Right from the start of my studies I knew that I would be drawn abroad. The decision about the right place to study for my semester abroad was not difficult for me. I have already visited Barcelona several times as a tourist and have been absolutely in love with this great city for many years . It was therefore obvious to me that the choice for the location of my semester abroad fell on Barcelona. Although UAB is one of the official partner universities of my home university, only two Erasmus places are allocated per semester.
I didn’t make a few preparations in advance because it was clear to me from the start that I wanted to look for a place to live. So I just booked my return flight , packed my suitcase and flew to Barcelona with a fellow student at the end of August.
My fellow student (and also a good friend) and I knew even before we left that we wanted to live together during our semester abroad. So it turned out to be a bit more complicated, as it is more difficult to find two rooms in an apartment than just a single room in a shared apartment. We stayed in a hostel for the first week and found two shared rooms in an apartment in the immediate vicinity of the Sagrada Familia. We found these rooms through a Facebook group, of which there are countless. Facebook is a bit confusing when looking for a room, but you can quickly and easily get in touch with people and rarely have to pay a brokerage fee. Sites like spotahome, roomster, easypiso, idealista etc. can often incur brokerage fees or service fees.
In general, it has to be said that the potential to be ripped off is very high. I heard from several fellow students that they were thrown out of their rooms because it was an illegal housing situation. My recommendation here is to get a personal impression of the roommates and “landlords” and, if possible, not to pay anything in advance. My living situation also seemed very strange to me at the beginning. However, I quickly learned that this is a common form of rental in Barcelona. My “landlord” was an Argentine couple who rents the apartment themselves and then sublet it to students and expats (for a likely higher price). This can of course go wrong if the actual landlord gets wind of it, however, in my situation I was lucky and everything went smoothly. The rent was paid in cash every month. This is also common in Spain and for tax reasons. All of this struck me as strange at first, especially in view of the German rental standards, but it is absolutely common in Spain.
In terms of location, I would recommend that you don’t get too fixated on the Las Ramblas area. Many of my fellow students lived here because you live absolutely centrally, but Barcelona is not that big in terms of space and you can get to almost anywhere in less than 30 minutes by metro / bus or on foot. As I said, I lived right next to the Sagrada Familia and, in retrospect, I find this to be an optimal location, as you are right between the Sant Pau and the Eixample campus . Both campuses can be reached on foot in about 20 minutes and you can get anywhere else pretty quickly. In addition, the beautiful district of Gràcia with the popular Placa del Sol is in the immediate vicinity.Another neighborhood that is very popular among students is El Born . Many friends who have been living in Barcelona for a long time have advised me against at least El Raval, as it is supposed to be a bit unsafe here at night, especially for women (I have to say that I cannot speak from my own experience here I always felt absolutely safe in Barcelona).
Since my home university does not necessarily provide for a semester abroad, I practically completed it “voluntarily”, which means that I will study for the standard period of study (which, however, is absolutely worthwhile in my opinion). Because of this, I’ve taken fewer courses than the average UAB student. Most of my friends took around five courses, and some also took a Spanish course. Since I only had 12 credit points to be credited, I only took two courses and an additional Spanish course (although my university in Germany did not credit me with any credit points). Check toppharmacyschools to see more reviews from current students.
My courses were “Doing Business in Emerging Markets”, “E-Commerce and Online Business” and “Low Intermediate Spanish” . I would recommend all of these courses unreservedly and take them again. The lecturers are extremely competent, friendly and helpful and can be approached at any time. During the lecture period, great emphasis is placed on group work, lectures and case studies and the course material is taught in an extremely practice-oriented manner , which I found very pleasant. It should also be mentioned that the final grade does not depend on just one exam grade, as is usual in Germany. Midterms are already written during the semester, submits essays and works on group projects, which together with the final add up to a final grade. I prefer this approach over the German grading system , as you are practically “forced” to constantly prepare the lecture material during the semester and not get lost in a heap of information at the end of the semester.
During my semester, the image of students was very much shaped by American exchange students, who, in my opinion, formed the largest group. There were also a lot of German students, some from Brazil, India or Egypt. Spanish students are unfortunately not to be found in the Pre-Established Program , as the Spanish-language lectures are taught on a different campus.
Leisure time activities should of course not be neglected during a semester abroad. Be here has said that it is almost impossible is to get bored in Barcelona . The city offers everything a student’s heart desires: culture, nightlife, good food and of course the beach . We were able to sunbathe on the beach until the end of October, which is of course wonderful because there are far fewer tourists at this time than in the midsummer months. Barcelona has countless museums worth seeing, there are restaurants of every imaginable national cuisine, the Montjuic or Tibidabo invite you to go hiking and in general one of my favorite factors in Barcelona is that all life takes place outside. On every street corner, the Catalans sit with coffee or beer in the café and eat a few tapas and the numerous placas invite you to sunbathe, make music or read .
You can go out any night of the week if you want – there is always something to do and the nightlife is very varied . I recommend neglecting the usual clubs on the beach (Opium, Pacha etc.), as these are absolute tourist sheds (especially in the summer months). You can get in here for free almost every night through certain promoters (e.g. Aashi List or Shaz List), but entry to smaller clubs can also be very worthwhile. In the summer months there is also a techno festival every Sunday on Montjuic (“Brunch in the Parc”), which is absolutely recommended if you like this type of music. The further in advance you book the tickets online, the cheaper they are.
Many of my American fellow students went to another major European city almost every weekend. I didn’t feel this “travel pressure” because as a European, of course, I’ve been around a lot more in my younger years. So I spent all of my time in Barcelona and enjoyed the city to the full . As already mentioned, you never get bored here and I actually saw my room almost exclusively for sleeping.
I count my four months in Barcelona among the best of my life. Of course, I approached the semester abroad with certain expectations, but I have to say that all of my expectations were absolutely exceeded. I made an incredible number of close friendships, got to know and love the city even better, and I would definitely want to repeat this experience at any time. I would absolutely and unreservedly recommend it to anyone who may still have doubts as to whether a semester abroad is right for them. Of course, this is also an academic enrichment, but what was far more influential for me was my personal growth. I was able to get to know myself and my strengths and weaknesses better and came back from the semester abroad as a more self-confident and independent person.