From September to December 2018 I was at the international campus of the Autonomous University of Barcelona . I was there with two fellow students from my home university. Since we are taking the same course and our course regulations are relatively strict, we have taken the same subjects, five in total. That doesn’t sound like a small amount at first, but since a lecture is only 1h 40min long and you have each course twice a week, there is still enough free time. But we were also a little lucky that our subjects were timed well , so we had lectures from 9:00 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. every day. The latest lectures at the UAB are not over until 7:40 p.m. In the add-and-drop phase in the first week, however, you have the opportunity to swap courses. Since the lectures are on two different campuses, the swap option is often very helpful.
The Eixample Campus is in the middle of the city center and has a modern design, the Sant Pau Campus is located diagonally above the Sagrada Familia and is in the building complex of the Hospital Sant Pau, which is one of the many sights of Barcelona . The rooms in the buildings are small, but they are all well equipped . There is WiFi everywhere, but the use of cell phones and laptops is strictly forbidden for some professors, for others a laptop is required in the lecture.
In all courses , attendance, participation in the lecture and tasks that have to be completed outside of the courses are graded. Often this is just answering a few questions about a text, but it has to be done very regularly and in all subjects. Attendance is queried via lists at the beginning of the lecture. The courses only have about 25-30 participants, which means that the professors have a good overview of attendance and attendance. In addition to the grading of these things, mid-term exams and finals are written. In most courses, however, there are also group presentations, with some professors also individual presentations.
All in all, the exams are easy to do and the presentations are rated fairly. The professors are also very open and friendly to all questions. Especially in the early days, they are happy to tell you about the city, people and culture when asked.
Since there were three of us, we could look for an apartment together . We started looking for and writing to apartments about two months in advance via websites such as idealista. However, it was really difficult to find an apartment because many of them are very expensive, only rent out for long periods of time or do not want to take in students. However, we did find a nice apartment about 20 minutes by metro from the city center through the agency SH Barcelona, which also arranges apartments for a short period of time . This cost around € 1500 cold per month plus an agency fee of around € 1500.
We always used the metro to get from our apartment to the campus and the city center. The public transport network in Barcelona is very well developed and both campus buildings are only three to four minutes’ walk from a metro station. We then bought a 90-day ticket, which is valid for buses and the metro, for only around € 100.
You can have great food or coffee for little money , a good cappuccino often only costs around two euros. There is a huge selection of restaurants, bars and cafes on every corner . Of course, shopping in Barcelona doesn’t come short either, the city center offers huge stores of the big chains (Mango, Zara, H&M) as well as countless cute little boutiques . Grocery shopping is also no problem, within a 5-minute walk from our apartment there were 4 large supermarkets and many small mini super-stores that are open 24 hours on all days of the week. The food prices are roughly at the same level as in Germany.
All in all, a semester abroad in Barcelona is really highly recommended. In addition to the great experience at UAB , Barcelona is an amazing city, right by the sea . The people in Barcelona are friendly and open, even if you have little or no command of the language and the good weather speaks for itself!