University of California, Santa Barbara Review (59)


City: Santa Barbara

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: economics

Study type: semester abroad

University of California, Santa Barbara Review (59)


UCSB is about 30 minutes from Santa Barbara and is located directly in Isla Vista. Isla Vista is by the sea and that’s where all the students live. There are many places to eat and cafes in Isla Vista and also on campus. Around 25,000 students are currently studying at UCSB. UCSB is also ranked as the 5th best public college in the United States. The campus is small and can be reached by bike from Isla Vista in about 5 minutes. There is a large library with many places to study. There is also a bookstore where you can buy all relevant books. See mcat-test-centers for Solent University.

UCSB does not have a buddy system. There is only one information day, on which information about the university and the courses is given again. If you come to UCSB as a free mover, you are referred to as an Extension Student and can contact the Extension Office with questions and clarifications throughout the quarter.


Choosing a course at UCSB is rather difficult. There are regular university courses and extension courses. The extension courses can only be attended by extension students and are not credited by the HSG. There is no bidding or anything like that on the regular courses. The local students choose their courses before the extension students. And as an extension student, you can’t choose the courses before the beginning of the quarter, you have to crash every course. This means that you go to the first lecture and then at the end you have to ask the lecturer if you will be accepted into the course. If so, the lecturer has to sign a form, which you then have to bring to the Extension Office, where you then pay the course fees directly and are therefore officially enrolled in the course.

Also, the probability of getting an economics course is pretty small. In the ECON courses, enrollment is not done via course crashing, but you have to submit a form to the ECON department and they then decide whether you can take the course or not. Right at the beginning you are told that the ECON courses are very full and therefore the chances are very small. I finally got one of the 3 ECON courses originally planned.

Global 1

This course was about the history of globalization. The course was quite interesting. Twice a week there was a lecture and then an exercise. The grade is made up of two critical responses, which make up 30% of the final grade. The midterm counted for 20% and the final for 30%. The remaining 20% ​​was Discussion, which just meant you had to attend the exercise every week. In the end it was quite possible to get a good grade.

Global 2

Here, in particular, the political and economic influences of globalization. Here, too, there were two lectures and one exercise per week. Here the grade was made up of 15% attendance, which simply means that you had to be present. The midterm counted 20% and the final 30%. You also had to do five assignments spread over the quarter, which together accounted for 35% of the overall grade. The amount of work for the assignment was relatively large, since you had to hand in an assignment every other week, but in the end it was doable.

Econ 170

This course was the most difficult of all courses. The course (Health Economics) dealt with insurance aspects in health economics and in particular with the American system. The grade consisted of a midterm (35%) and a final (65%).


I applied to UCSB with the help of MicroEdu. College Contact told me exactly what requirements I needed to meet and I was able to send all the forms to MicroEdu. So they did the registration for me. For the UCSB you need a language certificate. I did the TOEFL, in which you had to achieve at least 80 points. You must also submit a current transcript of grades and confirmation that you can pay the tuition fees. As soon as I got the confirmation, I had to take care of a visa in Bern and book the flight.


All students live in Isla Vista or in one of the dormitories. The dormitories that you get as an exchange student are a little bit outside of Isla Vista. I was looking for a room in Isla Vista through the Housing UCSB Facebook group. There are almost no single rooms and they are also quite expensive (from $1000/month). Most students share their room with up to 3 other students. I found what I was looking for pretty quickly and had a room on Del Playa. This is the main street of Isla Vista, which is in front of the sea. I lived pretty much at the beginning of Del Playa and was about a five minute bike ride to the university.


Tuition fee: 2250$
visas: $500
Flight: $1000
Course fees: $1000/ course
Reside: Around $700-1000/month
Meal: About $500/ month
Travel etc.: About $500/ month


In autumn/winter in California it is still 20 to 25 degrees during the day. However, it can get a little cooler in the evenings. In addition to the beautiful beaches, Santa Barbara is also worth a visit. It is approximately 15 minutes by car or 30 minutes by bus from Isla Vista. In addition, Isla Vista/ Santa Barbara is a good starting point for weekend trips to national parks such as Yosemite or Sequoia or to San Francisco, Los Angeles or San Diego. You can rent a car at the airport in Santa Barbara and you can be in Los Angeles in about 1.5 hours.


UCSB has a great sports program and also many clubs to join if you want. You can also join the Excursion Club and pay $30 for a quarter. After that you can always rent surfboards, kayaks and so on. Furthermore, the Excursion Club also offers many excursions, which you can then take part in. The International Office also offers excursions and trips, for example to Big Sur or to Yosemite over Thanksgiving.

Since most students live in Isla Vista, most of the social life takes place there. Most of the parties are in the seaside homes on Del Playa. However, all parties must be over by 12 noon at the latest, otherwise they will be terminated by the police. Santa Barbara offers other nightlife options with many bars and vineries.


Looking back, I would like to say that I had an unforgettable time in Isla Vista and in America in general. I was able to gain a lot of experience and met a lot of new people. Despite the poor organization in connection with the choice of course, I would recommend everyone to do an exchange semester.

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