My decision to go to Barcelona was significantly influenced by the fact that at the time in question I did not have enough ECTS points to go abroad via ERASMUS, which is why I chose the more relaxed and more expensive alternative.
The entire application process is much simpler than for all of my fellow students, you only have to choose courses that are recognized at your home university.
The much bigger challenge is looking for an apartment, luckily I was able to move in with friends who had already found an apartment before. I then paid just under € 350 a month for a very centrally located apartment in Born, which was 10 minutes from Placa Cataluna. The only downside was my room, which was about the size of a sauna, but you don’t spend a lot of time at home during the semester abroad anyway .. I should definitely look at apartments on site, as I’ve heard negative things from many fellow students. But try to live with Spanish roommates, definitely recommended, because unfortunately you do not study with the Spaniards, but are in an international program, in which mainly students from Germany, the USA, Belgium and Brazil were.
The reception at the UAB was very sobering and not very communicative. Anyone who expected a full introductory week etc. (as is usually the case with semesters abroad) was extremely disappointed. There was a short two-hour lecture, that was it. I definitely expected more for the money. The university’s Spanish course is a lot better than any of the other lectures held in English. Even if this might not be recognized at your home university, I warmly recommend it to you, it was really fun and even if many Americans were a little slow, you take in a lot.
But the university also offers some advantages. The buildings in which the courses took place are both very centrally located (not on campus), I could walk there every day, and the schedule is very pleasant and leaves enough space to explore the city and the country in peace . If you were a little lucky with your choice of course (the probability is very high), then it was extremely easy to take very good grades with you, the level is generally kept very low. Check educationvv to see more reviews from current students.
To learn Spanish better, I recommend the tandem program, where you have the opportunity to get to know a lot of Spaniards, definitely a very good institution. I personally liked the principle of small classes (approx. 20-30 students) very much, even if some professors are very narrow-minded and all demand a certain attendance rate (normally 80%). In my semester (September-December) there were also so many public holidays and strikes, which further supported the relaxed requirements.
Generally speaking: the university is not necessarily overwhelming, but that is not the main goal of the semester abroad, and nonetheless you can achieve almost perfect grades.
The city is simply fantastic, sometimes you can still lie on the beach in December, but there is also a lot more cultural and culinary options, there is definitely something for every taste.
However, the enormous amount of thefts was extremely negative, almost everyone in the circle of friends could report about it, if you take a smartphone with you in the four months it will almost inevitably disappear, so just get a cheap prepaid mobile phone, then it does not spoil the overall experience.
If you have the opportunity, you should definitely get a card for bycing, a very well-developed rent-a-bike network with rental points on almost every corner. The 3-month metro card is just under € 100.
Sports options are unfortunately very limited, except for jogging on the beach, as the local gyms cost a fortune, the price level is definitely different here. Otherwise, the city is about the same expensive as major German cities, positive are the Alimentacios, small shops on every corner, where you can usually shop until 11am.
The sights of the city are highly recommended, and there are a lot of nice little squares and corners, especially in the old town.
But above all the nightlife in this city is top notch, it doesn’t get boring anytime soon, even though you have so much free time.
In retrospect, I would definitely go to Barcelona again, but maybe look for a Spanish-speaking university, but unfortunately most of them are outside the city. A stay abroad is always worthwhile, no matter where. Barcelona is a beautiful city for this.