Students in reverse

ALBA RÍOS AND NORA TARNOW

Llegeix aquest contingut en català aquí
Translated by Álvaro Rodríguez Huguet

Spending the weekend in Barcelona and studying in other places of Catalunya. That is what thousands of people from Barcelona are forced to do because of minimum grades, the cliché of “studying in the capital” but the other way around.

Home Friday. Marina, the same as the major part of college people from Barcelona that studied outside the town, come back to her town to spend the weekend with her family and friends. MIQUEL PASCUAL

Barcelona have an offer of more than 300 degrees between the four public universities of the town: University of Barcelona, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Pompeu Fabra University and Polytechnic University of Catalunya. Every year, the capital receive thousands of Catalan people that are forced to change residence to be able to study what they wish. However, some young people from Barcelona are in reverse: they leave their town to study in centres of the rest of Catalunya.

The major part of students that decide to leave Barcelona is because of the minimum grades, since they do not reach to the grade they need to enter to the desired degree. Often, the demand is lower in universities outside the town and, thus, the grade is inferior. Some of these cases are Mar, Alejandra and Marina. The qualification they obtained from the addition of high school and the university entrance exam didn’t reach the minimum for them to enter to the degree they wished in Barcelona; but they refused to study any other degree, if they don’t want it.

Mar made her research work in second year of high school and she was sure that she wanted to study Biology, no matter what. As she didn’t make it to enter in the AUB, she decided to live in Girona to study the degree she wanted so much. She is currently studying 3rd degree of Biology and she thinks about it as a very positive experience that made her grow as a person and allowed her to go out the “box” to liven up and meet new friends.

Alejandra is in her first quarter studying Law in the University of Lleida and, with doubts in the beginning, she is sure that made a good decision. She didn’t make it to apply the preregistration on time and, as there was no places left for studying Law in Barcelona, she decided to go to Lleida. Spending a year to rest in doing something else as traveling or working was not an option; she knew that she wanted to keep studying and didn’t want to break her study routine.

Marina did not reach either the minimum grade to study in Early Childhood Education in Barcelona. She had a friend that also was studying the same in Lleida and, as always, she had vocation to become school teacher, the decision was not a problem at all. Although she recognizes that living in Lleida is quieter, even sometimes might be dull, she highlights the freedom she has for organising her free time and coexistence of not living with her parents.

Another motivation to study outside Barcelona is the fact that the degree to be coursed is very specific and it is only given in a university in particular. This was Jordi’s situation, he wanted to study Comunication and Audiovisual Journalism; a degree only offered in Lleida. He assures that it was not a difficult decision to make because it had many aspects in his favour. On one hand, when he finished high school, he decided that he wanted to change his lifestyle and mind set and, on the other hand, he had relatives living in Lleida and they offered him to go with them during the first year of the degree.

Some other frequent reasons between the youth also can be that the degree is private in Barcelona and public in other cities, or the academic training it is only given as a college degree in a particular university. It is the case of Berta, she studies Performing Arts in Eram, an assigned university to the UdG. This was the only option that she had to studying her degree in Catalunya, as a public one.

Barcelona, university town
These five university students are not special cases. They themselves assure us that in their courses people is from all over Catalunya and many few students in Lleida and Girona are actually from there. The last data of the Education Department of the Generalitat reports that 23,9% of students that live in Barcelona study in other Catalan regions.
However, the capital keeps gathering the major part of the enrolled students of all territory. According to the Statistics Institute of Catalunya, there were 208.511 enrolled students in the year 2017-2018 in degrees all over Catalunya, from which only a 16,12%, 33.613 students, went to a public university outside Barcelona.

Unlike other countries as Germany, where moving to another city is usual to course a degree, in Catalunya remains an important factor that is the territoriality of the universities. What motivates students is rather a consequence of the offer that a decision to changing cities.

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