University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: economics
Study type: semester abroad
Like most exchange students, I organized my Freemover exchange with the help of MicroEdu. It’s easy and the MicroEdu staff offer the best support. If you apply for an exchange early enough, you don’t have to worry about a place at university. Personally, I applied for a place in the fall semester at the end of December last year and was accepted back in January. See mcat-test-centers for Saint Marys University SMU.
Obtaining a visa is a little more complex. There are many steps to follow to obtain the required F1 visa at the US Consulate. But if you follow the instructions from MicroEdu and don’t apply for two visas – as in my case – this hurdle is also relatively easy to overcome. The earliest you can apply for your visa is 90 days before departure. You can enter the country no more than 30 days before the start of your studies.
Many American fellow students and the entire Isla Vista lifestyle gives the impression that university is secondary and should not be overestimated. But that is far from the case! The courses come up with a considerable workload. Assignments, two midterm exams, a presentation, a 15-page paper and a final exam in just one course are not uncommon. And even if the scope of the exams does not correspond to that of the HSG, the amount of tasks during the semester is considerable! The big advantage, however, is that if you work properly during the week, you can keep the weekends free for travel. There is no great stress at the end of the semester, since by this point you have usually already achieved more than 50% of your grade. I chose the following courses:
COMM 114 Media Effects in Society (contextual study): This subject offers very good insights into the US media world, provides political background information and shows the advantages and disadvantages of media globalization. The exams are relatively demanding and require an in-depth understanding of the subject matter and reading.
ECON 224 Economic Development (independent elective): This course answers questions like: “Why is there poverty?”, “Why isn’t the whole world developed?” or “What should countries and institutions do to combat poverty and malnutrition? “. The course mainly presents and analyzes macroeconomic models. Relatively extensive: 2 midterm exams, assignments, a paper and a final exam. Advantage: the lecturer Ms. Benelli is very concerned about internationals. If you work well, you will be rewarded with a very good grade.
ECON 274 Managerial Economics and Accounting (compulsory elective – advanced): Some microeconomic models and theories are presented at the beginning, but one should not be put off by them. From the second hour of lectures, the bridge to accounting is built and after that the lecture is strongly based on the textbook “Managerial Accounting for Managers” by Noreen. The lecturer Benelli tries to explain the individual chapters as clearly and simply as possible. However, the amount of material is not insignificant. A midterm, a paper, a presentation and a final exam. Here, too, you will be rewarded with a grade if you make the appropriate effort.
3 Student’s life
First of all: student life at UCSB is unique, exciting, varied and just plain fun. If you’re bored here, it’s your own fault!
Finding suitable accommodation has turned out to be a major challenge. If, like me, you only go on an exchange for one semester and then also start at the Fall Quarter, be prepared that you will have a hard time finding the right apartment.
Living outside of Isla Vista was not an option for me. That’s where student life takes place, that’s where the parties are in the evenings and from there it’s only a few minutes to the campus. If you’re considering living in Goleta, rents are lower than Isla Vista, but the bike ride to campus is tiring — especially since all infrastructure in the US is designed for cars instead of bikes.
Almost all housing offers in Isla Vista are connected to a 10-12 month lease. An exception is Tropicana del Norte (http: //www.tropicanadelnorte.com/home/), a residence hall that also offers package deals for internationals. The high price includes full board in addition to the multi-bed room. Disadvantage of my eighth: Most of the time you live with exchange students in the apartments. That’s why I decided against the Tropicana. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to sign a 12-month leasing contract and thus take the risk of finding a new tenant. I was lucky enough to find a shared room in a fraternity on Craigslist (http: //santabarbara.craigslist.org/) – a very special American experience that I won’t go into detail about here. Only that much: if you have the opportunity to get in touch with a fraternity: use it! This is a piece of American student culture that is probably reserved for most foreigners. I met a lot of my American friends here and had a great time in Sigma Nu!
Even though the rental price was relatively high at 800 USD per month and I had to share the room with someone else, it was a unique experience and in retrospect I am very glad that I didn’t spend my last days in Isla Vista worrying about to look for a new tenant. Incidentally, most students in Isla Vista share the room – sometimes there are even three to four people in a room. You should also know that the hygiene standards cannot be compared to Swiss flat shares.
Next to the longboard, the number one means of transport in Isla Vista is the beach bike. You can either find them on Craigslist (overpriced) or buy a new one right away. Bike Boutique is a fair address here (http: //www.islavistabicycles.net/). For the cheapest “furniture” I can recommend kmart, which is located not far from Isla Vista on Stoke Rd, Goleta and caters to the needs of students.
