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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 3) 2014/15

Kevin Winter, University of Barcelona, Spain, Mobility for Study, PHST


University of Barcelona
Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes, 585
08007 Barcelona - Spain
Tel.: +34 934 021 100


Faculty of Teacher Education:

Facultat de Formació del Professorat
Passeig de la Vall d'Hebron, 171
08035 - Barcelona
Tel.: +34 93 403 51 18 



Orientation and welcome week


About one week before I arrived my new home for the next four months I received a message on facebook from a foreign person. She, Carla explained that she was my mentor for my stay at the University of Barcelona and would be there to help me with all my questions and doubts. After a little exchange of a few messages we made up a date to meet at the university. The university was actually quite easy to find but when you see the campus and stand right in front of the huge buildings and the long stairs guiding the way up you at first feel actually a little bit lost. Carla luckily met me at the bottom of the stairs and guided me upstairs to do a little show around. Since there are more faculties on the campus it was quite impressive for me as there were so many buildings and all of them where really huge ones. She and a few frends of her took me to all the places to be including the school´s library, the bar or restaurant, the copy office, the teacher´s building and the buiding where all my courses were about to take place. After she whowed ma around and explained how the buildings and rooms are organized I actually felt confident as it was not that hard to find the buildings and rooms. Just at the beginning when you arrive at the campus everything seems just so big and unclear. After about an hour of walking around and talking we said good bye. It wasn´t a good bye forever since we exchanged numbers and kept in contact my whole stay. Evertime I had a question I just had to send her text message and she was always really exerted to help me. Furthermore it was a little practice for my Spanish skills as we kept on communicating in Spanish the whole time.

On the first day of the welcoming week I had an appointment with the international tutor Dr. Natalia Fullana. We were told what we had to do during our stay, how to get access to the Campus virtual and actually how everything worked in general. It was a little bit complicated to get access to the virtual world of the university since it was a quite long procedure to create an account. The user name and the password for the account and also for the mail account was complicated and I really had to note them somewhere and always had to double check with my note when entering the different pages. Nevertheless Dr. Fullana was a really kind person who helped us really a lot during our whole stay. We could always contact her and ask for help and she was always really patient and helpful. 

The first week continued with the welcoming week where all the students from our faculity got together and different courses were held (Look at the ext paragraph for further explanations). We were also welcomed with a typical Catalan snack containing of "pan amb tomaquet" (white bread with garlic, olive oil and tomatoes) , "Chorizo" (a typical salami), some cheese and red wine. It was a really nice and various week and most of all it was a great opportunity to meet all the other international students.

View over Barcelona from Parc Güell

 View over Barcelona from Parc Güell (Xaver Lindlbauer)

My courses at the UB


Before I got to Barcelona I was always in touch with the secretary Marta Kieling. She also was a really helpful and important person as she answered questions, gave different tips and guided me through the whole procedure of being an international student. Marta send me a list of recommended courses where I found my courses and could them add to my Learning Agreement. When I arrived at the university I fastly recognized that it was impossible to take the language classes and the practice I chose dua to time collision. I unfortunately had to skip my language classes and had choose two different courses. Following is a list of the courses I took with short explanations of those.


Catalunya: History, Language and Culture, 2 ECTS:

During the welcoming week differnet courses were held. The courses aimed to gave us a short overview of important Catalan facts regarding sports, history, culture, language and music. Each courses were really interesting and was actually also helpful to understand and get to kow the whole country and culture I was about to spend the next four months in. I then had to do a feedback worksheet of each session where I explained what the session was about, what I had learned and mentioned storng and weak points. For me it wasn´t only for getting the credits but also was a great opportunity to think again about what I just had learned.


Condicío física i salut, 9 ECTS:

This sport class was divided into two parts with two different teachers. As the monday classes were held in Catalan it was really hard to follow and I sometimes actually didn´t understand at all what we did. We mostly stayed in a class room and did some theory regarding strength and muscles. The last few lessons were held in the gim where different groups presented a few games to play in primary education. The group of the international students, where I also was a part of, also presented a few games in the last lesson. Furthermore we had to hand in a project paper where we explained the sport handball and also added warming up, main and cooling down games. The other part of the course where held by a different teacher in the gym. He luckily spoke in Spanish so I could actually follow his lessons more easily as I already had a quite good knowledge of Spanish. The teacher also talked about different forms of power and different muscles and what they do when we make a certain move. After the long theory parts there was mostly a short practical part following where we did various moves to better understand what our bodies are doing referring to the theoretical part. At the end of the course we did a short lesson of first aid and also were graded after our presentation of giving first aid to a doll.


Llengua anglesa per a l´ensenyament, 6 ECTS:

This English class was about all the basics in the English language. The level of English was really low since all the Catalan students couldn´t show a great command of the language and some even seemed not to know any English at all. I was actually shocked how low the level was and I thought it was really unbelievable that students can speak that weak English as they all had learned English in school as well. Nevertheless the different parts that formed the grade weren´t really as easy as I expected. They of course weren´t that hard for me as I was used to a way higher level of English. Still I totally understood why a lot of my Catalan colleagues struggled to pass this course. During the course we had two in class compositions, one reading comprehension, two pesentations and two grammar tests. Additionally we had to hand in a portfolio which inlcuded the two corrected compositions and the summary of an interview we had to do with a native speaker dealing with his school career and school expierences in general. 


