The Erasmus scheme allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country. It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. Take a look at how BA (Hons) Textile Design student Hope Carter got on in Barcelona!
Why did you choose to take an Erasmus exchange, and why Barcelona?
I chose to take an Erasmus exchange as living abroad is something I’ve always wanted to do, and Barcelona was the first city that jumped out at me as it is renowned for its artistic scene. It has beautiful architecture, a relaxed culture and is a vibrant city on the beach. I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish too, and the best way to do that is by putting yourself in a situation where you need to speak the language!
What were your first impressions of studying abroad?
I was nervous but excited to see who I would be living with, what my university would be like and to explore the city. I had visited before but you get a different perspective when you live somewhere. My classes are different from home so it was challenging at first but I’ve got used to the ways of working and I am enjoying the projects we are doing!
What are you studying there?
I study Textile Art here and at BCU I study Textile Design. My classes at Escola Massana focus on the different areas of textiles design, including drawing skills and pattern design, weaving and learning about raw fibres, as well as computer skills such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. My classes are taught in Spanish and sometimes in Catalan, which has been a huge challenge for me but an area I knew I wanted to push myself in before I came out here.
How will this help in your career plans?
I’m undecided about my career path, however I have thought about becoming a fabric buyer for a company, so learning Spanish will help if I need to potentially converse with suppliers abroad. Otherwise I’m hoping to have a job which involves T R A V E L and T E X T I L E S, so having the experience of living abroad should help! I think employers see Erasmus exchanges as ways of developing language, communication, flexibility and self-confidence, which are all really important transferable skills. Personally, I feel it’s really important to understand other cultures, not just to I N S P I R E work but also to gain an understanding of people and places that seem foreign to us.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about an exchange – how can they prepare?
I would say research the city or town you are going to before you go. You may have never been there before so look for what would appeal to you. Go in with an open mind and have confidence to meet new people (even if it’s a scary prospect). Be prepared to challenge yourself in every way, but also be prepared to have the time of your life as it’s an opportunity that may not come around again… and it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had.
What should we know about Barcelona, if we get a chance to visit?
Barcelona is a such vibrant city, with lots of exciting things happening! There’s plenty of tourist and artistic things to see, including the Picasso museum, Catalonian museum of art and of course Gaudi’s work including the Sagrada Família, Park Güell and Casa Batlló. You must see La Rambla and visit Barceloneta, which is around the beach. If you want to do something more off the beaten track you can go up to The Bunkers which gives a free and amazing perspective over the city. El Raval isn’t an area people normally visit but it’s very artistic and there are amazing hideaway cafes/bars/shops, and you get a real sense of people who live in the city.