Sweeping white sandy beaches, beautiful gothic architecture, a fun and energetic pulse that keeps the city alive into the early hours of the morning, is it any wonder that Barcelona is a study abroad mecca for students from all over the world? The second largest city in Spain, for centuries Barcelona has thrived as a cultural and commercial capital of the Mediterranean. From world-class historical museums to bizarre surrealist art to abundant modern discotecas, study abroad in Barcelona can be the cultural experience of a lifetime for anyone interested in Spanish culture and living the good life.
How to Study Abroad in Barcelona
The city is host to a variety of public and private educational institutions, and many study abroad programs in Barcelona have their own academic centers within the city as well. Even though the official language of Barcelona is Catalan, most classes available to international students are taught in Spanish or English. Classes which are taught in Spanish can often be challenging to follow for non-native speakers, but are a great way to advance your fluency of the language and they are sometimes adapted to fluency levels.
Popular areas of study in Barcelona include Spanish, Art, Architecture, Media Communications, and International Business. Barcelona may be a city best known for its rich artistic and cultural tradition, but it is also an increasingly important international place of business. Thus, there are a wealth of opportunities outside the classroom to advance your immersive experience in any of these areas of study in Barcelona. Like many great cities, history meets modernity in the streets of Barcelona.
The classroom structure in Spain is fairly laid back, whether you choose to study at the University of Barcelona, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, or any other institution, so you will find that professors often even show up late for their own classes. Remember, this is all part of the culture, so just enjoy this aspect of student life in Barcelona. The temperate Mediterranean climate makes easy studying and living in Barcelona year round, and study abroad courses are typically offered for the summer, semester, or full academic year. Semesters generally run from September to December and January to June, with winter and summer breaks in between.
Student Life in Barcelona
The relaxed Mediterranean mindset which infiltrates Barcelona is a welcome lifestyle change to many students accustomed to the stressful demands of their home campus. This being said, the lulling pace of life can make for a challenging transition at first. Dinner is not typically eaten until nine or ten at night, nightlife extends early into the morning, and many shops will spontaneously close up during siesta time. Still, it is hard to complain about a change of pace when your weekends are spent lounging on balmy beaches drinking mojitos, which is not uncommon for students living in Barcelona.
Further, you will never become bored while living in Barcelona. If you like architecture, check out Gaudi’s beautifully unique structures spread out across the whole city. If sports is your thing, cheer on the world’s premier football club in FC Barcelona. Song and dance? Check out Flamenco or Sardana then dance the night away in one of Barcelona’s infamous discotecas. And when you’re tired of all this, leisurely stroll along Las Ramblas to soak it all in.
There are some things to be mindful of though. Most foreigners consider Barcelona to be part of Spain, however, locals pride themselves on their Catalonian heritage. Barcelona actually remains the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, so you will experience a different flavor if you study in Barcelona as opposed to the rest of Spain. Just one more thing that makes Barcelona unique: though most locals speak Catalan regularly, just about everyone is equally fluent in Spanish.
Where to Stay in Barcelona (& How)
Homestays are quite popular for study abroad in Barcelona, and offer international students a fantastic opportunity to experience Spanish culture in its familial form. Individual or group homestays can likely be organized through your study abroad program provider in Barcelona. Apartment or dormitory style housing may also be made available to those who are interested, especially those who choose to study in Barcelona at local universities.
If you are planning on studying abroad in Barcelona for more than 90 days, you will need to obtain a student visa before you leave home. Consult GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory for the specific requirements based on your home country so you can enjoy living in Barcelona without immigration woes.
Why Study Abroad in Barcelona
Barcelona offers an enriching, challenging, and fun culture for study abroad students from around the world to revel in. Let go and live life to the fullest everyday in this historical and architectural wonder of the Iberian Peninsula. Perfect your Spanish, gain practical international experience, and meet travelers from all over the world as you embark on the experience of a lifetime and study in Barcelona. It’s all good in the warming breeze of the Mediterranean; just study abroad in Barcelona and come see why for yourself!