University of California, Santa Barbara Review (85)


Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: Education and teaching, English / American Studies

Study type: semester abroad

University of California, Santa Barbara Review (85)


Since the preparations were no different for me than for most, I can’t tell you much new at this point. It is important to arrange an embassy appointment and the IELTS or TOEFL test early on. It was also very helpful for me to know that in Berlin, for example, there is a contact point – I think it’s a hotel – where you can hand in larger bags for two euros, as you are not allowed to take them into the embassy. The building is about 50 m to the left of the embassy (when facing the embassy). The bag drop-off point is on the ground floor – the entrance is in the basement. Otherwise, my contact person was from College Contact Always very friendly and helpful and accompanied me through the entire application process so that it was uncomplicated.¬†See mcat-test-centers for University of New Brunswick Fredericton.

I would recommend arriving via Los Angeles. I think that’s the cheapest. We rented a car and drove along the coast to Santa Barbara – a beautiful drive !


The UCSB campus is outstanding! The individual buildings of the faculties are not exceptional, but the university has a small lagoon and its own beach, which can be reached via a small path surrounded by palm trees. In addition to a great view of the Pacific, there is a lot of greenery. (Aside from the lawns, which have suffered somewhat from the severe California drought.) The buildings and facilities are well appointed and very clean, and the students and staff are very friendly and helpful.

I’m studying English for a master’s degree and have only taken graduate ‘Open University Courses’. Although these are very expensive, you only have to take two and not three, as is the case with the undergraduate courses and the extension courses. Two or three courses doesn’t sound like much, but three courses in California is equivalent to a full-time degree – if I’m not mistaken.

I was very fortunate when it came to my faculty and fellow students. Everyone was very open, friendly and democratic. (Like fortunately the majority in California.) There were also different age groups represented, which made me very happy as I am already in my late 20s. In general, interaction between lecturers and students was much more personal than in Germany. The course content from the ‘Education’ and ‘Linguistics’ departments was also very interesting! The individual courses cost around $1,100.

Health insurance

Unfortunately, the health insurance provided by the university is useless. I went to Student Health Center once and had to pay almost $400 myself and then apply and hope to get the money back. In the end I only got back about $300. I had separate health insurance through the ADAC for 180 euros. In retrospect, I would definitely have had the treatment billed/paid for via them! A separate health insurance is also necessary anyway, since the insurance period, I believe, only begins and ends with the quarter.


Even though the housing market is a disaster, I haven’t heard of anyone who hasn’t found a room. Since I’ll be 30 next year and my desire to party is now mostly limited to the weekends, I haven’t lived in Isla Vista. If you want to meet a lot of people and play beer pong and go surfing every day: there is no better place! (Just be a little careful about drugs and STDs.)

I stayed downtown with my boyfriend in an Airbnb room with an American-Mexican family over the garage – beautiful ! We had a balcony with stunning views and were allowed to use the family’s pool and BBQ. However, the room cost 1400 US dollars a month. For two it was just affordable for us. We had different roommates.

Since the buses to the university only take fifteen minutes and are free for students, it’s not a problem not living directly at the university – but you definitely don’t meet that many people. The area where we lived is very beautiful, inhabited by many families and very centrally located. I would rather avoid the street St Andres – especially at night. Otherwise, the city made a very safe impression on me!

The best thing about SANTA BARBARA is probably the weather and the incredible sunsets ! The coast offers the opportunity for photographers of desktop background templates to find a suitable motif almost every evening. The city itself and the nature that surrounds it is also beautiful and a lot less fancy than I imagined. There are some nice cafes and pubs, lots of entrepreneurs and lots of art and music. Most people are relatively down to earth, friendly and easygoing. Despite this, at least one Porsche overtakes you on a bike every day. The celebrities and the clienté of local cosmetic surgery hide in Montecito; the somewhat remote part of town where, by the way, Oprah Winfrey and Kevin Costner also live.


There are so many amazing things you can do ! Unfortunately, I didn’t do whale watching, surfing or a trip to the Channel Islands anymore for financial reasons, but I certainly recommend everything!

I loved stand up paddling! The board can be rented directly at the port and is not particularly expensive. Afterwards we often had something to eat at ‘On the Alley’ – very nice!… Otherwise I was at the beach almost every day. Butterfly Beach is particularly nice and Leadbetter Beach is also great because it has a bar/restaurant and showers.


California is incredibly beautiful and diverse. You can swim in the Pacific in the morning and lie on the beach in a bikini in the morning and take a walk in the snow in the afternoon – for example in Sequoia National Park, which has the largest living tree on earth. We traveled for about 3 weeks by car and tent, but also stayed in a motel from time to time. Planning, booking accommodation early and paying attention to public holidays definitely makes sense! We didn’t do that and could have saved quite a bit if we’d taken care of it sooner. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the sunrise in Monument Valley and the north side of the Grand Canyon – it’s not as touristy as the south side. Death Valley is also worth a trip!However, you should definitely reserve a room with air conditioning – it’s much too hot for camping! Camping in general was great – it just takes a little getting used to the idea that you are in ‘Bear Country’. The campsites we stayed at were absolutely beautiful and every single place had a table and a fire pit. Otherwise, I can definitely recommend going to Las Vegas in the summer – for the pool parties – and of course to San Francisco and New York if set up. Both places I definitely want to visit again. They are incredibly culturally diverse and very secular, less American.


One of the reasons I originally decided on UCSB was that the tuition fees are a bit cheaper compared to other universities – which is also due to the fact that you only pay for a quarter. The cost of living and living in Santa Barbara are so expensive that you might end up paying the same elsewhere. Aside from tuition, I spent about $2100 on housing, $3000 on travel, $3000 on living expenses and things to do, and $900 on flights. I flew back and forth via New York because it was cheaper than flying direct to California. Domestic flights aren’t that expensive, so it’s relatively cheap to fly to California from New York. I spent a few days in New York at the beginning and at the end. I lived there in Williamsburg, which is a 10-minute subway ride from Manhattan. A very cool, student district with lots of music, art and flea markets.

As expected, I could never imagine living in the US permanently, as I think Germany is, in many ways, a much more social seed – despite some parallels and issues that we certainly have here as well. For a few months or a year, however, I can absolutely recommend Santa Barbara! It’s just incredibly beautiful and life there is very relaxed!

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