By IES Abroad   Reviews (52)   93% Rating

IES Abroad Barcelona - Liberal Arts & Business

By IES Abroad   Reviews (52)   93% Rating

There are a wide variety of courses available, primarily taught in English by our world-class faculty. When you arrive, you are grouped into language proficiency-based levels to focus your course enrollment options. This will also provide a sense of community with your fellow students and will challenge you to maximize your learning.

In addition to your Spanish language course, you will choose from a variety of English-taught IES Abroad courses, as well as Spanish- and English-taught local university courses to round out your semester. All IES Abroad courses include field study activities that help you connect coursework with your surroundings. You can also take Spanish-taught IES Abroad courses.

Locations
Europe › Spain › Barcelona
Subject Areas
Degree Level
Bachelors
Timeframe
Academic Year
Fall
Spring
Accommodation
Apartment
Host Family
Hostel
Language
English
Steps
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Age Requirement
GPA Requirement
Health Requirement
Cost
Contact IES Abroad or see website for details: www.IESabroad.org/barcelona
Starting Price
0.00
IES Abroad Barcelona - Liberal Arts & Business

Rating Values

  • Academics
    77%
  • Support
    90%
  • Fun
    88%
  • Housing
    95%
  • Safety
    90%

Program Reviews (52)

R.
Female
21 years old
Minneapolis
University of Minnesota

Never enough time in Barcelona

Overall 9

I had a fantastic experience studying in Barcelona with IES Abroad. After completing a backpacking trip through Europe with friends, I picked Barcelona as the city I would choose to return to, to study abroad, if I would be lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend a semester there. I'm so glad I picked Barcelona because it really helped me increase my Spanish language skills, and allowed me to experience so many places nearby. IES Abroad helped such a big city like Barcelona feel smaller, by setting up opportunities to volunteer and places to visit. I signed up for the intercambio program which helped me meet a local who I am still in contact with today. To have a good time in Barcelona I think you need to be adventurous, open to learning about a new way of life, excited to practice your Spanish, and able to function on little sleep. I never felt homesick during my semester because my host family made me feel at home and I knew the semester would fly by! I highly recommend staying with a host family, and going on day trips to nearby cities such as Girona, and Sitges. I recommend avoiding touristy places and speaking Spanish with as many people as possible. I enjoyed the small class sizes of my IES Abroad classes and my teachers. I chose IES Abroad because everyone at my study abroad center assured me that they had a very well-developed program, and were on top of things. This allowed me and my family to feel good about choosing to study abroad with them. I had a great experience in Barcelona and hope you do as well!

How can this program be improved?

I would like to see even more volunteer opportunities offered, as the volunteering experiences were so special to me, it would be nice to volunteer even more. I also think it would be great if faculty could provide a calendar of events taking place in Barcelona that could be distributed via email monthly. So much is going on in Barcelona, it would be nice to have a list of big events so I could plan my weekend travel around that.

Brigid
Female
22 years old
Muncy, PA
Bloomsburg University

The best semester of my life

Overall 10

I knew before I even started applying to college I wanted to study abroad. I picked IES because it came highly recommended to me and I wanted to be in Barcelona. Picking IES was the best decision I made. Your program truly defines what your experience will be like. IES made all the pre-departure paperwork easy and were helpful answering the 100's of questions I had. Once I got to Barcelona, they continued to be helpful. IES offers different actives such as bike rides, cooking classes, and tours of different neighborhoods. This gave me the opportunity to meet friends and get acquainted with my new city.
I decided to live in an apartment which was provided through IES. This was the perfect situation for me because I have already lived in an apartment independently before. I had to do all my own cooking but I loved it! I ended up getting to know the local shop owners. I would get my groceries from various markets. I even had a little fish shop where they spoke no English! It was challenging but I never felt more accomplished or proud when I placed my entire order of fish in Spanish!
The friends you make abroad are friendships that last a lifetime. One of my favorite memories that I think about often is going to get gelato between classes on Tuesday afternoon, strolling through the Gothic Quarter. It's little moments like that that I cherish so much.
Getting homesick is part of the experience, but everyone is going through the same thing, even if it's at different stages. When I lost my iPhone, the front desk woman helped me by calling the cab company since my Spanish was not strong. When I was sick, the study affairs office made sure I saw a doctor. Whatever question I had, IES was there to answer it.
I loved that my professors really brought the classroom into the city. Many of my classes went on field trips around the city. When my parents came to visit, I was able to lead them around and tell them many different fact about the city I didn't even realize I knew. It became my home. I grew to love certain neighborhoods, a favorite running path, and a favorite cafe to study (Organic's - right down the street from the IES center)
Studying abroad is something everyone should do. Of course it's a little scary but so worth it. I learned what it means to be a global citizen, I traveled to different famous European cities, ate amazing food, and I made incredible friendships. IES was organized and helpful from day one, which helped make this the best semester of my life.

