University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: economics
Study type: semester abroad
I finally landed in Los Angeles about two weeks before the start of the Fall Quarter and took the bus shuttle to Santa Barbara that same day, the bus ride took a good two and a half hours. I reserved the two weeks before the start of my studies mainly to look for an apartment, because I knew from previous research that this would probably be extremely difficult. To start with, I booked myself into a motel for a few days in the town of Goleta, which is close to the campus. I found most of the apartment ads on craigslist.com. I really wanted to live in the student area of Isla Vista, right next to campus and near the beach. After what felt like the first 500 attempts to find a “shared room” in Isla Vista failed and I had almost buried all hope of still living there, I first reached out to an old high school friend who had gone to high school for a year in Santa Barbara. Through her, I was able to stay with her former host family for two weeks so that I could continue to focus on the final apartment search without paying 100 USD per night at the motel. See mcat-test-centers for Universidad Del Salvador.
On Orientation Day, I finally got to know the other international students, including my future roommates. By sheer luck, two other German boys had rented an apartment for four people in Isla Vista and were looking for two flatmates. A buddy, whom I had only met that day, and I immediately agreed and moved in a few days later. I bought a bicycle to get around. Since everything is so close together in IV, you don’t need a car here. Many also bought a skateboard, for example to go to university.
Now the hot phase of class crashing began. According to visa regulations, one must attend at least 12 units at UCSB in order to receive full-time status. You could enroll in the extension courses beforehand, so six units were already covered by two marketing courses. I wanted to fill the other six units with regular UCSB courses, which it is very difficult to get into as a student enrolled through the extension. To do this, you have to attend the first lectures of the courses you want to take and get the signature from the professor that you can be accepted into the course. For this it is necessary that you have all the knowledgeable requirements and that you can prove this by means of a transcript from your home university. This may be the lesser problem since the courses are often overcrowded and the second requirement is free capacity in the course. Since you often do not get all the regular UCSB courses that you would like, you should attend more courses in the first week or two than you will take in the end in order to definitely end up with 12 units. For example, I attended three regular UCSB courses, of which I only got two afterwards, which luckily gave me a total of exactly 12 units.
All I can say about the courses is that they are much more schooled than in Germany. This means that you usually get homework, and you often write quizzes, small homework (papers) and, in addition to the final exam, there is also a midterm exam. Due to the small number of courses and the resulting amount of free time, these tasks were not so important. The academic level also seemed to be lower than what I was used to at home. Another advantage of the school system was that you could have failed an exam and made up for it with the other grades in the subject.
Student life at UCSB is so awesome that you can suffer from a loss of reality here and there after stepping off the plane in cool Germany and being literally brought back to earth. IV and the UCSB campus offer everything a young student could wish for. Firstly, it’s almost always warm, secondly, the sea is just a stone’s throw away, thirdly, everything is close together and you can do any route in IV and on campus in 10 minutes at most by bike or skateboard. If you want to go to downtown Santa Barbara, you can take the 24x bus, which takes you there in about 20 minutes. In addition, there is a fast food offer that leaves nothing to be desired. Especially the Habit burger and the Freebirds Mexican restaurant (monster burrito!!! ) I can only recommend. If you are looking for high life and partying in addition to the unsurpassed quality of life and study conditions, UCSB is the right place for you. On Del Playa Drive, the street directly on the beach, heavy house parties took place every Friday and often also on Saturdays and other weekdays, as Germans are more familiar with from films such as American Pie and Project X. The student associations in particular knew what a big house party should look like, a good DJ and lots of red cups were usually a must. On Thursday evenings you could easily drive downtown and party in one of the two clubs (Tonic and Eos), but under the age of 21 you have no chance of admission here. You should also have a passport or a California ID with you, since normal German identity cards are often not accepted. By the way, I can warmly recommend becoming a member of the Excursion Club. Here you only pay 30 USD (!!!) for a whole quarter membership and have the opportunity to take part in breathtaking tours in scenic California for little money. You can also rent surfboards, canoes, SUP boards and wetsuits here for free and as often as you want.
The only downer about my time in Southern California is and remains the fact that the stay was far too short and that I made many new friends and suddenly these people are no longer around. Every day I just want to go back. Another thing that tastes less is undoubtedly the high amount of tuition and rental costs. You really don’t have to delude yourself that you can rent anywhere in the area for less than USD 500 a month. In conclusion, I can definitely say that I can warmly recommend a stay at UCSB to anyone who, in addition to a good range of courses, wants to have a great time and has the necessary change (12,000 euros per quarter is easy to spend, more if you like)..