University of California, Santa Barbara Review (56)


City: Santa Barbara

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: industrial engineering

Study type: semester abroad

University of California, Santa Barbara Review (56)


The application is really easy. The people in charge at Contact College are super helpful and knowledgeable. Able to respond to any questions either immediately or within a day. See mcat-test-centers for San Francisco State University.

So simply fill out the forms that have been sent and stick to the schedule that is also attached. As a rule of thumb, I’ve heard that you should take the TOEFL test 6 months beforehand and collect the application documents. Everything else will be made available to you as we said.

This is probably the only downside, since other Germans who had UCSB as a partner university do not have to complete this test.

On the checklist, which you will also receive, you will also find information on all further preparations. However, you cannot avoid complex procedures such as the visa application.

You can theoretically organize the apartment. There is an internal university platform that is highly recommended, as all people who want to post advertisements are checked beforehand. You will also find what you are looking for here if you do not want the classic Roommate. A little tip is to look at people who sublet a room. There you have the advantage that you have your own kingdom (without a roommate) and still don’t live directly with a family. How to get cheap single rooms…

Then you have to submit a Tentative Course List about a month in advance. This is a provisional list that will help the local office in planning. But this is not binding at all…

There are generally 2 types of courses:

Extension courses (for students but also for people who want to continue their education):

  • very easy – simply deserved grade
  • can be booked in advance – guaranteed participation in the course
  • a little cheaper than Academic courses (pay per unit)

Academic courses (normal university courses):

  • Very interesting and a wider choice of courses
  • There is no guarantee that you will get the courses. Sometimes you are told on arrival that it would not be possible because the courses are already overcrowded and the Americans have priority. Just stay tuned and try! Ultimately, however, everyone got their desired courses. So don’t panic, even if it looks bad at first


My tip is to book a flight to LA and take the bus to SB from there. These flights are usually around 100-200 euros cheaper than a direct flight to SB. The bus ride costs around $50.

As already mentioned, if you arrive 1-2 weeks before the semester, you can easily spend the first day in Motel 8 and look for something. The semester starts relatively comfortably. The first lectures are sometimes only a week after the start of the semester.

When it comes to choosing courses, prepare well and see which ones might suit you best. At the beginning there is an appointment with the head of the International Office. Sometimes she gives you tips that you have to meet requirements for certain courses (e.g. write a few pages).

However, this is rarely asked by the lecturers in the first lecture. However, you should always try all the ways to get the signatures. In my case, the lecturer said that only he would allocate the places for the lecture and the “laboratories”. In the end, however, the faculty got the places from the international students! From this it can be concluded that everything to do with the topic of course allocation is not 100% regulated by the lecturers. Once this first time is over, you can concentrate fully on studying;-)

A few words about the number of courses: The visa stipulates that you take 12 units. These are usually 3-4 courses. I had a total of 14 units and still had enough time to travel and 2 days off a week…


In principle, the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA is ideally located for travel. 1.5 hours to Los Angeles. 4.5-5 hours to San Francisco and 5 hours to San Diego covers almost all of California. Car rental is also a dime a dozen. It’s worth comparing. Above all, the under 25 fee can be avoided in many rentals.

Otherwise there is also the Amtrak. Comparable to an IC here in Germany. Really comfortable and at $40 to San Diego you can’t really complain. However, there are some parallels to Deutsche Bahn in terms of punctuality.


There really are parties like sand on the sea in the student quarter. Del Playa street is known for its parties…Beeerpon and Snappa are the order of the day. On Wednesdays there is a karaoke bar (OTT) about a quarter of an hour from the university, which you should really try. Most parties are downtown on Thursdays. There is also always a bus from Isla Vista to downtown for $10 round trip. But you can do that with a little negotiation with the taxi drivers…

All in all, one can only recommend the UCSB! A great university, especially the engineering department and lots of parties and opportunities to travel! What more could you want in a semester abroad…?

About the author