How can this program be improved?

I think the biggest thing they could improve upon is getting students information about cell phones. I spent an entire day trying to figure out the best option. Also, not having finals on Friday would help make the transition home a bit easier.

Tauriah
Female
20 years old
Fort Worth
Texas Christian University

Viviendo en Barcelona

Overall 10

Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I took the big step to go to Barcelona, Spain for my 2016 spring semester of college. It was hard to leave my family, but once I made it and met my loving host mom and great roommates I knew I would be alright until April. I was able to not only improve my Spanish, but I got to do so in an actual Spanish speaking country. The Spanish culture was what I enjoyed the most.I learned so much about myself that I may not have known until later in life if I had not gone. I am not fine with traveling alone, spending the night in an airport, or hoping on a plane and going to another country. It was all worth it.

How can this program be improved?

I think if they enforced speaking Spanish in the IES building more that would help those who are not on the upper levels.

Shannon
Female
22 years old
Seattle
Pacific Lutheran University

An Unforgettable Semester

Overall 10

When I first decided to study away, I had no idea where I wanted to go (besides somewhere in Europe) or with which program. In a meeting with my advisor, I said that I was thinking about Italy. Since I was studying Spanish, she laughed and instead suggested IES Barcelona Business and Liberal Arts. She said it would be perfect; I could take my business, my general education, and my Spanish classes PLUS live in Europe. And you know what? She was right.

Spending a semester in Barcelona was more than I could have ever imagined it and there are three reasons why.

1) My host family was phenomenal. My mom was a teacher, my dad a doctor, and they had three boys ranging from 12-16. They welcomed me, and my two roommates, into their family with arms wide open. We had dinners together every single night, where they challenged us to work on our Spanish (even though they knew quite a bit of English), played video games with the younger brother, and even had a family ping-pong tournament. When I was debating whether to live in an apartment or a homestay, I was worried that I would feel trapped in a family dynamic and that it would be weird to leave to go on trips or to go hang out with friends, but that wasn’t the case. They had hosted before so they knew how life would be with study abroad students, and in fact, they encouraged us to go to cultural events and to get out of the house as much as possible. I do not think I could have asked for a better living situation if I tried, and I will definitely stay in contact with them. They’re my Spain family!

2) The history and art of Barcelona are impressive. If you had asked me about art before going to Spain, I would have said, “ehh it’s ok”. Ask me now, and I will tell you all that I know about European art, especially the work by Gaudí. I would never have called myself an art enthusiast before going abroad, but now, I love art! My turning point was learning about and seeing the Block of Discord (which consists of three houses designed by Gaudí, Puig i Cadafalch, and Domenech i Montaner) and La Sagrada Familia.

3) The friends I made are lifelong. We all shared one of the key personality traits that I need in a friend: adventurous. Each and every person I met, had plans to do and see things and to enjoy their time however that meant to them. But in all, we shared a magical experience that no one else will quite understand. We stayed up all night to see the sunrise from the Bunkers, ate patatas bravas every day for a snack, flew cheap flights at 6am, found local festivals to attend, bought more souvenirs then we could really bring home, etc. The only sad part is that since we went with a study abroad program (versus one at our home school), we are all scattered across America, which makes seeing each other a bit of a challenge.

Thinking back, the only part I would change, would be coordinating my travel plans with the friends I made. Many weekends, one set of friends would travel while the others were in Barcelona and then it would flip. It made it hard to just live in Barcelona with a normal lifestyle. That being said, studying away isn't really a normal experience and you learn that you have to put your wants/desires first to make your dreams come true.

Overall, I was very impressed with my study abroad experience and now as my next semester is approaching, my only question is: can I go back?!

How can this program be improved?

I don't have many suggestions. I really enjoyed my semester abroad.

