University of California, Santa Barbara Review (49)

University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA

City: Santa Barbara

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: Statistics, Economics

Study type: semester abroad

University of California, Santa Barbara Review (49)

The last summer semester, ie from March to September 2010, I studied in California at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) with the support of the DAAD. In preparation for my scholarship period, however, there was a lot to do first. This includes not only preparing for the TOEFL, booking a flight, but also obtaining a visa and the question of where I would like to live during my stay abroad. See mcat-test-centers for Northeastern University.

I certainly needed most of the preparation time for the TOEFL test and obtaining a visa. Unfortunately, my university does not offer a TOEFL preparation course, so I bought a TOEFL textbook several hundred pages long and worked through it on my own. And with success, so that although I had hardly any contact with the English language in the last 3 years, I easily achieved the number of points required for the application to UCSB. When it came to obtaining a visa, I certainly put a lot more stress on myself in advance than it probably would have been necessary. In December I made an appointment at the consulate in Berlin at the end of January to apply for a visa. And then I spent a lot of time gathering all the necessary documents and researching the forthcoming interview with the consular officer on the Internet. After all, I needed almost none of these documents for the visa application; However, I would not recommend anyone not to carry the desired evidence with them. When I traveled to Canada for two days at the end of my stay abroad, i.e. after completing my studies, they initially did not want me to re-enter the USA because my visa expired when I left for Canada – after I had already started my studies the UCSB was finished – despite the actual 30-day period (which I could have stayed in the USA without leaving for Canada after completing my studies) had expired. At that moment I would have liked to have had the receipts already collected for the F1 visa in January, which of course was not the case. After an hour of interview in the “Department for Homeland Security” at the border to Canada, I was allowed back to the USA with a tourist visa for my last two days. As it turned out, there was nothing I could have done in advance to prevent this particular entry; especially since the departure from the USA took place on a Saturday morning via a ferry, where no American border official could be found. I was then allowed back to the USA with a tourist visa for my last two days. As it turned out, there was nothing I could have done in advance to prevent this particular entry; especially since the departure from the USA took place on a Saturday morning via a ferry, where no American border official could be found. I was then allowed back to the USA with a tourist visa for my last two days. As it turned out, there was nothing I could have done in advance to prevent this particular entry; especially since the departure from the USA took place on a Saturday morning via a ferry, where no American border official could be found.

But it was not only at the end of my stay abroad that I had to learn that small things can sometimes cause unforeseen problems. When I was about to apply for a spring quarter placement at UCSB, I faced a few hurdles. UCSB requires that I can prove that I have sufficient financial resources for the desired study period. Since UCSB is in great demand among international students, it is not possible to wait for the scholarship to be approved, because then all the places have already been taken. As a result, I had to find a bank that would confirm in English that I had a certain amount of US dollars in my account. However, because I live in Germany, of course I don’t have an account with US dollars. In addition, two banks refused with whom I have an account to draft such letters in English. My third bank hasn’t answered me to this day, even though I personally submitted the documents that UCSB had given me. Finally, I asked my family who had accounts with other banks and would vouch for me. At a fourth bank, it turned out that they would need a notary for this and the whole thing then takes at least four weeks. In the meantime, however, the organization MicroEdu, through which all communication between me and UCSB took place before the stay abroad, pointed out to me that there were only very few places left and that I should send in my documents as soon as possible. Knowing that only complete applications will be considered, however, my hands were tied. After all, Deutsche Bank was the savior in times of need. I received the corresponding document within a week and a half. Unfortunately, all places at UCSB had been taken for three days, so I only got one place on the waiting list. Although MicroEdu didn’t give me very high hopes, I moved up just 3 weeks later, that was in mid-October. There are also certain fees associated with enrolling as an international student, such as paying for the compulsory health insurance at the UCSB, which the DAAD later took over for me and fortunately I never had to use. I received the corresponding document within a week and a half. Unfortunately, all places at UCSB had been taken for three days, so I only got one place on the waiting list. Although MicroEdu didn’t give me very high hopes, I moved up just 3 weeks later, that was in mid-October. There are also certain fees associated with enrolling as an international student, such as paying for the compulsory health insurance at the UCSB, which the DAAD later took over for me and fortunately I never had to use. I received the corresponding document within a week and a half. Unfortunately, all places at UCSB had been taken for three days, so I only got one place on the waiting list. Although MicroEdu didn’t give me very high hopes, I moved up just 3 weeks later, that was in mid-October. There are also certain fees associated with enrolling as an international student, such as paying for the compulsory health insurance at the UCSB, which the DAAD later took over for me and fortunately I never had to use. that was in mid-October, moved up. There are also certain fees associated with enrolling as an international student, such as paying for the compulsory health insurance at the UCSB, which the DAAD later took over for me and fortunately I never had to use. that was in mid-October, moved up. There are also certain fees associated with enrolling as an international student, such as paying for the compulsory health insurance at the UCSB, which the DAAD later took over for me and fortunately I never had to use.