Regarding the car: Since I spent a total of seven months in the USA (due to an internship before my studies), it made sense for me to think about buying a car, especially since we were going on a major trip over the summer. But after realizing how expensive auto insurance is in the States ($1000 for 5 months basic insurance with minimal coverage), I gave up the thought of buying a car. Instead, a friend recommended me a great website where you can rent cheap cars with the best insurance coverage (http: //www.germanwho.com/). I have only had good experiences with Alamo, the underlying car rental company. Brand new cars and best service. I rented a total of seven cars there. A big advantage is of course
3.3 Sports facilities
The sports opportunities in and around UCSB are almost unlimited. This is where the campus university shows itself from one of its best sides. Three fitness studios, 2 pools, countless soccer fields, stadiums, a new climbing hall or several squash halls are just a few examples of a unique sports program. The question arises whether you want to do something else there;). However, the biggest highlight is off campus: surfing! It wasn’t until September, shortly before the start of my studies, that I stood on the surfboard for the first time and was immediately enthusiastic. Especially at the beginning you learn quickly and enjoy the California lifestyle to the fullest when you lie on your surfboard and enjoy the Californian sunset. Sand’s Beach, which is just a few minutes by bike from Isla Vista, is one of the best surf spots in the area and also attracts non-students and real experts. go surfing You won’t regret it, I assure you! Anyway, I will do it again!
3.4 Excursion Club
I dedicate an extra headline to this extraordinary club. When you start at UCSB as an international, you will inevitably come into contact with this club sooner or later. Personally, I have to say that I have this club to thank for many of the highlights I had during my semester abroad! Membership is $25 a quarter and the fact that you can borrow unlimited surfboards, wetsuits, camping gear, or climbing gear is worth three times the money. In addition, the club organizes daily excursions and on weekends there are often larger hiking/climbing/surfing or camping trips in national parks etc. An offer that you should not miss out on. Pirate Sailing is highly recommended (thanks Dane!!).
As mentioned, Isla Vista is a crazy place where parties (apparently!) know no bounds. If you look for this university on YouTube, you will quickly find out for yourself that it has a rightful reputation as one of the largest party universities in the USA. The biggest and probably also the most spectacular parties take place along Del Playa Drive (parties directly on the cliffs by the sea and under a starry sky! But be careful: every year party guests fall to their deaths along the cliffs). With all the partying at the beginning, you might think that your studies are just a side issue, but that impression is far from the case. If you’ve had enough of Isla Vista’s party life, Wednesday through Saturday, “Bill’s Bus” runs to Santa Barbara, about 20 minutes away. Without exaggeration, Bill’s Bus can be described as a party bus and is probably the best and cheapest alternative to get from Isla Vista to Santa Barbara in the evening. Recommended especially on Thursdays.
One last thing: You won’t have any problems spending your entire semester abroad partying in Isla Vista – but that would be a real shame and a waste of time in my opinion! The Santa Barbara area is one of the most beautiful in California and California is one of the most beautiful states in the USA. So get out there, go camping, surfing, climbing and visiting national parks! That really sticks in the memory and not (only) DP parties…
Sure, a semester at the University of California isn’t cheap, but don’t be put off in the first place. MicroEdu shows you exactly how much to expect over the course of the semester. The rental prices are usually really more expensive than in Switzerland. Eating out, on the other hand, is cheaper, as are most other living expenses.
3.7 Attention police
Finally, be warned about the executive! Isla Vista is a great, crazy and unique place to enjoy – but only within the limits of California law! And that means, for example, no music after 10pm during the week, and not after 12pm at the weekend. This also means no open alcoholic beverages in public areas and boys, use toilets, no bushes. Anyone who now thinks we have rules, but what the heck… better not! I hardly know anyone who hasn’t encountered the police at least once during their time in California. And the police don’t take a joke! The penalty for “pee in public” is USD 1,225 and for “open container” USD 280. Only going to court can reduce this. And who believes to have found a good hiding place for a small business or to have camouflaged your alcohol sufficiently well as a cola, you are wrong. The police density in Isla Vista is enormous. So be forewarned, this saves a lot of time, money and trouble.
I’m no exception either and I have to confirm: the semester abroad is the best time of your entire course of study – if not one of the best times in life! So you should enjoy it to the fullest. UCSB makes the “once-in-a-lifetime experience” particularly easy. Try to take as much with you as possible. If you go travelling, make time for this before and after the semester. During the semester there are weekend trips to Yosemite National Park, Joshua Tree Nat.Park, Sequoia Nat.Park, Mexico or Las Vegas. However, to get to know the Midwest of the USA and maybe even Canada, you should take a lot more time. Personally, after my internship and before my studies, I traveled through the USA and British Columbia for seven weeks, through a total of 17 national parks and pretty much every state in the western USA. It was extremely impressive! Then, after graduation, nine days of skiing in Canada. A must for ski enthusiasts!
There is much more to tell than is written here. So if you have any questions, feel free to contact me anytime!