University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: media
Study type: semester abroad
There were hardly any problems registering for the semester abroad. Simply fill out the forms uploaded to MicroEdu, have them checked and send them off. The ability to have MicroEdu control this is very useful and saves a lot of back and forth with the university. I was accepted straight away to the university. See mcat-test-centers for Southern Cross University.
A tip: Always register for at least 2 quarters. Many scholarships have a 90-day rule, according to which one must have studied abroad for at least 90 days rather than 3 months. UCSB is organized into quarters, after which you have only 10 weeks of classes and 1 week of exams in each quarter. As a student abroad, the semester lasts 1 week longer because the introductory lecture is also included. 1 Quarter could be too short for the scholarships, but 2 quarters may overlap with the semester plan at the home university and cost twice as much. Then you have to decide what you want. So be sure to inform yourself in advance about possible scholarships and their conditions.
The UCSB Extension will then send you an I-20 form with which you then have to get the visa. It was surprisingly quick and easy for me. You need the visa when you arrive at the airport. You also have to fill out a small, white form. With this thing it is important to hand it back to the airport on the return flight. If this doesn’t happen, the American government will assume that you haven’t left the country and you may have problems the next time you want to re-enter the country. But all this is explained in detail in the introductory lecture.
For living: there is enough. You just have to search. The question here is how much you want to spend. A hotel at the beginning so that you can look for something in peace is very expensive on its own, since they are based on room prices and not per person. Most rooms are also designed for 4 people. In a group it will of course be cheaper. An alternative would be AirBNB. These are private individuals who simply rent out a guest room or garden house or sometimes an entire apartment.
Craiglist.org is very good for permanent apartment searches. Other students abroad or students in general often want to get rid of their place in a room because, for example, they have finished their studies or are missing a quarter. Just be careful and don’t send any money before you see it. This lends itself to cheating. Someone wanted to sell me an apartment that doesn’t even exist. I was supposed to transfer the money in advance with the only guarantee that they were so “believing in God” and would “never” cheat on me. You shouldn’t be that stupid. When I asked them to show me the apartment before I transferred anything, they didn’t respond.
On the other hand, what is reliable is that before you start your stay abroad, you usually get an email from the UCSB Extension Team about a place in the student residence. A small “lottery” is held in front of the Quarter. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a place in a student residence. I was lucky there. I stayed in the Santa Ynez student apartments. These are undergraduate apartments with 5 students each. A 3-bed room and a 2-bed room. By far the cheapest place to live there as far as I can tell. Single rooms there are very expensive. Shared rooms are also very pleasant because you can ask if you need something. I was with all American women in my apartment. They will take you to a party, for example, or show you good restaurants, or help if you are not quite familiar with the formalities at UCSB. Also the office of the “Santa Ynez Apartments” is very good. The people there are really nice and you can always ask questions.
The first day you have at the UCSB Extension is the introductory lecture. Very useful insofar as you can tell them which courses you want and they tell you what the chances are. You have up-to-date data from each institute on how long the waiting list is, if there is one, and how many students have already enrolled in the course. In America you have to “crash” all courses. That means you sit down in the first lecture and go to the lecturer before or after and ask if you can still come to the course. That wasn’t a problem in my field of study. I got in everywhere right away. Only the Economics students have an extra regulation, which I’ve noticed. Then you have to find out. But the UCSB Extension Team is very generous with information and everything is sent out in a timely manner. Once you have your signature, go to the UCSB Extension Office as quickly as possible and get yourself registered. Here you also pay, so take your VISA card with you.
When the first 2 weeks are over, it’s time to enjoy a semester abroad. The people there are really nice. You can go to any office and ask questions if you don’t know.
I still have a few tips for life there:
I found it very useful to open an American account there for the period. You don’t pay anything if you have more than $1000 on it or if you have a job that transfers the wages to this account. For Santa Ynez Apartments, for example, you can’t pay the rent otherwise, because they don’t take VISA. Either cash or check from an American account.
There are a lot of cinemas there. Magic Lantern is always a tip for cheap cinema. Also very fun to participate, that’s also a university course there.
Nice environment to go for a walk. Watch out at the beach, sometimes there is so much oil that your feet are black afterwards. Washes off easily with cooking oil. Don’t take a shower, otherwise the oil will clog the shower.
In short: The UCSB Extension is highly recommended. I would go there again in a heartbeat.