Have the time of your life: study abroad!

For me, this semester has been the best one of my life. I decided to stay in my country for my bachelor degree, so the impact university life has had on me was not that big. Of course, there were some significant changes as I have moved to another city and rented an apartment there with my two friends, but still, the people, the culture, the language, it all remained the same.

When I decided to apply for this semester in Barcelona I knew it was going to be great, I just had that feeling, you know? And I was right. It's the best decision I have ever made. Traveling is something I have always been passionate about, I am used to visiting new countries and meeting new people, but I never stood around one place long enough to actually get to know them. As a tourist you get only a glimpse of what it means to be somewhere. Living in Barcelona is a totally different experience than visiting it on a city break with friends.

I came here alone. That was not something I was very happy about at the beginning, but now I perceive it as a blessing. If I had come here with someone I am sure we would have been together the whole day and I am glad it is not so. I got to meet so many great people, I might actually call them friends. I know that if I had another colleague from my school here I wouldn't have been so sociable because I sometimes tend to be closer to people I know rather than get to know new ones, even though I like meeting new people, I still mostly keep my distance, but this time was quite the contrary. I got to be friends with people here and really connect with them and this is something I am most thankful for. 

Another thing that has had an effect on me was the language. I learned Spanish years ago, but didn't have the chance to practice it, so this experience has helped me develop my skills in this direction. Of course, here, people mostly speak Catalan, but almost everyone knows Spanish too, so don't worry if you plan on coming to Barcelona and you know a little bit of Spanish, you will be just fine. Since it's a touristic city, English is also pretty common around here but people don't handle it very well. 

And now, let's move on to the university life and what it means to be a student in this amazing city. The first thing you should know is that people are friendly and open here in Barcelona. They are helpful and very nice to strangers. I had been lucky enough to have only one class in Catalan and the teacher agreed for me to do my assignments in English which makes things a lot easier.

Also my colleagues at the uni are incredibly friendlier than I have expected. We do a lot of group assignments so this gives me the chance to mingle and talk to students here. I am happy that they are also very curious and ask me questions about my university and how we do things back in Romania. About the classes, I have to spend a lot more hours here in school than I do home, but actually I don't mind that. I was shocked at the beginning but I got used to it now. Also, there is a lot more reading and writing to do but that doesn't bother me either. This is how I know I have chosen my specialization right. I love what I do, and the feeling is great. 

This semester puts me up to speed and prepares me for the one that follows which will be pretty intense due to the fact that I have my bachelor exam and degree. 

Besides school and people, you also get to experience the feeling of living in a foreign country, away from the people you are used to, away from everything. My advice to you: do it. If you have the chance, go for it. It will make you realize how big this world is and how many opportunities are right there for you to take. You are young, free to choose your path in life. Make it worth, have the time of your life and study abroad! 

Sometimes when I need time to think things trough, in Romania I get in my car and drive around the city, with no precise purpose, I just drive and after that I call my friends and ask them out for dinner or coffee. Here, I take walks on the beach and it's so much more relaxing. I am so in love with this city. The vibe, the energy, everything is 1000 times better than I expected.

The academic year is divided into three parts so this means they don't have semesters, they have trimesters. This made things a little bit complicated because when I get back I still have to take some exams due to the fact that I need 30 credits and here I have only 20. In Romania and I think most countries, the school year has two semesters where students have to have 30 credits at the end, but here, it's three trimesters with 20 credits each. 

I was thinking about the bad parts of this experience but can't actually find ones. Of course it's not perfect, there sure are difficulties, but I am a positive person and I tend not to think about them. I had problems with my learning agreement when I arrived, I had to change all my subjects, but eventually, it all turned out better than what I have imagined. So yeah, this is what I think about studying abroad and now, I am looking for universities where I will study my MA. I always knew I wanted to study the Master in another country, but now I am sure as it can be about this.    

DiaryBianca Popa