goleta. The district of Isla Vista borders directly on the university, in which almost only students live. There is everything you need for everyday life there: a small supermarket, a bike shop, a liquor store, fast food and restaurants galore, and much more. The university itself consists of a large campus with parks and long sandy beaches. Everything is quite spacious, so getting a skateboard or a bike is recommended. If you want to stay fit, you can sign up for the university’s own gym, which also includes a swimming pool. But what I definitely recommend is the Excursion Club.Run by students and not for profit, this is a welcome change from expensive California. The contribution for a quarter is $30, for which you can rent camping equipment, surfboards or kayaks, for example.
I would definitely recommend living in Isla Vista as it’s the best way to participate in student life while also being super close to the university. There are numerous halls of residence, some of which are operated by the university. The regulations here, for example with regard to alcohol, are very strict, so I would opt for private accommodation. I had no problem finding anything locally in the Spring Quarter. However, it makes sense to rent accommodation for the first few days, for example via Airbnb, since the only hostel in downtown Santa Barbara is quickly booked up. For living, I can highly recommend the apartment houses “Icon” and “Loop” in Isla Vista. These are super modern, offer a lot more freedom than the student residences and have roof terraces, where you can relax and sit late in the evening. It’s not exactly cheap, but it’s not necessarily more expensive than other competitors either.
Santa Barbara is a pretty, relatively small city (about 90,000 inhabitants), built in the Spanish architectural style. It lies directly between the coast and the mountainous hinterland. The main street is a very nice and cozy shopping street. The Court House has an observation tower from which you can enjoy a great view of the city (free of charge). Of course, there is also a beautiful pier with two restaurants. Due to the central location in California, weekend trips to Los Angeles (approx. 2 hours by car), to San Francisco (approx. 5 hours) or to one of the numerous national parks in the area, such as the Joshua Tree, are ideal National Park, one of my favorite parks in the US.
Santa Barbara is a cozy, really nice town with a great location. You can’t go wrong with UCSB either. The university offers good teaching, has a great reputation and is right on the beach. If you can and have the necessary change, you should stay two or more quarters, because unfortunately time flies very quickly.