1. Reasons for Barcelona and UAB
Barcelona is a cosmopolitan, touristic but very intimate city. The many inhabitants are only surpassed by the host of tourists. A wide variety of cultures meet here. Many immigrants from South America live here in particular. This is a hotspot for backpackers from all over the world. Barcelona or all of Catalonia is the second strongest economic region in Spain and is thus largely spared from poverty and unemployment. The Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB) is one of the leading universities in Spain with its 43,000 students and offers its students a wide range of sports, culture and leisure activities. However, those who choose the “Pre-Established” program will only come into contact with exchange students, as there are separate teaching buildings for them. The professors respond strongly to you personally, as the course size does not exceed 30 participants. So you are not a number, but build a good relationship with the lecturer. The lessons will be held in English (if so chosen). However, some lectures in Spanish are also possible.
In April / May, the acceptance finally comes and then all you have to do is sign the Learning Agreement. After successful enrollment, a first deposit of 500 euros must be made. These will later be offset against the tuition fees incurred. The price for the semester abroad depends on the number of credits earned. Basically, courses here give 6 ECTS, except for the intensive Spanish course. This comprises 12 ECTS and includes twice the number of hours of instruction. For the Spanish language course, an online test must be carried out on the basis of which one is divided into the different language levels.
3. University and course choice
In the “Pre-Established” program, the main campus is only 200m from the major shopping street “Passeig de Gracia”, right in the center of Barcelona. Lectures take place here in a small building with 9 classrooms. Due to the size of the group, however, you feel more like you are in upper school. Some students had to go to the “Sant Pau” campus for their lectures. This is less than 10 minutes away by metro. The change from campus to campus is, if at all, only during the lunch break, so that you have enough time. The lectures start at 9 a.m. at the earliest and end at 7.30 p.m. at the latest.
A lesson lasts 100 minutes, which is 10 minutes longer than ours, and you can see that. Especially in the case of a double block in the same subject. The furnishings are functional, simple and modern. However, technical devices such as projectors, computers and air conditioning regularly fail. It is also good to have a scarf or something long-sleeved to wear with you in summer, as the air conditioning is usually set to 18 ° C and you catch colds very quickly and often. Free printing is possible. However, there is only 1 printer available for ~ 150 students, which regularly leads to waiting times. The learning effort of the courses varies greatly from subject to subject. There are compartments with 30-page papers that have to be submitted, plus presentations and 2 exams. On the other hand, there are subjects with only 2 multiple choice exams. Check mcat-test-centers to see more reviews from current students.
My chosen courses were:
The lecturer Paola speaks a very bumpy English but tries very hard and prepares you very well for the exam. However, due to the different levels of knowledge and speed of understanding of the participants, there are often interruptions and repeated explanations. In terms of content, particular emphasis is placed on why states act with one another and how advantages are drawn on both sides. For example the Heckscher / Ohlin model. In every teaching unit, the application is not neglected. Sample tasks are calculated for at least 30 minutes. The grade consists of a mid-term exam, a short group presentation, a 2-page paper and the final exam.
Politics, War and Economics in the Age of Globalization
Here is a rough overview of the most important developments and events from 1492 until today. The focus, however, is on the events from 1993 to the present day and is always taught interestingly. However, it is frontal teaching and there is no particular encouragement to cooperate. Nevertheless, it was the most interesting subject and I learned a lot from it and understood important global economic relationships. The grade consists of 2 multiple choice exams with 30 questions each, a short presentation and a final exam in which you write a paper on given key points in class. The final exam also includes reflecting on a film or documentary seen in class. This course takes place on the Sant Pau campus.
In terms of content, different leadership styles and motivational theories were conveyed and often supported with the help of films or group activities (mostly outdoors). The outdoor team building measures were very well received and some activities were also introduced by the students themselves. Half of the grade consists of attendance (list of signatures) and participation, and the other half consists of 2 multiple choice exams. The Powerpoint files are made available, but the questions can only be answered about attendance and general knowledge.
Intensive Spanish Language Course Level A2
The classification takes place via the online test, which must be done in advance. During the first two weeks, students happily change language levels. The course always took place as a double block. The first block is the more demanding. A lot of grammar is taught here and towards the end the pace increases significantly. Roberto in the second block deals more with personal questions and everyday problems. There is a lot of discussion here and more emphasis is placed on expression than with Antonia in the first block.
The course size is ~ 12 participants. However, the lessons often come to a standstill due to the highly differentiated previous knowledge of the participants. There is homework and a book must be read for the final exam. The grading consists of 2 written exams, an oral exam and attendance and participation.
It is possible to book your accommodation from Germany. However, there is no way to really get an idea of the room / apartment / roommates. It is much better to rent a hostel and then look at some apartments. The Spaniards and Catalonians are quite spontaneous and usually only put the room on the Internet when it is really free. Internet sites such as www.loquo.es, www.easypiso.com, www.enalquiler.com are recommended. However, there are also many baits and scams on these sites. Curtains are often installed in a room to give the impression of a window that does not even exist. For a room you have to plan between 300 and 400 euros. However, most of the housing options do not meet German standards. The districts “Eixample” (Eixample Derecha near the Sagrada Famila and Eixample Izquierda as a gay district) are particularly well developed by buses and trains. The nicest neighborhood to live in, however, is Gracia with its many students and intellectuals. Advantage: Only a few tourists and beautiful alleys and squares with great bars. The Raval and Poblenou are not recommended because of their crime.
