University: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SANTA BARBARA
City: Santa Barbara
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: industrial engineering
Study type: semester abroad
I started planning my semester abroad about a year before I started studying in the USA. Since the only possible semester for a stay abroad at my university is the 5th, it was clear to me from the start that I would go to the USA for the Fall Quarter 2015. At first it was only clear to me that I wanted to go to the USA and preferably to the west coast. A buddy then drew my attention to UCSB and I was immediately enthusiastic about the reports and pictures that you could find. See mcat-test-centers for University of California Santa Barbara UCSB.
At this point it should be said that the planning and preparation work is much more relaxed if you plan the whole thing with a friend/buddy.
I hope you found MicroEdu quicker than I did, because I’ve looked quite a bit myself and not been very successful. As far as support is concerned, you’re in good hands here.
After it was clear that it should go to UCSB, I had to register for the TOEFL test. It makes sense to buy the appropriate textbook, as it is helpful to have seen the way the questions are asked beforehand. Otherwise it can happen that you get less than 20/30 points in one of the four categories and have to take an advanced course at UCSB…(unnecessary time that you can definitely use better)
After the result of the TOEFL test was there, I had to take care of things like proof of assets and all the documents that were still required.
I then sent my application via MicroEdu shortly before Christmas 2014 (there was still enough time to get a place without any problems) and 2 weeks later I had my acceptance in the mailbox.
Once you’ve got the commitment, that’s when things really get going. Then I had to take care of the flight, take out additional health insurance if necessary and, very importantly, apply for a visa. You can easily take your time until June/July, but a little buffer can’t hurt (also because my passport with visa was lost for 3 weeks in the postal strike).
If you have the opportunity, arrange accommodation in Isla Vista in advance. Isla Vista is practically a city of its own, located directly on campus and consists almost exclusively of students. Due to the circumstances, however, it is also very popular to live there and especially subtenants for only one quarter have a hard time.
You definitely have to be prepared to pay at least $500 for your room, which you will share with at least one person. Personally, I was lucky and shared a really cool apartment with two American women with a buddy, but also for $720/person a month. Of course there are cheaper rooms, but we were really happy to have something in advance (so you save yourself a hostel for the first nights and an extremely annoying search for an apartment on site).
First of all, it must be said that it is difficult for internationals to get into the Open University courses. For foreign students there are primarily the extension courses, which you can already book from Germany. A few months before the start of your studies, you will receive emails regarding clarification of prerequisites for open university courses that you would like to attend. These can also be clarified on site.
I personally signed up for an open university course and didn’t get in. On the one hand it was a pity, because I would have liked to have been in lectures with Americans, on the other hand it saves an incredible amount of time that you can use for sports, meeting friends, lying on the beach, partying surfing, eating, etc. The demands of the extension courses are not very high and it is possible to achieve very good results with little effort.
In your free time you have pretty much all options open to you. The Rec Center offers everything you need to do sports. Two basketball halls, a multi-activity court (MAC), climbing wall, pools, diving pool, 3 soccer fields, volleyball and tennis courts, etc. are available and included in the membership ($60 for a quarter).
With the Adventure Pass or in the Excursion Club you can rent surfboards and wetsuits on the beach and take part in numerous other activities.
Another quite important reason why I went to Santa Barbara is the party life in IV. On DP, a long road along the Pacific, there are both public and private house parties every Friday and Saturday that everyone should have attended. The parties are unfortunately already over at 12, otherwise they will be broken up by the police. After that, going to someone’s house with friends and partying inside is not a problem. It’s important to remember that the police in the US, and especially in IV, are very sensitive to the issue of alcohol. On the street you should walk as straight as possible, not shout out loud and generally not attract negative attention. The tickets sit easily with the police and cost a lot of money.
If, like me, you only take extension courses, you probably also have a lot of free time. You should use this on the weekends to explore California. San Francisco, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Diego, Yosemite National Park, Los Angeles – all definitely worth seeing.
If you have the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with an American family, do it – it’s definitely worth it. This is followed by Black Friday, a must-see shopping event.
I have already clarified the recognition of the courses I have taken in advance so that I don’t have to pay a lot of money for great experiences that don’t get me any further in my studies. An official Transcript of Records ($35) is usually required for the recognition of examination performance. Otherwise, a lot of great experiences, many new friendships and an empty bank account remain. Depending on what you want to experience, it will cost more or less. The semester abroad cost me around €11,500, but it was definitely worth the money.