What’s Barcelona SAE All About?
We know there are a lot of options out there when it comes to studying or interning in Barcelona, but we also know that Barcelona SAE can offer you the most bang for your buck! We specialize in this amazing Mediterranean city which allows us to give you everything Barcelona has to offer. With offices in both the United States and Barcelona, we provide you with full support before you go, while you’re there, and after you get home. At Barcelona SAE, we highly value cultural immersion, academic quality and variety, your safety, language acquisition and using the city as your classroom..so it’s no accident that each of our programs offer all of this (and more!) at incredibly affordable prices.
“The Barcelona SAE staff are absolutely incredible! They are so involved with the students, while at the same time, eager to share their knowledge and passion of the lifestyle and culture here in Barcelona.” -Kristen Bathan, California State University – Fullerton
What Sets Us Apart
We are the Barcelona experts, and connect our students to people and places. We value cultural immersion and believe that interacting with locals is just as important as seeing the sites. We have become a supportive member of the community in Barcelona and pride ourselves in working with locals – all the way from our cooking classes to Barcelona’s finest medical staff. We are proud of our participants and believe they represent Barcelona SAE as well as their home country.
Barcelona Study Abroad Experience (SAE) is the leader in Barcelona Study and Intern Abroad. We provide superior quality study and intern abroad program options in Barcelona that incorporate a strong intercultural element for our students. All aspects of the programs incorporate experiential learning and cultural immersion in order to open the eyes of the next generation of leaders to a global world.
Barcelona SAE provides the opportunities for students to grow personally, academically and globally utilizing the city of Barcelona and its components as the classroom.
Barcelona SAE strives to embed elements of social responsibility into our study and intern abroad programs. We encourage intensive intercultural immersion and the acquisition of critical language skills, while cultivating an appreciation for cultural differences and increased global awareness. We hire local staff whenever possible and encourage students to participate in sustainable service learning and volunteer opportunities and assist them in finding these opportunities.
We encourage our students to:
- Fully immerse themselves in the culture of Barcelona
- Limit energy usage and recycle
- Take public transportation or walk
- Purchase carbon offsets for air travel
- Look for locally produced and environmentally friendly products
Barcelona SAE combines the preeminent aspects of U.S. higher education with the empirical cultural elements embedded with life in a different country to provide top services to our clients. In this sense, our clients include the students, their parents, and the sending universities. We make sure our programs meet the needs of all parties involved to ensure satisfaction and success.
Year after year, Barcelona SAE students rate “interaction with the staff” as one of the highlights of their Barcelona experience. Our staff is multilingual and composed of Spanish, Catalan, and American study abroad experts. Our passion for international education, our commitment to individualized service to our students, and our expertise in Barcelona facilitates the strongest combination of cultural, academic, and professional experiences for our students.
As Barcelona SAE continues to grow, it has become increasingly important for us to define the core values from which we develop our culture, our brand, and the overall student experience. Here are the eight core values that we live by here at Barcelona SAE:
Rich Kurtzman, Founder & Director
Currently based in Barcelona, Rich grew up in the great city of Chicago, Illinois, but has been lucky to call Barcelona his home for 15 years. His studies in Spanish and Russian Language and Culture led him on a path toward study abroad ever since high school. Starting with a summer in St. Petersburg, Russia then a semester in Madrid, Spain, there is no doubt that his study abroad experiences shaped his future. He later did an internship in Milan, Italy, led student groups through Spain, and volunteered in the Philippines. After earning his M.A. in Spanish Applied Linguistics, Rich taught Spanish History and Culture to study abroad students in Barcelona. Since 2002, Rich has organized and directed all aspects of study abroad in Barcelona. Rich regularly presents at International Education conferences on various topics and also works as an intercultural consultant for multinationals in Spain.
Elena Villaescusa, Assistant On-Site Director & Director of Internships and Cultural Integration
Currently based in Barcelona, Elena was born in Girona (north of Barcelona), but has lived in a variety of cities in Spain. She has her B.A. in Advertising and Public Relations from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona and a M.A. in Communication, Tourism and New Technologies (e-Tourism) from the University of Barcelona. Her work experience is focused on Place Branding Online and she is the co-founder of the association International Exchange Erasmus Student Network at UPF, which helps to welcome university students to Barcelona. She worked and studied in various countries throughout Europe and is a world traveler. Elena enjoys introducing students to the dynamic city of Barcelona and loves languages, dancing, traveling, culture and, above all, people.