We recommend living with locals to get to know the not so well known places and areas. This also brings you into contact with local customs, festivals and customs.
5. Cost of Living
Accommodation in Barcelona is quite expensive. For a room with 12 m² you should calculate with 300 to 400 euros. Monthly tickets cost around 50 euros. The “Carnet Joven” is recommended for persons under 25 years of age for 3 months. Cost 110 euros. Food prices are comparable to Germany, although there are clear differences from supermarket to supermarket. Carrefour and Lidl have proven to be particularly cheap. At Lidl there is the advantage that there are a lot of German products to buy. There are also a large number of small supermarkets that have only a limited supply, but are open around the clock.
6. Infrastructure and Security
Barcelona can be reached by plane from many airports in Germany in less than 2 hours. A new addition is the Spanish airline Vueling, which is located in the low-price segment. Barcelona has several airports. The main airport “El Prat” is served by all airlines and is about 45 minutes by bus from the center. The airport “Girona” is approx. 70 minutes away from the center, but it is often cheaper to fly to, since Ryanair flies here in particular. You can travel across Europe from these two airports. In Spain there is also a dense network of long-distance coaches that serve all main routes almost every hour at low prices. Booking 2 weeks in advance saves you at least 50% of the fare.
Barcelona is excellently developed by the metro. This is also usually the fastest way to get around. Apart from the rush hour there is always enough space. Even if a train is “missed”, this is not a problem, since a metro arrives no later than 7 minutes later and every 2 minutes at peak times. The metro provides access to all important places and sights. During the week, however, it only runs until midnight. On weekends and before public holidays, however, until 2 a.m. or sometimes even the entire night. If the train stops running, night buses leave from 11 p.m., which even serve the outskirts every 20 minutes. The central departure point for all night buses is Plaza Catalunya. Night buses and metro are included in the monthly ticket. But it is also worth using the buses during the day,
Driving a taxi is generally a little cheaper than in Germany. However, you should have a rough overview of how to get to your destination, as the taxi driver likes to drive tourists in circles. The rip-offs in large-capacity taxes are just as popular. It is better to inquire about the fare beforehand.
There is “bicing” in almost all of Barcelona. This is the opportunity to rent a bike for 40 euros per year. However, the effort to get a bicing card is quite complex. Better to rent a bike for a day in one of the countless bike rental shops and explore the city.
Barcelona is a stronghold of thieves and fraudsters. Avoid dark alleys in the city center. Particular caution is required with tourist attractions. The thieves are sometimes clever, sometimes just incredibly brutal. In the event of theft, the rubbish bins in the vicinity should be searched, as the rucksack or wallet is often thrown away there after the theft. The police are not of great help as theft is only investigated if the value exceeds 400 euros. It is best not to carry any original documents with you. I also recommend storing smartphones and wallets safely or leaving them completely at home. Even the smallest amounts can be paid by credit card.
7. Sightseeing and leisure
Barcelona offers countless opportunities to enrich yourself culturally. Almost all sights have one day a month that you can enter for free. This is worthwhile because the sights almost all cost admission and not too scarce. From the classics of the Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell and Barrio Gothico to the cathedrals, there are many small, not so touristy sights. Parc de la Ciutadella, the Bornviertel and Gracia are particularly worth seeing. Here you can easily avoid the everyday troubles. The countless museums are worth mentioning, especially the Picasso Museum and the Macba. In winter you can ski in the nearby Pyrenees. After Sitges it is especially worthwhile for carnival. The amusement park “Port Aventura”, one hour away, offers Europe’s highest roller coaster.
8. Going out
Going out in Barcelona is an experience. The restaurants do not open before 8 p.m., but you should not go to a restaurant before 9 p.m. You can usually eat until 2 a.m. Around midnight you go to a bar and enjoy expensive drinks. It takes time to find good, inexpensive bars. Around 2 a.m. you go to the disco and party until dawn. Since drinks in the discotheques are very, very expensive, drinks vendors stand in front of the discotheques and offer well-chilled drinks at reasonable prices.
The nightclubs on the beach are worth a visit, but more expensive than most and overcrowded with tourists. Admission is between 10 and 15 euros with a drink. Basically, you can celebrate any day of the week. We recommend the NastyMonday in the Apollo and on Wednesdays the Razzmatazz with its student party. There is something for every musical taste. The Jamboree for hip-hop, the Moog for techno and the Apollo for rock. Guest lists on the Internet are very worthwhile. So you can often get to almost all clubs free of charge via a short Facebook message.
The application runs absolutely smoothly and is very easy. Everything is explained to you in detail on site and you can contact the lecturers directly if you have any questions. If there are bigger problems, the administration is at your side. This also helps with the search for accommodation. The lecture is not comparable with German universities. The groups are smaller and you feel like you are in school. In terms of content, it is clearly not as demanding as in Germany. Establishing contact with locals is relatively difficult and you usually stay with exchange students. As the official language is Catalan, Barcelona is not the ideal place to improve your Spanish. Not many speak English, so you should be able to speak at least a few words in Spanish or Catalan.