Young travellers from around the world flock to Barcelona for its beautiful sandy beaches, stunning architecture, and vibrant nightlife. While volunteering abroad in Barcelona, international volunteers can enjoy these aspects and have the opportunity to go beyond by making a positive impact on a local community in one of Europe’s greatest cities. Whether interested in education, community development, or architectural preservation, volunteers will find a plethora of volunteer opportunities in Barcelona, and have the chance to take full advantage of all this Mediterranean metropolis has to offer.
Projects & Placements
Volunteer opportunities in Barcelona exist in a variety of fields. In the area of community development, volunteers can choose to educate disadvantaged youth, work at community centers, or take part in volunteer opportunities related to social work. Barcelona is a developed city, but it is also home to many migrant workers and poor families who do not typically have access to valuable resources for daily living.
Other popular areas for volunteering in Barcelona include art or architecture preservation, eco-friendly infrastructural development, and archaeological digs. Barcelona has been a historically important city ever since the Roman era, and there remains a continued effort to both preserve and modernize the city in many respects.
Many volunteer programs in Barcelona combine volunteerism with Spanish language study and a variety of outside cultural excursions. These programs tend to be more structured in nature, which may be an attractive option to many participants interested in volunteering in Barcelona.
Volunteer work in Barcelona is typically available year round, and the balmy Mediterranean climate ensures that any time of year is a good time to volunteer in Barcelona. Programs tend to last from two weeks up to six months, depending on the position type and the preferences of each volunteer.
Life in Barcelona
Life moves at a nice lulling pace in Barcelona. Between late afternoon siestas, late dinners, and even later nights out on the town, you will never feel rushed in Spain’s second largest city. During the week, you will likely be busy with volunteer work in Barcelona, but over the weekend you will have plenty of time to kick back and relax at one of Spain’s many beaches or the bars and cafes across the city.
If you ever become restless while volunteering in Barcelona you will have the opportunity to select from a wide variety of culturally immersive activities to enrich you volunteer abroad experience. Barcelona offers some of Europe’s most unique and breathtaking architecture (most notably the works of Gaudi), a diversity of great museums, and plenty of unique cultural performances, such as Flamenco dances or Sardana. Soccer (known as futbol locally) is also an extremely popular sport in Spain, if you did not know, and FC Barcelona is considered to be one of the best clubs in the world.
Must Know. Though commonly considered to be part of Spain, Barcelona is actually the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia. This means that Catalonian rather than Spanish is the tongue of choice for most native Barcelonians. Fear not however. Though proud of their Catalonian heritage, locals also tend to speak Spanish fluently and will be happy to interact with you in Spanish and English is spoken quite widely too.
Costs & Affordability
Spain is not the most expensive European country to volunteer abroad in, but because Barcelona is a major tourist destination prices tend to be somewhat inflated within the city. However, volunteers should be able to save money easily by shopping locally and using the metro to get around instead of taking taxis. Those who volunteer in Barcelona should stray away from dining and shopping near popular tourist destinations, as prices are hiked up significantly in these areas.
Although you will probably not be earning money as a volunteer, many programs offer housing and meals as a form of compensation. Still, upfront fees can become costly depending on what type of program you are enrolling in. Consult GoAbroad’s Scholarships Directory to learn more about funding options for volunteering abroad in Barcelona.
Accommodations & Visas
Homestays are quite popular for volunteers in Barcelona, and offer participants a valuable opportunity for practice their Spanish on a regular basis while immersing fully into Spanish culture. If you are wanting a more independent living arrangement, than most volunteer programs in Barcelona can help you organize group or individual apartment living as well.
Foreign nationals who are planning to live and volunteer in Barcelona for longer than 90 days will likely need to apply for a temporary visa. Volunteer abroad programs in Barcelona will often help volunteers to organize the appropriate visas though.
Benefits & Challenges
Barcelona is without a doubt one of the most fun and culturally enriching cities in all of Europe. As a volunteer abroad in Barcelona you will have full access to the city’s deep cultural heritage, while working everyday to positively impact the local people and perfect your Spanish skills. Volunteering in Barcelona will allow you to experience all of this coastal Mediterranean wonderland, which is bound to be an experience that sticks with you for a lifetime.