University of California Santa Barbara Student Review

I actually wanted to go to Vancouver to study abroad. The city cast a spell over me at the 2010 Olympics. Since I’m studying economics and there were no offers in Vancouver, I kept looking around. A friend of mine gave me the tip with Santa Barbara. So I did a little research and wasn’t quite sure if this would be the right university for me. But you can already imagine that this should then be the case.

On the one hand, this is of course due to California and the location of Santa Barbara in the most populous US state. You can be in LA in an hour and a half and it doesn’t take very long to get to other great places (at least by American standards). San Francisco is just under 5 hours away by car (but I recommend the longer route along Highway 101, along the ocean), and San Diego can also be reached in 5 to 6 hours if there is not too much traffic in the greater LA area. Las Vegas can also be reached in 6 hours. And the great national parks Joshua Tree, Yosemite and Death Valley (my favorite, if not for everyone) are also accessible during this time. But of course Santa Barbara also offers enough to pass the time. The slightly smaller city has everything you need there is a super relaxed atmosphere about the city, the people are pleasantly relaxed and there are great opportunities to do something. The weather is always fabulous, during my time it only rained seven times in 3 ½ months, even if there were a few foggy days. But it was almost never too hot and rarely really cool, actually the weather for the t-shirt is always perfect.

Now to the university, which is always a highlight for German students. When I first came to campus I thought I was in an Italian club resort. The campus has a Mediterranean flair, the buildings are mostly kept in pleasant ocher colors, there are green strips and trees everywhere, in between lanterns on which the flags with the university coat of arms hang. All the people are very courteous and friendly, you won’t find German reserve there (by the way, this applies to all people in California, everyone is nice, which in some cases borders on penetrance). Choosing a course is also much easier than you might read from the brochures and the numerous e-mails. Master’s courses are not that easy to come by, but in general, in the undergraduate area: Go to the lecturer / professor after the first event and ask nicely (preferably not in a large group, but individually) and then it usually works without any problems. The courses are also structured differently than you know from Germany, but that varies a lot from course to course, so I don’t want to generalize that. But I think you should take advantage of the great, wide range of offers and sometimes sit in courses that you would never attend in Germany (for example, I was an economics student in American history with Prof. Kalman, which I can only recommend, great Prof! !!).

As for the housing situation, it is difficult to give advice. I have already secured my apartment in Germany at craigslist (, many other foreigners only look on site. There are of course also the housing offers of the university itself, which you can also use. Everyone should have their own experiences. Just a 100% advice: move to Isla Vista (IV), anything else would be fatal;) Because this is where you spend your time when you are not at university or on an excursion. The heart of the UCSB beats in IV, there are plenty of pubs, bars and shops here. Anyone who has ever seen the alcohol in the Keg n Bottle will forget everything else. There are also lots of parties here, especially on weekends, but also during the week. Who wants to celebrate almost always finds people who go along with it The Del Playa Drive (DP) turns into a big party mile at the weekend. The activities of the university clubs also take place on campus or in IV. If you want to experience really cool things outside, you can join the excursion club, for example. Every week they offer smaller activities such as learning to surf, go running or beach volleyball and also do very large tours such as skydiving or hikes over several days on the Big Sur, including overnight stays. There are many other clubs, especially all the sports on offer. I can only recommend getting information and participating. You can combine university, party and club activities and still have free time – isn’t that awesome ?!

In addition to the usual topics that everyone buzzes around in their heads, such as choosing a course and looking for an apartment, there are also other things that should be considered, such as mobile communications, additional health insurance, on-site mobility (rental car), withdrawing (free) money, etc. I can do that not coming in here now, but you are welcome to write me e-mails if you like. Speaking of money: Santa Barbara is expensive, so don’t be under any illusions. I guess that if you don’t just want to spend your time on campus, but also want to do things and, above all, test the breadth of American food culture, which I can only advise, you need 1,500 € per month . That’s a lot of money, but it’s also worth taking in hand. You get a lot for your money and can have great experiences. Of course, you can get by with less money, but if you have the opportunity to go to an amusement park like Six Flags, for example, then you can get away with all the trimmings for $ 100 and that’s just a day trip.

Santa Barbara is one of the most popular places to study for Germans. Therefore you will hardly get there and meet no Germans, especially the Spring Quarter is popular. I don’t want to judge that, but you should be aware of that. Especially when you go there to get to know Americans and improve your language skills. Hence my tip: go alone and move in with an American if possible. This is how you learn the most about culture. The USA is a little more unknown to us than we sometimes think. At least that was my experience.
In summary, I can only say positive things about my stay, it was a great 3 ½ months with a lot of fun and relaxation, cool people and an irretrievable opportunity to learn new things. If you can, go to UCSB 🙂

Students - UC Santa Barbara