University of California, Santa Barbara Review (87)


City: Santa Barbara

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: Entrepreneurship, business informatics

Study type: semester abroad

University of California, Santa Barbara Review (87)

Work hard, play harder. With this motto I spent three incredibly fun, wild, educational and enriching months at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). It was clear to me from the start: I wanted to spend my stay abroad in California.However, studying – even for a semester – is not cheap in the States. UCSB is one of the cheapest of the UC schools, which is why it was of great interest to me from a financial perspective. See mcat-test-centers for University of Newcastle.

The University

Apart from the high tuition fees, UCSB really has everything to offer : internationally recognized education, a unique range of leisure activities, an excellent location and open-minded people. California is notoriously liberal, which is why Santa Barbara attracts many international students . Located on the coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the university has its own beach and can enjoy the sun 360 days a year. Because you have to be presentyou can’t spend all your time on the beach or in the Pacific. Don’t worry, you have more than enough time for that, because the academic requirements are less demanding than those of Germany. There are an enormous number of sports and party options.

Application process

The application went smoothly via MicroEdu. It is important to note that each application to an American university costs at least 150 USD. You should therefore have already decided beforehand which university you are applying to. MicroEdu will initially make it clear to you whether your level of education meets the requirements of the university. It describes exactly which documents and requirements are required for an application to UCSB. After I had prepared all the necessary documents, College Contact checked the application for completeness and it was sent. Within a week I had already received my acceptance!


Of course, I had already read the experience reports of my predecessors several times before I applied, so I was aware of how difficult the search for an apartment can be. There are several groups on Facebook where, if you make an effort, you can quickly find a place to sleep: UCSB Housing, Free & For Sale UCSB, and UCSB Free/For Sale. I definitely wanted to live in Isla Vista. Isla Vista is right next to the campus and only students live here. This place is indescribable: there are many very good restaurants, several beaches, many parties and young people. My favorites are among others. theBagel Cafe, Freebirds, Buddha Bowls and Cajé. You will often end up at Freebirds after a long night of partying! The burritos are so big that you will definitely be more than full.

Del Playa Drive — dubbed DP — is about a five-minute bike ride from campus and is “the” party street. It’s best to look for an apartment here or on Sabado Street. While apartments on the “Oceanside” have incredible ocean views, they’re often run-down from all the parties. The ” Mountainside ” on DP, on the other hand, is highly recommended, I found an apartment there.

As soon as you have received your acceptance from UCSB, it is best to post in the Facebook groups immediately. Briefly describe your personality , budget and party attitude. Many students who are currently looking for roommates or who are ending their rental contract post in the groups. You should also write to them. Since apartments at UCSB are damn expensive (about $750 a month for a double room is a pretty decent price), 2 to 4 students often sleep in a room. Also, there is a lot of marijuana smoking and alcohol drinking at UCSB – you should make your stance clear in a post like this (California has been legal since 2018). With cleanlinessAmericans don’t have it that way, you’ll have to get used to it quickly. It was shocking to me at first, but you quickly get used to it. You can always keep your part of the room/apartment clean.

I quickly found a double room. I spoke briefly to my “roommate” via Skype and agreed that I would only sign the contract on site. Try to arrange it that way, because you should visit the apartment. I have friends who had no luck choosing an apartment and searched in vain for an alternative locally.

Courses and leisure activities

I took three courses during my time at UCSB: Entrepreneurship, Business Strategy, and Introduction into Python. As a bachelor student you have 12 credits free, 4 credits per course. The Academic courses are much more time-consuming, but also more interesting. You get to know more Americans on the courses than on an extension course. The Extension courses are specially designed for people who have a full-time job: therefore they are less intensive. The Introduction into Python course was my only extension course.

You will be very well looked after on site. There was an introductory session in which you quickly opened a WhatsApp group and communicated with each other. However, this meant that I spent significantly more time with exchange studentsthan with Americans themselves. In retrospect, that was a bit of a shame.

In terms of free time, there is just so much to experience. Santa Barbara itself is about 15 to 20 minutes away by car and is super convenient for shopping, drinking coffee or watching the sunset by the water. There are many surf spots to explore in the surrounding area (for example in Ventura ). You can also hike in the mountains just behind Santa Barbara. Having a car is recommended, but parking in Isla Vista is not always easy.


  • Try to make friends with Americans
  • Spend time with your roommates
  • Go grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, the supermarket is by far the freshest and best
  • Join the Excursion Club for $30. There you can rent equipment for the whole semester, for example for hiking, surfing, paddleboarding etc.


  • Don’t sit on the curb on party nights. The police will approach you and you may be fined. Do not keep open drinks on the street!
  • Look for exciting courses, talk to the professors! Who knows, you might find a job through your professors there.


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