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IES Abroad Barcelona - Liberal Arts & Business

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

My experience in Spain

Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I took the big step to go to Barcelona, Spain for my 2016 spring semester of college. It was hard to leave my family, but once I made it and met my loving host mom and great roommates I knew I would be alright until April. I was able to not only improve my Spanish, but I got to do so in an actual Spanish speaking country. The Spanish culture was what I enjoyed the most. They have a collectivist society which was something new. They take the time out to get to know their neighbors and care for one another. When eating they actually sat together and talked instead of being on their phones. It was a great experience being abroad. I learned so much about myself that I may not have known until later in life if I had not gone. I am not fine with traveling alone, spending the night in an airport, or hoping on a plane and going to another country. It was all worth it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

If only I could go back

I always knew that I would be studying abroad at some point during my college career. Coming in, I did not know where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to explore and fulfill a dream. I chose Barcelona because of my limited knowledge in Spanish as well as the desire to be located in Europe for a semester. I enrolled in IES, at first, only because it was the study abroad program that affiliated with my university. After leaving this program, I came to the realization that IES is one of the best programs offered for studying abroad around the world.

This program challenges you not only academically, but also personally. Being able to be in classes with no more than 25 students was a big transition for me, and I was finally able to establish a relationship with every one of my professors. If you go to a large school like I do, I would highly recommend choosing a program like IES.

I was also challenged by many of my professors to experience new things while studying in Spain. Everyone encouraged seeking new places to go, but to learn something about yourself while on your journey. I even found enough courage to travel one weekend by myself. Before this semester of studying abroad, I would have never imagined doing something like this, but now I know that I can travel to so many different places and not have to worry about taking care of myself.

Picking how to stay while in Barcelona can be challenging, but the best choice is the residence hall. I made a group of friends from students all over the US as well as others from Spain. Living in an apartment or a homestay does not give you the ability to meet and live with more than a few people for the whole semester, and that can be a problem at times. Being able to see so many different people each and every day brought me so much joy, and I would not change that for the world.

The IES center is also perfectly located in the city of Barcelona. Right at the tip of Plaza Catalunya, I was able to walk over to La Rambla during my lunch break as well as exploring the Gothic District for hours on end. You can find almost anything you may want or need in just this one place. Barcelona is becoming one of those cities where every study abroad student in Europe puts on their travel list. This city certainly cannot be seen in just one weekend. It took me an entire semester to barely see all of the city.

Studying in Barcelona was absolutely amazing, but it would not have been as great if it was not for IES. This program did everything in their power to make sure that every student was enjoying their semester. They truly do care and they show it with their overall care and persistence to provide every type of opportunity possible for their students. Choose Barcelona. Choose IES. Enjoy a semester you will never forget.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I wouldn't do anything differently

I took the biggest leap of faith traveling abroad my senior year. I didn't know anything about IES, I didn't know anyone else in the program, or going abroad for that matter. I was assigned to live in a home stay, by choice, and all I knew was the ladies' name and address before I arrived. And yet, I truly enjoyed every single second in Spain and with IES.

IES is there for you throughout your entire journey. They provided us with programs during orientation and throughout the semester to make friends and bond. They gave us useful tips and advice to getting around. It was so easy to bond with the administration and professors and you could really tell they want to be there for you and help. I felt as if I was at my home university.

The IES center, where classes are held was awesome. Brand new, great computers and free wifi (which every study abroad student learns to appreciate). Classes, for me, were enjoyable, yet challenging. The professors understand you are studying abroad but that doesn't stop them from wanting you to learn. I managed to do work and have a social life and go out. 200 people in my program and everyone was so friendly and nice. I became friends with a lot of people through classes, programs, home stays, and night life. It was really an awesome time.

My home stay mom was so loving and welcoming, I like to refer to her as my "abuela" or grandmother. The first day she told me "My house is your house." Her cooking was really good, and definitely enough food. She really wanted to get to know you and hear about your day. She was so funny and understanding. It was really amazing only speaking Spanish too. Definitely helpful and a great way to practice. If you are debating on living in a home stay, do it. All my friends were in home stays and we all went out together almost every night.

