University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: media production
Study type: semester abroad
Since UCSB is a good 2 1/2 hours from LA, flying direct to Santa Barbara if possible is recommended. The airport there is small and manageable and also in the immediate vicinity of the university and not far from Goleta and Isla Vista (the student village). Otherwise there is a good bus connection from LAX (Los Angeles) to Santa Barbara with the Santa Barbara Airbus, which runs every 2 hours and also stops at every terminal. The ride costs around $47 but can be reserved online in advance, although this is not essential as the bus is rarely overcrowded. Nevertheless, the journey is very cumbersome and stretches endlessly to Goleta, especially when you have a 12-hour flight behind you and all you really want to do is go to bed. On the way back I didn’t find the way that difficult. See mcat-test-centers for Universitat Autonoma De Barcelona UAB.
As soon as you are there, either in the hotel or with the host family, you should get a prepaid mobile phone as soon as possible. That’s the best way to communicate with each other there, because almost all international students buy one there, but it’s also cheaper to communicate with American students, who you get to know relatively quickly at the university. It is also cheaper if you receive calls from Germany. Otherwise I can only recommend Skype (Internet telephony). The software can be downloaded free of charge and if the recipient also has a headset, internet (with DSL) and the software, you can start. So you can chat with friends/family for hours for free without paying anything for it. Another tip: for everyone who wants to see the other person on the phone,
You should also register with the Extension Office as soon as possible and have a student ID issued. The staff there are very friendly and helpful and always there if you have any questions or problems. With this student ID card, you can also ride the bus within Santa Barbara for free. Which is absolutely essential if, for example, you live a little out of the way or want to drive from Isla Vista to Santa Barbara city. With that we come to the point. Unfortunately, UCSB is not, as is often wrongly assumed, in the city itself but in a suburb, Goleta, and right next to Isla Vista, where most students live in shared flats. Goleta itself doesn’t really have much to offer and Isla Vista consists of only 1-2 main streets with student cafes and fast food outlets. So if you want to go to Santa Barbara city, you have to take the bus. The best is the 24x, which runs every half hour and takes about 30 minutes from the university to the city. This is the direct way, otherwise there is another one, but it goes through all the suburbs and accordingly takes an hour.
Santa Barbara town is very beautiful and well maintained, even if you see some homeless people here and there, it feels very safe. The city has a Mediterranean style with a touch of Mexico. The fact that you don’t see any multi-story houses anywhere in Santa Barbara also puts the relatively small town in a positive light. It is also very pleasant there in the evenings and offers something for every taste. From bars to clubs to cinemas, you will find everything your heart desires there. However, the last bus (even on weekends!) leaves at 11 p.m. in the direction of Goleta/Isla Vista and if you don’t want to take it yet, the only way is by taxi, which can cost around $40.
If you live locally, i.e. in Goleta or Isla Vista, you should definitely buy a bike. You can buy them used pretty cheap. However, you shouldn’t do without a good U-lock here, because wheel theft is the order of the day there, no matter how old the bike looks. Isla Vista in particular has very good bike paths and a bike is an absolute must if you want to get from A to B within the village.
On the subject of housing or accommodation. Here I can only give you the advice to either arrive early before the start of your studies, i.e. a good 3-4 weeks beforehand in order to find a room on site in good time that is close to the university and reasonably affordable, or to search online advertisements from Germany. The website www.craigslist.org is recommended here. There you will find apartments, rooms, furniture, bikes and everything else you need. We found an apartment and later roommates relatively quickly via this site. Of course it’s more fun to live in a shared apartment, preferably with international and American students. But the whole thing can quickly become expensive and especially if you only stay for a short time (i.e. one semester), as was the case with me, it is not advisable. You can only rent apartments for a year and then you have to buy furniture, a modem, etc. for the Internet and whatever else you need for an apartment. In addition, the landlords pull the money out of the pockets of international students when it comes to the deposit and so you easily pay twice as much for the deposit as a local. We shared a room for $650 a month each + deposit of course. Here’s a good tip from me if you’re going home earlier than a year: Have the next tenant pay you the deposit immediately, otherwise the whole thing could drag on very quickly until you see the money again. Unfortunately I had to have this bad experience. So I can only advise everyone who, for example, only for one semester stay there, live with a host family. This saves you a lot of stress and hassle and, above all, money. The people I met there all had good experiences with their host families. Most live very nicely and are hospitable. In addition, you are forced to speak English and feel right at home. Most of them do a lot with their “guests” and you get in contact with other students anyway. In a host family you pay about $700 and have half board. It’s even cheaper if you cater for yourself and only use the kitchen. Is also recommended, since most Americans live almost exclusively on fast food.
The most expensive thing is living and self-catering – unless you only want to eat fast food But tours are also very expensive, but after all you want to see one or the other when you are in California.
In California, drinking alcohol is only allowed at the age of 21 – even if many don’t stick to it The police are very precise and it is better not to be seen with a bottle of beer or anything else in public or on the street. This can result in a heavy fine and if you are unlucky, you can leave your tent there earlier and you will be “expelled”, so to speak. Even those who are already 21 or older cannot buy alcohol in the supermarket etc. that easily. Either you get your Californian driver’s license relatively soon and are therefore equal to the “Californians” and can show it (similar to the identity card here) or else you always have to have your passport with you and present it. Most do not accept the German identity card.
As far as the course content is concerned, it all depends on the type of course you choose. For example, I had some marketing courses offered by the extension. These are usually smaller groups in another building, outside the university but still in Goleta, which has the advantage that you don’t sit anonymously in the lecture hall and you can also speak to the lecturer directly. I have consistently had good experiences with this. The lecturer who ran all the courses was very interested in the international students, so the courses were always quite entertaining. The courses on campus itself are a bit more complicated, but here too most of the lecturers respond to the international students and are helpful.
In summary, I can say that it was a really good time in Santa Barbara, from which I will take many positive experiences with me. The people there are so much friendlier than here and very helpful and outgoing. It would have been better if I had done the semester abroad right at the beginning of my studies and not just one semester before the diploma, because most of the students there are a lot younger than here at the university. The maximum age for students there is around 25. Otherwise, I can only recommend Santa Barbara and the university there, since the city is small and manageable and relatively safe compared to the big cities. In addition, the university is right on the beach. So what more could a student life want?