Maddie
Female
22 years old
Beachwood, Ohio

My Home Away From Home

Overall 10

My name is Maddie and I studied in Barcelona, Spain with IES's Liberal Arts & Business program for the Spring 2016 semester. I found Barcelona rather intimidating when I first arrived in El Prat airport on January 7, 2016. When I met the IES administrators, however, everything changed. The staff at IES answered all my burning questions, directed me to my new home and best of all, spoke English very well.

The staff at IES were staples in my day to day life in Barcelona. Be that my lovely Spanish teacher, the staff who guided IES through different cities in Spain, my Barcelona Cultural Companion or the staff making me emergency doctor appointments. Through IES guidance, I found myself on free Bus tours of the city, visiting Granada, and eating typical a typical Catalan feast! I was able to complete everything on my "Barcelona Must See List" and more. Including an amazing castel festival, a flamenco show and a cooking class!

Additionally, my experience at a local university only enhanced my abroad experience. I met amazing professors, of whom I still am in touch with; as well as friends to last a life time!

How can this program be improved?

I think IES can be more upfront about housing options as well as more clear on how classes function at local universities.

In Barcelona and with IES, not all housing is equal. I was in an old apartment off the L2 and L5 that had a dingy kitchen and no dryer. My good friends, however, were off the Glories stop and had a stainless steel kitchen, patio and full washer and dryer. Yet, we all pay the same apartment fee.

Additionally, in my registration process for UPF I was registered for two sections of the same class and was unable to choose the professor I preferred after sitting in on both classes. Also keep in mind I was not notified that in my classes at UPF only American, there were English speaking students. I would have chosen another class option or University in order to gain more of a cultural immersion and connection with local students and peers my age.

Malia
Female
21 years old
Minnetonka
University of Wisconsin- Madison

Interning and Studying in Barcelona

Overall 10

I studied in Barcelona, Spain with IES Abroad during the Spring 2016 semester. I chose to intern and study abroad throughout my time in Barcelona, which is a decision I highly recommend. My internship was at a children's teaching hospital, which was an extremely rewarding experience, despite being pretty emotional. If you're interested in having an internship while abroad, you should plan on having much less of a social life than other students who are also studying in Barcelona. Barcelona is known for its nightlife (amongst many other things), and students in IES seemed to go out 3-5 times a week. I was lucky if I went out twice in a week, because internships take up about 8-10 hours of your time every week (on top of being a student) and at IES you DO actually need to study. The academics were a little more difficult than I anticipated, but the teachers and advisors were helpful and approachable whenever I had issues or questions. If exploring new cultures and getting out of your comfort zone excites you, you should definitely study with IES Abroad in Barcelona.

How can this program be improved?

I think the teachers and administration should communicate more about when midterms, finals, and projects are due. I found that all of my projects, exams, and papers were all due on the same dates, which made it difficult to travel and live up my abroad experience some weeks, while other weeks I had no assignments. If teachers and administration communicated to spread out the due dates, I think the academics would be a little more manageable.

Natalie
Female
22 years old
University of Tulsa

Exceptional staff and overall great experience

Overall 8

Studying in Barcelona was a fantastic experience made all the more better by the community of friends and IES staff that surrounded me. IES provided me the opportunity to see (and build) my first castelle, visit ancient Roman ruins, explore antique cathedrals, volunteer in a children's hospital, and run my very first 15k...in SPAIN! I enjoyed cultural excursions to ancient cities and took in the sights and wonders of local Barcelona city life.

Housing - Let me start by saying I can only speak to my own situation as each student in each program/city/living style has a different one. I will admit that I had a rough homestay experience due to lack of cleanliness in the apartment, but the staff at IES were very willing to help me in whatever way I needed. They respectfully listened to each of my complaints and began immediately to fix the situation. One week I became severely sick, and one of the IES staff made the 30 minute commute over to my homestay on a Saturday to check in on me. This kind of dedication to students is unmatched and I cannot speak highly enough of the amazing character of the IES staff.

Academically, IES prides itself in being rigorous. This rigor comes from a set of requirements that each course has to adhere to, but does not always do so in the most efficient way. For example, having to write 7-12 page essays in most of your classes is not ideal when you wait last minute and have to study for finals. This was a problem many of my study abroad peers fell into.
Most of the professors I had clearly laid out the guidelines for the course they taught. If they didn't, then that professor turned out to not be very organized and the course ended up being exceptionally easy (this happened with one course I took).

