Whether you’re a beginner ready to throw yourself into Spanish language study, or an intermediate student ready to take your Spanish proficiency to the next level, there’s no better place to immerse yourself in language and culture than Barcelona.
Studying abroad in Barcelona offers you intensive language instruction, and Area Studies electives that allow you to improve your language skills and understanding of Spanish culture and history in one of Europe’s most beautiful, dynamic, and cosmopolitan cities. And with homestays, a language seminar, and various cultural activities and excursions, study abroad in Barcelona offers you an exciting, supportive and unique intercultural experience.
Study abroad in Spain and you will:
Continue your Spanish studies or improve your beginner Spanish language skills while experiencing the vibrant city of Barcelona
Participate in the Language and Culture Seminar, which includes exchange events with local students and is specifically designed to help you deepen your study abroad experience
Explore the dynamic Catalonia region and participate in cultural and educational activities including visits to museums, cathedrals, and the historic district; enjoy excursions to Girona, Empúries, Andalusia, Madrid, Mallorca, or the Pyrenees
The CIEE Difference
Whether you have a foundation in Spanish, or no experience at all, the study abroad program in Barcelona offers language learning courses that suit your particular needs and abilities. You’ll also have access to a variety of electives – taught in English – on subjects ranging from Art, Literature and Cinema, to Law, Media, Business, Religion and Politics.
Enjoy a series of excursions to sites of interest in and around Barcelona. Three day trips include guided visits to places and monuments of cultural or historical significance in Catalonia, such as the Dalí Museum in Figueres or the Roman ruins in the city of Tarragona. You’ll also take part in a weekend trip to a major Spanish city like Madrid, Valencia, Seville, or Bilbao/San Sebastian.
Study abroad in Barcelona and you're provided with a number of activities and programs to help your integration into the university and local community including Guardian Angels – local university students who help introduce you to the city’s culture – and a Language and Culture seminar which brings together Spanish and American students for conversation exchange.
Recommended credit for the semester is 15 semester/22.5 quarter hours. Recommended credit for the academic year is 30 semester/45 quarter hours. Students may request to take an additional elective for a total of 18 credits per semester. All students must enroll in at least 15 semester credits.
Contact hours for CIEE and Hispanic and European Studies (HESP) courses are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours, unless otherwise indicated. Required language courses have 90 contact hours and 6 semester/9 quarter hours.
All study abroad students are required to enroll in beginning or intermediate Spanish and choose three electives from CIEE or HESP courses. Note that one elective must be a CIEE course. CIEE courses are taught in English and HESP courses are taught in either English or in Spanish. Students who have completed three semesters of Spanish are encouraged (though not required) to take at least one course in Spanish.
All students take a Spanish placement exam upon arrival, which places them in the appropriate UPF Spanish language course. The language courses meet intensively during the first few weeks and continue at a regular pace throughout the rest of the semester.
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain with its own distinctive history, culture, and language. Set between mountains and the Mediterranean sea, the city's population is 1.6 million, with a total of 4.5 million in the greater metropolitan area. Walking though the city, one can observe 2,000 years of architectural history—Roman remains, the network of narrow streets in the Old Town, the 19th Century Eixample district with its original examples of Modernista architecture—contrasting with the ultramodern showpieces that continue to redesign its skyline.
Where You’ll Study
The Universitat Pompeu Fabra was created in 1990. It offers degrees in law, economics, business, social sciences, communications, humanities, and technology. Features include its highly dedicated teaching staff, small class size, focus on technology, and an international outlook. The University is located throughout Barcelona, with buildings near the Ramblas, the Olympic Village, and the port.
The CIEE Study Center in Barcelona, Spain, is located in two adjoining historic buildings on Passatge Permanyer, near Passeig de Gràcia and Plaza Catalunya, Barcelona’s main square. This historic passatgeway provides a quiet haven in the city center and houses CIEE classrooms, a computer lab, and student lounges.
Housing & Meals
Study abroad students can choose to live in either Spanish homestays (there is also an option to live in a homestay along with another CIEE student) or in a student residencia (residence hall) with other Spanish and international students. These are located in urban settings throughout the city. Students living in a homestay will have breakfast and dinner provided at home, while lunch is at the students’ expense. Kitchen space is allotted the student should they wish to make picnic lunches to bring to campus, and many students choose to eat at the several university-run cafeterias. Students in homestays will have their laundry done for them once a week. Meals and laundry are not included in the student residencia option, but students share fully equipped kitchens where they can prepare their own meals and laundry facilities are available. All homestays and residencias are located within the city of Barcelona, and within 30 minutes by public transportation to the CIEE study center and host institutions.
As space in the residencias is limited, study abroad students who request to live there but cannot be assigned a place are accommodated through a homestay placement. In the event that there are more requests to live in a residencia than the total available spaces, students with more advanced Spanish take priority over those with less Spanish (proficiency level is based on students’ CIEE Spanish course pre-registration and academic background in Spanish, as reflected on the transcript). Students who are not assigned the housing option of their choice are notified by the Resident Staff prior to arriving in Barcelona.
The Language and Culture study abroad program is designed for students who are interested in beginning to study the Spanish language or improving on their basic language skills, while taking classes in history, politics, art, or Spanish and Catalan culture.
All students enroll in beginning or intermediate Spanish at the UPF and choose three electives from either CIEE courses or Hispanic and European Studies Program (HESP) courses at UPF. HESP courses focus on the emerging European Union and Spain, giving students a deeper understanding of the European Union and Spain’s role in its formation. CIEE encourages students to take a minimum of two HESP courses in order to facilitate their integration in the University and its culture. CIEE and HESP courses are taught in English and focus on Spanish culture and civilization in the wider context of Europe.
The CIEE courses are taught at our study center Language and HESP courses are taught at UPF, near the Olympic Village.
CIEE and HESP courses are academically challenging, dynamic, and involve daily reading and homework assignments, as well as regular attendance at lectures. HESP class size does not exceed 35 students. CIEE courses rarely exceed 20 students. UPF language courses have an average of 15 to 18 students per class. UPF classrooms are modern, comfortable, and equipped with the most up-to-date technology used for instruction.
The fall semester program begins in early September and ends just before Christmas. The spring semester program begins in early January and runs through the end of April. Students are not allowed to arrive later or depart earlier than the dates proposed, and early departure for or late return from vacation is not allowed. Any extended travel should take place prior to the start of the program, during vacation periods, or upon completion of the study abroad program.