Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain

Spain’s second largest city, Barcelona embodies every quality of a European city and stands out in the spheres of culture, finance, business and tourism. Barcelona integrates tradition and modernity as its Roman and Medieval past combine with modernist and contemporary architecture.

The city hosts one of the largest university communities in Europe: 200.000 students and more than 15.000 professors. Design, music, fashion, art and cinema professionals are part and parcel of this dynamic city, where a broad offer in culture, sports, leisure and nature activities rounds out the spectrum of opportunities. Its location on the shores of the Mediterranean, its gentle climate and its open, cosmopolitan character make Barcelona an extraordinary place to study.

Visit our Barcelona Facebook page to see what our students are up to and "like" our page.

Cultural Information

Population: 1,621,537

Region: Catalonia

Currency: Euro

Famous for: Architecture, World Heritage Sights, Gothic Quarter, Fashion, Beaches

Spanish Daily Routine:

Breakfast/Desayuno is not a major meal, consisting of small amount of food and is generally eaten early in the morning.

Lunch/Almuerzo is the biggest and most important meal of the day and is generally eaten between 2:00 and 4:00PM.

Dinner/Cena is a small meal, although more substantial than breakfast and is generally served between 9:00 and 10:00 PM.

Siesta is a time to rest. It starts around 1:30 PM when all the shops begin to close, and lasts until 5:00 PM. Almost all shops are closed during siesta while Spaniards may sleep or watch TV, leaving you no choice but to also relax.

Traditional Spanish Dishes:

Paella is a rice dish commonly mixed with a variation of seafood, meat, vegetables, and beans.

Tortilla is a dense omelet full of fried potatoes (sometimes onions or another vegetable as well).

Jamón Serrano is a salted, cured ham that is sliced thin and is typically served either on its own or in a bocadillo (sandwich).


Spanish culture is not particularly vegetarian/vegan friendly due to the importance of ham and other pork products in their diet. While the salads may not be filling, Spain offers delicious breads, cheeses, and vegetables dishes.

How to Dress in Spain:

Most Spanish people dress up more than the average American. Young men wear jeans and t-shirts or soccer jerseys, but you’ll also see men wearing nice pants and shoes. Women generally wear very feminine clothing.

To fit in with your surroundings, avoid wearing grubby jeans, sweatshirts, and sneakers. Nice, fitted clothing is what most people wear.

Life Outside the Classroom:

Spanish people tend to be very friendly and open. However, you will need to make an effort to introduce yourself. Some of the best ways to do so are by signing up for a local speaking partner, attending Spanish Studies cultural activities, or by going to the places Spanish students hang out.

Spanish Studies Abroad wants you to have fun while studying abroad; however, you are expected to meet all of your academic responsibilities. Spanish nightlife is probably unlike the social scene you have experienced in the U.S. The Spanish often plan to go out at midnight or later, which is just the start of the evening. Many friends you meet will stay out until six or seven in the morning, then go straight to breakfast, and rest during siesta.


All Spanish Studies semester programs include day trips to neighboring cities. Additional activities and excursions within the city of Barcelona will also be made available to students on these programs. Specific destinations and trip dates will be announced closer to the start of the spring semester.

Examples of Study Visits include:

Modernist tour (Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and Part Güell); olimpic tour (Mnac museum, Montjuic castle, stadium, cable car); overnight trip to Figueres and Cadaques (Dali's house and museum); excursion to Montserrat; tour to Freixenet's winery; local activities (concerts, sports, museums) with your local speaking partners.

Housing Information


Your Spanish home will be the focal point of your social experience– where you will sleep, eat, study, and relax. A homestay gives you a unique insight into Spanish culture by allowing you to become part of a Spanish family.

Your homestay includes full room and board as well as laundry and the cleaning of your room. Special dietary or housing accommodations may be made, but may require an additional fee. To ensure that your home will provide a warm and tranquil atmosphere, one conducive to learning, Spanish Studies Abroad staff discusses norms and policies with hosts and regularly inspects the homes.

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

The Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), founded in 1990, is a modern competitive public university with a significant international projection.  UPF is committed to a high-quality teaching model based on comprehensive education and student-centered learning.  Courses are taught in English, Spanish and Catalan languages, in disciplines of Social Sciences and Humanities, Communication and Information Technologies, and Health and Life Sciences.

The UPF is officially recognized as the first most important Spanish University in investigative leadership.

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) has developed a university model based on respect for the basic principles of autonomy, participation and social commitment.  The UAB's "Pre-Established Program" courses include language, business, economics, and Mediterranean studies and are designed for students wishing to study subjects taught in English or in Spanish, with the option of Spanish language courses.  Classes are held at the UAB campuses in the city of Barcelona in an enriching international environment.

To view UAB's brochure click here.

Choose your Program:

  • Integrated Studies Programs

    Advanced students enroll in one or more regular courses in Spanish at the host university to complement the Spanish Studies Program curriculum. Sit side-byside with local students. We provide you with all the benefits of direct enrollment, including access to campus resources and integration into the university community. On-site resident directors assist each student individually with course selection and registration, and select a tutor for academic support.

  • Short Term Programs

    If you can’t get away for a full semester, short-term programs are the best option. Courses offered at all levels of Spanish, in most disciplines: general Spanish language, Spanish for the professions, literature and history, business and economics, education and health sciences, social sciences, and more. We offer January, May, and/or Summer Terms.

  • STEM(ICT) Abroad Programs

    All courses are taught in English at UPF's Polytechnic School. This program has its focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education because the skills and knowledge in each discipline are essential for student success, but also because these fields are deeply intertwined in the real world and in how students learn most effectively. 

  • ELISAVA Design Programs

    All courses are taught in English at Barcelona’s School of Design and Engineering. This program has its focus on a comprehensive and contemporary vision of Design Studies, that includes (but not limited to) product, furniture, packaging, retail and food design.  Global and historical contexts of art and design are also required fields of study for students with no background on design studies. Elisava’s mission is to prepare versatile designers with expert knowledge of the diversity of services they can offer in the extensive market of this profession.

  • International Studies Programs

    Take coursework through the local university, in English, with local and international students. Most courses are in English, while some courses are offered in Spanish for those with more advanced skills. Take a Spanish language course and electives in English, benefit from cultural activities, study tours, and support from our resident director. A variety of courses include humanities, business, science and more.