In preparation for studying abroad, of course, the selection of the host university and the country you would like to visit counts. Originally, I actually planned to go to Stellenbosch, South Africa as a “free mover ” with a group of friends . However, these plans have lapsed because the host university has required attendance on campus for at least 5-6 months if we fail in a course and this was unfortunately not compatible with my partner company. As “Plan B” I kept coming back to Barcelona, a beautiful city on the Mediterranean that I visited last year and that made a very good impression on me.
The application went smoothly and was really super easy . After applying you get a contact person who takes care of everything and tells you exactly which documents are necessary for the application at the host university and which are still missing. After the application has been received, you will receive an official email from the UAB with the timetable and all other information about the university and the first day. When my application worked and I was registered for the semester, I booked the outbound flight with Vueling Airlines, which flies directly to Barcelona from Stuttgart.
It is not exactly easy to find an apartment in Barcelona as the city is very crowded with tourists and many people only make their already furnished apartments available on a daily basis via “Airbnb” or other agencies. On the UAB side, you will be forwarded to two student residences, which are, however, very expensive compared to normal shared apartments or other private apartments in the city center.
These can be found under the following links: http://www.melondistrict.com/ and https://resest.com/ca/. Since the two student residences were fully booked at the time I was there, I decided to move into my own apartment with three fellow students. It is not advisable to live in the student residences on the Bellaterra campus, as the courses take place in downtown Barcelona and the Bellaterra campus is about an hour outside of the city.
We rented the three-room apartment together through the agency SHBarcelona and it was a 15-minute walk from the university. The apartments at SH are very high quality and clean , but also very expensive. We paid around € 750 per person per month including ancillary costs, which was still cheaper than the student residences mentioned above.
Students who had not found an apartment in advance initially lived in a hostel and looked for a shared apartment on site. In addition, there is the possibility of moving in with a host family from the UAB and thus getting to know the authentic Catalan or Spanish culture better.
Studied at the UAB
The UAB is by and large very well organized and you get all the information you need to find the right buildings and rooms in a timely manner. The courses take place in two locations, one on the Eixample campus and one on the St. Pau campus, which are each 15 minutes away from each other by metro. As at the DHBW, the courses are held in small groups of 30 students. About 80% of all students came from all over the US and the rest were from Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, Morocco, and Egypt. This gives you a good opportunity to gain intercultural experience and get to know people from all over the world . On the first day there is an introductory lecture that clarifies all remaining questions and prepares you for the upcoming.
The courses I took were the following:
Business in Action: Local Companies in a Global World
In this course, the lecturer gave us an insight into local companies in the Catalan region and over time the course has become one of my favorite courses at this university. The companies visited included: Ajuntament de Barcelona (Barcelona Activa), Torres, SEAT, Mercadona, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona and Estrella DAMM. A double hour always consisted of visiting a company, about which we then discussed what we had learned in a debate in divided groups a week later. After each hour we also had to write a short essay about the visit and work on different case studies, which also counted into the final grade.
Managerial Skills for International Business
In this course, various “soft skills” in the management and leadership of employees were explained to us and presented with examples from real life, which our lecturer has gained through her years of experience as a human resource manager in various multinationals around the world. At regular intervals we also did various outdoor activities in order to put team building and leadership measures into practice. Overall, I had a lot of fun with the course and brought many new insights on an interpersonal and emotional level that I hadn’t noticed before.
The course consisted of a midterm exam, two group work followed by a presentation and a final exam. The lessons were clearly structured and the lecturer was very nice and patiently explained everything until everyone understood the material. This course is one of the more difficult at UAB, but it is definitely feasible if you pay attention in class and practice the tasks several times at home.
Human Resources Management
In this course we received a Marketing Plan Scheme and had to work through the individual points on it. It was very careful to position itself as a product in a company or on the market and to skillfully use its own strengths to make itself attractive to companies. At the end of the semester, each student had to present a presentation about this marketing plan to the lecturer in a private conversation. In addition, you have to write a blog for each lesson, which also counts in the final grade.
Life in Barcelona
For me personally, Barcelona is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich cities in the world , where I could well imagine living permanently under the right circumstances. There is nothing in this city that I personally could miss. You have great weather, the Mediterranean Sea with a super beautiful beach in front of your nose , lots of outdoor activities and plenty of opportunities to go out in the infinite number of bars or clubs in the city. If you don’t want to miss anything in the city, you can either subscribe to the newsletter on this site (http://www.barcelona-metropolitan.com) or read regularly what’s new. The current festivals or events are listed and explained there at weekly intervals.
The best thing was that there was something going on in the city center at any time and you never felt alone or unsafe in any way. In addition, there is the open and friendly nature of the Catalans , who always greet you with a smile and are happy when you try to speak Spanish or Catalan to them. Around Barcelona there are countless possibilities for excursions and many places where you can do different outdoor activities.
I would estimate the cost of living roughly as in Stuttgart, although some groceries were cheaper and drugstore items were more expensive overall. What you have to watch out for the most are, of course, the pickpockets, who are especially found in the streets around “La Rambla” and really cleverly try to steal your wallet or your mobile phone in the evening after the party.
Overall, I can only recommend Barcelona as a student city and I am very happy to have made this decision. I count the time I’ve spent here as one of the best in my life, because I was able to meet really great people from all over the world and now count them among my friends. Who knows when you’re in Brazil or Egypt and then get in touch with an old student buddy.