University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: economics
Study type: semester abroad
I started rough planning about a year before I flew to Santa Barbara. I admit that in the beginning you have to push yourself to collect info, do a lot of comparisons and then do the necessary things (TOEFL, paperwork…etc), but don’t let that put you off! See mcat-test-centers for San Diego State University SDSU.
The MicroEdu service was extremely helpful to me, and there was always a nice answer to all my questions.
If you want to go abroad, MicroEdu will provide advice and put you in touch with the university. Everything else, such as travel, accommodation, financing, etc., must be organized by you independently, whereby MicroEdu can give good tips based on the many reports.
I moved to the Santa Barbara Tourist Hostel for the first few days to look for apartments from there. As you’ve probably already read, the hostel isn’t really the cleanest place to stay, but unfortunately there aren’t many alternatives. The others would be the “Super 8” on the other side of the airport or Couchsurfing.
You can find apartments, bikes and everything else on craigslist.org. A little tip: Buy an American cell phone on the first day. SMS are answered faster than emails. You definitely need a bike!
I can really recommend everyone not to look for an apartment from Germany. First of all, Americans usually want to get to know you personally beforehand and you should definitely check out where you are moving in beforehand. Also, I wouldn’t recommend anyone moving downtown. On the one hand, this means a half-hour drive to the university and, on the other hand, you cannot participate in typical college life. This is set in IV!
The way college students live is definitely different than in Germany. It’s more like the famous college movies like American Pie;) People who are considered “clean” over there in the sense of cleanliness are the people who rarely clean here. There are certainly exceptions, but you have to get used to other standards. Most students share a dormitory with two or three to save costs. Single rooms are hard to come by, or twice as expensive.
No matter where you live in IV, it takes you a maximum of 2 minutes by bike to get to the beach. The “village” is really small but packed with students so there really is always something going on! In the “Excursion Club” (at the end of Trigo Rd) there is the possibility to get surfboards and surflessons very cheaply. This club also offers weekly outdoor trips!
You need a maximum of 10 minutes to get to the university from IV. The campus is huge and very well maintained. There are bike and skateboard lanes, a beach, the Rec Center (sports center with swimming pools, 2 fitness studios, soccer field, aquash courts, climbing hall and much more), as well as many places to eat. So university life takes place entirely on campus.
In the first week, extension students first have to “crash courses” if they are academic courses. That sounds more brutal than it is. The bottom line is you go to the courses that interest you and at the end ask the professor to sign for you. In most cases this works without problems. The professors are usually happy about internationals in their courses. You need at least 3 courses and you can take more if you want. The course level is not particularly high compared to the German university level, but you always have something to do with weekly homework, midterms and finals.
Even if the university doesn’t like to hear it, UCSB is at the top of party school rankings. DP (Del Playa Drive) has a lot going on every weekend. House parties are announced on Facebook and then between 200 and 600 people come.
We did a lot in California. It is best to get together with 4-5 people and rent a car. The German Page 1a-auto.de offers cheap rental cars without an under-25 fee. Trips to LA, San Diego, San Francisco, Yosemite and of course Las Vegas are a must. You can ski directly in LA, a little further north near San Francisco or, for example, in Aspen, Colorado.
Overall, I can really only recommend you to go to Santa Barbara! There are many things that you have to get used to first, but half a year of college life like in the film at the university on the beach really can’t be topped!