At the end of my bachelor’s degree in business informatics, I spent two semesters abroad at the UAB in Barcelona.
I went abroad without any knowledge of Spanish.
So my main goal was to learn the Spanish language. I applied to the university via MicroEDU (http://www.MicroEDU.com/) and did not go there as an ERASMUS-funded student. In the first semester I took part in the pre-established program (12 credit point [CP] Spanish course, the rest of the lectures in English) and then in the regular studies program (all courses freely selectable, in Catalan, Spanish or English). In the following I will give a chronological list of my experiences abroad.
My main motivation to go to Spain stemmed from the fact that, as a business IT specialist who should later look for a job in the open economy, I consider it extremely useful to acquire another world language with Spanish. Of course, other aspects were also important to me, such as getting to know a different culture, a completely new circle of friends and different teaching methods and simply enjoying the relaxed ERASMUS lifestyle for a while. Visit toppharmacyschools.org to get information about vocational training in Japan.
I did not get an ERASMUS place in Spain at the WWU. But since I had mentally decided on Spain, I decided to apply directly to a university via MicroEDU. I chose Barcelona as I had heard and read only enthusiastic reports from friends and former ERASMUS students who were there. However, I had to finance the entire stay myself, which with the approximately € 1600 semester fees (depending on the number of written CPs) and the cost of living, which can be a bit higher than in Germany due to the many going out and entertainment options, is already an expensive luxury is. So you should think carefully beforehand whether you can and want to afford the stay.
The application via MicroEDU was extremely easy and the advice provided beforehand was very competent. My questions were all answered very quickly. When I decided on the UAB, I had to fill out two short forms with my details and my choice of course. Just two weeks later, I received a confirmation by email and, in Ms. Anna Cicres, I was assigned a friendly and competent contact person from the UAB who answered any questions I had.
As a “non-ERASMUS student” you do not need to fill out any further documents, but for the crediting of the courses in Münster you have to fill out and sign learning agreements with the respective chairs before leaving. If you have any questions, please contact the International Relations Center at your university.
Courses in Catalunya:
When studying in Barcelona it is problematic that the official languages in Catalonia are Spanish and Catalan. In the pre-established program you don’t have any problems with the different languages, as all courses (including the Spanish course) are taught in English. The problem with the regular studies program is that apart from the professors, no one knows in which language the lecture will take place before the first lectures. So if you want to stay away from Catalan courses like me, you can’t avoid looking at the course list (http://tinyurl.com/UAB-Kurse) for interesting courses, writing to the professor and asking in which language he is teaching the course will hold. The language in the table is often not specified correctly!
II) During the stay
Arrival in Barcelona:
After completing all the formalities, I finally landed in El Prat, Barcelona, and started looking for an apartment. For the first week I rented a hostel (Urbany Hostel Barcelona did it for me and gave me the opportunity to get to know other students looking for an apartment) and I was busy posting apartment advertisements online (e.g. at: http: // www. pisocompartido.com). For the first few days I looked at around three apartments a day until I was satisfied with one apartment. It is quite possible to find an apartment in five days; Whether you are satisfied with it until the end of your stay depends on your own demands on the apartment. In any case, if you want to live in a nice room in a good location, you have to reckon with around 400 – 500 € rent.
Start of lectures:
There is a big difference between the two programs. While in the pre-established program in a meeting with coordinators and professors you get exactly prescribed how the semester goes, you get the timetable printed out and you have to attend many courses, so in the regular studies you are more on your own, in terms of course selection and attendance at the university.
The organization of the pre-established program felt more like a school than a university, as you learn and discuss in a classroom environment and you often see your professors on your duo. The regular studies program comes closer to university life in Germany, as you take care of your courses yourself and make all decisions yourself. Unfortunately, I lacked competent help from the university administration, so I mostly had to have the professors answer the questions that arose on the way. A tip to survive the first days as a (still) lonely ERASMUS student: On the first day after registering, go to the ESN promo stand (http://www.esnbarcelona.org) and take part in their activities. This is not only a good way to fill the evening program, but also an opportunity to
Leisure and night life:
Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I think that had to be said and I didn’t know where else to write it. There are countless opportunities to be active in sports, to visit museums or the city or to celebrate at huge parties with thousands of guests. In the following I will describe some alternatives that are personally interesting for me.
