A time to remember in Barcelona
On September the 11th the trip to Barcelona started with mixed feelings. I did not know what to expect and remained completely unprejudiced towards the whole thing. Nervousness, joy and fear were the feelings I felt at the beginning. But as soon as I arrived in Barcelona, all negative feelings follow, and I was just happy and content. It was warm, it smelled good, and the palm trees glistened under the sun. During the first week of settling in at the university, everything was well explained to us (Kathrin Sixl, Gabriel Suntinger and Nina Schelischansky) and the schedule was presented. Unfortunately, we quickly noticed that our courses overlapped, and we looked for alternatives. However, the whole thing turned out to be very tedious and stressful at such short notice, since the first courses already started in a few days. Our contact person, who was responsible for all Erasmus students, always supported us well and quickly in such situations and tried to find a plan B with us that suited everyone. We always turned to her when we had problems or just needed support. Unfortunately, besides the overlapping of the courses, there were other problems we had to deal with this semester. Our apartment, which we had booked together, was unfortunately not given to us because it was occupied by so-called “Ocupas”. Therefore, we got another one, which unfortunately did not suit us at all. It was outside the center, very small and especially in December very cold. Accordingly, the mood was relatively depressed in the first month and I was just disappointed, because I had other expectations of the apartment. But I tried to make the best of the situation. A group of girls from Upper Austria, whom we met in the first weeks, helped us to find distraction. Together we made the clubs unsafe, visited concerts, organized cooking and game evenings, and enjoyed the time together. We spent our semester abroad with them and strangers have now become friends. We always laughed a lot, cried a lot, and supported each other in the best possible way. It was hard to say goodbye to them, but the next travel plans are already set, and we will certainly see each other more often in Austria. Of course, we didn’t always have only free time, but also attended four courses at the UB: I found the courses at the university all very interesting but above all also helpful. Also, the university is very big and beautiful. There were so many palm trees and when you walk on the university ground you could hear the parrots singing. We also got to know nice colleagues with whom we mastered some group work and who also supported us when we needed help in Barcelona.
After all, it was a foreign city in which I was still completely lost at the beginning. But as time went by, I found my way around and knew exactly which bus or metro to take to get where I wanted to go. It is very easy to find your way around in Barcelona. I also discovered some places, bars and restaurants that are now some of my favorite places in Barcelona. The clubs as well as the bars are amazing, but expensive. We took advantage of every day, made some trips, visited museums, soccer games, concerts and other cities. There is so much you can do in Barcelona. There are even Instagram pages for Erasmus students only where you can book trips, get in clubs for free or go to other cool parties. They even offered a trip to Morocco which was stunning and beyond my expectations. So, my semester felt like we were on vacation. That’s why it was sometimes strange for me to do the work assignments that we had to do sometimes (we didn’t get a lot of assignments). I always had to tell myself that we were there to study and not on vacation.
Also, all the teachers were very friendly, accommodating but most of all there for us when we needed something from them or had other problems or worries. During my internship, the teachers welcomed me warmly with open arms, showed me around the school and were very happy to have me there. I experienced my time at this school as nothing but positive. It takes a long time every day (from 9-5) but I have collected a lot of new ideas, games and above all memories to take back to Austria. Even the kids were so friendly and tried to communicate with you even though you didn’t speak Spanish.
I had some ups and downs in Barcelona, but I would still do the semester abroad again. I met so many nice people who are now also my friends, I was able to take a lot with me culturally and linguistically and, above all, I learned to find my way “alone” in a big city. For me, the semester abroad was perfect, just as it was. Organizationally, it wasn’t always easy and sometimes everything went over my head, but Barcelona always managed to cheer me up. The weather, the palm trees, the beautiful houses and especially the many friendly, kind and accommodating people.
I will miss the time, the excursions, the city, the food, the people and the university, but I will take a lot of memories and unforgettable moments back to Austria and I am already looking forward to coming back to Barcelona (this time really on vacation).
Text: Katharina Köchl