University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business
Study type: semester abroad
The university application went entirely through MicroEdu, who were always very helpful. However, you have to take the TOEFL test in advance, which you should take care of early on. See toppharmacyschools for Kwantlen Polytechnic University Study Abroad.
APARTMENT AND LIVING
I checked craigslist for vacancies a few weeks before I left and got in touch with a few people. For the first week I booked a hotel room in Goleta to see the rooms there. I was very lucky and found a room in IV in a nice flat share with 3 Americans and a girl from South America on the 2nd day.
It was clear to me that I wanted to live in IV (Isla Vista) and I can only recommend that, because from there you can get to the university and “right in the middle” very quickly. The parties also mainly take place on the “party street” DP (Del Playa) in IV and if you live outside of IV it’s hard to get away at night.
The groceries in America are more expensive than in Germany and therefore it is sometimes even cheaper to go to one of the fast food chains and eat there instead of cooking yourself. The supermarket in IV is very expensive, so I recommend shopping in Goleta at Albertson or in Santa Barbara at Ralphs. Both easily accessible by bus or Goleta by bike.
Since the weather is definitely better than in Germany and it only rained 3x in the whole time I was there, you can spend a lot of time outside, go to the beach, etc. I recommend you to become a member of the Excursion Club, because you can be there surfboards, camping equipment and much more can be borrowed for free. They also have organized trips, hikes you can join and membership is only $30 for 3 months.
Buying a bike or skateboard early in the semester is highly recommended (lots of offers on craigslist). In my opinion, you don’t need a car, because you can easily reach everything by bike or else you can take the bus for free with the bus sticker that you get at the beginning. For weekend getaways, you can rent a car directly from Santa Barbara Airport, which is only a 5-minute bus ride from IV. However, if you are under the age of 25, you have to be aware that there is an additional young driver fee. At ADAC it was the cheapest at the time I was there.
There are a ton of must-see places in California while you’re there. My travel recommendations:
- Los Angeles and going to a basketball or baseball game
- San Francisco and up Hwy 1 on the way there or back (Big Sur, Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP)
- San Diego
- Hiking in Yosemite
- Las Vegas (very hot in summer)
If you still have time after or before the semester, I recommend a round trip to the canyons & national parks:
- Bryce Canyon
- Grand Canyon
- Zion National Park
- Arches National Park
- Rafting tour in Moab
- Monument Valley
UCSB is in a great location – right on the sea! The campus is also very beautiful and well-kept, and there are cycle paths everywhere.
About the courses: There are extension courses and academic courses. The extension courses are mainly for international students (90% German participants) and usually take place in the evenings, eg 18: 30-21: 30. The Academic courses are daytime and mainly filled with American students. However, it is more difficult to get into these courses because you have to “crash” the courses. I chose courses in Economics and in this case you had to attend all courses for the first two weeks and then after about 2 weeks the Economics Department decided which courses you were allowed to attend. This procedure was very tedious, because in the first 2 weeks tests were written and you took part in them, but afterwards you didn’t get the course at all.
- 2 extension courses: Global Marketing and Principles of Marketing,
- 2 Academic Courses: Macroeconomics and Managerial Economics
In the extension courses it was quite easy to get a good grade, whereas the academic courses were more demanding in my opinion, especially macroeconomics. In this course there were 3 midterms and a final, i.e. actually an exam every 2 weeks.
Even if such a semester abroad at UCSB is not exactly cheap, it was a great experience and an experience that I will never forget! I had a super great time and am very happy that I chose UCSB.