- Sports: As an ERASMUS student, you can register cheaply in the UAB fitness studio (http://studentaffairs.uab.edu/CampusRecreation/). A cheaper alternative is simply to go to the beach and play volleyball, soccer or frisbee with friends or strangers and go swimming. For hikers, for example, it is advisable to take the train to Montserrat and climb the mountains.
- Culture: If you are new to Barcelona, you might want to take a bus tour through the city to get an overview of the city. Otherwise, it is recommended to visit sights such as the Sagrada Familia, the cathedral (La Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia), the Ramblas, Parc Güell and of course the beach – and to museums the Fundació Joan Miró, the Picasso Museum and possibly to visit one of the Gaudi casas (Casa Batlló or Casa Milà).
- Restaurants and bars: Some (again highly personal) recommendations:
- Bo de B (cheap and tasty Spanish bocadillos)
- Champagneria (authentic Spanish cuisine and homemade cava)
- Espit Chupitos (more than 500 different homemade shots)
- Caramba (inexpensive tapas & drinks menu on Mondays)
- L’ovella Negra (The Black Sheep – huge tavern with cheap drinks)
- … just go to restaurant / tapas hopping and find your own favorites. At lunchtime there are cheaper prices in many restaurants.
- Nightlife: There are many events and parties that take place once a year (for example nit de sant joan, the Festival de la merce, Fallas de Valencia, el encierro, Carneval in Sitges etc.) and to which ESN organizes trips where only students travel and you get to see other cities cheaply.
Otherwise it will often happen that after a few beers on the beach you get in the mood for a party and want to go to the clubs in Barcelona with friends. Of course, I can only recommend here as well: Scout out the whole city with its countless possibilities, but I would like to point out two discos: the Apolo, which is sold out every Monday with Nasty Mondays, and La Terraza, the open air disco, which takes place in the Summer takes place every weekend in the ancient Spanish village of Poble Espanyol.
This is an overview of some of the interesting things Barcelona has to offer that I enjoyed. Another tip I would like to get rid of in this area is to watch the Barça games and let yourself be carried away by the incredible dynamism of the fan base.
End of lecture:
As is customary in Germany, the final exam has the greatest weight for the module grade. In general, the usual aids are allowed, and during the exam it is extremely important that no one uses or copies unauthorized aids. Regarding the level, I can say that if you can overcome the language barrier, then in my opinion you should pass the exams with less effort than at the German university.
After the stay abroad, I had to go to the examination office with the UAB certificate and the signed learning agreements in order to have the modules credited to me in Münster. As far as I know, there is no deadline for non-ERASMUS students, but I recommend that you do this before you can register for the new exams in the next semester in order to avoid any peak times at the examination office.
In this section I will give you a few more tips that I might have liked to have received before I went to Barcelona.
- Transportation: There is an extremely good metro network (subway) in Barcelona, which can be used to travel quickly around the city. To get to the Bellaterra campus of the UAB you need a two-zone ticket, but within the city you can get by with one zone. Except for the journey to the university, I avoided the metro and directly applied for a NIE (Numero de Identificatión de Extranjero – Spanish tax number) from the police in the first week and signed up for Bicing (http://www.bicing.cat/ ) Registered. With Bicing you can rent a bike almost anywhere in Barcelona and ride it for free for 30 minutes. The service costs a one-time fee of 30 euros, you can see more of the city and you are about as fast as taking the metro.
Because of the bicing service, I did not buy the three-month ticket for students, as suggested by the university, but only bought tickets for 10 each. But you have to know yourself how much you want to and will travel by metro.
- Pickpockets: Always take care of your valuables !!! Unfortunately, there is a lot of crime in Barcelona, and strangers are obviously all too good victims for it. Carry your wallet and mobile phone in a closed pocket and take care of your things, especially in crowds such as in the subway, discos etc.
- Summer: If you are in Barcelona in summer, try the Font Magica at Placa Espanya (http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/de/albums-de/magic-fountains-montjuic/) or the Sala Montjuic – Open Air Cinema (http://www.bcn.travel/en/barcelona-events/top-events/sala-montjuic-open-air-cinema). Make sure you check out the Ramblas and other sights in the later months when the city is not so crowded.
III) After the stay
As a non-ERASMUS student, I hardly had to do anything to follow up on. The certificate from the Spanish university will be sent to your home address. If necessary, have subjects accredited at the examination office (see above) and otherwise write an experience report and longingly wish you were there again!
I wish you a lot of fun and lots of great experiences in your ERASMUS semester!