From September 2012 to December 2012 I spent a semester abroad at UAB. First of all, the organization: it went very quickly and easily for me. After I couldn’t get a place of my choice through the Erasmus program at my university, I decided to organize the semester abroad myself. Although I was quite late (May), the registration was very quick and I was able to choose 4 courses that I can also credit at my university in Germany. But that was also a bit lucky and I would actually recommend trying to organize them a little earlier. Because the first-come-first-serve principle applies, and so you are sure that you can attend all the courses you want.
When I arrived in Barcelona, I was able to stay with a friend for the time being, and then I looked for a room on site. Most of them did it that way, and it works well, as rooms are rented out at very short notice in Spain. You can find almost anything on the loquo.es website, but I would rather recommend fotocasa and idealista, as they are a bit higher quality. One should keep in mind that the rental prices are comparable to the German ones.
Barcelona as a city is of course great, and you have a lot of opportunities to party and shop, and you also have the beach. Barcelona has a lot of international students, so it is no problem at all to make friends and you quickly get to know a lot of people. So there is always something going on. I had less contact with Spaniards, as you only get to know exchange students through the program and the Catalans are generally rather closed. However, I lived with Spaniards, which is of course recommended because you get to know the city differently, but there are also many international or German shared apartments. The weather was warm and summery until October, but then it can also get cold, so you should take some warmer things with you,
On the go you can use the TMB, public transport. The metro runs every 1-2 minutes during rush hour and there are also many buses. The connections are also good at night: all night buses leave every 20 minutes from Plaza Catalunya, so once you understand the somewhat complicated network, they are a real alternative to taxis.
On Saturday nights the metro even runs all night.
For international students, the UAB has two campuses in the city. The Sant Pau campus for humanities and the Eixample campus mainly for business and language courses. Since I had only chosen business administration courses, I was only on the Eixample campus. Although this is ideally located in the middle of the city, it is also a bit cramped. I had taken 4 courses and I was very happy with this choice. The courses are in English, which unfortunately does not make it any easier, as hardly any of the lecturers are native speakers of English, and the Spanish accent is sometimes so strong that it is almost incomprehensible. I didn’t attend a Spanish course because I already speak Spanish, but the level should be very good so that you learn a lot. The other courses at the UAB are generally not quite as demanding in terms of level as courses at German universities, but you have to work continuously for this. Attendance and participation are also graded. For example, in one course I had to hand in three graded group presentations in another two group presentations and a term paper. There are always two exams, one during the semester (midterm) and one at the end (final). The finals all take place in the last week of the semester, which is why it is especially stressful in the last week, because then you have to do some presentations and work. Because you have already learned a lot for the midterms, it is still feasible. Check anycountyprivateschools to see more reviews from current students.
Looking back, I can say that the semester in Barcelona was a great success and a very good experience. I can recommend a semester abroad to everyone, and the organizational effort at the UAB was very pleasant. It is also very good to get to know a different university system and many people from the USA and other countries. Barcelona as a big city with many possibilities, the FC Barcelona, the neighborhoods and bars, good weather and beautiful excursion destinations in the area is of course a wonderful place to study.