I graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara in Winter Quarter 2009 and I still mourn it a little. It was a very exciting, varied and unforgettable time that you have to experience for yourself (!) If you have the opportunity. I have taken 3 courses and thus 12 credits at UCSB. In Germany I study business administration, at UCSB mainly economics courses are offered. Accordingly, you have to choose micro or macro courses, or you are so brave and choose topics that are only more distantly related to business administration, for example ‘Climate Change Economics’. According to Abbreviationfinder, UCSB is the abbreviation of University of California Santa Barbara.
The university and campus are right by the sea or a small lake, so you are always right on the water. The campus is huge and hardly comparable to a German one, but you can still find your way around this city very quickly. Anyone walking across the busy campus for the first time will be amazed by the high number of bicycles. UCSB also has a huge range of sports and I advise everyone to get their access card for the Recreation Center right at the start. This costs $ 60, but is also valid for 3 months. With this card, all sports facilities in the Recreation Center are available (squash, fitness, basketball, hockey, climbing wall, badminton, tennis…). So as you can see it is worth it and since you have enough time you can do something for your body during the 3 months.
At the beginning you should also stop by the Extension Center, but everything will be explained to you again on the introductory day. There you will receive the student ID (= bus ticket) and additional information. You can also enroll in courses there, provided you have received confirmation from the professor beforehand. And that’s actually the only ‘stress’. Since the Americans always have priority over exchange students, you have no choice but to choose your preferred lectures in the first few weeks and then go to them. Even at the beginning of the lecture, you can see whether the lecture is overcrowded or whether you have a chance of a place. After the lecture you go to the professor, introduce yourself briefly and ask him if it is possible to take the course. This is how you collect your lectures in the first 1-2 weeks. Of course, you only have the course once it has been paid for in the Extension Center. If you are very skilled, you can put the courses on 2 days, but for me it was 4 days (Monday to Thursday), but only 1.25 hours each day, on Thursdays, however, hard 3!
You can find out about accommodation from Germany on the website www.craigslist.org. You can find EVERYTHING on this page! From mattress to apartment, car, iPhone, sofa… When it comes to living, Santa Barbara is really an expensive place. Expect $ 600-800 for a shared room. So it’s best to look for it beforehand and then to view the room when you arrive, as the good ones are obviously taken very quickly. I lived in Isla Vista. This is the student quarter right on campus, where 20,000 students live. You can imagine what was going on every day and especially on the weekend. Would also advise everyone to move to Isla Vista, even if the rent is maybe a little higher, so in the area. Anything else would be too far away from Uni, Party and people and just wouldn’t give the right impression of the university. Isla Vista is always busy and you get to know people very quickly. I lived with 2 Americans and thought it was really awesome. The two were totally different but both very nice and open. The advantage of this is that American roommates introduce you to college and party life and you get to know new people very quickly.
2 years ago I was in California and even then Santa Barbara was the city that excited me the most (despite Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Las Vegas). When I then had the opportunity to take my semester abroad there, the matter was clear to me. Santa Barbara has a fantastic location, the weather is great, the people are incredibly nice and the city itself is just such that you have to feel at home straight away. Life there mainly takes place on State Street, the main street in Santa Barbara that leads directly to the sea. So if you are looking for cafes, clubs (Thursdays !!!) or shopping opportunities, State Street is the right place for you. From the UCSB you can get to downtown Santa Barbara via 101 and it takes about 15-20 minutes.
Another tip: weekend trips, if you want to miss out on the party life for a weekend. LA, San Diego, San Francisco and Las Vegas are all within easy driving distance (every 2-6 hours). Hawaii should also be considered once you are over there. However, we did Hawaii after the semester and not in the middle of it, because you should take more time there.
In conclusion, I can only advise everyone to go to the UCSB, you will certainly not regret it!