Lingüística aplicada a l´ensenyament i aprenentatge de a llengua estrangera, 6 ECTS:

I had never had any kind of linguistic classes before so I was really curious how the linguistic class of the English language was going to be. In this class we learned the very basics of how to analyze a language by seperating the sentences and words in different parts and analyze them under specific points of view. For me it was really interesting and I now can show more awareness of how languages work and what they consist of. The teacher of this course was a really awesome one, she gave us a lot of information and the lessons were a lot about theory but she managed to keep them interesting and various. After the exam in april we formed groups of four to work on a common project work. The project was about analyzing two interviews, one form an adult and one of a child talking about holidays. We had to do a transcription of the interviews and then analyzed them under different linguistic points of view.


Pronunciació de la llengua anglesa, 3 ECTS:

After the first lessons of the pronunciation course I was actually a little bit scared of the exam at the end. I had never really dealt with the pronunciation of English. The course wasn´t only about hw to pronounce differnet words properly but also about where exactly the different sounds were produced in our body, the phonetic transcription, stress, intonation and rhythm in the English language. This was the only course I really had to study for the exam and was nervous before the exam. At the end the exam wasn´t that hard and actually doable. I´m actually glad I took that course since the things I learned were really useful and helped to improve my own pronunciation and since I´m kind of aware of the phonetic transcription I won´t have any further problems pronouncing words.


Práctiques 3, 6 ECTS

For my school placement I got the opportunity to go to a Catalan school to accompany teachers to their classes and see how they were working. I was placed for eight weeks in a private school called Garbí Pere Verges situated in Badalona, which is in the east of Barcelona. I had four class tutors and got the opportunity to go to nearly every level, since I had lessons in seven different classes or groups.  I got a really great overview of the whole school system and could indeed gather new experiences and also ways of teaching, especially teaching using new technologies. Mainly I supported the teacher, helped the children fulfilling their tasks, disciplinated and answered questions. Sometimes I worked with smller groups outside the class room on different tasks or just spoke with the children so they could practice with me. The children were exposed a great amount of English every day since they also had subjects were they worked on projects about history, geography and other subjects in English. I was asked only to pseak in English all the time. The children tried to speak only in English since my main task was to be there for them to practice English with them. Nevertheless I mostly could avoid a great language barrier because of my level of Spanish. I could really help the children even though they sometimes asked me questions in Catalan and Spanish.

However in the first few weeks I was actually shocked by the less amount of things the children are working in one lesson and especially by the noise. Most of the class the teacher has to discipline to create a calm and decent class climate. I firstly thought it was really incredible and I had the impression that the children weren´t working at all. I began to understand why this was the case and why I had the impression that they are not working in the way I think children should in school. It was because the children actually had no break except of two longer ones where they could go to the garden and for lunch. No wonder that the main part of the lessons were disciplining and not effective working.

To process my experiences and impressions I did a great amount of different tasks including micro teaching activities and a diary. In the micro teaching sheets I explained what I did with the children and explained the acticity step by step. The diary dealt with a special incident that happend on that day and I thought to be interesting or things I was interested in referring the school in general.

In conclusion I can say that I had an awesome time during my school practice and my only really considerable weak points are referred the school system itself. I talked a lot with my class tutors, teachers at university and students and all assured me that the Spanish are totally aware of the difficulties their school system entails and said that there is coming a huge change. 


Escola Garbí Pere Vergés
Avinguda de les Palmeres 5
Urbanització Mas Ram
08916 Badalona
Homepage: http://www.pereverges.cat


Paper chase in the garden of the school (Kevin Winter)


General overview of my impressions and experiences


Finding accomodation in Barcelona is actually not that hard. There are lot of groups on facebook which makes it easy to find something. I would suggest never to book something online where the deposit is to be transfered in adavance. So the best and safest way is to chose the ones you like, make an appointment to visit the flat and then decide which one to chose. There are also a few webpages where you can find a lot of rooms and flats:


I stayed at a very nice hostel for my first week while I was visiting several flats. There are lots of hostels in the city and since I always got a lot of visitors I can say that they were all really cheap, clean and well situated.

I found my flat through an organisation called "Llogo". It was situated in a really nice area called "Eixample" where a lots of bars, restaurants, supermarcets and clubs. There are mainly locals living in that area so therefore it´s not so crowded during the day and therefore uncountable decent priced restaurants can be found nearby. It´s also close to other areas of the city and living near the metro station "Diagonal" enables you to reach everything quite fastly.

I have to say that every area of the city has it´s own charme. The "Barrí Gótico" and "El Born" are really beautiful with all the old buildings of the old city. There are also a few of my most favourite bars and resaturants. I have to mention that in general you need to know some insider tips to go to all the good and cheap bars and restaurants. There are a lot of expensive ones. The are is also perfect for exploring the city on one´s own just by walking through the narrowing alleys. "Gracia" is a realy nice area with a lot of restaurants, bars and boutiques. Following there are few of my favourite bars and restaurants that I´m definitely going to the next time I come to Barcelona.

Bars: Nevermind, Ovella Negra, Sugar, Limehouse, Chatelet

Restaurants: La Macchina, Bo de B, Makamaka, Bun bo, La Rosa de Raval, 100 Montaditos, König

In general I have to say that the best way to explore and enjoy the city is just to walk through the different areas, be open, try new things and just let the city enwrap one in it´s great diversity.

I´m really glad that I got the opportunity to spend a part of my life in that awesome city. It is really a city where it´s impossible to get bored. There is always something going on and with the big amount of international young people studying and working there you make a huge amount of new friends. I totally fell in love with this city and I can only recommend to everyone to go there. I know that the good bye isn´t a good bye forever, I´m definitely coming back and will never stop loving and enjoying the city.

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