University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: computer science
Study type: semester abroad
In the following I would like to briefly summarize my experiences as a student at the University of California / Santa Barbara in the spring of 2006 and also give a few tips on what to look out for. At the time of my stay abroad, I was in my 8th university semester and am actually studying applied computer science at the TU Chemnitz, so my area of interest was at the UCSB in the department of Computer Science. See mcat-test-centers for University of Birmingham.
It all started on March 20, 2006 at the airport in Dresden. The suitcases were packed (you were allowed to take 2 x 20kg plus 8kg hand luggage with you), the safety requirements were met (no sharp objects, no explosives and no food in hand luggage). My flight took me from Dresden via Frankfurt to San Francisco and finally to Santa Barbara (yes, Santa Barbara has its own airport, flying direct is better and less stressful than flying to Los Angeles and taking a bus or taxi the rest of the way !) During the transcontinental flight with United Airlines you had to fill out an immigration form with the ominous ten questions, whether you have contagious diseases, terrorist plans, etc. and at the first airport in the US, you had to have a brief interview with an immigration officer at customs. In the end, the entire flight from Dresden to Santa Barbara took almost 22 hours, leaving Dresden at around 11: 00 a.m. and arriving in Santa Barbara at 1: 00 a.m. at night. I originally planned to walk straight to the hostel from the airport as it looked relatively close on the map, but quickly dismissed the idea due to tiredness and was glad to have taken a taxi as the two centimeters on the map differed turned out to be 6 miles. I arrived at the hostel pretty exhausted and fell into bed without wasting much time.
The first thing I remember walking out the door the next morning were palm trees, sunshine and blue skies. This was very impressive for me, since it had been cold, wet and snowy in Germany for the past two months and I was suddenly standing on a sandy beach in a T-shirt in the middle of March. This contrast to Germany continued for the next few weeks, as friends kept telling me that it had snowed and hailed again in Germany at the end of April, but that no rain had fallen in California for weeks and that I therefore carried far too many bad-weather clothes with me at the beginning Germany had brought.
The second contrast to Germany that struck me in the first few days was the size of the campus. In the beginning, I subconsciously tried again and again to equate the UCSB campus with my ‘used’ campus in Germany, but this comparison was doomed to fail from the start. The University of California at Santa Barbara was a very modern university with a very large campus interspersed with many green spaces and recreation areas. There were many small research buildings everywhere, wide paths in between, a small lagoon somewhere and everything was kept very quiet and in a friendly basic atmosphere. Many students rode their bikes across campus because otherwise it was sometimes difficult to get from one end of campus to the next lecture at the other end in ten minutes. I found it interesting
I recommend anyone who wants to study at UCSB to arrive a week or two in advance and stay in California as long as possible after the end of the semester. The student visa has certain requirements, so that you have to leave the USA no later than six weeks after the visa has been sent or have had the visa extended, but you should definitely use the time. I also flew to California at the beginning with the idea of doing a different tour of West America every weekend, but you quickly become so integrated into everyday university life that time literally flies and towards the end of the semester you wish you had as much time as possible for to have your own exploration tours or just to relax. I recommend arriving two weeks before the start of the semester to get to know the country and its people first. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a hostel in the center of Santa Barbara, but there are a few organizational things to do in the first few weeks that require some time and a certain overview. You can also get to know the city of “Santa Barbara” in peace and quiet, which is often referred to as the “American Riviera”. Since the University of California is about 20 km outside in the suburb of Goleta (pronounced: [Golida]), you won’t get to the center of Santa Barbara every day, as the university also has beautiful beaches and recreation areas. You can also get to know the city of “Santa Barbara” in peace and quiet, which is often referred to as the “American Riviera”. Since the University of California is about 20 km outside in the suburb of Goleta (pronounced: [Golida]), you won’t get to the center of Santa Barbara every day, as the university also has beautiful beaches and recreation areas. You can also get to know the city of “Santa Barbara” in peace and quiet, which is often referred to as the “American Riviera”. Since the University of California is about 20 km outside in the suburb of Goleta (pronounced: [Golida]), you won’t get to the center of Santa Barbara every day, as the university also has beautiful beaches and recreation areas.
The new quarter (study semester) usually begins with an introductory event. UCSB offers the so-called AEP, the Academic Experience Program, via MicroEdu. At first I couldn’t really relate to it, specifically it means you have student status and can enroll in all courses at UCSB. There is also a visa requirement that you have to take at least 12 units (similar to semester hours per week). What you only notice on site is that you are not a student at UCSB in the strict sense, but are enrolled as a student at the so-called UCSB Extension. This is a special institution at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which does not even have its office building on the campus itself and almost exclusively takes care of international students and offers alternative courses (e.g. language courses). The employees are incredibly nice because they know that they are dealing with inexperienced people from other countries and will help you in every situation (http: //iphub.xlrn.ucsb.edu/ ). They are also the first point of contact if you have to fill out various paper applications. The course selection, registration and payment also runs directly via the UCSB Extension. It goes so far that you have to go to the respective professor on campus with a form from the UCSB Extension and ask whether you can be included in the course as an extension student, since you can use the online registration system for lectures with the extension data cannot be fully used.
The courses offered at UCSB left nothing to be desired – whether in university courses or in the leisure sector. For example, there is a huge sports center with tennis courts, swimming pools, climbing walls, ice hockey rinks, football stadiums and fitness areas…I can’t think of a sport that didn’t exist.
The University Center is right on the campus – a kind of canteen building, only without a canteen, but with many other catering options and shops. As for the food on and around campus, it was typically American. In the end you had the choice between Asian, American, Italian and Mexican fast food, to put it somewhat exaggeratedly.
Another tip I can give is to get your own Bank of America account as soon as you arrive in California, even if you already have a credit card and everything else. It is unimaginable, but in the USA there is still a great deal that can be done without a computer. Online banking or even the word transfer are often a foreign word. For example, in the first month, when my landlord asked me how I would pay the rent, he said I should either bring a check or send the money ($1,500, mind you) in an envelope in the mail.
Of course, a mobile phone, typically called a cell phone in the USA, is also important. Standard provider is T-Com. The best way to go is with prepaid cards, but I wouldn’t buy them in a shop, but from a trustworthy dealer on Ebay. The price difference for the same number of minutes quickly amounts to 40 euros and more. In addition, you have to know that in the USA you generally buy minute packages that are billed “when using the cell” – so you also pay when you are called. No matter how, calls to Germany are always very expensive. A good alternative that I had used is Internet telephony via Skype Out.
Another tip relates to rental car companies. In every airport you can find companies like AVIS, National or Europcar. A rental car is generally the quickest way to get around. There are very, very, very many destinations that you can go to, but you should never underestimate the distances and the cost factor. What is 5 centimeters on the map can in reality take 6 hours by car, for example to San Francisco (Los Angeles approx. 1 hour). In addition to these two major cities, I can also recommend San Diego, Yosemite National Park, Las Vegas, the Rocky Mountains, Callico Ghost Town, Santa Monica and so on. Since hostels are usually the cheapest accommodation options, but not always the cleanest, an alternative is one of the many motels that are in a similar price range,
In summary, I am more than satisfied with my semester abroad and returned to Germany with many new impressions and experiences. The four months flew by and of course the time was actually far too short. If someone asked me if I would do the semester abroad in this form again, I would say yes without hesitation. I don’t know when I’ll be going abroad for a longer period of time next, but I’m glad I took this opportunity.