Barcelona, Spain

IFSA Study in Barcelona

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Program Overview

OUR MOST AFFORDABLE SPAIN PROGRAM, WITH A MINIMUM GPA OF 2.0

Set your sights on Spain! Beautiful Barcelona has it all: Spanish and Catalan culture, stunning coastline, tantalizing food, and easy access to most of Europe.  

IFSA puts it all in reach. Take classes at the IFSA Program Center with other IFSA students, taught by Barcelona-based faculty. Starting in Spring 2025, you’ll have five additional business classes to choose from, on topics ranging from ethics to finance to supply chain management. There’s also opportunity for an internship.  

For deeper immersion, opt to enroll in one class at prestigious Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). UPF offers top-quality instruction in finance, communications, politics, and more, mostly taught in English. As a UPF student, you can also take advantage of university clubs and other offerings.  

Living with other students in an apartment vetted by IFSA, you’ll find it easy to explore the best of Barcelona, from La Boquería to Sagrada Família. Plus, you’ll gain insights tourists often miss, with a great selection of excursions, all included (that’s right, no additional fees). Possibilities include discovering Dali’s groundbreaking art in Figueras, exploring beautiful Monserrat, known for mountain beauty and the Benedictine monastery.

This is an exclusive IFSA-Designed Program. Learn more about these affordable programs here.

Details at a Glance

Application deadline

Fall: May 1
Spring: Oct. 1

Minimum GPA

2.00

Credit load

12–16

Housing

Apartment/Flat, Single Room Option

Instruction language

English, Spanish

Language prerequisites

None

Visa required?

Yes. Learn more.

Apply Now

Academics

IFSA’s Study in Barcelona program provides a compelling curriculum that’s taught in English and focuses on business, the social sciences, arts, humanities, and interdisciplinary classes. Crafted for U.S. degree requirements and contemporary hot topics, IFSA classes explore relevant topics in the Catalan, Spanish, and European contexts by incorporating a variety of case studies and field visits. Mix and match four to five IFSA classes for a total of 12–16 U.S. semester credit hours. You may opt to take one elective at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) for a supplemental fee.

IFSA CLASSES
Not all classes may be offered in a given semester depending on enrollment. Click on each link below for a detailed class syllabus.

Arts and Humanities

Food Culture and Spanish Society
Understanding food in culture and society is a local and global concern. Through anthropological and sociological lenses, students will consider the importance and roles of food in our personal and social lives. Even though we need food to survive and it is present in every society and culture, we cannot take for granted that we eat the same food for the same reasons at the same time; or assume that food is available everywhere with the same quality and under the same conditions. It is a matter of national security and is tied to economic growth. Situated in the fascinating culinary settee of Barcelona, this class examines food as part of national heritage, cultural identity, and as a sometimes controversial product for tourist consumption. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Identity and Politics in Spain
Identity movements around race, LGBTQIA+ rights, feminism, and nationalism have swept the globe in recent years and Spain is no exception. This class examines the different levels of identity that Spanish people profess and how these different identities have affected recent politics. Drawing on histories of Catalan and Basque secessionist movements, we will also explore more contemporary struggles around gender, sexual orientation, and race in Spain, as well as the growing influence of populism and national identity against the broader backdrop of European integration. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

International Internship Seminar
All internships include participation in the International Internship Seminar, which covers 15 hours of online asynchronous Canvas modules to provide structured opportunities to reflect on the practical experience of the internship, learn more about your host country’s business culture, and further develop the professional skills needed for a successful transition from undergraduate coursework into a career or graduate school. Plus, you will engage with an online global cohort of IFSA internship participants, gaining exposure to business cultures around the world. Seminar is instructed in English. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Social Media Marketing in the Age of Self
This class will outfit students with the tools and expertise to develop strategic and comprehensive social media marketing plans that integrate with overall marketing and communications efforts to achieve business goals. Through case studies and hands-on exercises, students will develop a deep understanding of social media platforms and best practices, leveraging these channels to elevate one’s reach and reputation. Topics include choosing appropriate platforms, creating effective and engaging social media content, and developing social media policies and content management strategies. The class emphasizes social listening, ethics, and inclusivity. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Social Psychology
Social psychology examines the perceptions, thoughts, feelings and behaviors of individuals within their social environments. In this class, methodologies used to investigate social psychology phenomena are introduced, aiding understanding of the application of social psychology research to real-world problems. Special attention is devoted to issues of socioeconomic class in Spain. This class includes three investigative field visits to diverse Barcelona neighborhoods, providing vibrant context for discussions. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Sustainability and the Global City
This class introduces theoretical and methodological tools with which to evaluate potential for sustainable urbanism. Focusing on Barcelona alongside comparative global case studies, students will be exposed to urban planning and both natural and build environments in order to evaluate the common challenges and successes related to sustainability efforts. Through experiential learning opportunities, students will develop first-hand context as they examine various facets of sustainable urbanization in Barcelona. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Understanding Spain Through its Art
This class aims to provide students with knowledge of Spanish culture within the context of art history. The history of Spanish culture will be evaluated through the lenses of its most well-known artists including Goya, Picasso, Gaudí, Miró, and Dalí, among others throughout the ages. Students will develop a critical understanding of the past and present of Spain they can use to interpret their Barcelona home. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Business

Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a self-regulating business model that helps a company be socially accountable—to itself, its stakeholders, and the public. By practicing corporate social responsibility, also called corporate citizenship, companies can be conscious of the kind of impact they have on all aspects of society, including economic, social, and environmental. This class will study the responsibility that businesses have at both the local and global level, in addition to key legal and ethical considerations. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Design Thinking
Design thinking is a powerful approach to solving a wide variety of problems across many different disciplines. In this experiential class, students will learn how to flexibly sort through and solve challenges and pursue opportunities. At its core, design thinking relies on creativity; and unless one has already unleashed their innate creativity, the power of design thinking is constrained. Therefore, in this truly interdisciplinary class students will build their “creative confidence,” learn design thinking, and apply these skills to a variety of challenges as they actively engage in the creative process individually and in teams. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

The Economics of Professional Soccer
Professional soccer, or football as it is more commonly known, is both a multicultural obsession and a globalized economic market. FC Barcelona, one of the world’s top soccer brands, was valued at more than $1.5 billion USD in 2020. This class explores professional soccer through the lens of behavioral economics, a discipline that blends sociological insight with economic theory. Through a case study of FC Barcelona, we will analyze various aspects of international soccer industries, as well as how professional soccer informs how Spain is viewed around the world. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Entrepreneurship: Creating a Plan of Action
The aim of this class is to provide students with an understanding of the scope of entrepreneurship including elements that could potentially foster or hinder a business start-up. In addition to exploring concepts and frameworks, students will think through and engage in the creation of a start-up and develop and communicate a business plan to potential investors. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

International Finance
This class focuses on the theory of international finance and its real-world applications. Students begin by exploring fundamental concepts such as national income accounting and the Balance of Payments. Students analyze theories of both flexible and fixed exchange rate systems, and to debate the merits of each system, along with their implications for macroeconomic performance in terms of output, money supply, price levels, etc. The class concludes with an international lens on macroeconomic policy and the unique types of financial policies and crises in developing countries. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Service Operations Management
This class is designed to explore, challenge and refine the principals of service operations Management in hospitality and tourism operations. The foundation is built upon an understanding that service excellence is achieved through strategy, systems and staff. By the end of this class, students should have an understanding and appreciation for facility designs and layouts, planning and analyzing service delivery systems, defining and measuring service quality, and service recovery. Additionally, students will know strategies for managing demand and supply, and making continual improvements a competitive strategy. Barcelona as a city of tourism provides the ideal backdrop for an up-close examination of these issues. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Spanish Language

Essential Spanish
If you’ve never studied Spanish before, you can take this optional, introductory class in Spanish language and Catalan culture. By introducing key words and phrases and venturing out into the city to practice them, you’ll gain essential skills to communicate effectively and navigate in a new culture. (1 U.S. semester credit hour)

UNIVERSITAT POMPEU FABRA (UPF) CLASSES (Coming Spring 2025)
Choose one elective at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) for a supplemental fee. At UPF you are invited to not only share academic classes, but also campus life including services, clubs, and activities. More than 100 classes are available in politics, management, communications, finance, humanities, and social sciences. Most classes are taught in English; some classes can be taken in Spanish for students with level B2 language proficiency. See the UPF class catalogs (linked below) for up-to-date offerings. UPF requires a 3.0 GPA minimum for enrollment.

CHART Your Course
Find the classes you need fast with CHART. Our easy-to-use tool shows you classes recently taken by IFSA students.

Barcelona Program for Interdisciplinary Studies (BaPIS) 

  • Analytics for Social Good 
  • From Ethnographic Cinema to the Avant-Garde 
  • LGBT+: Exploring Identities and Diversity  
  • Mind, Brain, and Machines 
  • The Impact Journey: (Un)Sustainability, Climate Emergency, Authentic Leadership 
  • The Space Race: A Cultural History in the Cold War 

ESCI-UPF International Business Program 

  • Corporate Finance  
  • Consumer Behavior 
  • Financial Risk Management 
  • Digital Business Modeling and Competitive Strategy 
  • Sustainability Management 
  • Strategic Brand Management 

You may also request to take classes delivered in Spanish if you have at least four semesters of Spanish language experience or the equivalent.

