Barcelona SAE

Calle Diputació 92 Barcelona, 08015 Spain

About Barcelona SAE

Year Founded: 2009

Barcelona SAE is not your typical third party provider. Barcelona SAE offers semester, summer, and year-long study abroad and internship opportunities in the beautiful and dynamic city of Barcelona. Our sole focus is Barcelona and our programs are among the most affordable. At Barcelona SAE, we understand that study abroad programs are about more than just the best academics available. That's why our programs facilitate cultural immersion and our students leave feeling as though they have a real connection with the city of Barcelona and its people. All aspects of our program incorporate experiential learning in order to open the eyes of our students to an ever-growing global world. We also offer pre-professional internships, direct enrollment, faculty-led and customized programs.

Discover Programs

Intern Abroad Through Barcelona SAE Internships: Experience Culture and Boost Your Resume

Spain : Barcelona

Imagine working in an international company in Barcelona, improving your Spanish, experiencing the culture and boosting your resume. You can do it all, with Barcelona SAE! The...

Study Abroad at the BIC for the Summer with Barcelona SAE

Spain : Barcelona

Spend some time this summer improving your Spanish skills and earning credit for classes you take in English at The Barcelona International College (BIC) through the Barcelona...

Study Abroad at the UB for the Summer with Barcelona SAE

Spain : Barcelona

In the language and culture course, you will make Barcelona your classroom with city visits by local professors as an integral part of the class. Program duration is four...

Study Abroad at the UAB for the Spring Semester with BSAE

Spain : Barcelona

The Study Abroad Experience through the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona gives students the chance to study intensive Spanish language and take electives in your major,...

Study Abroad at the BIC for the Fall Semester with BSAE

Spain : Barcelona

Imagine learning a little more about the history of Spain through a cooking class, or learning about Southern Spain's traditions while enjoying a Flamenco show. Get to know...

Barcelona SAE's new programs at UPF!

Spain : Barcelona

Check out Barcelona SAE’s new programs at the Universidad de Pompeu Fabra (UPF)! BarcelonaSAE offers four new programs at UPF: Hispanic and European Studies (HESP),

Study Abroad at the UB for the Fall Semester with BSAE

Spain : Barcelona

The study abroad options through the Barcelona SAE at the University of Barcelona are for those students with at least some Spanish language background who want to take all...

Study Abroad at the UAB for the Summer with Barcelona SAE

Spain : Barcelona

The Study Abroad Experience through the Barcelona SAE and Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona gives students the chance to study intensive Spanish language and take electives...

Study Abroad at the UAB for the Fall Semester with BSAE

Spain : Barcelona

The Study Abroad Experience through the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona gives students the chance to study intensive Spanish language and take electives in your major,

Summer Multi-Country Program: Barcelona & Rome

Spain : Barcelona

The Summer Mediterranean Culture Studies Program in Barcelona and Rome is an 8 week program that allows you to spend the summer in two well known and beautiful cities in

January Term at Barcelona International College

Spain : Barcelona

The January term (J-term) program offered at Barcelona International College (BIC) is held for three weeks in January and perfect for students looking to study abroad over...

Professional Development Internship Experience

Spain : Barcelona

The 4-week Professional Development Internship Experience will maximize students' time to help them gain work experience and build a job portfolio while they have an experience...

Summer Program at the European Institute of Design

Spain : Barcelona

The European Institute of Design opened its headquarters in Barcelona in 2002. During Barcelona SAE's summer 4 week program students will take classes taught by top experts...

Experience a Living Classroom in Barcelona this Summer!

Spain : Barcelona

Get ready to pack more into a summer in Barcelona than you could ever imagine! Not only will you improve your Spanish, but you will also experience Barcelona through fun

Study Abroad at the UB for the Spring Semester with BSAE

Spain : Barcelona

Barcelona SAE offers study abroad options at the University of Barcelona for those students with at least some Spanish language background who want to take all of their courses...

Study Abroad at the BIC for the Spring Semester with BSAE

Spain : Barcelona

Imagine learning a little more about the history of Spain through a cooking class, or learning about Southern Spain's traditions while enjoying a Flamenco show. Get to know...


