Study Abroad in Barcelona

Barcelona is a cosmopolitan Spanish city with seaside charm. If you are planning to study abroad in Barcelona, you will discover that the city eats well, dresses well, works hard, and dances late into the night. While you're probably interested in studying abroad in Spain to learn Spanish, you'll soon find that Barcelona's residents actually speak Catalan, the language of the Catalonia region. Don't worry. Castilian Spanish is understood everywhere, and your ear will soon adapt to Barcelona's particular way of speaking.

Study Abroad in Barcelona - Portal de l'Àngel - Barcelona


"I thought studying abroad in Spain would be an easier workload than back home, but I’m putting in some long hours," says Precious Scott of Clark Atlanta University who studied in Barcelona with CEA. "I particularly enjoy the Media and Politics course."


Founded in 1450 and set amid beautiful gardens, the University of Barcelona is one of Spain's premier research universities. The school has a long history of hosting international study abroad students and usually welcomes over 1,000 on campus each year.

The Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona opened in 1968, the product of a dramatic time for student activism across Europe. It has quickly become a respected education leader. In addition to language courses, international students can take classes in history, business, humanities and more.

A Night On the Town

Enjoy your first drink of the night at Gimlet, a quietly hip cocktail bar. When you're ready for something livelier, head to the Port Olimpic and clubs such as CDLC (Carpe Diem Lounge Club) or Bikini. There are tourists galore on the dance floors, but the beachside locale is hard to beat.

Study Abroad in Barcelona - Parc Güell - Barcelona

Eat This

You'll try chocolat con churros--a thick, warm, chocolate pudding-like deliciousness served with freshly fried dough sticks--because it's Spain's impossible-to-resist dessert. But to really taste Catalonia, you've got to savor pan con tomate. Slices of hearty bread are toasted, rubbed with garlic and raw tomato, then drizzled with oil and salt.

Sites to See

Take your first walk in Barcelona along the city's main pedestrian drag, the Ramblas. Start at the Placa de Catalunya and head downhill. Grab a snack in the Mercat de la Boqueria, one of Europe's finest food markets. Continue your walk, enjoying the street theater and keeping an eye out for pickpockets, until you arrive at the Columbus monument, where the explorer was welcomed home after his wanderings.

Nothing says Barcelona like the marvelous, idiosyncratic architecture of Antoni Gaudí. Debate the meaning of the dragon (dinosaur?) roof of Casa Batlló. Marvel at the Moorish delights of Casa Vicens. Ponder La Pedrera's curves. But above all, don't miss Gaudí's unfinished masterwork, La Sagrada Familia church, in all its quirky glory.

Study Abroad in Barcelona - Torre Agbar - Barcelona

photo by Richard Gillespie

Forget flamenco. If you want to see true Spanish passion, catch a match at Camp Nou Stadium, home to FC Barcelona, affectionately known as Barça. The Camp Nou tour takes you through the tunnel and onto the pitch--in the footsteps of football (soccer) greats including Johan Cruyff and Ronaldinho. Jeanna Occhiogrosso, a student from the College of William and Mary who studied in Barcelona with IES, says, "I have found that the best way to become closer to both my host family and also to many other Catalan people is to follow and support soccer."

Weekend Trip

To study abroad in Barcelona is to enjoy both the city and its surroundings. For a change of pace, take a cable car to the mountaintop monastery of Montserrat, a famed Catalan pilgrimage site. Visit La Moreneta, the Black Virgin, who is the patron of Catalonia. Peek into the caves where hermits once contemplated mysteries. And enjoy the views of dramatic gorges and soaring stone pinnacles from the monks' snug, rocky perch.

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