University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: economics
Study type: semester abroad
I’m 22 years old and I’m studying industrial engineering and electrical engineering in NRW in Germany in the 6th semester. My course does not include a semester abroad, but I didn’t want to miss out on the experience and wanted to use the time. I became aware of MicroEdu via the Internet and looked at the various universities on the homepage. Since I knew from the start that I would like to go to the USA, the choice was limited from the start and ultimately fell on the University of California, Santa Barbara. See mcat-test-centers for University of California Irvine.
How do you write a testimonial in a way that helps the most with the trip? I think it makes the most sense to go chronologically.
I decided very early on where to go (about 1 year before the start of the semester) and was therefore able to find out about the requirements etc. and obtain all the necessary documents early on. The documents for the application are quickly collected, you should only remember that the Toffeltest has to be booked and completed.
I was then able to send all the necessary documents to MicroEdu without any problems (about 10 months before the start of my studies) and was accepted just a few weeks later. So I had it in black and white and didn’t have to worry about it anymore.
After that I immediately started to take care of the apartment etc.: that was nonsense! You don’t have to worry about accommodation 2 months before the semester starts at the earliest, anything else is too early and just gets on your nerves. And you can be 100% sure that you will find something. I didn’t know anyone who had problems with it. Some flew to Santa Barbara without a permanent place to stay and stayed in motels for the time being and looked for something locally.
At this point, I can probably come up with the various housing options: there are basically 3 different types: university-owned housing, housing in apartment complexes or private housing.
The University Owned Housing includes numerous dormitories in which only UCSB students live.
International students can live in the undergraduate apartments and, on request, in the graduate apartments.
All apartments are shared with several students, there are single and double rooms. The apartments are furnished, but depending on who you live with you have to buy things for the kitchen etc.
In addition to the University Owned Apartments, there are also private apartment complexes such as the Capri, the Loop, Sweeps or the Icon. In terms of equipment and furnishings, there is basically nothing in common with each other. Places are allocated through the complex websites.
There are also numerous private accommodations. Like almost everything in the USA, these are offered via Craigslist, so just take a look. This also includes host families.
I myself could not say which accommodation was the best. Hardly anything happens between the individual apartments and blocks of flats.
I can recommend the Westwinds Apartments and San Clemente Villages (University Owned). Unfortunately, the Capri Apartments are not recommended. Since 2014, the leases there have run beyond the duration of the Quarter, so you have to find new tenants yourself. If you can’t find one, you have to pay 2 months after the end of the quarter. If you find a new tenant, you pay $300 pp to the management just for the contract to be rewritten.
This rule only came into effect this year.
I also had very bad experiences applying there.
Back to the preparations: I had my visa appointment in Frankfurt about 3 months before the start of the quarter. As long as you have all the documents together and bring some time and patience with you, this is not an issue. 3 days later I had my passport and visa back in the mailbox.
You could then choose the courses for the university online. You get thousands of emails from the university and are really well informed. You can still book courses on site and cancel them again, it was not a problem for anyone.
After I had booked the flight about 2 months before departure (that was a bit late) we could start.
I flew from Düsseldorf to Los Angeles and from there I took the Santa Barbara Airbus (http: //www.sbairbus.com) to Goleta. This is the city where the university is located and which also includes Isla Vista, the part of the city right next to the campus where pretty much every student lives and where all the apartment complexes etc. are located. Goleta belongs to Santa Barbara.
I spent the first night in the Super 8 Motel and was able to move into my apartment the next morning. We had a 4 person apartment in the Westwinds with 2 rooms, 2 bathrooms, living room and kitchen.
Sharing a room is normal in America and has worked well for everyone!
As a short info about Isla Vista: IV is right next to the campus and is almost exclusively inhabited by students! There is always something going on, it was never boring. It really couldn’t be better! Pretty much all of life takes place there during your time at UCSB.
For the internationals, the quarter starts with an orientation event. There you get some information about the university, about the visa requirements, etc. This week it was still spring break and there was hardly anything going on at the university. The following week things really got going.
I myself had 4 extension courses. These are the courses that are designed for international students and are (almost) only attended by them. On the other hand, there are the Open University courses, which are the regular courses that Americans also attend. However, places are not guaranteed there.
If you book the extension courses, don’t be surprised, they are almost all in the evening! That was sometimes a bit annoying, but at least you had the whole day free.
You’re almost always busy, boredom is really the exception.
There is a recreation center on campus. This includes 2 large fitness centers, a competition sized pool, a 25m pool, a whirlpool, squash courts, tennis, soccer and basketball courts, beach volleyball and baseball fields. There is also a football stadium on campus. To become a member of the Recreation Center you pay $60 per quarter; which was more than appropriate.
You can also surf, kayak, go to the beach and do thousands of other things.
The UCSB campus is also completely different from any campus in Germany. It is surrounded by water on two sides, very well maintained and huge.
The 3 months in California flew by. I can only advise to do a lot of excursions on the weekends, especially Las Vegas is worth it!
You should just let the rest come to you.
In conclusion, I can say that I would do everything exactly the same way again and had a great time in Santa Barbara. Here are a few more points that might be important or might help:
- you shouldn’t let yourself be driven crazy beforehand, if necessary you can still regulate everything on site that you didn’t do at home; as long as the flight is booked and you have a visa everything is fine!
- one should know that the Quarter is very expensive; the university calculates the total cost at $10,740 and that’s about enough, if not a little tight. There are also excursions and of course trips before or after the Quarter
- Regarding the trips: you can also do all that on the spot, you will find enough people with whom you can travel to and during the quarter
- UCSB has a very good reputation in America and is said to be one of the best universities in California
- if you are looking for an apartment you should not necessarily have it on Del Playa (the street directly at the sea): the houses here are incredibly dirty and run down because there are parties pretty much every night; unless you want something like that
- you should be 21 years old, otherwise you sometimes have to cut back when it comes to celebrations etc