Study in Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (9)

Study in Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (9)

I completed my semester abroad as part of my dual business administration degree (focus on trade) at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. In Germany, this winter semester (January-March) corresponded to my third theory semester, which in retrospect was not that cheap, as I have to rewrite many exams at home after my return. Nevertheless, I would recommend the semester abroad in Barcelona to anyone who is interested in international (mostly US-American) encounters and still doesn’t want to get a culture shock.

The application process

The application process was very easy, I didn’t really have to clarify a lot in advance. At my home university in Heidenheim I used the International Office to find out which partner universities are offered and finally I decided on the UAB. The decisive factor here was the duration: a semester only lasts three and a half months – and not a full six months as at other universities (which would not have been an option for my training company). Unfortunately, the UAB is not the cheapest choice in terms of price: you pay around 600-1000 euros per module that you occupy.

When the decision was made, I worked with the International Office to collect the necessary registration forms (transcript of records, copy of ID and a few other small items). The contact to MicroEDU was then established via the International Office and I only had to wait until their contact person got in touch with me by email.

MicroEDU then guided me through the further registration process and sent the documents to the university in Barcelona. I have to mention here: the agency’s employees (especially Ms. Ezerskyte) are extremely friendly and always remain polite and helpful, no matter how frequently you ask ! Thanks a lot for this!

That’s about it, MicroEDU informed me that I was accepted (of course: if you pay the deposit of a few hundred euros on time, you will probably not just be refused…) and I was able to book my outward flight for January 4th. The semester started on January 7th, so I had a few stress-free days to look for accommodation from my hotel.

The accommodation

I looked for my accommodation on site – and without any knowledge of Spanish! I definitely want to encourage you to do the same! If you book a room in advance without having viewed it, there is a good chance that you will be nastily surprised when you arrive…

For me it was no stress at all to find a small room in a four-person shared apartment near the Sagrada Familia. I registered with idealista on the first day and looked for offers there. Already on the following day there were two appointments for viewing and to be honest? You can also communicate with your hands and feet if the other person doesn’t speak good English and you don’t speak Spanish yourself.

I definitely recommend the Eixample districts (here in particular near the Sagrada Familia or Sant Antoni) and Gracia. I would personally advise against Poble Sec and Gotico, but that only depends on my experience.

The University

I won’t tell you anything new – anyone who has read through a few testimonials from the university will quickly find that this semester abroad consists of everything but skipping courses, studying with local students and just lazing around. If you want to get good German grades here (and thanks to the Spanish grading system they are really hard to achieve), you have to move to every lecture and sit on your butt even after “school” (yes, you study in small groups) and do homeworks, assignments or book readings. Those who stick with it as in the dual study course should, however, be able to keep their grades in Germany (at least to some extent).

What was also a bit disappointing: The UAB emphasizes the high degree of international students. Contrary to what I expected, I found myself in all four courses with 95% students from the USA. Basically, of course, that didn’t bother me, I also formed a close friendship with two girls from New York. But unfortunately the semester abroad is only half as “multicultural” as one had hoped it would…

My courses taken

I took four courses: International Marketing Strategies, International Finance, International Economics and Strategic Behavior in Business and Economics.

International Marketing

I had International Marketing Strategies at Dr. Vera Butkouskaya and that was my absolute favorite module ! Vera was always in a good mood and with her funny manner she was super personable for all students! She also knew that we would like to enjoy our semester abroad instead of just looking at things and therefore hardly gave us any homework or assignments. The material itself was also very interesting, albeit a bit dry from time to time.

International Finance

International finance was a tough counterpart to marketing: I was mostly in the course with finance majors and of course they also had previous knowledge. Unfortunately, I didn’t and so the lessons with Myriam went a bit too fast for me and I had to learn a lot. However, anyone who enjoys financial topics is in good hands here. The exams were also very fair, so that even a beginner could achieve good grades with a learning curve.

International Economics

International economics was similarly difficult. David Castell was convinced that each of his international students should read a book of at least 200 pages during that time and also buy the “ABSOLUTELY BASIC” book to accompany the lectures so that you are at home (because you are only in Barcelona to study ) can read on and deepen his Econ knowledge independently… the expectations took a lot of getting used to and that should have been the reason why I did by far the worst in this subject out of all four modules.

Strategic Behavior

Strategic behavior at Ivanna Ferdinandova was… unhappy. The lecture was on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 am, which implies tired students. The fact that the transmission of the content was THAT cumbersome didn’t make the whole thing any better. My neighbor at the bank regularly fell asleep and the other students also preferred to go to the next European travel destinations with their MacBooks rather than listening to Ivanna’s words. The material – Decision Theory and Game Theory – was very interesting! However, you only noticed this when you yourself have dealt with the homeworks or the final presentation yourself at home.

Language course

I would definitely not recommend a UAB Spanish course as it is way too expensive! Right around the corner from the campus in Eixample there is a language school – LinguaSchools – which offers the same number of courses per week (twice a week from 7 am to 9 pm) and is significantly cheaper. Instead of 1000 euros like the UAB, this language school only charges around 300 euros and learning success is also guaranteed if you are willing to deal with the new language! It made it easy for me to learn the basics of Spanish. Read more student reviews on Anycountyprivateschools.

Please, please don’t think I want to talk you through the semester in Barcelona because I almost only report negative things here! Barcelona itself is a beautiful city and there is so much to experience over the weekend (especially because Fridays are always free!)! The city offers much more than just the typical tourist attractions!


The three and a half months in Barcelona passed far too quickly! Every single weekend is worth gold and you shouldn’t waste any of it in a bad mood at home! I almost never saw clouds or even rain in my winter semester, which made it all the easier to leave the apartment and have fun on the streets of Barcelona!

You can really get home quickly by public transport at any time of the day or night, which was a great benefit for me as a country man. In addition, you have the beach, beautiful parks and mountains all rolled into one: what more could you want? I spent differently every weekend and got infected by the American wanderlust. From El Prat Airport in Barcelona we went to three different destinations: Seville, Lisbon and ( my absolute highlight! ) Ibiza.

I can only recommend you to explore the surrounding area and look out for cheap deals on flights, because it’s worth it! Ibiza in particular is amazing out of season! All the clubs were closed and there was almost no sign of tourists. The four of us rented a car for a weekend and then we are completely around the island – always following the sun towards hidden beaches and the perfect spots for the sunset over the sea.

My final message to you: don’t be afraid to fly to Barcelona for a semester abroad! The advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages (for example the high costs), I really enjoyed this time in Spain and I will definitely come back there again!

Study in Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona 9

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