Socially, the amount of cultural excursions and day trips in fantastic! Many of my study abroad peers did not take advantage of these opportunities and severely missed out. I would highly recommend signing up for as many as you are interested in (and can afford). Most are well-organized and best to sign up for via IES. Keep in mind, though, that sometimes it could be just as easy (and fun) to get a group of friends and visit a place on your own time and dime.

In all, IES Barcelona is a very well-established program with exceptional staff. There may be a few organizational hiccups within the program (such as outdated course syllabi and excursion info), but these pale in comparison to the wonderful experience you are going to have by taking the effort to make your study abroad experience your own.

How can this program be improved?

They could really update the computer system they use for coursework and announcements, Moodle, as it is complicated and disorganized. They could also update the course syllabi and excursion descriptions, as many are outdated or include inaccurate information.

Bridget
Female
22 years old
Chicago, IL
University of Michigan

Abroad at Last

Overall 9

The day that I left my comfortable Ann Arbor bubble for Barcelona was predictably filled with mixed emotions. I hugged my parents goodbye, and armed with a 2015 picture-filled guide to Spain and a jumbo-sized bag of pretzel m & m’s I felt relatively ready.
Arrival in Barcelona was a frenzy of color and smiles- all of my peers were riding out a delusional joy-filled exhaustive state, and Cèsar himself was there to greet us. Then came our first chance to actually use the Spanish that we had been practicing in our classrooms for quite some time: the taxi ride to what would be our home for the next four months. I’d be lying if I said it went particularly smoothly, but luckily enough, my co-passenger and I safely made it to our destination on Gran Vía, directly across from the very classy Bingo Billiards.
The integration into the culture and vibrancy of Barcelona was swift and wonderful- and I can say that IES facilitated all of this with their helpful introductory meetings and fun, free activities, from a cycling tour of the city to a gorgeous Mediterranean lunch overlooking the sea. From all of these engaging, informative, trips, I met many of my peers, and began to forge relationships that would only grow throughout my time there.
Academically, I was able to take fascinating classes and learn from wonderful teachers. From Sports & Society in Spain to Banditry & the Mafias in the Mediterranean- I was able to delve into topics in an environment that was open to questioning and dialogue.
What truly made my experience so magical, however, wasn’t necessarily the incredible museums and beaches and restaurants and castles and nights out. No, it wasn’t the mouth-watering food or breath-taking views (though those certainly did help). No, it was the people that I met. My professors, my peers, my friends. I came into study abroad not knowing what to expect but eager to find out- and what I was met with was more intelligence, kindness, and hilarity then I could have ever hoped for. I realized how you can click with those who you thought you would never click with, how integral just being able to try is, and how each and every person and each and every part of the world has so many wonderful things to offer. IES made this all possible- and I can’t recommend it enough.

Natalie
Female
21 years old
Newtown, Pa
Pennsylvania State University

A City to Call Home

Overall 9

Before studying abroad, I could never have predicted that I would come to call another place home. The time I spent in Barcelona was the best three and a half months of my life, and I wouldn’t trade the experience I had there for anything.
Although I was nervous to leave my family and friends, I felt completely prepared for my travels thanks to IES’s detailed pre-departure information. Before, during, and after the program, IES was there to support students. The staff was attentive and genuinely cared about their students’ safety, health and happiness.
Another great thing about IES staff was how much effort they put into placing students in the best housing. I was assigned a homestay in Horta, a neighborhood relatively far from the city center. It didn’t bother me that Horta was far away from the IES center because my homestay was absolutely perfect. My host mom immediately made me feel at home. Our house was beautiful, spacious and clean. She not only taught me to speak Spanish, but also many countless things about culture, food, kindness, family, and life. She was the happiest, most kind hearted person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
The city of Barcelona is unspeakably beautiful. I was worried about living in a city, especially considering how prevalent pick-pocketing is in Barcelona. It turned out that within a few weeks I had a thorough understanding of the layout of the city, public transportation, how to protect your belongings, and, most importantly, how to keep yourself safe. The city offers limitless options for things to do, sights to see, places to eat, and stores to shop. And if you do want to escape the city for a day, Barcelona is located just south of the beautiful Costa Brava beach towns.
I would encourage anyone and everyone to do this program. Barcelona is such a diverse and exciting city – there is something there for everyone. It was also a great location for weekend travel throughout Europe, since, as a big city, there were reasonably priced flights from El Prat Airport to anywhere you could want to go. Then again, you might find yourself in this city not wanting to go anywhere at all…

How can this program be improved?