I wouldn't have had as good of an experience abroad without IES. Everything about it was great. Even their trips to other cities throughout Spain. IES made my study abroad experience unforgettable.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Once In A Lifetime Experience

This is truly your once in a lifetime opportunity you need to take advantage of. Study abroad in Barcelona with IES and you are guaranteed to have the time of your life. Not only is this program perfect for any business student and many others, but Barcelona is the coolest place on Earth. This city makes other students from other cities regret their decision and wish they studied in Barcelona. Where else can you go to the beach or hike up to insane views of a beautiful city in between class? This city is epic. IES has its own program center right in the center of Barcelona on the main plaza with great professors and administrators. Classes were fairly easy and professors didn't give much homework, in addition to no classes on Friday, making traveling every weekend a breeze. Living in a dorm was the best housing choice by far, making meeting friends super easy while emersing yourself in the culture of the city. Overall, this program was purely amazing. My semester abroad was truly epic.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Academics

    6

IES Barcelona: A Program to Remember

IES Barcelona is a great program that deserves praise for what it accomplishes. Barcelona in of itself is an amazing place to live – the city is rich with culture, opportunities, great people, fantastic food, and has an international airport to take you all over the world when you have time.

The IES Barcelona administration is great, everything is well organized, and they work hard to provide a great time for the students – from a mandatory trip we took to Tarragona in the beginning, to trips you can sign up for. Even though I prefer traveling with a small group of people and booking my own stuff to do and hostels and whatnot, I loved the IES trips I went on. They were fun, well planned out, and great experiences.

Yes, a lot of the fun of study abroad is what you do outside the classroom, but you do spend time in a classroom so it's important for me to note what classes are like. I had a few classes through IES that fascinated me. One of them - Self and Identity in a Postmodern World was one of the best classes I think I've ever taken in my career as a student. Others I took to satisfy general requirements, and while they weren't quite up my alley, I learned a lot from them. I found I was gaining a lot of knowledge about the architecture and the city, and it made my stay in Barcelona even better.

Overall, this is an awesome program. Suggestion for you should you do this program – a) live in a homestay or a dorm because either will likely immerse you more in Barcelona culture in terms of people (trust me so worth it), b) take classes related to the city, you'll be surprised what you retain and how much better it makes your time in the city, and c) travel everywhere and explore Spain, and if you leave Spain don't just go to European cities – Marrakesh, Morocco was without a doubt one of the best places I went.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Right Choice

I couldn't have made a better choice in coming to Barcelona through IES Abroad. The staff is full of wonderful people and the whole program is organized in a way that helped me to take full advantage of my time abroad. Barcelona is an incredible, vibrant city full of life and color. You will never run out of things to do; from the beach to the surrounding mountains and each and every city street in between, there is so much to fun to be had. The culture is wonderful and the people are full of passion - something you must experience yourself to truly understand. I lived with a local family and consider it one of my favorite parts of the experience. I left at the end of the semester with a new state of mind, open eyes, and numerous indescribable memories. If that's what you're looking for in a study abroad program, come to Barcelona through IES Abroad!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    6

Spain Will Change Your Life

Studying in Barcelona was the best decision I ever made. The city is full of culture, adventure and an amazing social scene. Every part of the city is easily accessible via metro/bus. You will find anything and everything that you're looking for by coming here. Barcelona's culture and history is so rich, the food is an amazing experience and the people are awesome. Whether your social preference is partying or chilling with cheese and wine, you'll be happy you came. My favorite thing to do here was to wander and get lost in the city. This is how I found all of my favorite places. Most of the students traveled on the weekends to other countries. I met so many wonderful friends just sitting in the airport figuring out we were both IES students looking for adventure. This experience in Barcelona has given me so many friends with such a special bond we will share forever. Most of my friends lived in home stays: which they loved because they had great host families. I stayed in a dorm. I loved this. It was a great mix of 12 Americans to give me comfort in a dorm of 200 Spanish students. Most people were dissatisfied with the Sodexo food (which still has a Spanish flair) but I enjoyed it even though it did get repetitive. Academics were fine. Professors are kind but a bit jumbled. Really not a lot courseload wise but you do need to put effort into it. All in all, GO TO SPAIN AND MAKE THE BEST MEMORIES OF YOUR LIFE.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

