Independent University Newspaper
Copenhagen Business School

Popular searches:

Independent University Newspaper

Copenhagen Business School

My first encounter with Barcelona: It’s amazing, masks suck, and make sure to buy shorts with zip pockets

young man on a bike

Go on exchange |   22. Sep 2020

young man in front of La Sagrada familia in Barcelona

Marc Møller


When I started my studies, I knew that I wanted to go on exchange. I knew that I wanted to immerse myself in a new culture, and that I wanted to use my 3rd language on an everyday basis.

In January 2020, I got the confirmation that I would be going to the Autonomous University of Barcelona and I was very excited about that. Then came January 31, where Spain had its first case of coronavirus.

Since then, it’s been one of the worst-hit countries in Europe, and since the lockdown in Denmark began and until I was sitting on the plane to Barcelona on August 24, I didn’t really feel that I would make it here, also now that Spain has a pretty steep curve once again.

In terms of coronavirus, not much changed in the application process. Everything was delayed, and everyone heading off on exchange had the option to cancel their trips and choose electives instead.

I came very close to cancelling because the uncertainty of the situation was uncomfortable and strange. Will I be allowed to go to Spain? Will I be put into lockdown in Spain? Will I get to do my courses on campus?

Essentially, is the risk of going to Spain worth the reward? To add to the uncertainty, 3 weeks before I was to fly to Spain, they cancelled my flight, saying that, due to coronavirus, almost all the flights to Spain had been cancelled. That left me with the choice of going there on August 24 or September 28. Uni was starting on September 14.

This left me thinking: “Am I even going to be allowed to fly there?” In the end I was, and now I am here. And aside from the masks that we have to wear almost all the time, Barcelona is incredible.

On my first night here, I went out to eat with a friend from Copenhagen University who is doing her exchange at the same university as I am, and we started talking about how we both felt safe in Barcelona.

Neither of us had heard of any really bad experiences other than people falling asleep on the metro and waking up without their phone and wallet. On that same night, on the way home to where I am staying, three guys tried to steal my phone while blocking my way.

Luckily, I still have my phone. This has made me more aware of the possibility of theft, and from talking with people who live here, I realize that thieves have become more aggressive after the coronavirus hit, since they have 3 months of lockdown to make up for.

Aside from this, and missing family, girlfriend and friends, the adventure seems to be starting out great. The city, the food, the people, the listening to Spanish wherever I go, are things I enjoy immensely. It is very different from Denmark in several ways and some stereotypes of Spain do hold true.

They do shout much of the time when they are with each other. It is very rare to see people eating dinner at 18 since that’s an hour or so after lunch down here, and the strangest of all is that many stores around the city actually do have siestas from 13:00 to 16:00. Also, all stores except for restaurants and kiosks are closed on Sundays, though they have longer opening hours on weekdays. Luckily, these things are easy enough to get accustomed to but coming from Denmark where everything is open all day, it is a bit strange.

My next adventure came when I decided to get a foldable bike, to avoid travelling too much in the busy metro (Covid-19 and all that).

In Barcelona, you do not leave your bike anywhere, with or without locks, because bikes still get stolen. Most people have two locks for when they cannot bring their bike with them, one for the front and one for the back, and I have still heard of people getting their seat stolen while away for 20 minutes.

So, I decided I wanted a foldable one, since I could carry it to the 4th floor, rather than leaving it on the street. It would also take up less space in my room. I bought it Wednesday and returned it three days later. It turns out there is a maximum height for these foldable bikes, which makes it hard to find one that is not incredibly expensive, that fits my height of 183 cm.

So, in short, Barcelona is amazing, masks suck, and make sure to buy shorts with zip pockets.

Next time, I’ll tell a bit about how uni works, and how one of my courses, which should be in Spanish, somehow is in Catalan.

young man in front of La Sagrada familia in Barcelona

Marc in front of La Sagrada Família in Barcelona.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

My first encounter with Barcelona: It’s amazing, masks suck, and make sure to buy shorts with zip pocketsby

  • News

    Staff layoffs: What happens if you’re fired

    The clock is ticking. On Thursday morning (5 October), CBS employees will know if they are up for dismissal or not. But what will happen on the day? What emotional stages are you likely to encounter? And who will be there to pick you up when you are feeling the blow of being laid off? CBS WIRE has talked to HR and the consulting agency Actief Hartmanns to provide you with answers.

  • News

    Network, network, network – CBS graduates advise on getting your first job

    There are many approaches to finding your first job. Three recent CBS graduates talk about how they landed theirs. Their approaches were quite different, yet they all highlight networking as a key element.

  • News

    A-Z of the dismissals

    In these final days of September, the fate of a number of CBS employees is being decided. The final amount of money saved on salaries via voluntary severance agreements (aka redundancy packages, Ed.) and senior agreements will be known.  After this, the actual number of employees up for dismissal will be decided by management – and then the individuals will be selected.

  • News

    Layoffs break the crucial trust between organisation and employee

    CBS is laying off a number of employees soon, which will affect our university in different ways. When employees are fired without having done anything wrong, it shatters the trust between the organisation and employees, while also taking a toll on productivity, according to a CBS expert. Layoffs also affect the ‘survivors’, who are forced to adapt to a changed workload and the loss of cherished colleagues.

  • News

    Here to help – at the touch of a button and at Campus Desk

    Exam anxiety? Lost student card? I’ve wedged my car between a Fiat 500 and a lamp post, can you help? You never know what you’ll be asked next. But that’s just how the Campus Desk team like it. And if they can’t fix your problem, they’ll know someone who can. CBS WIRE asked the team about the whole range of topics they advice on every day.

  • Gif of the week
  • News

    CBS Quiz Time: Unraveling the success story

    A successful university environment such as CBS is often associated with academic pursuits, but campus life extends far beyond the classroom. At CBS Quiz Time, a student society motivated by creative thinking and social engagement, students join in a refreshing range of creativity, excitement, and social interaction. CBS WIRE talked to Celine Møller-Andersen to find out about the society’s vision, strategies and the factors that are driving its rapid expansion.

  • News

    Why so sudden? The CBS financial crisis explained

    Employees and union representatives have posed many questions in the wake of the 17 August announcement of a firing round. In this interview, University Director Arnold Boon explains how Senior Management has been working with the budget and a change of financial strategy since the fall of 2022, and why layoffs are now necessary.

Follow CBS students studying abroad

CBS WIRE collaborates with

Stay connected