Marta Vila, Student Services Coordinator
Mònica Fernandez, Assistant Coordinator of Student Services & Office Manager
Currently based in Barcelona, Mònica was born in La Seu d’Urgell, a small town located near the border between Spain, Andorra and France. As she was raised in the Pyrenees, she always loved hiking and discovering her surroundings. When she was 18, Mònica moved to Barcelona to start her university studies in Criminology and Public Prevention Policies, and she immediately fell in love with the city. She lived in Quebec City, Canada during her last semester of college and she recently had her own homestay experience, spending 3 months in Colorado. In her free time, Mònica loves roller-skating and enjoying all of the possibilities that the city of Barcelona offers, but what she enjoys the most is traveling and meeting people.
Clara Miles, Senior Academics & Customized Programs Coordinator
Currently based in Barcelona, Clara was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in a bilingual family (her father is from an English family and her mother is Spanish) but moved to Barcelona with her family when she was five. After finishing school, she studied Hotel Management and Tourism at CETT University. Soon after, she studied Public Relations and Advertising at ESRP University. Clara recently received a Master’s degree in Public Relations, Protocol and Event Coordination at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). Clara has traveled to many countries in Europe as well as to the U.S., the Caribbean and South America. Her father’s family lives in Canada so she has spent many summers there and even worked near Toronto a few months.
Darcy York, Cultural Activities & Customized Programs Coordinator
Currently based in Barcelona, Darcy hails from a small island in Maine. She has a B.A. in History from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine and a M.A. in Cultural Management from the University of Barcelona (UB). She first participated in an exchange program with Japan when she was 13 years old and fell in love with traveling and study abroad. During her undergrad she managed to study for short periods in France, Ecuador and London. Seeing the impact it had played in her life, breaking into study abroad industry seemed an obvious career choice and she began working in the field soon after graduating. A few years ago she moved to Barcelona for what was meant to be a one year position, but she fell in love with the city and is still here more than five years later! Her favorite thing about study abroad is the moment when a student stops being a tourist and starts to understand the complexity of a local culture.
Blanca Egido, Cultural Activities & Customized Programs Assistant
Carlos Cruz, Internship Program Coordinator
Tomàs Nassar, Internship Program Assistant
Currently based in Barcelona, Tomàs is always looking for new ways to take the most out of this city where he was born. After an exchange program with the UK at the age of 15 he discovered his passion for new languages and getting to know people from different countries, and has been learning and using English since then. With his father’s family living in Chile but originally coming from Armenia, he traveled several times to South America and started studying Arabic at the Escola Oficial d’Idiomes (EOI). Soon after finishing his bachelor degree in Geology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Tomàs came back to the languages and traveling world and went for a workaway in Denmark. He’s currently running an AirBnB room at his own place where he always tries to give his guests the best tips about Barcelona. In his free time you can find Tomàs longboarding, rock climbing or even practicing kung-fu.
Marc Fierro, Onsite Intern
Currently based in Barcelona, Marc was born in La Seu d’Urgell in the north of Catalonia. When Marc discovered the business world, he decided to move to Barcelona to study marketing at the ESIC Business & Marketing School. Marc loves to travel and discover other countries and their unique cultures. In his free time, Marc likes to relax with family and friends and also plays the bass.
United States Staff
Kristin Uyl, Assistant Director of University Relations & Marketing
Kristin is the University Relations Representative for institutions in the West, South, and Southeast.
Looking for your Barcelona SAE Regional University Relations Representative? Click here!
Currently based in California, Kristin is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan where she was bitten by the travel bug early after a trip to England with her high school orchestra. During her time at Grand Valley State University, she studied abroad both in Italy and Thailand. A few years later, Kristin moved to Auckland, New Zealand to pursue a career in higher education before completing her M.S. in College Student Personnel at the University of Tennessee. In her small amount of spare time, Kristin enjoys hanging out with her dog (a Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix named Bella…her pride and joy!), cheering for her beloved Detroit Tigers and Michigan Wolverines (GO BLUE!), live music, and playing tennis.
Mike Nelson, University Relations Coordinator & Marketing Assistant
Mike is the University Relations Representative for institutions in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and New England.