My home away from home

My name is Maddie and I studied in Barcelona, Spain with IES's Liberal Arts & Business program for the Spring 2016 semester. I found Barcelona rather intimidating when I first arrived in El Prat airport on January 7, 2016. When I met the IES administrators, however, everything changed. The staff at IES answered all my burning questions, directed me to my new home and best of all, spoke fluent English. The staff at IES were staples in my day to day life in Barcelona. Be that my lovely Spanish teacher, the staff who guided IES through different cities in Spain, my Barcelona Cultural Companion or the staff making me emergency doctor appointments. Through IES guidance I was able to complete everything on my "Barcelona Must See List" and more. Including an amazing castel festival at La Sagrada Familia just two blocks from my flat! Hi!

My time in Spain only enhanced my understanding of international economics and international affairs, both of which are my degree focuses. The program afforded me many cultural immersion opportunities while also permitting me to create my own adventures! Happy "studying!"

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Interning and studying abroad in Barcelona

I studied with IES Abroad for my spring semester in 2016. In addition to studying at IES Abroad, I also interned at a children's teaching hospital in Barcelona, which was an incredible but emotional experience. The internship advisors were extremely helpful when assisting me with finding an internship and communicating with supervisors on-site. I would highly recommend the internship program at IES, but be prepared to have less of a social life than other students who are studying in Barcelona. Academics at IES were much more difficult than I expected, but I loved my teachers and they were pretty approachable if I ever had an issue or questions. Overall, interning and studying abroad with IES Abroad was an enriching, eye-opening experience. You will work hard but get a lot out of your experience, and I would recommend it to anyone ready to explore new cultures and study in a new country.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Abroad at last

I have wanted to study abroad in Spain ever since I began taking Spanish in the fifth grade, so when I was accepted into IES’s Liberal Arts & Business Program in Barcelona, I was thrilled. In the months leading up to takeoff, I busily checked off pre-departure lists, scheduling appointments to obtain my student visa and everything in-between. All of this, I have to say, was made a great deal easier by the help of my study abroad advisor, who was in contact with me many a time before my departure date. My emotions were, predictably, a mess, the day that I hugged my parents goodbye, but armed with a 2015 picture-filled guide to Barcelona and a jumbo-sized bag of pretzel m & m’s I felt relatively ready.
Arrival in Barcelona was a frenzy of color and smiles- all of my peers were riding out a delusional joy-filled exhaustive state, and Cèsar himself was there to greet us. Then came our first chance to actually use the Spanish that we had been practicing in our classrooms for quite some time: the taxi ride to what would be our home for the next four months. I’d be lying if I said it went particularly smoothly, but luckily enough, my co-passenger and I safely made it to our destination on Gran Vía, directly across from the very classy Bingo Billiards.
The integration into the culture and vibrancy of Barcelona was swift and wonderful- and I can say that IES facilitated all of this with their helpful introductory meetings and fun, free activities, from a cycling tour of the city to a gorgeous Mediterranean lunch overlooking the sea. From all of these engaging, informative, trips, I met many of my peers, and began to forge relationships that would only grow throughout my time there.
Academically, I was able to take fascinating classes and learn from wonderful teachers. From Sports & Society in Spain to Banditry & the Mafias in the Mediterranean- I was able to delve into topics in an environment that was open to questioning and dialogue.
What truly made my experience so magical, however, wasn’t necessarily the incredible museums and beaches and restaurants and castles and nights out. No, it wasn’t the mouth-watering food or breath-taking views (though those certainly did help). No, it was the people that I met. My professors, my peers, my friends. I came into study abroad not knowing what to expect but eager to find out- and what I was met with was more intelligence, kindness, and hilarity then I could have ever hoped for. I realized how you can click with those who you thought you would never click with, how integral just being able to try is, and how each and every person and each and every part of the world has so many wonderful things to offer. IES made this all possible- and I can’t recommend it enough.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

