Barcelona is one of the most architecturally beautiful and culturally rich cities in all of Europe. High school students who are ambitious in their studies and have a desire to travel and see the world will have an extremely rewarding experience in this gem of the Mediterranean. From the sprawling beaches to the prestigious art museums to the passionate flamenco performances, participating in a high school program in Barcelona is bound to become one of your most treasured high school experiences.
High School Programs in Barcelona
There are many teen and pre-college programs available for high school students in Barcelona. Students have the opportunity to volunteer in Barcelona, take courses for academic credit, or join a variety of other activities across the city.
Although Catalan is actually the local language in Barcelona, Spanish immersion programs are still the most popular subject area for high school programs in Barcelona. Locals switch back and forth between Spanish and Catalan with ease, so you will have no problem gaining the full benefit of a linguistically immersive experience. Other popular subjects for high school programs in Barcelona include art, architecture, and culinary arts, all for which Barcelona has a stellar global reputation.
Whatever your academic focus, you will likely have the opportunity to take more general courses about Spanish culture and history during a high school study abroad program in Barcelona too. Many high school programs in Barcelona use the city itself as a primary source of education, embarking on field trips and cultural outings to important attractions throughout Barcelona. Some adventure travel programs will stay rooted in Barcelona while others will take you traveling throughout the country to experience life in multiple other Spanish cities, such as Madrid and Seville.
Summer programs are most popular for high school students because they do not require you to miss school. Summer high school programs in Barcelona tend to last anywhere from two weeks to two months. However, it is also possible to study abroad in Barcelona for a whole semester or academic year at an international boarding school or as part of a foreign exchange program. If you choose this route then you should already have a good knowledge of the language, because it is likely that your classes will be taught in Spanish!
Life in Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain and the sixth largest in the European Union, with nearly 5 million inhabitants living in the metropolitan area. It is also one of the most important economic and cultural centers of Europe, as well as one of the busiest ports on the Mediterranean Sea. With a fascinating history dating back to its founding under the Roman Empire and spanning through the Spanish Civil War in the early twentieth century, the city has endured continuous change and today is one of the most commonly visited travel destinations in the whole world.
The intrigue of high school abroad in Barcelona goes beyond its architectural wonders and cultural distinctions to generally encompass the laid back Mediterranean lifestyle of its people. The weather is balmy for most of the year, siestas are common during most afternoons, and often dinner will not even begin until after 10 p.m. It might take some acclimating to adjust to this relaxed pace of life, but students will soon find it very hard to complain about life in their new home on the Mediterranean.
One more thing to note - for soccer fans out there, FC Barcelona is commonly considered to be the best club in the world. Get ready for futbol fever!
Costs & Affordability
Barcelona is a fairly affordable city by Western European standards, although prices in some areas can be relatively steep because the city is such a popular tourist destination. Since many high school programs in Barcelona feature a loaded schedule and consistent supervision, it is likely that many of your everyday expenses will be accounted for in upfront program fees. Be sure to check out what is included before agreeing on a program cost or selecting a program, as each program will include something different.
If you are at all concerned with meeting the costs of the trip then fundraising with friends, family, and schoolmates is a great way start generating revenue. There are also a variety of scholarship opportunities available for high school study abroad in Barcelona, but other types of high school programs may vary in formal funding opportunities.
Accommodation & Visas
Most high school programs in Barcelona will either set you up in a homestay or in a private residence hall living with other students. Homestays are a great way to practice your Spanish on a regular basis and develop close relationships with your host family (Spaniards are very fun and hospitable people). Living in a residence hall can be a great experience too and facilitate interaction with other international students from all over the world (fear not parents – students will be supervised!).
Most high school students will be allowed to enter the country for up to three months without having to obtain a visa. However, Spanish visa policies vary between different countries however, so consult GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory to find out more information from your local Spanish Consulate.
Benefits & Challenges
Experiencing high school abroad in Barcelona will no doubt be an incredibly eye-opening moment in your high school career. This is a truly beautiful, unique city that will provide you with a thriving cultural experience to expand your knowledge of the world. It might seem daunting to embark on such a trip alone, but your bravery will pay off as you become exposed to a whole new country and culture beyond the borders of your home.
So start brushing up on your Spanish, study up on the works of Gaudi, and viva Barcelona!