A warm, orange light, together with the smell of the Mediterranean’s salt characterizes one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Barcelona, surrounded by hills on its back but always gazing at the sea, is an unforgettable city. Full of history, culture, arts and an amazing nightlife, Barcelona offers students the perfect location for Spanish language study.
Students interested in learning Spanish will have a unique experience in Barcelona. As a cosmopolitan city it hosts visitors and citizens from all over the world, and Spanish is not only the language spoken by the locals – it is also the language used between all these different people to communicate. If you go to Barcelona you will have the opportunity to improve your Spanish and have the experience of a lifetime!
Read the guide on this page written by Go Overseas experts, just for you. Then choose a Spanish language program in Barcelona from the list below. You'll be well on your way to becoming a fluent Spanish speaker!
The resources and opportunities available for all those who wish to learn Spanish in Barcelona are endless. As a big city, the most visited in Spain, students can choose from finding a private tutor by themselves through internet listings to completely planned language programs by all kinds of schools and universities. The vast majority of people in Barcelona (and in all Catalonia, the Spanish region in which Barcelona is the capital) speak both Catalan (the native language) and Spanish, so you’ll be able to practice your language skills all day long!
Tutoring & Language Exchanges
Those who want to have the maximum freedom possible and don’t wish to commit in advance, might find that private tutoring and language exchanges are the option that suits them the most. Finding private tutors through Internet listings or asking in the local universities is not difficult. A private tutor will offer you undivided attention and you’ll be able to work with them on exactly those areas you need to improve.
If you are mostly interested in improving your speaking skills, you can also check out listings such as Conversation Exchange, where you will be able to find a language partner to practice your Spanish. You can find a partner who wishes to learn your language and meet in a cafe to chat for a while in your language and for a while in Spanish.
Private classes can get pricey and may not be the best option if you wish to socialize. If that is your case, you might consider taking part in a language study and internship or volunteer combination programs. These organized programs will place you in a language school according to your level and will also find you an internship or volunteer position that matches your interests and professional goals.
There are plenty of trustworthy companies you can contact. They will also help you with your housing and will give you visa advice, which might be really useful, specially if it’s the first time you spend some time abroad. You will find many options in this same page and also in the Internships Abroad and Volunteer Abroad pages right here at Go Overseas.
If your main goal is to improve your Spanish and you’d rather do it in a conventional classroom, you also have the option of enrolling in courses offered by local universities. The three most recognized universities offer classes of Spanish as a foreign language and guarantee a high level of excellence. Universitat de Barcelona, one of the oldest in Spain, offers Spanish courses for foreigners without demanding any enrollment in the university.
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (http://www.barcelona-university.es) offers the same option and a great location in their beautiful Casa Convalescència Campus. Universitat Pompeu Fabra doesn’t have the long history of the other two but it is recognized as one of the best universities in Spain.
There are other universities in Barcelona and in other cities around Catalonia that will also offer courses. Be certain that if you look around you’ll find exactly what you need!
Catalan people are warm and welcoming and they will be more than willing to talk to you and help you improve your Spanish. Walk into a bar or cafe, approach someone in a party... You will soon notice that Barcelona’s citizens are very open and it’s easy to make friends. Don’t be surprised if they interrupt each other when talking, or ask you a lot of personal questions: it is their way to show their interest.
If you want to adapt even more, learn a few sentences in Catalan, the native language of Barcelona and Catalonia. It will be greatly appreciated and it will show people that you are trying to integrate and they will be even more willing to help you.
Also, if you want to have a sure topic of conversation, learn a little bit about soccer and of Barcelona’s team, Futbol Club Barcelona. You’ll have a topic of conversation for hours and will see how passionate locals are about their team!
- Check out the crowd: More than 1,628,090 people live in Barcelona. Moreover, Its constant growth has connected Barcelona to all the cities directly around it, which many times can be accessed by simply crossing a street. Counting all the inhabitants in these cities, a total of 5.012.961 citizens live in Barcelona’s metropolitan area.
- Did you know..? Every 23rd of April the inhabitants of Barcelona (and the rest of the region, Catalonia) celebrate Saint George’s day. The tradition is to present your significant other with a rose and a book. This tradition was the inspiration for the UNESCO to declare April 23rd the International Day of Books.
- Since when? No one knows exactly when Barcelona started to be inhabited. There are remains in the city from communities who lived there around 5,000 to 4,500 BC. It has been documented that the Laietans, and Iberian tribe lived on the same area on the VIIth and VIth centuries BC. Its formal foundation, though, has been established on 218 BF, when the Romans turned the Iberian city into a military fortress.
- YUM: Barcelona is widely known for its amazing food. A mixture of the tasty Spanish dishes and French delicacies, don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional Catalan food! One of its most famous (and easier to make) delicacies it’s “pa amb tomàquet”: toasted bread rubbed with garlic and tomato, seasoned with salt and olive oil, and usually served with a delicious slice of ham or Spanish omelet.
Costs & Funding
Barcelona, sadly, is not a cheap city to live in. Though being cheaper than other important European cities, it remains one of the most expensive in Spain. If you are frugal, though, you should be able to live comfortably with around 900-1,200 euros a month (1,220-1,627 USD).
Though at first glance the housing market may seem scary, it is easy to find good offers, even in the city center. Small apartments are common and inexpensive, and if you don’t mind sharing it with other people, you may be able to reduce rent to 350 - 400 euros a month ($480 - 542 USD). UniPlaces is a good place to search for affordable student housing.
You can also consider living in one of the surrounding cities –Badalona, l’Hospitalet, etc.– which will be much cheaper and thanks to public transportation you’ll be able to get to Barcelona’s center in around 45 minutes.
If you want to earn some extra money, you can look into the possibility of becoming an English tutor. You will get paid under the table and though the rates vary depending on your experience and certifications, you can get from 14 to 25 euros an hour (19 to 34 USD). You will also have the chance to work under the table in other sectors, but be careful since it is easy for dishonest employers to avoid paying you if you haven’t signed a contract.
Learning Spanish abroad without a secure income may seem impossible to those who don’t have much savings. If you are planning to take part in a study program with a Spanish school or university, they will have plenty of resources to help you find a scholarship or grant to help you make ends meet while you are in Spain. If you are going on your own you also have several options:
Instituto Cervantes offers grants and economic aid to students going to Spain to improve their Spanish. They also have an updated list of other institutions that offer scholarships for international students.