The perfect city

Before studying abroad, I could never have predicted that I would come to call another country home. The 3 and a half months I spent in Barcelona were the greatest of my life, and I wouldn’t trade the experience I had there for anything.
Though I was nervous to leave my family and friends, I felt completely prepared for my travels thanks to IES’s detailed pre-departure information. Before, during, and after the program, IES was there for students every step of the way. The staff was attentive and genuinely cared about their students’ safety, health and happiness.
Another great thing about IES is how much care they put into finding students the proper living accommodations. I was placed in a homestay in Horta, a neighborhood in the Northeastern corner of Barcelona. It didn’t matter to me that Horta was far away from the IES center because my homestay was absolutely perfect. My host mom immediately made my roommate and me feel at home. She not only taught me to speak Spanish, but also many countless things about culture, food, kindness, family, and life. She was the happiest, most kind hearted person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
The city of Barcelona is unspeakably beautiful. I was worried about living in a city, especially considering how prevalent pickpocketing is known to be in Barcelona. It turned out that within a few weeks I had a thorough understanding of the layout of the city, public transportation, how to protect your belongings, and, most importantly, how to stay safe. The city offers never ending options for things to do, sights to see, places to eat, and stores to shop. And if you do want to escape the city for a day, Barcelona is located just south of Costa Brava – a must-visit.
I would encourage anyone and everyone to do this program. Barcelona is such a diverse and exciting city – there is something for everyone here. It was also a great location for weekend travel, since, as a big city, there were reasonably priced flights from El Prat Airport to anywhere you could want to go. Then again, you might find yourself in this city not wanting to go anywhere at all…

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Best four months of my life!

I had an amazing four months in Barcelona with IES. The housing option I chose – homestay – allowed me to experience Spanish culture and work on my Spanish speaking abilities. The other housing option available, apartments (which many of my friends had), made it easier to socialize since guests are not allowed in the homestay. IES also understood that we were there to experience Europe, not just to take classes. They gave us every Friday off, allowing us to take weekend trips. IES never assigned an overbearing workload or made anything too difficult, so I was able to spend a lot of time experiencing Barcelona and immersing myself in Spanish culture. At the same time, I was impressed by the quality of instruction I did receive. The instructors were intelligent and highly qualified, and we often had "field studies" in which we would go out as a class into the city and learn something about Barcelona. Overall, I was very impressed with my semester in Barcelona. It was the best four months of my life!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Living in Barcelona: An Irreplaceable Experience

When I began college, never in a million years did I think I would study abroad in Europe. When I decided to, I just had a good feeling that I would enjoy Spain and this city. What could be better than being on the Mediterranean? Nothing actually, it took some adjusting to but I came to love this city and my surroundings.
IES did a great job at getting students settled in and helping them adjust. Upon arrival at the airport, they gave you directions on exactly what to do. The facilitators were very helpful and told students great places to go, where to get the best food, and the unsafe places to avoid. Professors were also very understanding with schoolwork and projects, as they knew students would want to be traveling to other places in Europe. The facility was located in the heart of the city, and looked very new. It was very clean, had computer labs, study lounges, and clean classrooms. It was located at the center of everything. I went on several IES weekend trips, day trips, and after school adventures, and I had nothing but positive experiences. The chaperones were great, everything was planned out well, and you got to see the heart of where you were visiting. They provided many opportunities to go to other cities like Madrid, Granada, or the Basque Country, but also local things to do like wine tasting, cooking class, and hikes within the city. They really helped me to go out and learn the city I was living in. The potential they gave you to explore was the best part.
My living situation was a home stay in an apartment with an 84 year old woman who was the sweetest thing. My roommate and I ate dinner with her every night as we had nice dinner conversations, only in Spanish. Speaking in Spanish also helped me learn the city and the people within in.
IES turned into a very fun experience for me, where I got to meet new people in the same position as me, who also wanted to explore and learn a new lifestyle. Barcelona is an amazing city, with so many opportunities of having fun and exploring. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to this day. IES was a great program who will help you explore the world.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

