University: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Field of study: International Business Administration
Study type: semester abroad
Field report // Study Abroad @ UAB Barcelona
I experienced one of the greatest and most exciting times of my life in Barcelona, where I spent my semester abroad from August to December 2012. Check jibin123.com to see Semester Abroad In University of California Santa Barbara.
When the planning for my semester abroad started, I was significantly influenced by the enthusiasm of some friends and acquaintances. Barcelona, as “the greatest city ever”, as they said, could easily compete with Copenhagen, which was cold and dark in winter, which I had actually already decided on. So I couldn’t disagree with a mild winter in this great city by the sea. So I found out about the documents required for the application via MicroEdu. I had this together quickly, since in addition to a few forms, my English transcript of records from Germany and a copy of my passport, all I needed was an English CV. Shortly after submitting the complete documents, I received a Pre-Acceptance Letter, on which, after paying the down payment of 500 €, the final confirmation was made promptly. At this point I would like to point out the great support from MicroEdu, who were always available to help with even the smallest of questions. The application process was therefore very unproblematic, if you are not too late, it is usually not difficult to be accepted into the program. There were also no difficulties whatsoever with regard to my desired course choice and everything was confirmed to me as I had chosen it. I chose 4 courses for which I had already clarified in advance whether they would also be credited to me in Germany. These were International Economics (not recommended), Cross Cultural Management (recommended) as well as International Economics and International Finance, both of which took place with Myriam Hikimura. These are really highly recommended, as Myriam is a great lecturer, not only from a professional but also from a personal point of view. So if you plan to take one of these courses, make an effort to get into Myriam’s course. Shortly before the trip was supposed to start, I took care of accommodation from Germany. Since I didn’t feel like renting an apartment or shared flat from far away on the off chance, I decided to shift the search during my first days in Barcelona. Two days before my flight at the end of August, I began to search online portals and arranged a few viewing appointments there. I booked a hotel for the first week so I wasn’t under any pressure. When looking for an apartment, it is definitely an advantage if you can already demonstrate knowledge of Spanish. It was important to me not only to live with internationals or even Germans, but to live in a Spanish-speaking flat share. Since the program is entirely in English, I wanted to at least take this opportunity to immerse myself in Spanish life. But don’t worry too much about looking for an apartment, in Barcelona it’s all very short-term and rooms in shared apartments are usually only available a few days before the start of the rental period. What is important: INTERIOR does not mean that the room is furnished or has a particularly beautiful interior – but that it does not have a window or one facing the closed inner courtyard. That’s really common in Barcelona. So if you value a bright room with a window to the outside, then look for Exterior;) As a district I would recommend Eixample derecha and izquierda, Gracia but also El Born. I would avoid El Raval or Barceloneta, even if their proximity to the beach is particularly impressive in summer.
In love with Barcelona…
Since I am personally of the opinion that the city and not the university is the most important thing for a semester abroad, I will first write about what great things Barcelona has to offer. Clearly, first of all it is a charming metropolis of millions that is located by the sea. That doesn’t happen very often and is definitely a great combination. You can just do whatever you want. Shop in the morning, go to the beach in the afternoon – or vice versa. The great thing about Barcelona is the attitude towards life and the extraordinarily high quality of life. As soon as you arrive, life slows down and everyday stress gives way to wonderful balance. Since the university time is much less than in Germany, you have plenty of time to enjoy this great city to the fullest. Barcelona has a lot to offer: In addition to great food in great restaurants, delicious drinks in unusual bars, cozy places in the middle of enchanted alleys, small shops with fashion and odds and ends that nobody else has, you will find a new favorite place every day. Of course there are no limits to the party mood, because this city never sleeps. However, you should note that you should avoid restaurants and bars that are located directly at subway stations or directly on large shopping streets (ATTENTION tourist traps). Dare to walk past them and try new things. Some of my favorite restaurants are the Pulperia Celtica (rustic tapas in an original, authentic ambience), the Cup & Cake (cafe and breakfast, but also great salads), the Bar Lobo, the Kibuka (sushi) – to name just a few. It’s best to ask around and follow recommendations. find your own favorite places to try. However, you should note that going out in Barcelona is by no means cheap. When you go out, it’s not uncommon to pay up to 14 euros for a gin and tonic. However, this is bigger and better than in Germany;) But there are also small bars, for example in Born or Raval, where you can get mojitos for 3 euros.
All in all, I could write for hours about how great Barcelona is as a city and what you should definitely do. But even after almost 4 months, my list is getting longer every day, which is why I will definitely return to this wonderful place often. Just try it!
Unfortunately, there is one more thing to mention: WATCH YOUR VALUABLES! And I’m not kidding, because I speak from experience! iPhones in particular are very popular, and it is often difficult to prevent theft despite being careful. It’s best not to take too many valuables with you when you’re partying and always have a firm grip on your bag. In addition, you should not talk too much to taxi drivers, because they can quickly become intrusive. And one more tip: Check the authenticity of the bills, because it’s easy to get a bad counterfeit, especially when it’s dark. If you’re not careful, you’ll be duped from the back to the front! And that’s really the case…
As for the language, you have to know that Barcelona is a very multicultural city. You can certainly learn Spanish, but this is made very difficult by the constant input from Catalan, English or German-speaking city dwellers. This is of course an advantage for those who do not know Spanish. In Barcelona you can get along very well without it, which is rarely the case in other Spanish-speaking countries.
Studying at UAB
The Study Abroad building of the example campus is really nothing special and has almost nothing in common with a university campus. One advantage, however, is the central location and easy accessibility. The program is completely in English, so you can improve your English skills in addition to your everyday Spanish. In terms of the requirement profile, the courses can by no means be compared to the German level, but I wouldn’t describe the courses as easy. Rather than different. Scientific work is not required, since the many American “Katies” and “Amies” have never heard of footnotes or citation anyway. Since there are not only finals at the end but also midterms and numerous presentations and homework during the semester, the workload is distributed differently. Personally, I find that very positive. You learn more, and you don’t have a month or even more when you do nothing but study. You also improve a lot in this discipline by presenting a lot, so it’s much easier for me now than before, because you really get a routine. Sometimes it becomes difficult when intercultural teamwork is required. But you should use this as an opportunity to improve your intercultural competence – although it is easier and much less stressful if you choose a German or Belgian team;) because you really get a routine. Sometimes it becomes difficult when intercultural teamwork is required. But you should use this as an opportunity to improve your intercultural competence – although it is easier and much less stressful if you choose a German or Belgian team;) because you really get a routine. Sometimes it becomes difficult when intercultural teamwork is required. But you should use this as an opportunity to improve your intercultural competence – although it is easier and much less stressful if you choose a German or Belgian team;)
I think it’s a pity that the UAB didn’t organize an introductory week despite the not very low tuition fees and that the facilities in the university building also left a lot to be desired. Looking at the grades, the semester abroad was worth it – it’s definitely easier to get a good grade than at your home university.
In any case, I can only recommend that you choose Barcelona as the city for your semester abroad. This city is just right for lifestyle enthusiasts who want a touch of vacation and a lot of serenity in this once-in-a-lifetime time of their lives!