Diary of an Erasmus student in Barcelona: 10 golden rules for sharing an apartment
So you've decided to share an apartment in Barcelona? Follow our invaluable advice to make it an unforgettable experience!
“I am French, Spanish, English, Danish. I am like Europe, I am all of it. I’m a real mess.”
says Xavier, the hero of the super-cult film by Cédric Klapisch: “L’Auberge Espagnole”.
Whether you’re about to move into a shared apartment or you’re used to sharing a home, this article provides some golden rules for enjoying this unforgettable experience.
- 1 Rule n°1: I will be international
- 2 Rule n°2: I will adopt the Spanish daily rhythm
- 3 Rule n° 3: I will share my fridge
- 4 Rule n°4: I will organise group meals
- 5 Rule n°5: I will go out with my roommates
- 6 Rule n°6: I will become a football fan
- 7 Rule n°7: I will not leave my underwear lying around
- 8 Rule n°8: I will show solidarity
- 9 Rule n°9: I will be natural
- 10 Rule n°10: I will adopt a goldfish
Rule n°1: I will be international
Barcelona is the most cosmopolitan of cities and attracts people from all over the world: Latino, American, Canadian, Chinese, Australian, Belgian, or Polish… you will discover a lot of different cultures living with roommates and this is one of the great advantages of it! It’s a chance to work on your languages, and even your body language which can be a great help when words fail!
Rule n°2: I will adopt the Spanish daily rhythm
Sharing a home is perfectly suited to the Spanish way of life with its later hours and a later start to the day, optional breakfast and meals around 9pm or 10pm. The local specialty, the bikini (a sort of toasted ham and cheese) is perfect for any time of day.
Rule n° 3: I will share my fridge
Most shared accommodation involves a shared fridge: each person is allocated a shelf and a common kitty is collected for household items such as water or cleaning products. Here almost everyone drinks bottled water, as the tap water is drinkable but tastes of chlorine.
Rule n°4: I will organise group meals
Reveal your culinary talents by preparing delicious meals for your roommates. Or if cooking isn’t really your thing, you can always go for sharing a good fuet (dried Catalan sausage for sharing) with pa amb tòmaquet (bread with tomato sauce) or guacamole for everyone to happily dip tacos or small crunchy vegetables into!
Rule n°5: I will go out with my roommates
Take every chance to suggest an outing to your roommates. Take the initiative with a Sunday walk, a visit to an expo or a trip to a pub to watch a football match, for example.
Rule n°6: I will become a football fan
Here, football is the national sport. During big matches, everyone in Barcelona ends up in front of a screen (if they’re not already at the Camp Nou stadium). You might witness some heated debates from your roommates if one supports FC Barcelona and another Atlético Madrid. Either way, League matches are always very exciting!
Rule n°7: I will not leave my underwear lying around
It’s just good sense, but the odd lapse in attention does happen. So if you don’t want your roommates tripping over your unmentionables just make sure to check behind you when leaving the bathroom. As for cleaning, the simplest solution works: draw up a schedule and attribute a weekly cleaning task to each person.
Rule n°8: I will show solidarity
More than anything else, sharing a home means sharing space on a daily basis, so it’s important to agree on basic things like cleaning and taking out the bins. Sometimes it also means coming to the rescue of a roommate who has forgotten their key, or showering quickly so someone can brush their teeth before work!
Rule n°9: I will be natural
Living together can be an unforgettable experience. Day by day you learn more about the others and vice versa. So be yourself, and enjoy all the little moments of complicity that sharing offers!
Rule n°10: I will adopt a goldfish
It might not seem useful, but why not make a goldfish into the mascot of your house or flat? You can get together to decide on a name and it will mean no one ever feels lonely when the apartment is empty.
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About the author
Léa is a journalist-in-training, always on the hunt for bargains. From her arrival, she fit right in with the "vida loca”, swept away by the seductive atmosphere of Barcelona. She also fell under the spell of Barcelona's cosmopolitan, striking and spontaneous architecture, a great reflection of her own personality!