An excellent and accessible European location. Bustling streets filled with activities to immerse yourself in the culture. These are just a couple of reasons why local companies— including many start-ups—call Barcelona home. But Barcelona is also attracting international businesses from across the globe, making it an ideal city to study abroad.
What You'll Study
Our Liberal Arts & Business Program offers a wide variety of IES Abroad courses to help you accommodate your academic needs. Many of these courses are primarily taught in English by our world-class faculty. You are grouped into language proficiency-based levels to focus your course enrollment options, which provides a sense of community with your fellow students and challenges you to maximize your learning.
In addition to your Spanish language course, you choose from a variety of English- and Spanish-taught IES Abroad area studies courses, as well as English- and Spanish-taught local university courses to round out your semester. All IES Abroad courses include course-related activities that help you connect coursework with your surroundings. You can also add international work experience to your résumé while earning credit by participating in an internship placement and accompanying academic seminar.
Barcelona will be your classroom. Find yourself at home in the second largest city in Spain, rich with influence in global commerce, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts. Explore Barcelona through our unique DiscoverIES— cultural activities led by IES Abroad Barcelona professors. With more than 60 optional DiscoverIES per semester, you can get to know the city and its most important sights, buildings, and history. These activities are a great way to get to know the students on your program and our Barcelona staff and professors in a more relaxed environment.
We want you to feel at home in Barcelona, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into local life. From internships to DiscoverIES, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible.
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 prepares you for what’s ahead, housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services.
Our mission is 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 Liberal Arts and Business through an in-depth and hands-on approach.
Our world-class course options at prestigious local universities enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives in class each day.
While in Barcelona, you take 15-19 credits per semester and all courses are worth 3 credits unless otherwise specified. Language courses are taught in Spanish.
Create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional components:
IES Abroad Spanish language course at your proficiency level (required, 3-7 credits)
English- or Spanish-taught IES Abroad area studies courses (optional, 3 credits each)
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.
Partner university courses
For International Students Only (optional, 3 credits each) These Spanish- and English-taught courses are designed for international students. They are available at the Universitat de Barcelona and Universitat Pompeu Fabra in a wide range of disciplines.
With Local Students (optional, 2-3 credits each) These courses, taught in English and Spanish, allow you to take classes with local students.
Internship placement and seminar (optional, 3 credits)
Our Liberal Arts & Business Program explores Spanish language and culture through courses in the following disciplines.
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.
You may enroll in courses at the following local partner institutions.
NOTE: The courses listed below are course offerings from the past year. These courses are not guaranteed to be offered in the coming semesters as IES has no control over the courses offered by partner institutions.
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
The Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona was established in the late 1960s and since then has become one of the most dynamic universities in Spain. Made up of more than 25 schools, faculties, and associated centers, it is the only real campus-based university in Barcelona. UAB requires a minimum enrollment of two courses.
UAB has two campuses in Barcelona. The courses that are offered at the Sant Pau (20 minutes by Metro from our Center) and Eixample (10 minutes walking from our Center) campuses are primarily in the disciplines of Business, Economics, Politics, and the Humanities. Courses are taught in English and Spanish. These 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.
Even though Universitat de Barcelona was founded in 1450, the present central building was not inaugurated until 1871 and is located in the city center. Today the university has four campuses in different parts of the city. UB is particularly interested in fostering international relations, and for many years has been the leader among European universities in a number of student exchanges.
UB offers an Estudios Hispánicos program taught in Spanish and English for students with intermediate and advanced levels of Spanish. These courses are offered only to international students and are based on Spanish and Latin American culture. Classes take place in the main UB campus located 10 minutes walking distance from the IES Abroad Barcelona Center.
Universitat de Barcelona: Estudios Hispánicos University Courses in English
Universitat Pompeu Fabra was founded by the Catalonian government in 1990 and is a public institution. It is named after the scholar who established the grammar of the modern Catalan language, and enrolls approximately 10,000 Spanish and international students.
Courses are offered by different university departments and are taught in English and in Spanish. Course availability and language of instruction is dependent on the program you are enrolled in and your language level. UPF is a 15-minute commute by Metro or a 20-minute walk from our Center.
Please note that students interested in enrolling at UPF must register for a minimum of two courses.
Universitat Pompeu Fabra: ESCI International Business School University Courses in English
Universitat Ramon Llull is a private school founded in 1990. At URL, courses are designed for Spanish students at the undergraduate level. Courses are taught in English and Spanish and are available to you in a variety of disciplines. Course availability and language of instruction is dependent on the program you are enrolled in and your language level. Classes are taught at different campuses, and range from a 10-minute walk to a 30-minute Metro ride from our Center.
Universitat Ramon Llull: IQS Business School (AACSB Accredited Institution) University Courses in English
Universitat de Vic is an independent state-supported educational institution. It offers 32 bachelor’s degrees in the fields of Arts & Humanities, Science, Health Sciences, Social Sciences, and Engineering. At UVIC, you can enroll in courses taught in English for international students. Courses are available to you in Business, Design, and Innovation. All courses take place in the BAU School of Design, located 20 minutes by Metro from the IES Abroad Barcelona Center.
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.
Business Development/ International Business
Engineering & Technology
Media & Communication
Not-for-Profit Organizations & NGOs
Field Trips & Events
Even though your adventure starts in Barcelona, our field trips during fall and spring semesters take you beyond the city to discover the culture and traditions of your host country. As part of orientation, you’ll participate in a study journey, which is included in your program cost. Additional field trips are partially subsidized by IES Abroad.
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:
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.
Granada 4 Days | Fall & Spring Explore this vibrant city with a youthful population that provides a clear window into Spain’s unique historical symbiosis of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.
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.
Madrid 3 Days | Fall & Spring Discover the vibrant capital of Spain! See the works of El Greco, Goya, and Velazquez first-hand in the world-famous Prado Museum.
Mallorca 3 Days | Fall & Spring The island of Mallorca offers visitors exquisite beaches, stunning art and architecture, and views that inspire
Garrotxa 1 Days | Fall & Spring Explore volcanic terrain and hike through the forest of this northeastern county of Catalonia.
Montserrat 1 Day | Fall & Spring Spend the day hiking the mountain of Montserrat and visit the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey.
Note: IES Abroad field trip 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.
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.
Our Comprehensive Orientation & Re-Entry Experience (CORE™) begins right when you arrive and continues through the semester with activities focusing on academic and cultural adjustment. Detailed information about housing, public transportation, culture, health and safety, and other important topics are also covered.
A required study journey is included as an integral part of orientation. Previous study journeys have included Tarragona, where you will walk in the footsteps of the Ancient Romans. This study journey will allow you to meet your fellow classmates and IES Abroad staff.
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 limited, and an additional fee applies for this housing option.
Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events
DiscoverIES are a unique blend of course-related 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.
Some past examples of DiscoverIES may 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 Neo-Gothic 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:
Entertain children at a cancer center
Volunteer at a soup kitchen
Give English lessons to underprivileged young people
Organize food drives at local supermarkets
Provide meals for and spend time with the elderly
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.
Center Director & AVP for Program Development
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 Mejías Language Faculty Advisor
Beatriz Moya Student Affairs Assistant
Salvador Ortiz Head of Administration and Human Resources
María Paéz Internship, Service Learning and Volunteering Specialist
Ignasi Pérez Area Studies Faculty Advisor
Noemí Polo Student Affairs Coordinator - Health and Safety, Homestays
Ataúlfo Portela Language Faculty Advisor
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, Service Learning, and Volunteering Coordinator