Decision, application, preparation
When I decided to do a semester abroad and when I asked where I would like to do one, it was clear to me from the start that I wanted to go to a place where I can learn a new language, but where I can also have fun and many new ones Brings experience. Above all, I wanted to go to the sea.
I’ve always been interested in Spain. But since my university only offers Madrid and Seville via Erasmus, I started looking for a university in Spain myself.
I immediately found myself right on the homepage and after thorough research I decided on the UAB in Barcelona and the “Pre-established Study Abroad Program” from September to December. This program was particularly suitable for me because it enabled me to complete my 3-month mandatory internship from January to March and still only had to take a semester off at my home university.
I also took care of the crediting at my home university in advance, as I could be so sure that all courses would be worthwhile.
Together with my girlfriend, I flew to Barcelona on September 1st, where we stayed in a hostel for the time being. From there we started looking for an apartment. We decided not to look from home – in retrospect the right decision, because there are many apartments / rooms rented in Barcelona that are either without windows or rather shabby. Our search took a long time – but you have to say that we wanted to rent an apartment together and not just a room for everyone – but with the help of an agency (habitatgejoven) we were able to move into our apartment after 8 days. Renting a single room is far less difficult and takes 2 to 3 days to complete. You don’t need the help of an agency for this, who asks for money to find an apartment. It is best to look for a suitable room on the Internet, for example at www.loquo.es
As already mentioned, I took 2 courses plus Spanish at the UAB. The courses take place Monday to Thursday, with Monday and Wednesday and Tuesday and Thursday having the same timetable; also at two different campuses, which can be reached quickly with the metro (yellow line). Personally, I only had courses on the Eixample campus. This is very centrally located, you can walk to Passeig de Gracia or the Sagrada Familia in a few minutes. However, it is rather small, there are no opportunities to spend time outside of the courses, to do group work or the like. There is also no kiosk or a vending machine for snacks and drinks, for example, and the number of computers is also quite limited; there is only one printer for all students. The courses themselves are with courses, as one is used to from a German university, not to compare. The class sizes are limited to up to 30, in the Spanish courses to 15 students, which is a great advantage, especially for the latter. In general, the courses are more reminiscent of school than university, collaboration is encouraged, homework and presentations are the order of the day. I found this to be an advantage, however, as these were already included in the final grade. All courses are in English, which helps to refresh or improve your English skills. Regarding the students, it can be said that the majority come from America, followed by the Germans, you hardly ever meet other nations. I thought that was a shame because I thought I could study with many different nations. Unfortunately there is no contact with the Spanish students either. Check ehuacom to see more reviews from current students.
Barcelona: city, nightlife, cost, security, language
Barcelona itself is a great city and I can only recommend everyone to come here. The weather was the whole semester, except for rain at the end of October / beginning of November, a dream, sunshine and warm temperatures and even in December. The beach and the city itself are definitely recommended. I can only tell you, start checking out everything soon because Barcelona has so much to offer.
The nightlife in Barcelona has just about it all. If you want, you can go partying every day, but there are also a lot of small pubs and bars and many typical Spanish restaurants. Here I recommend you to walk down a side street, it is usually much better there and, above all, cheaper. And the best sign of a restaurant / bar is when as many locals as possible are seated there. You can show your new knowledge of Spanish right away;)
The cost of living can largely be compared with those in Germany. For groceries you need about 150 € a month. However, you do a lot more during a semester abroad, so you need a lot of money for this; Especially in the discos, the drinks are quite expensive at € 10 per glass. So you should reckon with around 200 € for culture, eating out and nightlife. The rent is around € 350-400 per month depending on the location. You also need money for the metro / bus (for students there is a 3-month “T-Joven” ticket for around € 120). All in all, you have to expect a lot of money – including the semester fees. But by and large it was worth it in my opinion.
On the subject of security: yes it is true that there are some thefts in Barcelona. However, I am of the opinion that you can fly home with all your belongings if you pay attention to it a little. So don’t let your bag / backpack out of your sight and ideally always only take what you need with you.
In my opinion, the fact that people speak Catalan in Barcelona is not a problem. Everyone I met spoke Spanish to me immediately when they realized I don’t speak Catalan. In addition, many of them now speak Spanish of their own accord. Signs / cards are also always written in Catalan and Castellano.
All in all, I don’t regret my decision to join UAB in Barcelona. I really enjoyed my semester abroad, I was able to gain a lot of experience and improved my Spanish. I found life in Barcelona great, as well as the city itself. It was just a shame, however, that the “Pre-established Program” of the UAB did not give the opportunity, as hoped, to get to know many different nations and study with the Spaniards.