Looking for your Barcelona SAE Regional Representative? Click here!
Currently based in Minnesota, Mike is originally from Fargo, North Dakota and has spent the last 13 years using his passion for mentorship, quality academics, and study abroad as a campus outreach specialist for several very reputable providers including CET Academic Programs and IFSA-Butler. As a citizen of both the U.S. and Italy, one of Mike’s most avid hobbies is reading about the history of Mediterranean people over the millennia through authors from Ferdinand Braudel to Roberto Saviano. Mike is an avid language learner, and in addition to teaching Italian several terms at North Dakota State University, he has also studied German, French, Castillian, Czech, and Modern Greek.
Rachael Kacos, Senior Program Advisor & Partner Relations Coordinator
Currently based in Massachusetts, Rachael is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She spent her undergraduate days at Michigan State University (GO GREEN!), and she also studied abroad through MSU in Greece for a summer. She graduated in 2007 and worked in the social work field for three years before deciding to pursue her master’s degree in Intercultural Relations at Lesley University in Boston. Rachael has traveled to many places in Europe, with Austria and Iceland being her 2 favorite countries…until now, since Spain has captured her heart! She is passionate about traveling, studying, and living abroad in order to gain different perspectives and to enjoy new people and places. In Rachael’s free time she likes to run, read, hike, go to the beach, and watch live music.
Jessica Sokol, Senior Study Abroad Advisor
Currently based in Massachusetts, Jessica is originally from Northampton, Massachusetts and earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Lynn University. Jessica studied abroad in Dublin and traveled throughout Europe, visiting Barcelona twice (her favorite city!) After graduating, she opened a women’s jewelry and accessories boutique…and when her lease was up, she sold everything in the store and took advantage of an opportunity to hike through Israel. It was an eye-opening, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Upon returning to the states, she packed three suitcases and moved to Portland, Oregon, for a new adventure. After a few years there, working as an office manager for a property management conglomerate, she realized her heart was back in Massachusetts and returned to the East Coast. Jessica has written a book about her time in Portland, and she loves to travel, go to concerts, and cook delicious vegan food.
Hailey Gouza, University Relations Institute Trainee
Currently based in Pennsylvania, Hailey is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and earned a bachelors degree in History & International Studies with a comparative cultures emphasis from Susquehanna University. During her time as an undergraduate she had the opportunity to work with Somali Bantu refugees in Lewiston, Maine by aiding them in securing employment and adjusting to American life while immersing herself in their lifestyle and observing their traditions. Hailey realized that working across cultures and learning about others was her passion, so international education was an obvious career choice. Soon after, she had the chance to study abroad in Barcelona and immediately fell in love with the culture, history and gastronomy of the city. While abroad she traveled throughout Spain and to France, Italy and the Netherlands, taking thousands of photos along the way! She is anxious to continue traveling and exploring the world.
Danny Childs, International Education Intern
Currently based in Massachusetts, Danny is originally from Los Angeles. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California San Diego in Economics, after living with international students for two years. Danny studied abroad in Costa Rica during his second year of university, where he realized that he loved being surrounded by the open minds and genuine curiosity of study abroad students. After graduation he spent a year living in New Zealand, where he found himself surrounded by more international students! He is now a masters candidate at the SIT Graduate Institute, majoring in International Education, and is excited to be working alongside more creative, young minds as they begin their journey toward global awareness. In his free time, Danny enjoys playing music, salsa dancing, and exploring new places.
Bri Reischl, Social Media Intern
Currently based in Minnesota, Brienne’s interest in international travel began early, after being born to American parents in the Normandy region of France. She grew up in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and currently studies Public Relations and Spanish at Winona State University (1 year left!). After completing a winter program in Puerto Rico her freshman year of college, Brienne knew her adventures abroad were just beginning. She crossed the pond to Europe in Spring of 2015, and fell in love with the culture of Barcelona while studying Spanish at the Universitat de Barcelona (UB). Brienne also had the incredible opportunity to come back to Barcelona in the Summer of 2016 as a Best of the Best Intern. Brienne is an avid fútbol fan (¡Visça Barça!), art and pastry enthusiast, and loves drinking copious amounts of café con leche at cozy coffee shops whenever possible. After having such positive experiences in Barcelona, she wants to help other students expand their horizons and immerse themselves in a city that’s full of endless opportunities.