Study in University of California Santa Barbara

Study in University of California Santa Barbara


The decision to take a closer look at the University of California, Santa Barbara for my semester abroad was made because of a work colleague who did a language stay in California for several months. He told me a lot of positive things about the university, which is said to be the only one in the United States that has its own beach connection. Via I compared UCSB with other universities around the world. A personal and free conversation with a colleague from MicroEDU helped me a lot and strengthened my intuition that my N ° 1 choice remains the UCSB. Learn more about University of California Santa Barbara on andyeducation.

Before I could definitely register, I had to meet the requirements in the English language (a TOEFL with at least 80 points ). With the help of a few lessons in the evenings, I completed this test in November 2016 and successfully passed it with 98 points. Then I immediately sent my application to MicroEDU, who checked it and then passed it on to UCSB. After just a few weeks, I had confirmation from UCSB that I was definitely admitted to the spring semester 2018.

It has already been pointed out here that free movers can either attend extension courses by pre-registering, most of which are aimed at working employees, or can try to get to Open University courses by means of class crashing. OpenUniversity courses correspond to the official lectures, which are also attended by American students. Since my basic goal was to experience real student life at an American university, I decided to try my luck on site and get hold of courses that, after a clarifying discussion with Mr. Köhle, were indicated as basically compatible with the FHNW curriculum.

I also registered with the Facebook group “UCSB Housing” because I didn’t want to live in one of the overpriced dorms away from the community, but right on the pulse of the campus. As I found out later, practically all of my European fellow students at UCSB did the same and found a “cheap” and well-located accommodation option.


The Extension Department organized two information days one week before the start of the course. We were shown the huge campus, informed us how class crashing works and who our contact person would be in the event of problems. As suggested at the information event, I looked for one or two alternatives to the favorite courses that had already been written out. After each course it was necessary to go to the professor and ask for permission to officially attend the course. Basically, at practically every lecture it was first announced that there were no more places for class crashers and that they could now leave the lecture. However, practically all class crashers who showed up on time and still waited until the end of the lecture were offered a place.

The class crashing of lectures in halls with more than a hundred students was basically no problem. After the first week I already had the OK in three out of three courses from the lecturers. However, I was so interested in the COMM117 Persuasion module that despite a waiting list of over 30 students for a class of 40 and the rather unpromising prospect of a place according to Professor Nabi, I attended every lesson. It was important to always be present 15 minutes before the beginning, otherwise all places were occupied and you could either go again or the whole lecture (1h15) had to be stopped. The weeks went by and so the number of students in the standing room became smaller and smaller. After each lecture, I asked what the waiting list currently looks like, i.e. whether someone has dropped the course and a place has become free.


ECON101 Macroeconomics

Is the “basic course for economics students in the USA” so to speak. The course is structured and covers important areas of advanced macroeconomics. Key topics were: GDP, foreign trade deficit, Solow Growth Model, Romer Growth Model, Labor Market, IS-Curve, Philpps-Curve, AS / AD Framework. If the basic economics vocabulary is available, I think this course is feasible for interested students with a little effort. The intermediate exams are 60 percent multiple choice questions and 40 percent open questions.

COMM117 Persuasion

One of the most exciting – if not the most exciting course that I have been attending since I started my university career. The communication theories that were taught in the preliminary course COMM89 are taken up again and these are looked at in connection with advertisements, radio spots, etc. At the end of the course, negotiation tactics and manipulation techniques are looked at and their suitability is checked in various situations. Here you have to have an extraordinary interest in communication and manipulation, as the communication theories have to be looked at and learned in parallel to understand the course. However, if this additional service is gladly provided, I can only recommend the course. The midterm as well as the final exam are 60 percent multiple choice questions combined with 40 percent open questions, which aim to analyze a newspaper advertisement.

PSY147 Self and Identity

In my opinion, the course is more of a philosophical nature. In other words, one tries to fathom what it takes to become a self and what distinguishes us as humans from animals in our self-perception. In the further course of the course, various mental illnesses such as dementia, schizophrenia, etc. in connection with the perceiving self are examined. Coupled with interesting studies, this course is certainly a good opportunity to immerse yourself in another field of study and to open up your worldview. The intermediate exam as well as the final exam are pure multiple choice questions and can be passed with little learning effort.

Students life

In addition to a renowned university ranked 132nd (UZH # 78, UNIGE # 108, UNIBAS # 160) according to the QS Global World Ranking, Santa Barbara also has a campus that is unimaginable by Swiss standards. Two fitness centers, which can be used free of charge, two pools including jacuzzi, sports fields for soccer, baseball, volleyball, etc., a separate stadium, an excursion club and of course a private beach for surfing round off the perfect California experience.

Of course, nightlife and student parties are also a must at a university in the States. To put it briefly: The Hollywood films about American student life are not excessive exaggerations, but can be taken as realistic benchmarks. Party buses with converted, old American school buses are just as much part of the weekly planning every Thursday evening as the parties in strange front gardens at 65/66 DP (Del Playa Drive) during the weekends.
In addition, the location of Santa Barbara is ideal. The temperatures between March and June were mostly between 18 ° C – 24 ° C. It is also worth visiting the cities of San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas or Los Angeles on the free weekendsto visit. Of course, interesting national parks such as Sequoia, Yosemite, etc. can also be reached within a few hours.


I don’t regret a minute that I put into the additional planning of a free mover semester abroad and I can fully recommend UCSB as a university and without reservation. It should be mentioned in particular that the UCSB offers three quartersper year, making the Spring Quarter ideal for all part-time students, as the final exams of the fall semester at the FHNW and the start of the semester in the USA do not overlap, as is the case at many other universities in the USA.

Study in University of California Santa Barbara