Lively. Innovative. Vibrant. These are all words you can use to describe Barcelona and its rich culture. The city is a feast for your senses. See the legendary works of Antoni Gaudí, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Antoni Tàpies. Taste the mouthwatering calçots with romesco sauce, paella, and crema catalana. Smell the fresh fruits, meats, and cheeses at La Boqueria. Touch history itself when you tour the Gothic Quarter and take in Barcelona’s past. Hear the sounds of the bustling city streets, from street performers to the locals speaking Spanish and Catalan. This—and so much more—awaits you in Barcelona.
What You'll Study
In this program, you can choose from a series of courses on Art History, Cultural Studies, Literature, and more. Barcelona will be your classroom. All of our courses feature course-related trips and numerous faculty-led visits to museums, monuments, and sites around the city. Imagine studying the work of Antoni Gaudí whilst visiting the Sagrada Familia! Study the early works of Picasso and head to the Picasso Museum to see the vast collection of his great works.
You also have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take Art History classes and courses in other disciplines at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Universitat de Barcelona (UB), or Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and other local universities.
Enhance what you learn in the classroom and add international work experience to your résumé by participating in an optional internship or social action/service learning placement and accompanying seminar. Possible placements include working at an arts magazine, a fashion website, a hotel, and more.
A wide variety of other disciplines are offered, as well. So you can supplement your study of art and culture with courses from our Liberal Arts & Business Program to expand what you’re learning while in Barcelona.
Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. We offer unique courses that explore Arts & Culture through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our world-class professors and course options at prestigious local universities enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class.
While in Barcelona, you take 15–19 credits per semester. Our goal is to make sure your academic needs are met. You can craft your own academic experience by selecting from the following course types:
Spanish language courses (required, 3-7 credits) are offered at the IES Abroad Center. These courses range from the 100- to the 400-level.
Area studies courses* (required, 3 credits) are offered at the IES Abroad Center in English and Spanish in a wide range of disciplines.
Internships (optional, 3 credits) combine project-based placements in event management, marketing and not-for-profit organizations with a required seminar. (English placements are available. A basic knowledge of Spanish is required for some.)
Research Methodology Seminar (optional, 4 credits) involves the guided development of a detailed research project. Available at all language levels for students with a 3.5 GPA or higher.
Estudios Hispánicos (Hispanic studies) courses (optional, 1.5-3 credits) are specifically designed for international students. These Spanish and English-taught courses are available at Universitat de Barcelona and Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and in a wide range of disciplines.
Local university courses (optional, 1.5-4 credits) are offered in Spanish and English. You take these classes alongside local Spanish students.
Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. In addition to your program’s specified coursework, you can take any of the elective courses offered through our Liberal Arts & Business Program.
This is a list of planned course offerings and these courses are taught at the IES Abroad Center by local faculty. A final list of course offerings will be made available to you in your MyIESabroad account.
UAB was established in the late 1960s and since then has become one of the most dynamic universities in Spain. You can take UAB courses from a wide offering at the Sant Pau and Eixample Campus in English and Spanish. These courses are specifically designed for international students and have similar schedules to IES Abroad courses. The campuses are located in the central area of the city of Barcelona.
Please note that registration for UAB courses takes place before the application deadline. Students interested in enrolling in UAB courses are encouraged to apply early.
The Universitat de Barcelona was founded in 1450 and has four campuses in different parts of the city. The university is particularly interested in fostering international relations, and for many years has been the leader among European universities in international student exchanges.
UB offers a Estudios Hispánicos program taught predominately in Spanish, designed for international students with intermediate and advanced Spanish levels. Courses are based on Spanish and Latin-American culture.
Universitat de Barcelona: Estudios Hispánicos University Courses in English
UPF is a public university which was founded by the Catalonian government in 1990. Approximately 10,000 Spanish and international students study with the UPF each year. At the UPF you can study regular courses in Spanish and English with local students and international students, or Estudios Hispánicos courses in English or Spanish, with international students.