An Incredible Experience: Barcelona

I never thought that I would study abroad. I could not imagine leaving my school during January term, a mere 4 weeks, much less months! But, on a whim, I decided to take a leap of faith and study in Spain. It was life-changing. I know that everyone says that, but it truly was.

I was put into a homestay where I became like family. My homestay parents would do literally anything for us and told us that we were their children. I learned more Spanish than in could hope for, watching game shows at dinner and sharing stories while watching football games.

My professors were amazing. All of them were so helpful and really wanted us to become integrated and feel a part of the Spanish culture while we were there. They understood the balance between a vigorous academic setting, and allowing enough time for us to explore outside the classroom. I never felt as if I was too overwhelmed.

I traveled to different countries, met people from all over the world, and gained a whole new perspective. I am now, more than ever, invested in understanding international issues and have learned the importance of being knowledgeable we are about the events taking place around us. My eyes were opened to so much, and it is something that has changed my life in many ways.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A True Barcelona Experience

I had the privilege of studying abroad last semester with IES Abroad in Barcelona, Spain. My first contact with IES Abroad began on a positive note and continued throughout the fall. While I was still in the states, I was emailed by an IES Abroad representative who answered all of my questions-and I had plenty-by both email and phone. The process of acquiring a student visa, filling out paperwork and packing all the right things was made so much more painless with the help of IES’s willingness to answer any questions I had. When I arrived in Barcelona, I was greeted in the airport by IES staff members and given instructions on how to find my homestay. I lived with an 80 year old host mom who spoke only Spanish. As a beginner level Spanish speaker, I was originally very intimidated by this. However, I came to appreciate her inability to speak English as it forced me to practice Spanish and made me a much better Spanish speaker! By the end of the program, I could communicate with her very well, and that is one of my proudest accomplishments in Barcelona. I took five classes at the IES Abroad Center. The classes had “Field Study” components that gave students the opportunity to travel throughout Barcelona and physically see the material we were learning about in class. This was especially useful for my Architecture class. My professors were great and really cared about my success in the classes. They were extremely down to earth and caring. The work load was manageable and I had plenty of time to explore the beautiful city. The IES staff really goes above and beyond to take care of their students. I felt very safe and cared for throughout the semester. Any problems I had I knew I had someone to talk to who genuinely cared and could come up with a solution for me. IES also organized several events for students outside of class that were either free or very decently priced to give students a chance to get to know each other and immerse ourselves in the culture. I hiked several gorgeous mountains and ate way too much yummy Spanish food thanks to IES’s generosity. It didn't take long at all for IES to feel like my family while I was in Spain. I will always be so grateful to have had such an awesome semester abroad, and I owe so much of my gratitude to IES for the memories I will never forget.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Amazing Semester in Barcelona

Studying abroad in Barcelona was definitely one of the best decisions I have made. Although I was nervous to go from a small town to Barcelona, IES did a good job of helping students transition. I was very worried about having to ride the metro to classes but it was quick and easy. I loved living in a homestay and fulling immersing myself in the Spanish culture by only speaking Spanish in my homestay and eating traditional Spanish food cooked by my host mom for breakfast and dinner. At the end of our stay my host mom even taught my roommates and I how to cook our favorite dishes like paella. The program was nice because we had Fridays off allowing for longer weekend trips throughout Europe. I would strongly recommend going on the weekend trips IES recommends because everything is scheduled for you in advance.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    8