Universitat Pompeu Fabra Elective (Coming Spring 2025)
UPF requires a 3.0 GPA minimum for enrollment in its classes.

Can I take my classes in Spanish? (Coming Spring 2025)
To enroll in Spanish-taught classes at this program, you must have a specific language level. Please visit our Language Requirements page for more details. If you have questions about whether you qualify, contact your IFSA Enrollment Counselor.

INTERNSHIPS
IFSA internships include real-world work experience, along with developing intercultural skills and experiences that are key to personal, academic, and professional success. Expect to devote a total of 120 hours working with your host organization, with supervision from your seminar instructor, coordinated by on-site IFSA team members. In addition, interns complete the International Internship Seminar for 3 U.S. semester credit hours. Internships are not remunerated.

Students have interned at galleries and museums, business incubators, development agencies, religiously affiliated non-profits, marketing firms, and human rights advocacy groups in Barcelona.

Your goals are carefully considered, tailoring the placement process to ensure the best possible fit. Keep in mind that final placements depend on your skills, prior experience, and availability. Although every effort is made to match your placement with your preferred field or area of business, it can’t be guaranteed. Most internships are conducted in English. If you have had at least four semesters of Spanish language instruction, ask your IFSA Enrollment Counselor about opportunities to conduct your internship in Spanish.

Application. After you submit your application, resume, and IFSA Internship Intent Form, an IFSA Enrollment Counselor and an on-site IFSA Team member will work with you to identify your professional strengths, review your goals, and refine your internship interests to establish a match. From there, you’ll have an interview with your potential internship host. You will be provided with tips and resources to prepare for your interview.

Sample Placements. The following are examples of internships IFSA students have recently completed. Placement options vary from term to term.

Organization: Accounting and finance firm
Potential Projects: You can work on market research and analysis, financial trends, multinational consulting, and auditing projects.

Organization: Education and mentoring organization
Potential Projects: You can work on marketing and social media for education campaigns, or mentor students to match them with potential future employment.

Organization: Corporate finance company focused on acquisitions and mergers

Organization: Coworking, mentoring and networking team
Potential Projects: From design to international business to sports events planning, you can work on different projects within the coworking community of entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Organization: Government tourism agency
Potential Projects: Work on social media marketing and international campaigns promoting Cataluña tourism.

Organization: Developer of professional software for retail management
Potential Projects: Work on operations, sports business, and retail projects.

Organization: Provider of subscription-based meal kits in Barcelona
Potential Projects: Work on marketing, communications, and web and app design projects.

Organization: A global manufacturer and provider of hybrid packaging solutions for beauty brands
Potential Projects: You can work in areas of the organization including human resources, marketing, international business relations, and global manufacturing.

Organization: A crowdfunding site which focuses on projects which generate a collective return through promoting the common, open source code and/or free knowledge.
Potential Projects: You can work on different projects to promote the organization and expand its visibility.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Eligibility

  • You must be at least 18 years of age. Students under 18 may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • You must be currently attending or recently graduated from a U.S. or Canadian community college, technical college, two-year college, four-year college, or four-year university.
  • You must have completed at least one (1) full-time semester of study at your home institution before the beginning of the term. If you elect to take a class at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), you will need to have completed (2) full-time years of study at your home instruction before the beginning of the term.

Recommendation Letter
Not required. An internship site may request a reference letter before placement is finalized.

 

TRANSCRIPT
Upon completion of your program, IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. semester credit hour system. You will also have access to an unofficial transcript in your IFSA Student Portal. The transcript reflects classes taken, credits attempted, and grades earned during your term abroad. This service is included in your study abroad program at no additional cost. See our Transcripts page for more information.

Excursions

Activities and excursions are designed to pull you into the communities you visit and encourage cultural connections of every kind. There’s no extra fee to participate in these optional outings—everything is included in your program fee.

Below are a selection of activities and excursions from previous terms; options may vary for your program. Due to the seasonal nature of many of program activities, we cannot guarantee a specific activity or excursion will be available in a given term or program.

