Life In Barcelona

Meet Our Querida Barcelona

Our staff have all traveled the world extensively, and yet have chosen to call the wonderful city of Barcelona home….and we can’t wait to share our passion for Barcelona with you! It’s no wonder that Barcelona is a top city for both American and European study abroad as well as travel, tourism, and business…so we’re excited for you to experience one of the world’s greatest cities for yourself!

The Barcelona Basics

So, where exactly is Barcelona located? You can find this metropolitan city on the Northeast coast along the Mediterranean Sea. Barcelona’s population is a little over 1.6 million, which makes it the second largest city in Spain.

We LOVE Barcelona…And Here’s Why You Will, Too

  • Art is EVERYWHERE from Picasso and Miro, to street art…we can’t get enough!
  • The works of Gaudi will blow you away. You could visit the Sagrada Familia 100 times and still see something new.
  • History meets modern day in this city that is over 2,000 years old. Where else are you going to find a Roman wall as the backdrop to an electronic music festival?!
  • The city is walkable so you won’t miss your car – it is best enjoyed by foot.
  • The Barceloneta was rated the #1 City Beach in the World by National Geographic.
  • It offers fresh seafood and warm sand… yum and yes!
  • Multi-cultural and multi-lingual, you’ll be amazed at the talented and creative people you’ll meet that makes this city SO vibrant!
  • It’s less than a two hour flight from many major European cities (like Rome, London, Paris, and Munich for example!) and it’s a great place to explore the continent!

Can You Learn Spanish in Catalonia?

ABSOLUTELY! You heard it here first…the myth has been officially busted, and we cannot stress this enough. Since Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, students are often concerned about whether or not it is a great place to learn Spanish. In fact, nearly 100 percent of people in Barcelona speak Spanish, while a little over half speak Catalan fluently…but pretty much everyone in the city speaks and uses Spanish on a daily basis. The two languages live side by side on road signs, in coffee shop conversations, and on newspaper stands. This means you will still see and hear Spanish all around you and all the time…but we’re not just talking about any Spanish, because most of the people of Barcelona speak Castilian Spanish. This is Spanish in what many call the “purest” form, because of its clear accent and pronunciation of every syllable. This makes Barcelona an absolutely ideal place for Spanish learners, especially beginners.

So, long story short…not only is Spanish alive and well in Barcelona, it is eagerly waiting to provide you with the ideal way to learn it.

With that said, although you’ll be able to get by just fine with Spanish, learning a few key phrases in Catalan will really help you win the hearts of locals. Check out this video below for 10 key phrases that you should learn before boarding your flight to BCN!

Your Life in Barcelona

Housing, Courses, and Culture. Barcelona SAE will provide you with a detailed itinerary before you leave home so you know what’s in store for you. We do a lot of the planning, but you are also involved in the important decisions, like where do you want to live while in Barcelona? Each of our programs allow you choose between a homestay with local Spaniards, independent apartments, and on campus housing.

You, your Study Abroad/Academic Advisor at your home institution, and your Barcelona SAE Program Advisor will all be involved in your course selection to ensure you are not only excited about what you’ll be studying, but also that it transfers back home. Some of our programs are highly specialized such as our Legal Studies Program or our Fashion and Design Program, but others offer a wide range of courses that will allow you to choose a well rounded schedule. Students are able to earn credit abroad that satisfy major, minor, or general elective requirements. Courses are generally taught in English, but there are Spanish options for more advanced students, too.

General classes run the spectrum and include the following…and many more:

  • Barcelona and its Historical Foundations
  • Great 20th Century Artists: Picasso, Dali, Miro
  • International Business
  • Sports and Society in Spain and Catalonia
  • Spanish Civilization and Culture
  • Architecture and Urban Design in Barcelona
  • Contemporary Spanish Society: From Dictatorship to Democracy
  • International Marketing
  • Management and Ethics
  • Cross-Cultural Psychology and Early Childhood Education
  • Spanish Courses

We STRONGLY encourage each and every one of our students and interns to learn as much Spanish as possible. We see it as an absolutely priceless opportunity, but with that said, it is optional. Even though you don’t need to know Spanish to study in Spain, we hope you go home at a much higher level than when you arrived. We wholeheartedly believe that the ability to use Spanish will greatly enrich your time abroad, as well as create endless professional opportunities back home. Over 400 million people speak Spanish throughout the world, and it is the official language of more than 20 countries, so gaining skills in another language will pave the wave for a great time in Spain and your future international life.

We offer intensive Spanish at ANY level and many programs will have you take a placement exam upon arrival so we know the perfect level for you. It is your decision how much time and energy you want to devote to learning Spanish; most programs allow you to create a combination of Spanish classes and electives. Contact an Advisor at any time if you have questions about this or need help deciding which program is right for you.

The People and Activities

The city in captivating, but many of our alumni say that what truly made their time abroad special was the people. There are plenty of opportunities for independence and solo travel, but studying or interning abroad is best when shared. We help you establish a group of friends and support within Barcelona. You will study alongside locals and other international students as well have an abundance of opportunities to meet other Barcelona SAE participants. Our in-country staff will arrange several cultural activities as well as provide mentorship and 24-hour support. You won’t just learn from your professors and within the four walls of a classroom…so get ready to learn from a Catalan cooking course, watching a Flamenco show, and by traveling through Spain on weekend excursions and day trips that are included in your program!

Okay! I’m Sold (Great Choice!) When Should I go?

The answer? ANYTIME! We didn’t choose to offer outstanding programs in one of the world’s most visited and beloved cities on accident. Barcelona’s charm is contagious no matter when you go, and its prime Mediterranean location means warmth year round.

Looking to study abroad?

We offer a variety of academic programs in Barcelona, including:

  • Fall Semester/Quarter
  • Spring Semester/Quarter
  • Full Academic Year
  • Summer (4, 6, and 8 Weeks)
  • January Term (3 Weeks)

Looking to intern abroad?

We offer a variety of start dates and internship durations in Barcelona, including:

  • Fall Semester/Quarter (4 – 12 Weeks)
  • Spring Semester/Quarter (4 – 12 Weeks)
  • Summer (4 – 12 Weeks)
  • Please note that internships are not available in August.

What’s the Weather Like in Barcelona?

Looking for somewhere to soak up the rays, especially if you’re from a colder climate? Look no further than Barcelona! Average temperatures range from the mid 50s to mid 80s, with January being the coldest month and August the hottest. Summers are long, sunny, and warm… but the even better news news is that winters are mild and tend to be sunny. But just remember, there will likely be some chilly nights, so make sure to pack some warmer layers or a jacket in your suitcase.

Let’s Talk About Style, Shall We?

Are you an aspiring Fashionista? Well, you’re in luck, as Barcelona is a VERY stylish city. In fact, Barcelona has been named one of the most fashionable cities in the world…so be prepared to dress a bit more formal than is the norm in the United States. It seems that all of Barcelona’s people – both women and men – wear well put together outfits (even on casual outings!) and athletic gear as everyday attire is not really that common.