University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: economics
Study type: semester abroad
Once in a lifetime you have to be in California! That’s what we thought too, and that’s how it happened that I and a couple of friends applied for a quarter at UC Santa Barbara. In the following report I would like to try to share my experiences with you and to help one or the other with his decision. See mcat-test-centers for San Jose State University.
In addition to UCSB, there is a University of California in a total of 10 cities. The best known and oldest is UC Berkeley. The universities share a good reputation for the quality of their teaching and have Nobel Prize winners and renowned researchers as professors.
The preparation for the semester abroad started in autumn 2008. First we turned to MicroEdu and got really good help with our application. The biggest hurdle was actually the visa for the USA. Bureaucratic effort, one or the other fee and long waiting times couldn’t dissuade us from the project and so at the end of December ’08 I was on the plane to California.
We spent New Year’s Eve in LA and unfortunately had to realize that the turn of the year is not really celebrated there. So the first tip for everyone: If you’re applying for the Winter Quarter… celebrate at home or make a stopover in Times Square! When we then arrived in Santa Barbara, we had another problem: We hadn’t found any accommodation yet. We had searched beforehand, but were not really successful. The Americans are very painless when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene and, so fair as they were, have made no secret of it. We saw so many bad photos that we gave up and wanted to see the situation for ourselves. Unfortunately I have to admit that the experiences on site have confirmed the original assessment and so later after 10 days of looking for an apartment we found accommodation as subtenants with a friendly German. It’s actually quite cheap, because you have to calculate around $600 – $800 for a “shared room”. Single rooms are accordingly at §1200 – §1600. If you are looking for contact with other nationalities, as you should, I would at least advise you to contact exchange students from other countries on Facebook. You meet enough Americans anyway.
Right on January 2nd was our introductory event, which was really well organized (there were even flags on campus). All important contacts were there, introduced themselves and provided us with information. Sometimes it was rather too much information, but still better than total ignorance. We were also trained on the subject of “crashing” courses. The system sounds a little annoying, and it actually is, but in the end the reports on the Internet are actually confirmed: You always get courses and usually also some that were previously on your wish list. Only the freshmen courses are more difficult, i.e. the classic introductory courses such as micro, accounting, etc. We chose somewhat more specific courses, some of which were also for seniors, and we got into all of them. Because, in the first two weeks, many people who wanted to see how the courses were going dropped out again. Unfortunately, UIP students (as the exchange program is called) are only allowed to take part in the courses as a lower priority. As usual, Americans come first. But if you constantly go to the lectures and notice that there is still space, you can speak to the professors in a friendly manner and usually get the desired signature for the course.
In the second week we all had signatures and were finally able to pay. The courses cost differently depending on the credits, so at least you only pay for what you actually use, but it’s still not cheap. I don’t want to commit to how much the fun ended up costing, College Contact can certainly help better on that. But one thing is certain, it was definitely worth it!
Our uni week spanned three days, allowing plenty of time to travel and participate in extracurricular activities. That’s actually what a stay abroad is all about. Nevertheless, we were constantly busy with midterms, group work and presentations and hardly ever bored. In my opinion, the demands were lower than at our home university, but in connection with the continuity, a lot has really stuck. Sometimes maybe even more than here in the country.
In our free time we have trips to Los Angeles (approx. 2 hours), San Francisco (approx. 8 hours, via the Pacific Coast Highway >> Most Beautiful Road in the World), San Diego (approx. 4.5 hours) and Las Vegas (about 6 hours). We liked it best in San Francisco. We unanimously decided it was THE city in California. There is a lot to discover and the city is uniquely charismatic. Definitely worth spending more time than a weekend there. Santa Barbara, on the other hand, is the most beautiful city in California! It doesn’t matter whether it’s about the beach, shopping on State Street or partying: there’s a lot going on every Thursday, but you should be 21;-) The city center is about 15-20 minutes away from the university by car. However, there is also a bus which you can use for free with student ID cards. Nightlife isn’t just in Santa Barbara, though. Isla Vista is the name of the student residential area next to the campus. Celebrations take place here from Thursday to Sunday and exchange students are always welcome. Especially on Del Playa (the street directly on the sea) there are some house parties, partly open air on the terrace behind the house with a porn atmosphere included. If you go partying there, you should party a little in advance and not start too late. The police tries to spoil everyone’s fun from 00: 30. Then don’t get caught drunk on the street, and above all, don’t try to take a nap in the nearest front yard. Now that all sounds worse than it actually is. In the entire time none of us was booked. But we came into contact with the police one or the other time and believe me, you don’t want that. It’s not really good to eat cherries with them.
In April it was all over again. Actually much too fast! Four months isn’t an eternity after all. And even though I was really looking forward to going home again, I left with a laughing and a crying eye and swore to myself that I would come back again. If you would like more information on one or the other point, or would like to see a few pictures, you are welcome to contact me via MicroEdu.