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Alumni Interviews

Staff Interviews

  • Rich Kurtzman - Executive Director

    Rich Kurtzman - Executive Director

    Rich Kurtzman is the Executive Director of Barcelona Study Abroad Experience (BSAE), a study and internship provider based in Barcelona, Spain. With a graduate degree in Spanish Applied Linguistics from the University of Illinois – Chicago, Rich has been a resident of Barcelona since 2002 though he is originally from Chicago. Teacher, presenter, and program organizer are all a part or Rich’s extensive background and experience. His studies of Spanish and Russian led him toward the field of international education, and he has been in the field ever since.

    Rich cooking up a mean paella for 15 students.
    Rich cooking up a mean paella for 15 students.

    You studied Spanish and Russian at Illinois Wesleyan University as an undergrad. Where did your interest in these two languages come from?

    People always ask me if I grew up with other languages because of my love of learning them, but the only Spanish my mom speaks is hola, gracias, café con leche, and that´s it. I started studying Spanish in 7th grade because that’s what you did back then and it came easy to me so I continued on through college. My freshman year at Illinois Wesleyan University I had an extra class to take, so I decided to try Russian since my sister was studying abroad in St. Petersburg. I was hooked. Next thing I knew I was organizing a summer study abroad in St. Petersburg too!

    The highlight of studying these two languages has to be when I took an upper division Russian class while studying abroad in Madrid. If you didn’t understand in Russian, you had to get the explanation in Spanish. 

    You’ve taught Spanish to international students, you’ve directed study abroad programs, and acted as resident director in Spain. What is the most important lesson you learned as a teacher, which you now use at BSAE?

    While teaching, I learned the importance of really getting to know each student as an individual. That is the great thing about teaching is that you get to know the students so well through the classes and homework assignments. When you do that, you can tailor a program to their needs and interests, which is what we try to do at Barcelona SAE even though I’m not currently teaching.

    You are an American expat married to a Brit, with a young son. Is your son Catalán first?

    Our son is only 15 months old, so I’m not sure he’s old enough to know yet, but the cultural identity confusion will come soon. We speak to him in English at home (my wife speaks in British English and I in American English), he goes to daycare five days a week in Catalan, and he hears us speaking Spanish with our friends and out-and-about. He’ll be trilingual by the time he’s four years old – one of the amazing things about living in Barcelona and a truly bilingual city. 

    You have worked for many of the prestigious larger study abroad organizations in Spain, how does Barcelona SAE differ from those programs?

    I have learned a great deal from the other companies I worked with and respect them tremendously. Barcelona SAE is unique in that we are the Barcelona specialists and focus all of our resources on this fabulous Mediterranean capital. Because we specialize in one geographic region, we can keep our costs low to students and we can include more cultural activities than most others. For instance, we have weekly cultural activities that range from getting to know a different neighborhood of the city, to a cultural dinner with a local mentor eating pulpo (octopus), to salsa dancing classes and Spanish cooking classes.

    Your study abroad focus seems to be on acculturation and providing cultural immersion for your students. Barcelona is a popular destination for study abroad students and interns; how do you provide cultural immersion surrounded by so many international students?

    One of our main areas of expertise is increasing the students’ cultural immersion and awareness. Barcelona is a city that you can fall in love with after spending just a couple hours there – the social atmosphere, the gorgeous scenery, the food, the beach, the mountains, the city’s activities and so on. This is why it’s such a popular destination for not just US study abroad, but it’s a top destination for European university students on exchange programs. The thing about Barcelona is that there is more than meets the eye and I’ve gotten to see that over the last 12 years living there.

    All of the on-site staff are so passionate about what Barcelona has to offer and it is obvious to all of our students. This passion is what makes it so easy for us to bring that to the students and fit it into every aspect of Barcelona SAE programming.

    What did your own study abroad experience as an undergrad in Illinois mean to you?

    I had never left the country until I studied abroad as a sophomore in St. Petersburg, Russia. That experience opened my eyes to how narrow our views can be if we don´t get out and experience other cultures. This means: finding meaningful interaction with people of other cultures, learning new languages, getting lost, struggling with and then overcoming culture shock.

