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Erasmus in Barcelona

Erasmus in Barcelona (Image Sarah Leitgeb)

Barcelona as my hometown: I’ve never been in Barcelona before and did not know anything about the city. I did not have any expectations but I was in love with Barcelona from the first day. The city has so many colors, amazing Gaudi buildings and different people from all over the world. There are plenty of events like street food markets, concerts and other festivities – I am sure your will never get bored in Barcelona! Due to the fact that Barcelona is a city in the south of Europe I was pretty sure that the weather will be nice all the time. I was wrong as it was raining a lot in the first few weeks and we also had snow. People from Barcelona told us that they did not have snow in the last 10 years and everybody was so excited about the few snowflakes which was really funny for us as we are used to cold winters. But as the weather was getting better we spend our free hours at the beach which is indeed a big advantage of Barcelona.
This facebook link helped me a lot during my time in Barcelona: www.facebook.com/groups/barcelonaexpatsgroup/
Accommodation: I already searched my flat a few months before I arrived in Barcelona as I want to make sure to have a cheap one but also a flat which is not too difficult to reach with public transport. But cheap flats are impossible to find in Barcelona and even if I compared a lot of flats I still decide to choose one which is close to Placa Catalunya (center of Barcelona) and I had to pay 550€ per month just for one room in a shared flat with 6 other students. The flat was cheaper than others because it was already in the district called “Raval” and this district is not too expensive. A lot of my Erasmus friends lived in this area because it is just around the corner of the city center but much cheaper. I found my flat on facebook and it was an easy way to find a flat because I was able to compare different ones and most of them also have pictures on facebook. I still would recommend being careful and making sure you have a proper contract before you sign anything. I also had friends which stayed in a Hostel at the beginning and they searched their flat during the first few weeks which is also an option. I used this facebook links to find my flat: www.facebook.com/groups/barcelonarentals/ www.facebook.com/groups/558757407534549/ Money: rent 550€ x 5 = 2750€ flight 168€ (one way) food 12€ pro Tag (Monat=1800€) public transport 200€ material (university, primary school), copies etc. 50€
To spend a semester abroad is indeed expensive but I saved money in the years before. As I wanted to see other cities in Barcelona I also spend money on day trips but it was totally worth it.
Preparation for the semester abroad: I already had to choose my subjects for this semester a few months before and there are a lot of things to do before you go to another country. I would totally recommend putting all the important papers in one folder and it is important to organize yourself.
Courses: You have a big choice of different courses and they are in different languages (English, Spanish, Catalan). I took a few courses which were supposed to be in Spanish/Catalan and hoped I will understand everything because I had Spanish in school but most of the teacher didn’t want to hold their lessons in Spanish so I had most of my courses in Catalan. However, the Spanish students have been really helpful and translated a lot for us.
University of Barcelona: I really liked the Campus as it was in the national park and not directly in the city center. We really enjoyed our time there and from some of the rooms you had a nice view to the sea. At the first day it was so difficult for all of us to find the right room but the University of Barcelona offered us “Erasmus Buddies”. They are Spanish students at the UB and they helped us especially in the first week.
Language: The UB offered us Spanish or Catalan courses and I would recommend visiting one of them or searching another Spanish course in the city. I was lucky as I found a Spanish course which was for 3 weeks (2 hours a day) and I just had to pay 40€. The language courses at the UB are more expensive (Catalan is cheaper than Spanish). I choosed Spain as my Erasmus country as I really wanted to improve my Spanish and I think it is really important if you go to another country to learn at least the basics of this language.
Summary: I am so thankful for the chance of going abroad and living in a different city for 5 months. Barcelona is the perfect city for Erasmus students and I am sure that it is really important for young people to go abroad, travel and broaden their mind. I would totally recommend Barcelona as I had an amazing time there and learned so many things which are important for my personality.
Sarah Leitgeb, Erasmus Outgoing 2018

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