my name is Philipp and I study economics at the Münster University of Applied Sciences. Like almost every student nowadays, the question of whether you should do a semester abroad, but rather only WHERE. At the beginning of my studies, a sentence from our dean stuck in my mind. He said that nowadays, as a student, you no longer stand out when you’ve done a semester abroad, but rather when you haven’t completed one.
Therefore, I dealt in detail with the possibilities and options of a semester abroad. Fortunately, during this deliberation and research, I came across the MicroEDU office – which turned out to be enormously helpful.
Under this point I would like to suggest that you take care of the organization at an early stage. Especially if you want to apply for foreign student loans. This process is really tedious and sometimes grueling; However, it is very worthwhile if it is approved, as every penny can be used in the USA!;-)
My visa experience, on the other hand, was very relaxed. Copies of rental and building society contracts were just a few of the documents I had made beforehand. Of course, you should bring all the documents that are required to the appointment, and inform them beforehand on the website of the US embassy! After submitting the documents, there was a conversation with an embassy employee about the background of the trip. Do not worry! It was a very relaxed and casual five-minute conversation and shouldn’t refuse anyone a visa.
Book your flight early and save – you wait in vain for last minute bargains!;-)
Once you have arrived in the land of unlimited possibilities, you can quickly feel overwhelmed by all the new impressions. In my case, I ended up in LA. After a few days with a friend, I started the trip to Santa Barbara. There are several ways to do this; the shuttle bus for around 50 euros or the Amtrak train for around 30 euros.
Once in Santa Barbara you are once again pretty lost if you haven’t organized something beforehand. I was very spontaneous in all things, which was incredibly exciting, but also sometimes very stressful.
Whoever studies at UCSB MUST live in Isla Vista. You have a great time here and really immerse yourself in university life. I spent the first few nights in a hostel (Tourist Hostel) in downtown Santa Barbara.
The most important point of contact when looking for an apartment should be the CRAIGSLIST website. Here you will find everything about apartments, bicycles or furniture.
I arranged apartment tours through this site and finally found a house with seven Americans. I can only recommend you to avoid German roommates. There is nothing better for immersing yourself in the culture, university life and improving language skills than living with Americans.
But be aware that life on the Pacific in this great location has its price. $ 500-700 depending on the location is the norm, some for a shared room.
On the subject of cars, I would give you two tips. . . I didn’t need a car. . . but I also had helpful roommates who made their cars available to me. Otherwise you should think about buying a car or renting it with several people.
Basically, I found the “contractual behavior” to be much more relaxed than in Germany. I didn’t have to sign a rental agreement and just moved in with a handshake.
Now to the subject of UCSB. . . the first few days can be extremely confusing and overwhelming. The campus is huge and cannot be compared with anything in Germany. Green areas, a huge library, a lagoon right in front of the “door” and a Unicenter with a post office and countless fast-food restaurants. The UCSB staff is very friendly and helpful, but everything is a bit confusing. Courses can be “chosen” in advance, but are only for orientation for the university management for a better overview.
There are two types of courses to choose from. The “normal” UCSB courses that convey real university life in the USA and the “extension courses”. The latter are for international students (clearly predominantly Germans) and professionals. Often in the evening and on Saturday to meet the schedule of the professionals. The UCSB management is definitely pushing to enroll for the extension courses, as the normal university courses, especially in economics and business, are very crowded, as California in particular had to accept some budget cuts and courses are canceled or teachers are canceled.
For the extension courses you register and the normal courses have to be “crashed”. Just take a look and talk to the professor after the course to get a signature for course participation. . . . sounds more complicated than it is, in the end I got the courses I wanted. Nevertheless, you have to be on your toes in the first few weeks in order to really exhaust all possibilities, because the UCSB asks a lot in terms of sports and entertainment courses such as surfing, various sports or wine tasting courses. 😉
and otherwise. . .
. . . SOME!!!
Santa Barbara really has a lot to offer from incredibly great days and sunsets on the Pacific to various house parties in Isla Vista or long nights downtown in nice clubs.
There are also possibilities for excursions like sand on the sea, since Santa Barbara is very central in California. Excursions to San Francisco, Yosemite National Park (definitely stay for several days), Grand Canyon and Las Vegas are just a few destinations that are more than worthwhile.
Nevertheless, with all the fun, you should find out about the rules early on. The police are always ready and do not hesitate. Anyone who has been to Isla Vista knows why. . . just watch out. . . an open beer on the street costs $ 300-500 and at 1. 30 a. m. it’s CELEBRATION! Without exception. . . very annoying!;-)
As mentioned, everything has its price, and it is not without it. All in all, a semester abroad in the USA is very expensive and would probably not be possible in my case without an international student loan. The rents are high and if you really want to enjoy this unique trip, a lot comes together through travel, accommodation and nightlife. In addition, food and the cost of living are generally expensive.
I can only recommend to everyone to complete a semester abroad, if you openly and warmly get involved in the new environment and the people, as in my experience you can have the best time of your life and fly home with many unforgettable memories. Just writing the report makes me wanderlust and would go back immediately!
I would like to thank all of the contacts at act-test-centers, as they were always on hand to offer advice and assistance and made the organization a lot easier for me.
Thank you very much. . . . Conclusion: Anytime again!!!!:-)