Semester in Barcelona

Studying abroad in Barcelona is something I will always cherish and will forever be a significant life event for me. Barcelona is truly a unique city, combining the ancient Roman times with the modern post-Franco era. I particularly loved how each district, or barrio, in the city had its own distinct character, which made exploring even more fun. I was satisfied with the IES program, from having professional and excellent teachers to helping with personal needs. Through my IES apartment located in a residential neighborhood, I got to experience Barcelona as a local and excel my proficiency of Spanish. Barcelona is an amazing city that has countless things to offer, and I cannot wait to return to this city one day.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

IES Barcelona, Good luck leaving!

I will be forever thankful for the experience I was given by IES Barcelona. This to me was the turning point in my life and how I viewed the world. Because of this program, I now plan on working abroad when I am finished with my undergrad. From the classes to the staff, the IES Barcelona program is without a doubt one of the best in the world. I enjoyed every single day I spent in that city, whether it was a good or bad day. I would recommend this program to any and EVERYBODY!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    7

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    7

Viva Catalunya!

Attending pro-Catalonian independence rallies is one of my most memorable experience while on the program.

I've always wanted to visit Barcelona since playing the Barcelona level on Tony Hawk's Underground 2 so I chose this program.

My accommodations homestay with a roommate, we each have separate rooms.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Viva Catalunya!

Barcelona is a fantastic city, the IES staff are helpful and awesome. My host parents are incredible and cook the best food ever. I love Catalonia and want to live here!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health and Safety

    6

  • Social Life

    8

A whirlwind ride...

Barcelona is a spectacular city full of historical, architectural, cultural, and artistic significance. It's a great place to start learning Spanish, though not the best for advanced Spanish speakers because the city is so international. For the most part, I was satisfied with the program itself - I loved my photography class and Spanish class, and my literature courses were engaging. My work-travel life was well balanced, and I felt like I was learning valuable things for my major while I was exploring the world. Plus, Barcelona is just a fantastic place to live: beach, mountains, urban and ancient buildings, parks and gardens, counterculture...there's something that everyone can find and enjoy!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Social Life

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Academics

    6

My Experience In Barcelona

For me, picking one experience that I would call my favorite would be hard to do. My most memorable experiences abroad would have to be doing urban exploration in the city. Never in my life have I been exposed to this kind of architectural and cultural monuments. My favorite things of this nature in Barcelona were the Castle on Monjuic and La Sagrata Famila.

I chose this program because it didn't require a strong background in Spanish and I could continue to peruse classes in major abroad that would count back home.

The living accommodations I had mixed feelings about, certain people I talked to loved where they lived while other (including myself) felt they were something not so spectacular. I happened to live in a dorm (which was my first choice). What I soon realized was that most of the Spanish students and staff seemed to alienate us (the study abroad students) for some unknown reason. We were hazed by the senior students for a solid week before IES stepped in and made them stop. The staffs on the other hand seem to not want anything to do with us and made us feel alone when we needed something handed by them. Other than the issues with the staff and students, the dorm was in the middle of a beautiful, safe area of Barcelona which had very easy access to the IES center and the rest of the city via the metro/bus.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    7