Universitat Pompeu Fabra: Estudios Hispánicos and European Studies Program University Courses in English
Interning while you study in Barcelona gives you a rewarding job experience with a wealth of long-lasting career benefits. You will:
Gain a better understanding of the real-life, everyday culture of your host country
Add global work experience and skills to your résumé or your application for graduate school
Improve your confidence
All of our internships are supervised and earn IES Abroad credit. You participate in a 3-credit seminar to complement the practical experience you gain during the internship.
Personalized Placements Once you indicate your interest in an internship, we work with you to find the ideal internship placement that fulfills your academic and career goals. We’ve placed students with a wide variety of organizations and businesses. If we don’t currently work with a business or organization in your field of interest, we will search for a placement that’s right for you.
Placement Examples Past students have interned in the following fields. Don’t see your field here? Just talk to your IES Abroad Advisor—we are always seeking out new opportunities for our students.
Field Trips & Events
Although your adventure begins in Barcelona, our DiscoverIES take you to other great cities in and around Spain. DiscoverIES bring you closer to the Barcelonan and Spanish culture through a broad array of activities that merge together the academic insight provided by field trips and the guidance of our faculty. They provide contrast and context for what you are learning in Barcelona.
Trips are organized by language level and conducted in English or Spanish accordingly. One of these trips is subsidized by IES Abroad. Additional DiscoverIES are partially subsidized by IES Abroad. Here are a few possible destinations.
Al-Andalus 4 Days | Fall & Spring The south of Spain is an area of warm people, flamenco, tapas and abundant history and art. Visit three of its most beautiful and iconic cities: Granada, Cordoba and Seville.
Costa Brava 3 Days | Fall & Spring Visit Greek and Roman ruins, the medieval city of Girona, and the “dreamland” of Salvador Dalí between Barcelona and the French border.
Garrotxa 1 Day | Fall Explore volcanic terrain and hike through the forest of this northeastern county of Catalonia.
Mallorca 3 Days | Fall The island of Mallorca offers visitors exquisite beaches, stunning art and architecture, and views that will inspire.
Montserrat 1 Day | Spring Spend the day hiking the mountain of Montserrat.
Tarragona 2 Days | Fall & Spring Experience Tarragona, one of the best preserved ancient Roman sites in Spain. On the way there, stop at the Ebro Delta, where millions of birds stop along their yearly voyage from Northern Europe to Africa.
The Basque Country & Navarre 4 Days | Fall & Spring Discover the unique gastronomy of the Basque Country, learn from artisans who elaborate local delicacies, and attempt to create (with your own hands) the meals that make up this rich culinary tradition.
Note: IES Abroad DiscoverIES destinations,activities and lengths of stay may vary according to term and availability.
Part of making you feel at home in Barcelona is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it is an orientation program that makes you feel prepared, housing that is well-located and comfortable, or our DiscoverIES that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services.
The program begins with an orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad Barcelona staff, your fellow students, and the city of Barcelona. Topics such as academics, housing, transportation, and health and safety are covered during this time.
Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home. Also, during the first week of the semester, intensive Spanish language courses meet daily in small groups to help you to develop your language skills.
You will also meet our Barcelona cultural companions or tutores culturales, who will join you on DiscoverIES and help you get to know the Spanish culture.
A study journey is included as part of orientation. Past destinations have included Tarragona, Valencia, and Girona
We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Barcelona, it will feel like home.
Homestays – Normally, two or three IES Abroad students live in a home with local residents and students share a double room. You are provided two meals a day (breakfast and dinner) while the program is in session.
Residence Halls – You live with Spanish and/or other IES Abroad students. Rooms in residence halls are double and triple occupancy. Meal plans vary among the different halls. Placements are limited, and an additional fee applies for this housing option.
Apartments – You live with three or four other IES Abroad students in double rooms. A Barcelona Cultural Companion or tutor cultural may also live in the apartment to help you with cultural integration. Apartments have fully-equipped kitchens, and meals are not provided. Placements are very limited, and an additional fee applies for this housing option.
Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events
DiscoverIES are a unique blend of course-related trips (for class) and cultural field trips. With this hybrid experience, you have the ability to understand the culture in the context of your coursework.
