University: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Field of study: Business
Study type: semester abroad
It is understandable that many students from Germany end up in this wonderful and yet very different city of Barcelona. No other German city can even be compared to Barcelona, not to mention the weather, the proximity to the sea and the joy of life of the Spaniards, which you don’t necessarily experience in Germany. Check jibin123.com to see Semester Abroad In University of California Riverside.
Now that I’m looking back from Germany after my “winter semester” from September 2010 to December 2010, I can only recommend everyone to visit this city for a semester abroad.
The application process for the semester abroad was made much easier for me by MicroEdu. Even with a short-term application, by which I mean a lead time of 3 months, it was still accepted and successfully implemented. The information provided by MicroEdu is good, the process is simple and quick and the communication with the helpful staff couldn’t be better.
However, when choosing courses, you should pay attention to the following: First of all, you should consider whether you want to learn Spanish before your stay or only in Barcelona and whether you want to take a Spanish course at the UAB or visit another language school. I did a 2-week course in Germany to learn the basics and I can recommend it to everyone because you can at least begin to communicate (very helpful when looking for an apartment in Spain). Many Spaniards only speak their mother tongue and problems can arise, especially with the directions for a taxi driver. Others, however, only started learning Spanish in Barcelona.
However, the course offered by the UAB is overpriced and, in my opinion, not worth attending because you mainly study with Americans or Germans in the course and the number of students is too high. The better alternative is to find a language school in Barcelona that can teach you better Spanish for half the price of the UAB course with small groups and even offers the opportunity to make friends independent of the university. As there are hundreds of language schools in Barcelona, finding one is not difficult. However, I recommend that you only look for a language school after you have found an apartment (I will come to the apartment search below) in order to avoid longer distances.
Next point to pay attention to is the selection of the other courses that can be credited in Germany. The information provided by the UAB is good in content and can be relied upon. However, one should be careful whether one chooses courses that have two exams (midterm & final exam) for grading, or a thesis in the form of a paper and a presentation. The latter is processed in teamwork, whereby the courses attended by the Americans in Barcelona are not counted towards their home universities. This usually leads to working with unmotivated and bored team members who are also difficult to reach due to the many weekend trips through Europe. An appropriate grade has thus been settled.
Another point to consider is how much work you want to do. For example, with Jorge in International Business, we had to write 10 assignments and an exam that asked for numbers from a graph taken from a 230-page script. Not necessarily what you would expect. In contrast, International Economics was a breeze. The best thing to do is to ask in advance which teacher will take which course. I would not recommend any of Jorge’s courses to people who want to spend a stress-free semester abroad.
I also strongly recommend that you get more learning agreements (if you need them at all to get credit for the courses you took in Barcelona) from your university than you need to be. If you have these, you can still change your courses in the first two weeks. This allows you to change your schedule, which you will only find out in Barcelona, and see whether or not you are in one of the first courses that start at 9 am. This is important because the exams all have the same content. Unfortunately, I was unlucky enough to be assigned to the 9 a.m. courses and therefore could not benefit from the advantage of having the same exams. Because as soon as the first ones finished editing, they came out and passed on the tasks and their solutions to the following. So if you have a 9 a.m. course, you have the opportunity to change courses through several different learning agreements, on the one hand to take advantage of the exam and on the other hand to be able to sleep a little longer.
Finding accommodation in Barcelona is the next challenge. It is possible to find an apartment through the UAB, but there is far too little information here and the email exchange with those responsible in Spain is too sluggish. In general, I don’t recommend searching from Germany, but would search in Spain itself. I rented a youth hostel for the first 5 days (http: //www.hostaleden.net/; 25€ per night; centrally located) and looked for an apartment. This has the advantage that you can first explore the city and see where you would like to live and on the other hand you can see and get to know your roommates and the apartment with your own eyes. On the Loquo homepage (http: //www.loquo. com/es_es) you can place your own advertisement or search through the offers made online. However, when looking for an apartment you should be able to speak a little Spanish, as it often happens that the providers do not speak a word of English. Apartment prices in Barcelona are not cheap and you should expect to pay around €300-400 in a good location.
I still want to give a tip or two about the city of Barcelona. When you arrive at Barcelona Airport, I recommend that you take the airport bus, which goes directly to the city center, Placa Catalunya, or if you already know your apartment address, then simply take a taxi there. Should cost between 25-30 € and is of course the safest way, because you should always be on the lookout for possible pickpockets.
When you arrive in Barcelona, I therefore also recommend keeping only the bare essentials in your yellow bag (I always left my bank cards and identity card at home). Don’t worry, nothing ever happened to me, but I always expected everything.
For calling, I recommend buying a Happy móvil card. It’s available in every phone house in Barcelona and costs €10. For public transport, I recommend a 3-month pass for €115. However, you should watch out for it, as it is just a paper card like any other and will not be replaced if lost. But then you can travel as much as you want and it’s worth constantly changing between the bus and the metro.
For museums, I bought a card right at the beginning, with which you can actually visit every important museum in Barcelona. It is also available in every museum.
For dinner I loved going to Casa Tejada (Tenor Viñas 3, 08021 Barcelona) which prepares typical Spanish food and used to be one of the hippest restaurants in Barcelona. For truly authentic Mexican food, I recommend Barceloneta’s Coronella (http: //www.lacoronela.es/). On Tuesdays and Sundays there are two types of tacos for the price of 1 euro each. The food is very good, but also very expensive outside of these two days.
As for going out, I would just try several clubs on Diagonal or Vila Olympica. But since they are very expensive, I would either look out for free tickets from promoters walking around, or register with the respective clubs via Facebook. There you can then put yourself on a list and have free entry.
So, I hope I was able to give you a tip or two and you have an approximate insight into what is important to consider.
Have fun with your semester abroad.