MicroEdu not only took care of the communication with the UCSB, but also established contact with the WISE Foundation, an organization that arranges host families. Since the 2009/10 winter semester was generally very stressful for me, I didn’t want to look for a room in a shared apartment in Santa Barbara from Germany, so I gratefully accepted this offer and applied for a host family. In addition, a host family has other advantages: I experienced American family life up close; I always had someone to turn to for advice and never had to worry about everyday things like cooking dinner or shopping, so I had more time to focus on my studies and getting to know the country and its people.

Of course, in preparation for my stay abroad, I also had to book a flight and think about shipping my luggage. I didn’t book my flight until January because I didn’t receive the scholarship confirmation from the DAAD until Christmas, which ensured that I had sufficient financial resources for two quarters of UCSB studies. Eventually I found the cheapest deal with Lufthansa and that included both the outward and return flights. In addition to hand luggage (a small trolley case, laptop bag and handbag/backpack), Lufthansa allows one additional piece of luggage weighing up to 23 kg for this route. For each additional suitcase (max. 23kg) you pay $50. On the way there I already had a large suitcase and a trolley case that was too heavy for hand luggage, although it was small. However, since my first flight from Berlin to Munich, which was supposed to take me to the intercontinental flight from Munich to Los Angeles, was canceled due to the Munich airport being temporarily closed due to the icy weather, I had to take a plane earlier that could fly into each moment with the boarding – already at this point in time with a 40-minute delay. As a result, I only just made it to Munich, but was forgotten that I had excess baggage. A big farewell was of course no longer possible in this hurry. Finally I arrived about 15 hours later in Los Angeles with a temperature of 28°C. Due to an interim closure of Munich Airport due to the icy weather, I had to take a plane earlier that was supposed to finish boarding at any moment – already 40 minutes late at this point. As a result, I only just made it to Munich, but was forgotten that I had excess baggage. A big farewell was of course no longer possible in this hurry. Finally I arrived about 15 hours later in Los Angeles with a temperature of 28°C. Due to an interim closure of Munich Airport due to the icy weather, I had to take a plane earlier that was supposed to finish boarding at any moment – already 40 minutes late at this point. As a result, I only just made it to Munich, but was forgotten that I had excess baggage. A big farewell was of course no longer possible in this hurry. Finally I arrived about 15 hours later in Los Angeles with a temperature of 28°C. that I just got to Munich, but was forgotten that I have excess baggage. A big farewell was of course no longer possible in this hurry. Finally I arrived about 15 hours later in Los Angeles with a temperature of 28°C. that I just got to Munich, but was forgotten that I have excess baggage. A big farewell was of course no longer possible in this hurry. Finally I arrived about 15 hours later in Los Angeles with a temperature of 28°C.

Luckily my dad had work to do there and was able to pick me up from the airport. Two days later he delivered me to my host family in Goleta. Goleta is a town that borders Santa Barbara and is even closer to the university than Santa Barbara itself. In addition, the host family lived very close to most shopping facilities, banks – and therefore the ATMs that are essential for survival – and the post office. The cinema and the beach were also only a few minutes’ walk away. As I learned later, most of the students staying with host families lived in this area.