    My own experiences showed me the beauty of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. I love that first feeling of confusion and challenge when entering a new culture, then getting to the point where it feels comfortable.

    Did your parents support you in your study abroad dreams? Do they support you living abroad?

    I think my parents just want me to be happy and they know that living abroad, and especially in Barcelona, is what makes me happy. They support the opportunities that I have and the opportunities that Barcelona SAE is giving so many students to live their dreams. And, let’s face it; Barcelona is a great place for them to visit. 

    If you hadn’t studied overseas in Spain and Russia, what other country would have been at the top of your list?

    Where to begin?! My work as an intercultural consultant helping executives from multinational companies from around the world makes me want to visit every country they come from. I have worked with men and women from about 15 different countries and I would love to jump on a plane right now and visit any one of them.

    But if I had to choose one, at the top of my list would probably be China. It’s a culture that has always fascinated me and I’ve heard from other Americans who have lived there that it’s very hard to acclimate. I want to experience that and observe it for myself. I’ve also been practicing a martial art that comes from China for about 7 years – it´s called Wing Chun Kung Fu. I’d love to go there and have them show me how it’s done.

    The majority of college students studying in Spain are women, why should more guys study abroad?

    Why don’t more guys study abroad? It’s a question that I haven’t been able to answer. Why wouldn't you see the world while it’s logistically so easy? Improve your resume with the skills you gain while abroad? Build intense, life-long friendships? Learn a new language? Become more independent? Challenge yourself? More guys should study abroad for the same reasons everyone should study abroad! Come on guys, this is your chance. 

  • Rachael Kacos - Student Advisor & Partner Relations Coordinator

    Student Advisor & Partner Relations Coordinator of BSAE

    Rachael became passionate about the field of international education after studying abroad herself, and she just recently received her masters in Intercultural Relations. Rachael loves working with students who are interested in studying, interning, or traveling abroad in order to gain different perspectives and to enjoy new people and places. Working as Barcelona SAE’s Student Advisor and Partner Relations Coordinator is a match made in heaven!

    Barcelona SAE 2013 interns at Montserrat in Spain.

    Rachael and Jazmin, one of the fall 2013 Barcelona SAE interns, at Montserrat in Spain.

    You’re from Michigan, and are a big Spartans fan. How does this work sitting next to your colleague, Kristin, a tried a true Wolverines fan?

    Well, I have to admit, looking up and seeing the Spartan flag alongside the Wolverine flag in our office is a bit of a bummer. However, both teams are from MI in the end, so its like a little piece of home here in Northampton! It also helps that the Spartans are dominating the football field this season… ;)

    What does your day-to-day look like as Barcelona SAE’s Student Advisor?

    There is really no “typical day” as the Student Advisor, which is why I love my job so much! One day I may be interviewing a student who wants to participate in a Barcelona internship through us, another day I am advising a student on the different programs we offer, or on the visa process, and another day I am working with a partner company that wants to send students through us. It is great to have such variety – never a dull moment!

    Your role focuses on student advising and campus outreach, what is the most frequently asked question you get from students? 

    That is a tough one! I would say most of the students want to know how easy it is to pick up Spanish while in Barcelona since the official language is Catalan. The answer, very easy since the Catalonia natives speak both Catalan and Spanish, and are willing to speak Spanish with anyone willing to try.

    While in undergrad you studied in Greece, and have traveled to a variety of places in Europe, what attracted you to work with a program focused on Barcelona specifically? 

    I have always been interested in the Spanish culture, specifically the Catalan culture in Spain. It is very interesting! It is also such a vibrant and lively city, and one that is so well known around the world for its welcoming people, architecture, beaches, and overall culture.

    Before joining the Barcelona SAE team full time you were an intern with them in Barcelona. How did this experience prepare you for your current role?

    The internship through Barcelona SAE was amazing in preparing me for this role. In the Barcelona office, it is an “all hands on deck” kind of situation, so I was able to help the team and be involved in everything from cultural activities with the students and interns, to the mentoring program we offer, to intern site check-ins…it was very beneficial to my growth in the field and in this position.

