University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: psychology
Study type: Summer Sessions
I had already decided in advance to change universities after the spring quarter at California State University East Bay and to complete the summer sessions at the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA. While most people around me could not understand this decision and I was also unsure myself, I can now say that I could not have made a better decision. It would have been really weird if I stayed at CSUEB after the spring quarter while all the new friends I made went home. As it was, I was able to start all over again with other newcomers to Santa Barbara. In addition, I was very lucky to get to know two completely different student lives and thus experience three exciting months twice. In order to anticipate the question of which time was the better one, I have to say that I cannot answer this question. Both quarters had their pros and cons and were just too different to compare. Basically, I would like to encourage everyone to take the step of changing universities after a semester or two and not only getting involved in a different area, but also in a completely different way of life that goes with it. See toppharmacyschools for Brock University Study Abroad.
The course selection for Summer Sessions A and B took place a few weeks earlier. Unfortunately, nothing went as well as I had imagined right away and almost all of the courses I wanted were already full. Thank goodness it is possible to “crash” courses in the first week of lectures, ie to attend the lectures in question and ask the lecturer for an “add code”. This then worked out better than expected, so that I finally got into all the courses that were important to me. Since you don’t have access to “GOLD” yourself at the beginning, the university’s online system through which you can “add” or “drop” courses, the Extension Office will do this for you. I can only recommend you, but also to make sure that everything goes according to your ideas, because my choice of course almost failed because that an alternative course prevented me from slipping into my desired course. So it is best to tell your student advisor exactly what is important and crucial for you and do not hesitate to ask if anything is unclear. My emails were almost always answered the same day.
The demands of the courses in Santa Barbara were also lower than I am used to in Germany and even if everything happens in quick succession in a summer session that only lasts 6 weeks, the requirements were never too high.
I have always really enjoyed spending time on campus between classes. There are lots of great places to sit and study, in the sun or in the shade, outside by the lagoon or inside on comfy sofas, so you can use the time to do your homework or readings. Of course, it is also a good idea to meet other students and just chat a bit over a coffee or snack.
When it comes to the books to be purchased, I can only recommend that you take a look at the library beforehand. The American students seem to ignore this possibility almost entirely, so that in both summer sessions I was able to simply borrow the required literature instead of buying a book that costs around $80 even when used. Do not let yourself be unsettled by the lecturers, who of course always think that an older edition is completely inadequate. Even if you are forced to return the book in the course of the session or the quarter, you still know by this point whether it is really worth buying the book or whether you can easily get by without the book.
You should definitely look for an apartment in Isla Vista, the student district in the immediate vicinity of the university. The best way to do this is to arrive a few days before the start of the university and then check out the current housing offers (www.craigslist.com). I would advise you to see the apartments in person. I took the risk and moved in without having inspected the apartment myself beforehand, but that can also go horribly wrong. Unfortunately, the apartments in Isla Vista are not exactly a bargain. I lived with three American girls in a really nice apartment and paid $500 for a double room plus $25-30 in utilities. Look out for an apartment where you live with American students, because you will spend enough of your free time among Germans anyway (this is unavoidable) so that you don’t have to live with your compatriots as well. I would also avoid larger apartment complexes, but that’s a matter of taste…
If you don’t have your skateboard with you, it’s also a good idea to get a bike. It is also best to take care of this on site via craigslist. By bike you can be on campus in just a few minutes or at the supermarket. You can easily resell the bike towards the end of your stay, so in the end it is not a big financial investment.
Student life in Isla Vista is definitely unique and you shouldn’t miss it. From Friday to Sunday you can just roam the streets in the evening and look for a party. There is always something going on somewhere! In addition, you have the beach right around the corner and a small shopping street provides you with the essentials. A late-night visit to Freeb!rds (Mexican fast-food restaurant) is a must here! But you’ll find out for yourself…
Due to the close proximity to the sea, it is of course a good idea to spend your afternoons on the beach and let the sun shine on your stomach or try your hand at surfing. As already mentioned, a party atmosphere is guaranteed on weekend evenings, be it at a beer pong match or in the garden of the legendary Marley house. You can also take the 24X bus to downtown in a good 20 minutes (and free with your student ID), where you can go shopping. The atmosphere is really great, so you can just spend your afternoon in one of the cafes. Thursday nights party time on State Street and you can hop from one bar to the next before hitting the dance floor at one of the clubs. For all other activities you are unfortunately dependent on a car. LA is a 1 ½ to 2 ½ hour drive depending on traffic. If you are trying to rent a car, it is best to book “underage packages” through German providers (e.g. holidayautos.com or emietwagen.de), who will give you much better deals than you can get locally.
In addition to the high rents and then quite considerable tuition fees, the food prices are to be lamented. Fresh fruit and vegetables in particular have a steep price, so you should plan enough money for your own supply. In addition, you can always be tempted to buy your ready-made lunch somewhere, which is clearly noticeable in your wallet…
Otherwise, I spent most of the money on my free time. Here everyone can decide for themselves how much money they want to spend or not. For example, a round-trip downtown taxi costs $14, with free entry to the clubs, but…
It was three great, unforgettable months in Santa Barbara, which felt more like a vacation at all times. Even studying is fun if you can sit by the lagoon or somewhere on campus and feel awfully American;-)… Personally, being so
close to the beach has been my greatest luxury and I’ve been able to enjoy it morning after morning, to come out of my front door and be able to see the sea. Last but not least, I have always found the climate in Santa Barbara to be just right, as it is always pleasantly warm, but almost never unbearably hot.
Unfortunately, in such a field report, far too many aspects are neglected or even remain unmentioned. I am therefore happy to answer any questions you may have. If you decide to go to Santa Barbara, I hope you have a great time like I had the chance to experience!