University of California, Santa Barbara Review (43)


City: Santa Barbara

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: economics

Study type: semester abroad

University of California, Santa Barbara Review (43)

Preparation and application process:

I was very surprised how easy and uncomplicated everything was through MicroEdu. In principle everything is explained step by step and therefore nothing should go wrong. I applied for the FALL Quarter 2013 in February 2013. In December, I took the TOEFL test (80 points are required) and had my grades translated. Otherwise, a certificate of the “Proof of Funding” must be obtained from the bank and a student F1 visa applied for, which was not a problem at all and after 2 questions: length of stay and reason for the trip, I got my visa. I got the confirmation from the university after about 2 weeks. See mcat-test-centers for Lincoln University.

Since this was my first trip to the US and I didn’t do much research beforehand, I booked a flight to Santa Barbara (€1080), which cost me about €300-€400 more than a flight to LA or San Francisco. My only advice would be to fly to “LA” and then take the bus to Santa Barbara. It’s not a problem at all, the buses run daily and cost around $55!
You can always get a room or apartment quickly and looking for it on site works without any problems. However, almost all rooms are designed for 2-4 people. Single apartments are very expensive and difficult to come by. In any case, it makes sense to find out about the various apartments in advance and to book some from Germany if you want to be sure. I lived the first few days in a hostel in downtown Santa Barbara and after 3 days I rented a “double” room with another student ($680 per person), which I found on “craiglist”. It is not an issue to sign a longer rental contract, you can usually get rid of the room quickly (it is advisable to look for new tenants in good time).
The basic recommendation is definitely to live in “Isla Vista” and not directly in Santa Barbara. Isla Vista is about 12 miles from Santa Barbara. There are also halls of residence, but I personally wouldn’t prefer them because they always have some rules that can restrict life there quite a bit.


Since I was there as an extension student for only one quarter, I had already chosen 2 extension courses from the comfort of my home. These can be viewed and paid for on the UCSB extension page. After a course has been paid for, a place in the respective extension course is guaranteed. The regular university courses are not so easy to take.
In order to take an “academic” course, various requirements must be met, which may have to be fulfilled with more precise translations of the grades from the home university or certain deadlines. Otherwise, courses that want to be taken must be attended for several weeks and then approved by the lecturer/professor. As a rule, you get most of the subjects you want, I’ve only heard different things in a few cases.


I made it very easy for myself and only chose extension courses. Unfortunately, an academic course “Sports Management” was full and also had 3 events per week, so that in the end I chose the following courses:

#Global Economics
I can recommend it with a clear conscience. The lessons were very interesting, the class size was manageable and the grades were very positive. There were regular quizzes that required reading, but no unsolvable tasks. Arithmetic or the like was not required at all in this subject

#Fundamentals of Practical Project Management
It was a small course with only a few German students. We were less than 20 people and it was super relaxed. In the first week we were divided into teams and each week we were given homework that we did in the group and then sent in the results by email one day before the next lesson. The lecturer was also really cool and we definitely got to know the basics of project management.

#Strategic Business Development on the Global Marketplace
This subject was led by a lecturer and had 3 guest lecturers who presented a mix of topics. We touched on everything about finance, marketing, communication, business plan etc. and at the end presented a marketing plan, business plan and our group project. There was also no final exam and it was rated very fairly.

#Global Marketing
Of the four subjects, this was definitely the most work, but it was also a lot of fun. The lecturer was very practice-oriented, nice and helpful. Although you had to do comparatively more here, a lot was taught and the mix was significantly better than a marketing lecture at the university.

Life, travel and experiences:

I don’t want to waste too much space here. The time there was outstanding! I had rain exactly 3 times in the 100 days! The people are much friendlier and more helpful, but also a bit superficial at first. In general, however, I was very positively surprised by the Americans. Santa Barbara is beautiful, has a cool shopping street, a great beach, mountains to hike and everything around the corner. The only drawback are probably the food prices and rental costs. Although the $-€ exchange rate is favorable for us, the prices do not come close to the German prices, except for clothing. Travel opportunities are endless. LA is about 90 minutes away, San Diego about 3.5 hours, Las Vegas and San Francisco about 5 hours. A trip to Palm Springs and then to Bear Lake is also recommended,

All in all, I would book the same thing again at any time, but 2 semesters and not just one semester;)
Only for those who want to improve their English significantly, it gets a little more difficult, because there are really many Germans over there every semester and you get along with them can hardly resist (possibly select a few extension courses). So quickly make friends with other international students and enjoy your time there.

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