With 60+ DiscoverIES per semester, you have the exciting opportunity to familiarize yourself with Barcelona through cultural activities led by IES Abroad Barcelona professors. Visit the city’s many influential buildings, learn about its one-of-a-kind history, and become part of the Spanish and Catalan culture.
DiscoverIES are also a great way to meet and spend time with other students on your program, as well as IES Abroad Barcelona staff and professors. These optional activities are either free or highly subsidized.
Past examples of DiscoverIES include:
Discover the Quadrat d’Or, or Golden Square, in a guided tour in the Eixample District, an exceptional area that focuses on Barcelona’s Modernist style (Art Noveau) at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century
Enjoy a Flamenco workshop, where you’ll learn a few basic dance steps, the history behind the dance and attire, and taste traditional Andalucían fare
Hike Tibidabo, the tallest mountain in Serra de Collserola, tour the Modernist and Neogothic Sagrat Cor Temple, and visit the oldest amusement park in Spain
Visit an organic farm and learn about sustainability with an IES Abroad professor
When you volunteer in Barcelona, you have the chance to make a difference in the local community while meeting new people and gaining a new perspective on the world. If you are passionate about volunteering abroad, just let the on-site staff know at the beginning of your term.
Past volunteer opportunities in Barcelona include:
Visit a children’s hospital
Serve dinner for the homeless
Give English lessons to underprivileged young people
Organize food drives at local supermarkets
Provide lunch for the elderly without family
Get to Know Your New City
Have Fun in the Sun
Spend time strolling and swimming under the sun along Barcelona's four miles of sandy beaches.
Hike Mount Juic
A climb up this hill offers spectacular views of the city. From here, you can also explore several great museums and the beautiful buildings from the 1992 Olympic Games.
Check Out Some Live Music
From huge festivals to hole-in-the-wall venues, playing everything from electronica to punk, there’s more to Barcelona’s music scene than its iconic Rumba Catalana.
Appreciate the Art
Home to numerous works by Pablo Picasso, the surreal sculptures of Joan Miró, and the fantastic, dreamlike architecture of Gaudi, there’s plenty of art—indoors and out—to inspire you.
Eat, Drink, and Eat Some More!
Catalan cuisine consists of savory stews, fresh seafood, delicious jamón, spicy potatoes, olives, and so much more. Wash it down with a cold orxata (a refreshing drink made from the tiger nut plant).
Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.
The IES Abroad Barcelona Center is located in the center of Barcelona near the Plaza Catalunya. Features include:
High-speed and wireless internet access
Study lounges with printers
Large outdoor terrace with social and study space
Cèsar Alegre Alsina, Ph.D.
Dr. Cèsar Alegre Alsina has been the Director of our Barcelona programs since 2008. He is originally from Barcelona and speaks Spanish, Catalan, and English fluently. He brings more than 20 years of experience in higher education to IES Abroad, including a noteworthy teaching career in the United States, experience in student services, and a strong research portfolio. Before coming to IES Abroad, Dr. Alegre Alsina taught Spanish language, as well as Spanish and Hispanic Culture and Literature at Amherst College for 16 years. He is the author of a book on Hispanic Americans (Scholastic), and has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Hispanic Americans (BRG Oxford) and numerous articles and reviews in American and international journals. Dr. Alegre Alsina received his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University, his Master’s degree in Hispanic Literature at Auburn University, and his doctorate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
IES Abroad Staff
IES Abroad Staff Samanta Ascaso Academics Department Assistant
Lorena Chinnici Outside Courses and Customized Programs Coordinator Head of Registration interim
Elizabeth Ferreiro Student Activities and DiscoverIES Specialist
Natalia Gil Academics Department Assistant
Pilar Gracia Administration Coordinator and DiscoverIES Coordinator
María Paéz Internship, Service Learning and Volunteering Specialist
Salvador Ortiz Head of Administration and Human Resources
Noemí Polo Student Affairs Coordinator - Health and Safety, Homestays
María Romero Assistant Dean of Faculty and Faculty Advisor Coordinator
Olga Sánchez Head of Student Affairs
Beatriz Taberner Center Administrator and Orientation Coordinator
Ana Tarife Internship Coordinator and Service Learning Coordinator