Why AUSB is Attractive to Swedes and Norwegians


All those interchanging vowels floating one into another. Melodic and soft conversations that oftentimes give a singing effect with high and low pitches. If you are a student or faculty member at Antioch Santa Barbara it has probably not gone unnoticed. You might have asked yourself: “Where do these people come from?”

Don’t worry, you are not the only one wondering about this.

I will give you the answer right here. There is a big chance that these people are either Swedish or Norwegian. It is not always that easy to know. For some of you, this might come as a shock- but not all of them are blonde, blue-eyed, and wear converse shoes… Many, but not all of them.

Even though Santa Barbara is home to people from all the Scandinavian countries, the vast majority is either from Sweden or Norway. How can Santa Barbara be so attractive to these countries that have a population of around 15 million people combined?

Climate is definitely a factor. A chance to get away from the freezing winters and mild summers to the yearly California sun.

SBCC cooperation with Swedish and Norwegian organizations. Santa Barbara City College has a beautiful campus and academic programs that offer certificates for short term studies. Many Swedes and Norwegians see the opportunity of improving their English skills, while receiving a certificate, and living a college life in California; and the organizations know how to advertise it in the best possible way.

Student loans

How can they all afford to come to Santa Barbara? Well, many of them can actually not afford it. However students can receive financial support from their government as long as they are full-time students, meaning that they take 12 units or more. Students can apply for financial aid that covers school tuition, books, housing, and even food. Anyone who is a Swedish/Norwegian citizen can apply for government loans, for an interest rate around 1-3%.

Antioch University Santa Barbara (creative commons, Photoshop by Kim Ahlbom)

Antioch University Santa Barbara (creative commons, Photoshop by Kim Ahlbom)

Transferable units from back home 

Norway and Sweden have 13 grades of high school compared to the 12 grades in United States. Antioch includes that last high school year towards the college degree. This might be the most attractive reason for Swedish and Norwegian students to make a transfer to AUSB.

Many out-of-towners fall in love with Santa Barbara and want to stay for a longer time. Antioch SB is an attractive alternative as it offers a Bachelor’s degree and is located in the heart of Santa Barbara. The quarter system makes it time efficient, meaning less money spent outside of school.

With English as a second language, many international students choose SBCC for the first year to get more comfortable with the language and the American school system- and then transfer to AUSB. After one year in Santa Barbara, progress into your studies is high and the remaining 100 units could be finished within six or seven quarters, giving you a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies in less than three years. Still wondering why there are so many Swedes and Norwegians at AUSB?


About Author

Kim Ahlbom

After receiving his marketing certificate at Santa Barbara City College, Kim Ahlbom decided to transfer to Antioch University. Except from traveling around the globe and meeting people of different cultures, Kim also loves to play and watch sports. His favorite is soccer which he has played himself since age of five. After graduation in June, Kim wants to start up his own company and find new adventures that excites him.

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