My Experience In Barcelona - IES Abroad - Liberal Arts and Business

Studying abroad in a foreign country seemed like the last thing I wanted to do entering the summer before I left for Spain. As the time drew closer, the excitement and adventures that would await me across the globe turned that fear and reluctance into pure excitement and adrenaline. This program did not let my expectations down.
The experiences I had abroad were things I thought I would never get to experience in my life. Things like being present for a FC Barcelona Vs. Real Madrid game blew my expectations of how much life and spirit a city could really have. The traveling I did abroad through IES and on my own really opened my eyes to an entirely different world (literally and mentally). Through IES we went to places such as Tarragona and Girona, two cities with an incredible amount of history which me and my friends really took to heart. You would never expect to see partial castles and massive roman ruins that close to home. Some of the greatest memories I have abroad were on the trips lead by the IES staff. The staff was very knowledgeable about the areas and regions we were traveling in and the destinations we explored. They would also add their own insight and include information that only the locals would know, it made the experience that much more enjoyable.
The IES staffs made the city really feel like home once we arrived at the airport. They gave us clear and concise instructions on what areas to avoid at night, which areas had fun activities to enjoy and where the most famous parts of the city were. They made sure we were fully prepared to live and function in Barcelona. The staff was also accessible either by phone or in their office to answer or address any concerns we might have had while abroad.
The living accommodations I had mixed feelings about, certain people I talked to loved where they lived while other (including myself) felt they were something not so spectacular. I happened to live in a dorm (which was my first choice). What I soon realized was that most of the Spanish students and staff seemed to alienate us (the study abroad students) for some unknown reason. We were hazed by the senior students for a solid week before IES stepped in and made them stop. The staffs on the other hand seem to not want anything to do with us and made us feel alone when we needed something handed by them. Other than the issues with the staff and students, the dorm was in the middle of a beautiful, safe area of Barcelona which had very easy access to the IES center and the rest of the city via the metro/bus.
Overall my experience abroad through IES Liberal Arts and Business Program was a great one and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interesting in that region of Spain. The staffs made me feel really comfortable in a foreign city and the experiences I had will be with me forever. The program was very well structured and student focused resulting in an amazing experience for myself and my fellow abroad students.


Academics:
Some of the professors teaching the classes at the foreign university we're not as good as they could have been. Keep in mind this was outside of IES control.

Living Situation:
Staff in the dorm I stayed out (Col·legi Major Universitari Sant Jordi) were not as friendly as they could have been and seemed to have an unfounded dislike towards the american study abroad students. Other than that, the dorms far exceeded my expectations.

Overall Rating

6/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    3

  • Social Life

    8

A program with a few hiccups, but exceptional staff

Going abroad can be tough. Not everything is going to be just as you imagined, or wished, it would be. But the best way to make the most out of every situation is to make it yours.

Studying in Barcelona was a fantastic experience made all the more better by the community of friends and IES staff that surrounded me. IES provided me the opportunity to see (and build) my first castelle, visit ancient Roman ruins, explore antique cathedrals, volunteer in a children's hospital, and run my very first 15k...in SPAIN! I enjoyed cultural excursions to ancient cities and took in the sights and wonders of local Barcelona city life.

In regards to the IES staff - While I will admit that I had a rough homestay experience, the staff at IES were very willing to listen and help me in whatever way I needed - one person even made the 30 minute commute over to my homestay on a Saturday when I was severely sick. Another member allowed me to use her personal scanner for documents I needed to send back to the U.S. ASAP, and yet another spent nearly an hour helping me plan an independent excursion along the coast of Spain. This kind of dedication to students is unmatched and I cannot speak highly enough of the amazing character of the IES staff.

Academically, IES prides itself in being rigorous. This rigor comes from a set of requirements that each course has to adhere to, but does not always do so in the most efficient way. For example, having to write 7-12 page essays in most of your classes is not ideal when you wait last minute and have to study for finals. This was a problem many of my study abroad peers fell into.
Most of the professors I had clearly laid out the guidelines for the course they taught. If they didn't, then that professor turned out to not be very organized and the course ended up being exceptionally easy (this happened with one course I took).

Socially, the amount of cultural excursions and day trips in fantastic! Many of my study abroad peers did not take advantage of these opportunities and severely missed out. I would highly recommend signing up for as many as you are interested in (and can afford). Most are well-organized and best to sign up for via IES. Keep in mind, though, that sometimes it could be just as easy (and fun) to get a group of friends and visit a place on your own time and dime.

In all, IES Barcelona is a very well-established program with exceptional staff. There may be a few organizational hiccups within the program (such as outdated course syllabi and excursion info), but these pale in comparison to the wonderful experience you are going to have by taking the effort to make your study abroad experience your own.