Activities

  • City-as-Text: These activities (museum visits, street art tour, visiting different neighborhoods) will use the city of Barcelona as the frame to understand socioeconomic, artistic, and cultural aspects of the city.
  • Architecture and Design: Barcelona’s colorful, distinctive, and unique architecture successfully blends the traditional with the modern. Visit iconic buildings such as Gaudi’s masterpiece Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló, La Predrera, and Park Güell, while also understanding how Barcelona’s support of innovation, creative talent, and design makes it a special city in which to live.
  • Food and Local Culture: Gastronomy in Catalonia and Spain is about more than just food. It is a way of life and an essential part of the culture and history. Visit a local market and also participate in cooking a traditional Catalan-style meal where an expert will discuss central issues surrounding the importance of food culture and the Mediterranean diet.
  • Folklore: Through organized activities as well as local festivities, learn more about the Catalan traditions such as dancing sardanes or rumba catalana, the building of human towers or castellers, and other local customs.
  • Barcelona as a Business Hub: As Spain’s start-up capital, the city of Barcelona is the center of an emerging economic Eurozone and an international business center for companies and organizations working worldwide. By visiting local global businesses, learn more about the entrepreneurial spirit of Barcelona.
  • Learning about the Catalan Autonomous Region: Throughout program activities, discover how history and politics have shaped the region’s current society, economics, and politics.

Excursions

  • Girona, Figueras, and Costa Brava Day Trips: On these day trips, visit different parts of northern Catalonia: the Dali museum in Figueras, an incredible museum showcasing the life and work of the surrealist genius Salvador Dalí; the city of Girona, whose medieval center boasts the most important Jewish Quarter on the Iberian Peninsula as well as some iconic Game of Thrones filming locations; one of the picturesque coastal towns of Costa Brava.
  • Montserrat Day Trip: On this day trip, explore the stunning, unique, and spiritual mountain of Montserrat by hiking among its breathtaking peaks and visiting the Basilica of the Virgin Mary of Montserrat.
  • Sitges Day Trip: With a stroll through Sitges old town and walk along its sandy beaches, you will realize immediately why Sitges is one of the most popular beach towns in Catalonia. A guide will explain its history of wealthy “indianos” who made fortunes in America (Cuba/Barcardí) and returned to build palaces, in addition to an introduction to the town’s vibrant LGBTQIA+ community tradition.
  • Seville Weekend Excursion: From the largest gothic cathedral in the world to the oldest royal residence in Europe still in use, the Royal Alcazar, you will explore a completely different urban landscape from that of Barcelona. Seville’s rich architectural and historical legacy, as well as its tapas and Flamenco traditions will broaden your understanding of Spanish culture.
  • Madrid Weekend Excursion: Madrid, the capital of Spain, has endless cultural and gastronomic experiences to offer. Visit its world-class museums, El Prado and Reina Sofía, learn more about the city’s history on a walking tour through its most iconic spaces, and visit the beautiful park “El Retiro.” Free time to explore the tapas scene and the Rastro flea market.

Housing and Meals

Housing

Apartment/Flat, Single Room Option

Meals

Self-Catering

Details

Barcelona students typically live in flats (apartments) shared by four to six IFSA students. Locations vary but are typically in neighborhoods with plenty of local charm, no more than 30 minutes from the IFSA Program Center via public transportation.  

Flatmates could include all genders. Bedrooms are shared by same gender students. Keep in mind that students who request and are placed in single bedrooms incur an additional fee to cover the higher cost. Students are responsible for their own meals, either cooking in their flat or eating out—in Barcelona, there are delicious options at every turn. 

Sample housing 

Explore Carrer Córsega 528 to see what your Barcelona home might be like:  

  • Location: Barcelona’s Eixample district.  
  • Commute: A 25-minute walk or 12-minute bus ride to the IFSA Program Center.   
  • Living space: Apartments include single and shared bedrooms with single beds and storage, living space, a kitchen and eating area, and a bathroom. Sometimes two students share one desk. Complete bedding and towels provided at program start. Kitchens are equipped with stovetop, oven, refrigerator, and basic dishes and kitchenware for all residents. 
  • Meals: No meal plan. Students prepare or purchase meals, and often tell us cooking together is a fun, social part of the day.  
  • Other details: Internet included. Washing machine and drying rack in each apartment. 
  • Nearby: Cafes, fresh markets, supermarkets, public transportation, and galleries. La Sagrada Familia. Casa Batlló. Casa Milà. Passeig de Gràcia. 

Dates and Fees

Term
Term begins
Term ends
Program costs
Application deadline
Fall 2024
September 4, 2024
December 20, 2024
$17,500
Passed
Spring 2025
Early Jan. 2025
Early May 2025
$17,500 (estimated)
Oct. 1, 2024
Fall 2025
Early Sept. 2025
Mid-Dec. 2025
$17,500 (estimated)
April 1, 2025

Get Started

Eleni Katsarelas

Eleni Katsarelas

Enrollment Counselor