I then got to know the other international students who also came to UCSB for the spring quarter at an orientation event. There were around 75 students, with the exception of one Italian, one South Korean and one Swiss, only Germans. At this orientation event, you will be explained, along with other organizational matters, how you still have to register for certain courses. I was then able to discover, for example, that there are lotteries for some business events because regular UCSB students have priority and then there are no longer enough places for international students. Finally I had to learn that – at least for this quarter – there was no random draw at all, as was announced, but simply the first ones who stood in front of the appropriate office with the appropriate signature from the lecturer were admitted to the course. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones, of course, but that wasn’t too bad for me, since I was able to attend another economics course that was obviously less popular. But as it turned out later, my favorite course at UCSB became. Due to the low popularity of econometrics, only 16 students took part in this course (ECON 140A), which grew into a really nice “class association” by the end of the quarter. We then worked on projects in groups for this course and also prepared for the intermediate and final exams together in the library. standing in front of the relevant office with the relevant signature from the lecturer were admitted to the course. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones, of course, but that wasn’t too bad for me, since I was able to attend another economics course that was obviously less popular. But as it turned out later, my favorite course at UCSB became. Due to the low popularity of econometrics, only 16 students took part in this course (ECON 140A), which grew into a really nice “class association” by the end of the quarter. We then worked on projects in groups for this course and also prepared for the intermediate and final exams together in the library. standing in front of the relevant office with the relevant signature from the lecturer were admitted to the course. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones, of course, but that wasn’t too bad for me, since I was able to attend another economics course that was obviously less popular. But as it turned out later, my favorite course at UCSB became. Due to the low popularity of econometrics, only 16 students took part in this course (ECON 140A), which grew into a really nice “class association” by the end of the quarter. We then worked on projects in groups for this course and also prepared for the intermediate and final exams together in the library. which wasn’t too bad for me though, as I was able to take another economics course that was obviously less popular. But as it turned out later, my favorite course at UCSB became. Due to the low popularity of econometrics, only 16 students took part in this course (ECON 140A), which grew into a really nice “class association” by the end of the quarter. We then worked on projects in groups for this course and also prepared for the intermediate and final exams together in the library. which wasn’t too bad for me though, as I was able to take another economics course that was obviously less popular. But as it turned out later, my favorite course at UCSB became. Due to the low popularity of econometrics, only 16 students took part in this course (ECON 140A), which grew into a really nice “class association” by the end of the quarter. We then worked on projects in groups for this course and also prepared for the intermediate and final exams together in the library. which have grown together into a really nice “class group” at the end of the quarter. We then worked on projects in groups for this course and also prepared for the intermediate and final exams together in the library. which have grown together into a really nice “class group” at the end of the quarter. We then worked on projects in groups for this course and also prepared for the intermediate and final exams together in the library.

However, during my first semester at UCSB, I also took two courses, Regression Analysis (PSTAT 126) and Introduction to Mathematical Finance (PSTAT 170), in the Department of Probability and Statistics (PSTAT Department). At the orientation event, I also had to find out that the course registration for courses in this department is also different and therefore with the provisional course choice sent in in January, which – as I suspected up to this point in time – was carried out without any problems due to the lack of negative feedback should, nothing happened. For me, this meant that I had to go to the responsible person in the PSTAT department with my English module descriptions, the courses required for the respective courses and my transcript. to ask them to let me attend the relevant courses. Fortunately, that went very smoothly, so that I had my three 4-credit courses and the 12 credits required for the visa together. It should also be mentioned at this point that in the regular quarters, ie autumn, winter and spring, you have the opportunity to take part in more events for up to two weeks in order to then decide on the three most suitable (if there are enough free places to do so). To be available). During this time, there is also the possibility to register and deregister for courses, whereby each registration always means that you have to pay for the course first. so that I had my three 4-credit courses together and thus the 12 credits required for the visa. It should also be mentioned at this point that in the regular quarters, ie autumn, winter and spring, you have the opportunity to take part in more events for up to two weeks in order to then decide on the three most suitable (if there are enough free places to do so). To be available). During this time, there is also the possibility to register and deregister for courses, whereby each registration always means that you have to pay for the course first. so that I had my three 4-credit courses together and thus the 12 credits required for the visa. It should also be mentioned at this point that in the regular quarters, ie autumn, winter and spring, you have the opportunity to take part in more events for up to two weeks in order to then decide on the three most suitable (if there are enough free places to do so). To be available). During this time, there is also the possibility to register and deregister for courses, whereby each registration always means that you have to pay for the course first. to then decide on the three most suitable (provided that there are enough free places available). During this time, there is also the possibility to register and deregister for courses, whereby each registration always means that you have to pay for the course first. to then decide on the three most suitable (provided that there are enough free places available). During this time, there is also the possibility to register and deregister for courses, whereby each registration always means that you have to pay for the course first.

