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CIEE Liberal Arts in Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain
Program Terms: Academic Year,
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Sponsor: CIEE 
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2018 02/25/2018 03/15/2018 TBA TBA
Academic Year 2018-2019 02/25/2018 03/15/2018 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Areas of Study: History, Philosophy, Political Science, Pre-Law, Sociology, Spanish Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0
Academic Level: Junior Language of Instruction: Spanish
Housing Options: Dorms, Host Family
Program Description:


Spend a semester or a year in Barcelona, improving your advanced-level Spanish language skills, while immersing yourself in local culture.

Enrolling directly in a Spanish university, you’ll enjoy a wide variety of coursework in the humanities and social sciences, as well as courses in Hispanic and European Studies, all of which are taught in Spanish. And with homestays, internships opportunities, language partners, and a host of cultural activities and excursions, studying abroad in Barcelona offers you an academically challenging, and uniquely immersive intercultural experience.

Study abroad in Barcelona and you will:

  • Advance your language skills by taking courses in Spanish and committing to speaking only Spanish during the program. .
  • Participate in cultural and educational activities, such as excursions to Girona, Tarragona, Seville, Córdoba, Granada, or Madrid.
  • Learn about the complex history of the European Union and Spain's role in it
  • Explore the city with CIEE Guardian Angels (local students who help you get oriented and make the city feel like home)
  • Earn credit and get real work experience through an internship
The CIEE Difference


While advancing your Spanish grammar, composition, and conversation skills through intensive language instruction, you’ll have access to a host of specially designed CIEE courses ranging in subject from History, Communications and Cinema, to Literature, Philosophy, and Politics. Courses in the Humanities, Politics, and Public Administration are also available through  Universitat Pompeu Fabra.


Enjoy a number of excursions to sites of interest in and around Barcelona. Day trips may include the Dalí Museum in Figueres, the Jewish quarter in Girona, the Roman amphitheater in Tarragona, and the lush Penedés wine region. You’ll also take part in one overnight trip to one of the following locations: Seville and Córdoba, Granada, or Madrid.


CIEE study abroad in Barcelona provides 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 the Intercambio program, which helps improve your oral language skills through exchange with locals.


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, HESP, and the intensive language courses are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours, unless otherwise indicated. Credits and contact hours for regular UPF courses vary.

Program Requirements

All study abroad students take five courses each semester. Students complete an intensive Spanish language course that meets for the first few weeks of the semester, then choose one advanced Spanish language elective for the remainder of the semester. The remaining three courses are chosen from UPF direct enrollment courses, HESP courses, and a CIEE internship. Students with strong Spanish language skills are expected to take one direct enrollment course at UPF.

All students take a Spanish placement exam during orientation from which they are placed in the appropriate Spanish language course. CIEE reserves the right to place participants in the language course for which the student is best prepared based on the results of the exam.

About Barcelona

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 Olympic Village, Poblenou 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.

Students staying for a full academic year have the option of living in an apartment during their second semester. Students are responsible for finding, leasing, and managing their apartment stay. Meals are not included in the apartment option and are the responsibility of the student.

Academic Program

The Liberal Arts study abroad program is designed for students with four or more semesters of Spanish who are interested in significantly improving their language skills while taking classes in Spanish history, politics, literature, and culture, all taught in Spanish.

Students complete an intensive Spanish language course that meets for the first few weeks of the semester, and then choose among advanced language electives for the remainder of the semester. In addition, students select courses from a range of regular, direct enrollment UPF courses with Spanish students; Hispanic and European Studies Program (HESP) courses taught in Spanish and specifically designed for American students; and an internship. All courses are taught in Spanish.

Academic Culture

CIEE courses and the internship seminar are held at the CIEE Study Center. CIEE language courses typically have no more than 12 students in a class, and content courses rarely exceed 20 students. HESP courses, held at the UPF, are academically challenging, dynamic, and involve daily reading and homework assignments, as well as regular attendance at lectures. Class size does not exceed 35 students.
UPF classes may have up to 90 students in a class. Emphasis is on attendance at daily lectures and careful note taking. The syllabus is not as detailed as an American syllabus, and students are expected to decide for themselves which readings from the syllabus they need to study in order to fill in gaps missed during the lectures. With the recent introduction of the Bologna system, more emphasis is being placed on class participation and continued work during the term. There are usually final exams scheduled at the end of each term. UPF classrooms are modern, comfortable, and equipped with the most up-to-date technology used for instruction.

The fall semester begins in early September and ends just before Christmas. The spring semester begins in early January and runs through the end of April. 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 program.