The University of Pompeu Fabra (opens up an external website) in Barcelona was a great university to undertake my study abroad program with. After finally getting my head around how to find my classes, the university was so easy to get around, with the campus very interconnected. The library was incredible, located in what used to be a Reservoir building with high arching ceilings. There was also a courtyard in the middle of the main buildings which always got the sun hitting in the morning which was the place to be in between classes to try and warm up in the Spanish winter. The university was also very conveniently located, close to the beach and an amazing park called Parc De la Ciutadella which always made for a nice walk home.
Each of my subjects had 3 separate allocations with 2 theory sessions and 1 seminar which was an interactive, activity-based session. The seminars were challenging and daunting at first as I really didn’t know anyone in the classes but this turned into my favourite part of the seminars as it gave me an opportunity to meet so many people through group tasks and especially gave me the chance to meet local Spanish students.
I also got the opportunity to study courses which were completely new to me undertaking Business Administration subjects. Being a Construction Project Management student back at home, taking on these subjects was a challenge as I commonly lacked the prior knowledge needed making Finance for example particularly hard, but it was great to be able to take on a new avenue of study.
“The orientation program of my host university was a highlight, with 11 straight days of activities day and night to meet all the other international students and get to know Barcelona city.”Karl
This was a particularly great period as one of the concerns you might have moving overseas for a period of time is how are you going to meet people etc. but the orientation activities were a perfect way to meet other students as everyone was in the same predicament and so easy going and the people I met in these opening 2 weeks went on to become some of my closest friends and people that I believe I will stay in contact with for the rest of my life.
The city of Barcelona is incredible in itself with the city coming to life every day and every night.
“Every sunny day, people would be out and about all around the beach and every night there would be countless places to go with restaurants, clubs and bars always packed to the brim. The culture, the people and the beauty of the city meant every day was well spent.”Karl
The biggest adjustment for me was getting used to how much later the Spanish people began their night with dinner usually happening at around 9-10pm and a common time to head out to a nightclub or bar being around 1-2am. However, I very quickly got used to the endless Tapas, Paella and Sangria!
I was fortunate to live in a house with 3 fellow UTS students which was located right next to the beach in La Barceloneta. We were so fortunate to have such a great place to live in that was very well located and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to live and share the journey with. Going from essentially barely knowing each other when we arrived in Barcelona, to leaving feeling as close as a family was something that was very special about the trip. I really enjoyed the chance to be self-dependent by having to do all my own grocery shopping, cleaning, ironing and cooking as I wasn’t in campus accommodation.
While being on exchange, it gave me the opportunity to spend a lot more time to take up personal activities which I wouldn’t normally have time for. I was able to finally have a regular routine of going to the gym (opposite the beach which helped the motivation), play some street football with some local Spaniards and simple things like relaxing enjoying the sunrise and sunset on Barceloneta beach every day. Some of my favourite moments on exchange simply involved having the opportunity to go out for dinner or a drink with a group of international students where there would be moments where I would sit back and appreciate that present opportunity where there were 10-15 people sitting around a table from 10-15 different countries getting along like we all knew each other for years and creating memories that were so special.
“My tip to any future student undertaking a study abroad program in Barcelona or anywhere in the world, is to embrace every opportunity and not fear any challenge. Take every opportunity to try new things and meet new people whether it’s through the activities on offer or just having the courage to start a conversation with someone new as it is these moments that for me created friendships and relationships that are now lifelong.”Karl
The challenges will always be there, but the self-growth and confidence out of every challenge overcome and every time you leave your comfort zone behind, is what shapes you as a person and I believe to be one of the most valuable experiences of studying abroad
Bachelor of Construction Project Management
Universitat Pompeu Fabra