Preparation and application:
It has always been clear to me that I would like to live in the USA for a longer period of time. At the same time, I wanted to do a semester abroad . Since my university doesn’t have many partner universities for the United States, I reached out to your website through a friend’s recommendation. Your website is really great and as often as I have called to just get information, I was afraid that they would be totally annoyed by me. But they are really happy to help and answer every question you have about choosing the right university or the application process. Nevertheless, you should plan enough time for the application. Many still have to take an extra English test in order to get to the C1 level. You also have to note that you have to apply for the F1 visa and therefore have to visit the embassy.
I went to the University of California Santa Barbara and have never seen a university this beautiful before! I was really excited. I purposely chose the west coast to escape the cold winter and to get that summer feeling. I wasn’t promised too much! The UCSB is located directly on the sea , there is a campus point which is a private beach and the University Center, which is the center of the university with all kinds of cafes and dining options, if you sit outside you can enjoy a direct view of the sea. As far as I know, you can study almost anything at UCSB. I was there for my business studies , but you can also do music , chemistry there or study dance, so there should be something for everyone. The university or campus is big, but I think that’s great. We all only got around on bicycles or skateboards to get from one course to another, and at home we were accordingly faster. Exchange students start their semester beforehand in order to get to know the university and campus better and to explain the learning system . There were really hardly any problems and if you have any, there is the International Office at UCSB and enough contact persons who can be addressed at any time. In general, the staff at UCSB is very competent.
Studies and courses:
To get the F1 visa, as a bachelor student you have to achieve 12 units and thus take 3 courses. It is important to take care of the learning agreements at your own university beforehand. In retrospect, it turned out to be more difficult for me than I thought. It is very difficult to get into the normal American university courses, as American full-time students have priority and the number is limited for these too. However, there are extra courses for exchange students, the selection is not huge, but these are half the price of regular courses and a place is almost certain there. My courses were:
International Marketing- Prof. Steve Van Hook:
My absolute favorite course . I was almost sad that half of this class was held in the classroom and the other half online. We had to post at least 6 posts each week to a specially made group for the course to get an A at the end. The posts all have something to do with teaching and marketing , but that explains everything by itself if you take the course. In the end, you don’t have to write a final, but rather create a marketing plan. But if you start doing this on time, this shouldn’t be a problem. The professor is generally very understanding and has a great sense of humor. I can highly recommend the course!
Human Resource Management- Prof. Peggy Stevens:
The lessons were simple, but very monotonous and, in my opinion, not very exciting. There is a book that you have to buy and read a chapter every week. In class, you then discuss the chapter, what looks like the professor puts on her PowerPoint slides and just tells one-sided and you sit there and listen. However, when you ask a question, she often talks about her own life and experiences, which is very interesting. The professor is very nice and at the end of the course you have to hand in an essay to pass the course.
I stayed at Tropicana Gardens. It is a bit more expensive than looking for an apartment yourself and with a little luck you can get hold of an apartment with a view of the sea . But in the Tropicana you pay for the food and in general there are many offers in the area of leisure. I got on really well with my roommates and the university is only 5 minutes away.
I loved going to the sea and discovered surfing for myself. Isla Vista is not big, but there are plenty of sporting leisure opportunities. The Recreation Center is open to all students and also offers many excursions. If you are looking for good parties, IV is also the place for you: almost every day there is a house party somewhere (mostly outside with a view of the sea).
Los Angeles isn’t far away, so if you grab a few friends and rent a car, it’s worth a day trip here. Santa Barbara is generally a dream and can be reached in 20 minutes by bus. There you can go shopping, eat out with friends or just have a drink. I went to San Francisco with friends for a few days over Thanksgiving. In general, you have a lot of time to simply go on the ice in between during your semester.
The costs are really the only catch there is. You should save a lot before you start your trip. In addition to the tuition fees , the standard of living is very high. Santa Barbara is one of the most expensive cities in America and you have to pay a lot for normal weekly shopping.
The semester abroad at UCSB was a dream ! As mentioned, while it’s very expensive, it was worth every penny to me. I had a fantastic time with lots of cool new people I met on my travels and I fell in love with California in general. I want to go back as soon as possible and can only recommend anyone who has always wanted to get to know typical American student life to take this opportunity.