Since arriving in Barcelona, and living in The Student Hotel (TSH), a student residence with 100+ international students, I’ve started to become more aware of the differences of the education systems across the world.
For example, my floor mates and I have spoken about the Spanish school system. We discussed how school is like in Spain from age five to twenty-five. It even got to the point where I couldn’t really understand each step (possibly because we were speaking in Spanish), so one girl found a sheet of paper to write out each level of school. She drew out each step on a timeline, from “Infantil” at ages 3-5, to “Bachiller” or “Grado Superior” from ages 16-18. Although I still don’t completely understand the school system yet, I for sure got a comprehensive introduction.
Similar to that introduction I got of the entire school system of Spain, I’ve been able to get a glimpse into a different way of studying at a university, then I have ever experienced before. As someone who goes to the University of Michigan, an institution with 28,000 undergraduates and has gotten used to Economics classes of 300+ students, I’ve never gotten the small class size feel at a college level. However, since starting classes through the International Business and Humanities Semester Program at the UAB, I’ve been fortunate enough to sit in classes that are new to me, in the best way possible.
There have been three key differences I’ve noticed about my classes since starting them completely virtual on January 25th. As of this past Monday, March 8th, my classes have moved back to face-to-face instruction. Some students with classes related to field studies, such as going to museums or walking around an area of the city, have been able to meet in person prior to Monday. However, due to the fact that I’m taking mostly business and economics related classes, it wasn’t permitted to be in person until regulations changed. Nevertheless, these following differences were prevalent even before my classes were able to meet in person. I commend UAB for creating such an enjoyable, informative, and unique experience for international students.
As we just finished midterms, I looked forward to this week when I will be taking class field trips to Placa de Catalunya, Park Güell, and The Old Estrella Damn Factory. I can’t believe it is already March 12th and my semester is just about half-way over. I plan to continue to enjoy and appreciate my classes here at UAB and take advantage of each day I have here in Barcelona.