    You organize and lead some of the cultural activities and excursions when you are onsite in Barcelona, what has been the most memorable?

    I would say the day trip to the Dalí Museum and Besalú was the most interesting. The Dalí museum was a fascinating experience, and Besalú is a secret little Medieval village dating back to the 11th century; it is so picturesque and unique!

    You completed a Masters in Intercultural Relations at Lesley University, how has your degree helped you in your role at Barcelona SAE? 

    In the Intercultural Relations program we learned so much; for my role here what has helped the most is the understanding about working within a different culture and how study abroad programs operate. I am better able to prepare students who are going abroad for the first time, or even for the second or third time. I appreciate my education and am grateful for what the program was able to teach me!

    As the Student Advisor, how do you help participants prepare for the experience of studying or interning abroad?

    Probably the most important aspect of the pre-departure process is getting the students and interns excited and making sure they feel fully supported along the way. We also do a pre-departure webinar so they know what to expect when they get onsite, and so they can learn a bit about the culture before they go.

    What’s the number one piece of advice you would give to a Barcelona SAE student upon their return to the U.S.?

    There is a lot of advice I could give, but I think one of the main things I would say is to stay active and try new things. If you return to the same place a different person, redefine the place. Start a new hobby or sport, make new friends, and keep in contact with those you were abroad with so you can keep the experience alive. 

    What is the most fulfilling aspect of your role with Barcelona SAE?

    I would say sending students overseas to a whole new culture, knowing they will come back with a new perspective on life and the world.

  • Kristin Uyl - University Relations & Marketing Manager

    Kristin Uyl - University Relations & Marketing Manager

    Kristin is the University Relations and Marketing Manager for Barcelona SAE. A Midwest girl at heart, Kristin has traveled to over fifteen different countries on four continents and considers traveling to be one of life’s greatest adventures. In her small amount of spare time, Kristin enjoys following the Dave Matthews Band on tour (61 shows and counting!), obsessing over her dog Bella (a Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix…her pride and joy), cheering for her beloved Detroit Tigers, Michigan Wolverines, and Tennessee Volunteers, and enjoying her new life as New Englander. As the University Relations and Marketing Manager, Kristin loves being able to connect with students directly, to not only tell them about the experiences Barcelona SAE offers, but also show them when they arrive!

    Students at Mt. Tibidabo in the summer with Barcelona SAE staff member
    Kristin and a group of students hiking up Mt. Tibidabo this summer.

    You grew up in the Midwest, what triggered you to venture abroad for the first time?

    Growing up in a small town outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan, I was always curious about the world around me and what was out there. When I was a freshman in high school, my orchestra had the opportunity to participate in a music festival in Northern England. It was my first taste of the international travel bug, and from there, I was absolutely hooked.

    What made you choose Italy for your first formal study abroad experience?

    When I was a sophomore at Grand Valley State University, I became intrigued by a brand new faculty-led program that the Hospitality & Tourism Department put together…and soon after, I found myself enjoying my first study abroad experience in Asti, Italy, and never looked back.

    You also spent a semester in Thailand and worked in New Zealand, what attracted you to a program focused on Spain? How did you get connected to Barcelona SAE?

    After I returned from my short-term study abroad program in Italy, I decided a summer just wasn’t long enough…so I immediately started planning to go abroad for a semester. I had a wonderful study abroad advisor that had suggested the less traditional destination of Thailand, due to the fact that it would align well with my Hospitality & Tourism Management major…and it turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Thailand is such an incredible country with some of the most amazing people, and through that experience, I learned more about myself, others, and life priorities than I ever could have discovered while constricted by the four walls of a classroom.

    After I finished my undergraduate degree, I spent a year in Auckland, New Zealand working for AUT University…and finally had my “lightbulb” moment in figuring out that international education was the field for me. Once I returned to the states, I decided to pursue my master’s degree in College Student Personnel at the University of Tennessee, and upon graduation, I was offered an incredible opportunity with Barcelona SAE. After spending eight weeks in Barcelona this summer working with our programs on-site, I fell completely in love with the city.

