IFSA Study in Barcelona
OUR MOST AFFORDABLE BARCELONA OPTION INCLUDES ACCESSIBLE GPA REQUIREMENTS
Set your sights on Spain! Beautiful Barcelona has it all: distinctive Spanish and Catalan culture, stunning coastline, endless charm, mind-blowing street food, and easy access to all of Europe. Best of all, this affordable program is open to all students in good academic standing. Fuel your entrepreneurial spirit with classes geared toward business and social sciences. Add working world experience to your resume with a valuable internship. Take advantage of endless opportunities to build your Spanish skills, even if you’re starting from scratch!
Ideal for business, sociology, psychology, and hospitality majors, and more.
Eager to learn with local and international students? Check out IFSA Study in Barcelona Plus, which adds the option to enroll in one elective class at prestigious Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF).
IFSA’s Study in Barcelona program provides a compelling curriculum that’s taught in English and focused on business and the social sciences. 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 12-15 U.S. semester credit hours. All courses are worth 3 U.S. semester credits and open to all students without prerequisites.
In addition to your classes, if you’ve never studied Spanish before, you’ll take Essential Spanish. This 1 U.S. semester credit hour course in contemporary Spanish language and culture is taught intensively during the first weeks of the program. By introducing key words and phrases in the classroom—and venturing out into the city to practice them—this class also provides insights into local customs and daily life. Right from the start, you’ll gain essential skills to communicate effectively and navigate in a new culture.
Not all courses may be offered in a given semester depending on enrollment. Click on each link below for a detailed course syllabus.
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 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 coure 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 and understanding of potential enablers and barriers to business start-up. A knowledge of culture and economy and its impact on entrepreneurship will be provided and will explore the personal characteristics of entrepreneurs in balancing the risk and reward of entrepreneurship. Examples of entrepreneurs and start-up organizations will be discussed and analyzed in order to draw learning for potential future ventures. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
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, LGBTQ+ 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)
This class focuses 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)
International Internship Seminar
Students are placed in individual internships but collectively take part in the seminar to prepare for the experience, understand expectations, set personal objectives, identify, and strengthen specific skills, critically reflect on their progress, share experiences, and learn from each other throughout their term. Students develop a deeper understanding of themselves, their professional areas, and Italian work culture. In this seminar, which is focused on application of theory to practice, students gain real world work experience while developing intercultural agility—skills and experiences that are critically important to personal, academic and professional success. (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 system, 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)
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 diversity. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
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 the students with knowledge of Spanish culture within the context of art history. The history of the Spanish culture will be evaluated through the lenses of its most well-known artists including Goya, Picasso, Gaudí, Miró, and Dalí, among others. Students will develop a critical understanding the past and present of the current Spain in which we live. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
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.
- 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.
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.
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 examples from previous terms; outings may be different for your program. We’ll make every effort to run them all, but sometimes things we can’t control, such as local regulations and health protocols, get in the way. As result, we cannot guarantee activities and excursions.
- City-as-Text: This activity will use the city of Barcelona as the frame to understand socioeconomic, artistic, and cultural aspects of the city. Learn about how and why Barcelona was the first city awarded the Biosphere Certification as a responsible tourist destination committed to economic, social, environmental, and cultural sustainability.
- Architecture and Design: Barcelona’s colorful, distinctive, and unique architecture successfully blends the traditional with the modern. You will be able to visit iconic buildings such as Gaudi’s masterpiece Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló, La Predrera, Palau Güell, and Park Güell, while also understanding how Barcelona’s support of innovation, creative talent, and design makes it the perfect city to live in.
- Barcelona as a Business Hub: The city is the center of an emerging economic Eurozone, the Mediterranean capital, a bridge to Europe, and an international business center for companies and organizations working worldwide. By visiting local businesses, you will be able to learn more about the Catalan entrepreneurial spirit of Barcelona.
- Learning about the Catalan Independence: Through several guest lectures, you will learn how history and politics have shaped the region’s society, economics, and politics.
- Food and Local Culture: Gastronomy in Cataluña and Spain is about more than just food. It is a way of living and an essential part of the culture and history of the region and the country. An expert will discuss central issues surrounding the importance of food and the importance of the Mediterranean diet. You will visit the several markets in the city and also participate in cooking a traditional Catalan-style meal.
- Folklore: Through multiple day trips, organized activities, and various festivities, you will learn about the traditional dance Sardana, the building of human towers at festivals called castellers, and other customs while being immersed into the bilingualism and identity of Cataluña.
- Figueras and Girona Trip: On this day trip, you will visit the Dali museum in Figueras, an incredible museum showcasing the life and work of the surrealist genius Salvador Dali. You will also visit Girona, one of the most important medieval quarters in Spain. There you will explore the Jewish Quarter and various Game of Thrones filming locations.
- Cavas and Montserrat Trip: Have a cultural and enogastronomic experience while visiting one of best known Cavas wineries in Cataluña. Additionally, you’ll explore the stunning mountain landscape of Montserrat topped with a famous Benedictine monastery. It’s perfect for hiking excursions and views of the Catalan landscape.
- Seville Trip: 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 city and culture from Barcelona. Seville’s rich architectural and historical legacy will allow you to immerse yourself in Spanish culture, while enjoying tapas tasting and Flamenco dancing.
Housing and Meals
HousingApartment/Flat, Single Room Option
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.
Take a look at 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.