I made my final decision to do a semester abroad in May 2012 – too late to apply for a semester abroad through my university’s international office. A friend who had already done a semester abroad in the USA in the previous semester recommended MicroEDU to me. After reading through the agency’s partner universities and their programs, I immediately noticed the Study Abroad program at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona – since my Spanish was not so good that I thought I would study completely in Spanish, it was for I got the offer to study in English in Spain and do a Spanish language course on the side, a great alternative.
So in July I started to prepare for the semester abroad. All this consisted of filling out the fairly simple registration form, getting a transcript from my university and requesting a learning agreement for me.
With the help of MicroEDU, the registration went pretty smoothly and if I had any questions I was immediately helped by the people at the agency.
In November I got my acceptance for the university in Barcelona and was able to start my semester abroad in January 2012.
If you want to search for an apartment from home via the Internet, it is relatively easy. I found my apartment through WG-Gesucht.de. There are dozens of apartment offers for Barcelona on the site. The offers mostly come from German students who have finished their semester abroad or internship and are looking for a new tenant for their room. Accordingly, it is easy to look for an apartment in German if you don’t feel fit enough in Spanish. For 300 € I had a small, nice room in a 4-person flat share in the Eixample district. I can really only recommend the district, as I always felt really comfortable and safe there and everything important (lots of supermarkets, delicious restaurants, good pubs, etc.) was right around the corner.
As already mentioned, I looked for the apartment on the internet and didn’t look at it beforehand (except for the pictures that were on the internet). In the end, I was pretty lucky. In general, however, I would recommend looking for an apartment on site, as there is a lot of crap in Barcelona and some of the apartment pictures on the Internet do not correspond to reality.
Unfortunately, I cannot really recommend the university itself and especially the UAB Study Abroad program. It already started with the “introductory day”. From my university I am used to getting a short introductory speech as an “Ersti” or an Erasmus student and then doing something with the new fellow students – for example in the form of a city rally or a student party in the evening. At the UAB, the introduction consisted of a 45-minute speech and most of the students went home straight away. In my opinion that was a bit of a shame, since we were all new in town and most of them didn’t know anyone. According to Abbreviation Finder, UAB is the abbreviation of Universitat Autònoma De Barcelona.
In general, the rules at the UAB were more like those of a kindergarten.
If a teacher was sick or unable to attend class for any other reason, a substitute teacher was sent. Every day you got homework and grades, there was of course compulsory attendance and eating and drinking was forbidden. The classes consisted of only 20-30 students, so of course it is immediately noticeable if you were partying for a little longer the evening before;)
The program was almost exclusively Americans (approx. 2/3), some Germans and the rest of them Koreans and Brazilians.
So, apart from in my Spanish course, I was unfortunately hardly able to speak Spanish, as I spoke either German or English accordingly. Unfortunately, you couldn’t get to know any locals at the university, as the main campus is outside the city. That is why I would recommend you to look for at least a flat share with Spanish-speaking roommates and to talk to them as much as possible… or just choose another university in Barcelona;)
In addition to my Spanish course, I also had International Marketing Strategies (I can definitely recommend that with a clear conscience) and E-Commerce & Online Business! The latter was a waste of money in my opinion. In general, I would not take any of the subjects held by Ms. Otilia Driga !!! The teacher seemed quite incompetent and unmotivated to me and most of my class. She just didn’t appear twice and otherwise she either showed films that had nothing or hardly anything to do with the subject or she gave us nonsensical presentations. If you chose the course because you were interested in the content, in my opinion you wasted 45 hours and 500 euros… However, you can easily get good grades with her,
Apart from the university, I would go straight to Barcelona again at any time. The city is just fantastic.
Shopping, partying, chilling out, sightseeing, etc. you can do everything super. You never get bored in Barcelona because you experience something new every day and the people you see are totally different. The weather in January – April was actually always sunny, sometimes even so warm that you could lie down on the beach in a bikini or at least with shorts and a T-shirt. The beach in Barcelona is just super beautiful and invites you to relax.
From the beginning of April, however, the city was pretty crowded with tourists, who then ran around everywhere in the way. That’s why I would especially recommend seeing all the sights in January / February, as there are simply too many tourists from the end of March / beginning of April.
All in all, the 4 months in Barcelona were simply an unforgettable experience that I would not want to do without. The city itself is definitely awesome and I would recommend it to everyone right away. However, if I were you, I would choose another university.