After I could be sure which courses I would take in the spring quarter, the textbooks had to be bought; because in many courses you are stuck without a book, especially if you do not yet have a 100 percent command of the technical English language. With the textbook, learning unfamiliar vocabulary is much easier, since you don’t just have to infer the spelling by listening. Also, the lectures on the PSTAT courses I took were more for a deeper understanding of the textbook and not the other way around. Usually, homework from the textbook had to be solved every week, which was then evaluated and thus included in the final grade. In addition, the chapters were always given, which one should have read before the next lecture. if you do this the lecture was easy to follow. Otherwise, the lecture sometimes seemed like a loose collection of incoherent material, since sometimes only the core statements were taken up and explained in more detail. I found this type of learning to be extremely positive, since you were not only forced to work through the material yourself, but also consolidated your knowledge much better due to the deepening and detailed response to questions during the lectures. Of course, additional tests in some courses, which were written several times during the 10 weeks of lectures and also included in the final evaluation, also contributed to this. At least one intermediate exam, called midterm, made up a certain proportion of the final grade of each course. To take good care of all the controls, To prepare tests and homework, the lecturers offered consultation hours at least once a week for each event, ie both for the exercise and for the lecture of each course. These were also well attended and were very helpful in preparing for the services mentioned. As a result, you deal with the entire learning content in much more detail during the lecture period, so that it is highly likely that the material you have learned not only “sticks” for longer, but it was also easier or much faster to prepare for the final exams, the so-called finals. These finals all took place within a week, which was very unusual for me. In this final week, it seems like all 20,000 students are either in the library or in the middle of an exam. The rest of the campus is empty and the library is overcrowded. A very interesting learning atmosphere!

The final week was followed by a week of vacation and the summer quarter began. The summer quarter is structured completely differently, above all in terms of organisation. It does not include ten lecture weeks and a final week, but is divided into two six-week lecture sessions A and B and four other sessions of different lengths (C, D, E and F). I then decided to attend three courses, each worth four credit points. The first course (ECON 135) took place during the first three weeks of session A, and was therefore very intense. Apart from the fact that an entire ten-week lecture including the homework included in the evaluation as well as the midterms and the final exam had to be completed within 18 days, course did not differ significantly from the events in the spring quarter. (The 18 days are due to the fact that the course always took place daily from Monday to Thursday, with the final exam being written on the last Thursday.) The second course was a kind of internal university internship (PSTAT 199), which was supposed to last through the entire Session A. However, since this was independent studies, I was able to schedule my time so that I had to do most of the work for it after completing the ECON 135 course. To the amazement of my supervisor, I was able to deliver a very good paper and the associated Matlab program in the short time (3 weeks), so that, despite the recommendation in the meantime, to switch to the assessment option passed/not passed on the grounds that he couldn’t imagine that I could get a better grade than a “B-” in such a short time, when I finally rated myself with an “A” for the entire project. It is also worth mentioning at this point that it was not so easy to attend the independent studies course. Because it is a prerequisite that you not only find a supervisor, but also that you have studied at least one semester at the respective department and, in the best case, have even attended several courses (in my case it was the two courses PSTAT 126 and PSTAT 170.), although it is of course also desirable that one of these lectures has been read by the supervisor of the project. The supervisor of my work was Adam Tashman, who had given the introduction to financial mathematics in the spring. Adam Tashman was like most of the faculty at UCSB, very receptive to the students and trying to help them in every way. For example, he put surveys on the Internet in which we could participate anonymously to understand the lecture material. The questions were then evaluated in the following lecture and misunderstandings etc. were discussed in great detail. This learning aid was a lot of fun for us students.

