Experience report on the semester abroad at the UAB in Barcelona
I did my semester abroad at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Barcelona. There are several reasons why I chose this city. On a personal level, I consider Barcelona to be one of the most diverse and beautiful cities in Europe . With long beaches, mountains in the hinterland, colorful city life and quiet corners, the Catalan capital promises everything your heart desires . I was able to get this impression on a short vacation before I decided to go to UAB, which made the choice that much easier.
The more serious reason for my decision is the design of the program. The UAB study abroad program was one of the few that coincided with the actual theory semester at the DHBW Heidenheim. Because of this, the selection was limited to Barcelona, Scandinavia or Scotland. As already mentioned before, I was able to quickly make my decision from this small selection based on previous experience.
The requirements and the application process were explained in detail by the International Office of DHBW Heidenheim and College Contact, so that I could immediately take care of the organization and the application for the required documents. Thanks to College Contact, I was able to establish personal contact with my future fellow students before the semester started.
The preparation for the semester abroad was very short-term. Shortly before departure, I and my fellow students looked for an apartment in Barcelona. I have also taken out an extended international health and accident insurance.
University and studying
The differences to the home university in Heidenheim are very large. The fact that fellow students and professors from all over the world take part in daily university life was a pleasant change. Furthermore, lectures were fundamentally different. In Heidenheim, some lectures last up to five hours and the usual university hours are usually from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Monday to Friday), with additional study being required. The lessons take place almost exclusively frontal and the grading is based on an exam at the end of the semester.
In Spain the circumstances are completely different . Each lecture lasts one hour and forty minutes. I was fortunate that the lectures of my four courses lasted Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. This resulted in less stress in terms of time management despite the increased volume of self-study. The evaluation of the students’ performance took place continuously in three of the four courses. This means that assignments, presentations as well as participation and attendance in class determine the final grade. In the fourth course, a mid-term and a final exam with a participation grade were added to the final grade. The lessons consist of many group work, projects, games, case studies and guest speakers much more interactive and appealing than at the DHBW .
Due to the methodology, structure and course of the program described above , I can warmly recommend the Study abroad program at UAB to everyone . It’s not cheap after paying 700-800 euros for each course you take (even more for language courses), but it’s worth every penny.
Life in the host country
Because I shared my apartment with fellow students from my home university, I wasn’t completely thrown into the deep end. The university’s very interactive courses also made it easy to meet new people from other nationalities and universities. Most of all, I was surprised at how quickly you adapt to the Spanish lifestyle . You get up later and work longer in the evening before you end the evening with a beer or sangria in a cozy tapas bar. On the whole, life is much more relaxed , as you are constantly in a kind of holiday mood due to the location on the Mediterranean.
I went running every second or third day. My regular route always took me to the Olympiapark on Montjuic. I timed my runs so that I could marvel at the sunset up there. This park with bright colors in the sky and the setting sun will probably be best remembered by me .
Personal conclusion and recommendation
The expectations of the semester abroad consisted of the fact that I could design a more relaxed, flexible student life and make many new friendships on an international level. And that was exactly the case. All expectations were met .
Try to see as much of the country as possible and take a few weekends to visit, for example, San Sebastian, Seville, Valencia, Madrid or even Morocco, Mallorca or Portugal .