    A staff in Barcelona's Park Guell

    Enjoying one of Gaudi's many Barcelona masterpieces, Park Guell.

    What does a typical day look like in your role as University Relations and Marketing Manager?

    Well, a typical day includes everything except for the typical! Most days, one can find me visiting college campuses near or far, or coming up with our next greatest marketing initiative.  I love the variety that my job provides, and truly thrive on the fact that no two days are alike.

    Barcelona SAE runs study and internship abroad programs. Which of your programs is particularly innovative?

    At Barcelona SAE, we really pride ourselves on being the Barcelona experts. Our programs are extremely immersive, and we are proud to be one of the most affordable programs in Barcelona, with the most included.

    We are currently in the process of rolling out a really innovative promotion called the “Barcelona SAE Cultural Credit Card.” It’s very exciting as all semester students that study with us in 2015 will receive a $1,000 pre-paid visa gift card, so that they can truly experience all that Barcelona has to offer. With the card, we’ll encourage our students to maybe go check out a museum they otherwise wouldn’t have seen, or perhaps take a trip to somewhere off the beaten path that they otherwise wouldn’t have visited.

    We really want our students to have an amazing Barcelona experience, and are doing whatever we can to make sure that our programs are accessible and affordable for students with a variety of budgets.

    A staff representing Barcelona SAE in a Study Abroad Fair.

    Kristin representing Barcelona SAE out on the road at the University of Georgia's Study Abroad Fair this fall.

    What advice would you give those who are interested in applying to a Barcelona SAE program?

    Plan early! This is the best piece of advice I can give to a student studying abroad…no matter where they’re going. The earlier one plans, the easier the process will be when it comes to the application process, ensuring credits will transfer properly, etc. And once you’re abroad, make sure to take it all in! The experience goes by SO quickly and it’s something you’ll remember forever, so make sure to enjoy the little things and find a way to document your journey, whether its through photo journals, blogging, etc.

    What sets Barcelona SAE’s programs apart from other study and intern abroad programs?

    I think that one of the best things about Barcelona SAE is how personalized our programs are.  We really get to know our students, and do whatever we can to show them Barcelona through the eyes of a local (as opposed to the tourist birds-eye view). I absolutely love the connections that we as staff are able to make with our students and interns, and it’s such a honor to know that we hopefully made a difference in many young lives.

    You recently finished your Masters degree from the University of Tennessee. How have you been able to apply your studies and research in College Student Personnel to your role as the University and Marketing Manager?

    My masters program was incredibly helpful in preparing me for my career, as I was able to learn about all the different units across a college campus, and how they work together to support study abroad. It’s so great to work for a provider while understanding the dynamics of a university…it really is the best of both worlds. I’m so thankful for my time at the University of Tennessee (GO VOLS!) as it was extremely beneficial in preparing me for a career in international education.

    Barcelona SAE’s programming goes beyond the typical academic experience of studying abroad or interning, and focuses on cultural immersion. How do you go about making sure students are immersed abroad?

    All of our programming focuses on cultural and language immersion, which I believe really sets Barcelona SAE apart. I absolutely love the fact that we are a package deal – so our programs not only include tuition or the internship placement, but also various cultural activities and excursions.

    One of my favorite activities while I was on-site this summer were the cooking classes – we were able to prepare and eat various foods that are such a big part of the culture in Barcelona. We also offer salsa classes, intercambios (language exchange),  barrio tours, cultural dinners, day trips and weekend excursions…and that’s just the beginning. I really love how much we can offer to our students outside of the classroom or internship placement, as it makes for a very well-rounded Barcelona experience.

    What’s the best part of working for Barcelona SAE?

    There are SO many things that I love about my job, but the absolute best part is being able to work with students. Students are the reason that our field even exists, so I absolutely love introducing them to the gorgeous city of Barcelona and all that it can offer to them. My own experiences abroad completely shaped the person I’ve become, so I’m so honored to be able to play a small part in assisting students with their own adventures abroad.

    If you were to get on a plane tomorrow, where would you go first?

    Barcelona, of course! :)