The third course I enrolled in this summer is very different from all the other events listed so far. This is not an academic course, but an extention course. The academic courses, ie the courses that are part of the regular teaching program at UCSB and also fit my degree program and were also offered, were already filled by the regular UCSB students. The biggest problem with my desired lectures, however, was the time overlap with other lectures, ie two other lectures that interested me overlapped with ECON 135, or they were not offered this year due to lack of funds from the state of California. In addition, there are generally fewer courses offered in summer than in the usual quarters, since this quarter is mostly used by the students as a semester break for internships or the like and is therefore only used by students who still have to copy courses or want to attend additional courses in order to be able to improve other, worse ones. Finally, in order to also attend at least one course in Session B (I only attended the academic courses in the summer in Session A and therefore only paid for Session A.), I registered for another program at UCSB to attend such a course to attend the extention course. The Portfolio and Investment Management event took place on a 45-minute drive away part of the UCSB campus in Ventura and was – according to the accounts of other German students who also attended extention courses – probably the most complex course who has this program to offer. Six tests, several graded homework assignments, a take home midterm and a final lasting more than three hours prove this. As a rule, these extention courses have the reputation of being comparable to adult education centers and not making any demands on the students, so that a short document, largely “copied” from the Internet, is often considered final and sometimes even uncontrolled with one A is rated. As already mentioned, I was very lucky with my course and also with the lecturer. Since I have so far chosen economics courses as an economics specialization in my studies, this course seemed to me to be a very good insight into portfolio and investment management, especially with regard to the American economy.

In general, it should be mentioned with regard to the difference between the summer quarter and the other three quarters that there were significantly fewer international students at UCSB in the summer. As a result, not only was there no waiting list for the international students, but we all got to know each other very quickly.
As already noted, with regard to the level of the courses, there is a big difference between whether it is an extention or an academic course, but this does not mean that every extention course is bad and every academic course is good. Above all, I noticed the difference between the departments. For example, the academic level of the economics courses is very comparable to that at my home university, whereas there were also major differences in the mathematical courses due to the methodological differences. For example, the exercises in the PSTAT courses were much easier to solve than at my home university,

At this point, I would also like to emphasize that the courses at UCSB are much more application-oriented than at my home university. In detail, this means that we carried out project work with current data from self-researched databases or in another course a former UCSB student talked for an hour about what he is working on now and how this is related to the course we attended, so that we can directly were able to recognize where the knowledge learned here is used and applied in reality. In principle, much more attention was paid to current data in teaching and the possible applications of research and what was learned. I really liked this way of learning. This was then also reflected in my grades, so that I even got the best midterms,

Even if the choice of course worked quite well for me, it doesn’t always have to be the case, especially since there are many things to consider. For example, all the courses offered by UCSB are listed in the so-called general catalogue, but on the one hand this refers to the entire academic year, i.e. to all quarters, and many courses are only offered once a year. In addition, some courses build on each other, which can be recognized by the letter A, B or C at the end of the course number. Even if the A course is not listed under the requirements for the B course (with the same number in front of it), it will probably be difficult to attend the desired B course without having attended an equivalent course at your home university. This is particularly problematic if you are not studying at UCSB in the fall quarter, because the A courses are often offered in the fall, the B courses in the winter and the C courses that build on them in the spring. It should also be noted here that there is usually a semester system in Germany, so that such an event is more likely to be divided into two parts instead of three and it is difficult that you cover the requirements or not already half of them heard about the course you want to take. My recommendation is therefore to incorporate this study abroad program as early as possible in your studies. So you can still attend enough courses that either hardly require any prerequisites or at least do not overlap too much with already known learning content. Because these were also reasons

But UCSB doesn’t just offer a wide range of academic courses. You can also learn many sports here. In addition to the usual sports equipment and football, basketball and tennis courts, the so-called recreation center also has an indoor swimming pool and a climbing wall. At first I wanted to learn how to surf. However, since the course took place at the same time as a PSTAT lecture, I decided against it and went for my first golf experience; because the golf course fitted much better into my schedule and was a lot of fun. Of course, UCSB also provided all the equipment. However, since the range of sports courses in summer is also lower, surfing and golfing were no longer offered in summer. But I got to know surfers, who lent me their surfboard and helped me with my first surfing attempts. These surfing experiences became even more special when we were surrounded by a school of dolphins. These dolphins jumped around us and dived under us and our surfboards. And another time, a seal swam after me, which frightened me more than it made me happy.

In addition, this region of California is not only suitable for surfing and dolphin watching, but also for whale watching. I saw a total of four different types of whales and dolphins during my stay in the USA: gray whales in spring, humpback and blue whales in summer and orcas in autumn. In addition to the fauna, the flora can also be admired, and by that I mean in particular the redwoods in northern California and the rainforests in Olympic National Park in Washington State. In addition, I used the remaining time, especially at the end of my stay in the USA, to travel and marveled at the beautiful landscapes and national parks in California, but also in Utah, Arizona and Washington, so that I finally recovered from my vacation shortly before the start of the new winter semester returned to Germany.

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