University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: medicine
Study type: semester abroad
Unfortunately, my time at UCSB passed far too quickly. But every second I spent there was more than worth it! I spent a total of two quarters (September 2017 – April 2018) in Santa Barbara and had almost exclusively good experiences. See mcat-test-centers for University of California Berkeley.
Unfortunately, as part of my medical studies I had only limited opportunities to complete an integrated semester abroad at my university at home and I didn’t want to miss the chance to experience American college life up close, I decided to organize my semester abroad myself with MicroEdu.
It was clear to me from the start that I wanted to go to sunny California. Since I’m also not a fan of cities that are too big, Santa Barbara quickly became my choice. I then applied around for the university at the beginning of May and was accepted relatively quickly. I found the application process very easy and uncomplicated and with the help of Lisa Bradler and her colleagues, I quickly had all the necessary documents and information that I needed for my semester abroad. The only thing I found a bit of a hassle was the process of getting an American visa, although the MicroEdu team was always available to answer any questions I had.
It all started at the end of September and I fell in love with the city and the surrounding area from the very first moment. I don’t think there is a place in California that offers as many options as Santa Barbara. With the sea on your doorstep and the mountains right on your doorstep, you have numerous opportunities to be in nature and do sports. Santa Barbara Downtown itself is a beautiful little town, with numerous small cafes and restaurants and also has a lot to offer in the evenings. Another advantage is the central location. If you do fancy a bit of city life, LA is also only a two-hour drive away, and weekend trips to San Diego are also great options or to do San Francisco.
Since it was clear to me from the start that I would not be able to have any of my courses in Germany credited, I was very flexible in my choice of course. However, since as an extension student you cannot register for courses online like all other students, you unfortunately have to “crash” courses for the first few weeks. This means that you have to attend all courses that interest you on the first dates and the lecturer decides whether you are accepted into the course or not. This system is a bit tedious and time-consuming at the beginning and unfortunately it can happen that you cannot get into all the courses you want because there is no capacity. Luckily for me everything worked out the way I had imagined andUsually, if you talk to the lecturer, you have a good chance of getting into the course.
I would recommend everyone to live in Isla Vista, the student village right next to the campus. I didn’t need a car during my time, which I found very convenient as I didn’t have to worry about it extra. As a rule, you quickly get to know people who will take you shopping or even take you on weekend trips with you. On site you can easily get around by bike and there are also buses to downtown, which you can use free of charge. In general, housing is unfortunately very expensive in California. Expect to pay at least $600/month for a bed in a double room! I would look around for opportunities early on (at least two months in advance), even from Germany. The easiest way is via various Facebook groups, such as: “UCSB HOUSING” or “UCSB free and for sale” or via Craigslist.org. In Santa Barbara, it is common for leases to be for one year only, and many students sublet their rooms on a quarterly basis, for example when going abroad. Therefore, there is always a large supply of rooms if you look around in good time. Of course you can also arrive a little earlier and on site look for accommodation. You can usually find something that way, it’s just a bit more risky and can take some time.
Overall, I felt more than comfortable in Santa Barbara. The weather was absolutely gorgeous even during the winter! I only experienced 10 rainy days in the 6 ½ months I was there. So if you want the typical American college experience and can’t get enough of the sun, sea and nature, I highly recommend UCSB!