Class times were spread out over the entire day and went until 7 pm. It would be better if courses were scheduled differently to prevent students being in the IES center from 9 am to 7 pm some days.

Andrew
Male
22 years old
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of Delaware

Barcelona Nightlife

Overall 10

Barcelona is an incredibly unique city, and has an amazing combination of culture, history, food, and nightlife. For those of you arriving this fall, there are so many things that you will have to do immediately! Between Gaudi's many works across the city, the delicious paella and tapas options, and F.C.Barcelona's upcoming season, you will undoubtably be busy. At night, make sure to experience the legendary nightlife, made easier by who I think is without a doubt the city's best promoter, Aashi. With Aashi's List, you get a VIP experience with free entry to the city's top clubs, birthday celebrations, and the ability to meet so many other study abroad students. Getting to know Aashi and going out with so many other students who wanted to have the same semester abroad experience I did made my time in Barcelona even more amazing. If you are going to Spain this year, get ready for the time of your life!

Addie
Female
23 years old
Surfiside Beach, SC
Wofford College

Whirlwind combinations

Overall 9

One story that best expresses my time abroad is the time I was hiking in the mountains just outside of Barcelona. It was warm out - I'd spent the earlier part of the weekend lounging on the beach - and it was quiet, a totally different experience than that of the city.
I met a woman on the mountain who was meditating. We talked for a bit, first in my broken Spanish and then in English, and she told me about all the surrounding mountains, some of which I'd already climbed.
When I left her, I ran into a wild boar nosing around in the dirt. Even though it was huge, I felt peaceful and happy to see my first wild animal of the trip.
That memory stuck with me when I returned to the city, full of metros and crowds and restaurants of every kind. It was like I could have it all - nature and city life wrapped into one!

How can this program be improved?

I think some of the classes could be improved because there were some communication issues between the professors and students. I found that I had to write simpler essays than I would at my home college because of language barriers. I felt like I wasn't able to challenge myself and learn much in these classes. However, most of my classes were engaging and thought-provoking.

Joanne
Female
23 years old
New York
Muhlenberg College

Awaiting My Return to Barcelona

Overall 9

When I began college, never in a million years did I think I would study abroad in Europe. When I decided to, I just had a good feeling that I would enjoy Spain and this city. What could be better than being on the Mediterranean? Nothing actually, it took some adjusting to but I came to love this city and my surroundings.
IES did a great job at getting students settled in and helping them adjust. Upon arrival at the airport, they gave you directions on exactly what to do. The facilitators were very helpful and told students great places to go, where to get the best food, and the unsafe places to avoid. Professors were also very understanding with schoolwork and projects, as they knew students would want to be traveling to other places in Europe. The facility was located in the heart of the city, and looked very new. It was very clean, had computer labs, study lounges, and clean classrooms. It was located at the center of everything. I went on several IES weekend trips, day trips, and after school adventures, and I had nothing but positive experiences. The chaperones were great, everything was planned out well, and you got to see the heart of where you were visiting. They provided many opportunities to go to other cities like Madrid, Granada, or the Basque Country, but also local things to do like wine tasting, cooking class, and hikes within the city. They really helped me to go out and learn the city I was living in. The potential they gave you to explore was the best part.
My living situation was a home stay in an apartment with an 84 year old woman who was the sweetest thing. My roommate and I ate dinner with her every night as we had nice dinner conversations, only in Spanish. Speaking in Spanish also helped me learn the city and the people within in. She gave us a great taste of Spanish cuisine, and was always asking questions about what we were doing.
IES turned into a very fun experience for me, where I got to meet new people in the same position as me, who also wanted to explore and learn a new lifestyle.
If you are at a high point in the city, it just makes you realize you're in one of the coolest places in the world. Barcelona is an amazing city, with so many opportunities of having fun and exploring. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to this day. IES was a great program who will help you explore the world.

How can this program be improved?

Be a little more on time with events, trips.

Sarah
Female
23 years old
South Carolina
Wofford College

GO GO GO!

Overall 10

Studying abroad in Barcelona was the best decision I have ever made. It opened my eyes to so much about the work and about myself. While in this amazing city I grew to be an independent, open-minded, global citizen. I would not trade this experience for anything (except maybe the chance to go back again :))

Rebecca
Female
23 years old
Honolulu, Hawaii
Pennsylvania State University

Challenging and Worth Wild Experience

Overall 10

Studying abroad was the best experience I ever had. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity where you learn more about yourself, the world and people you would never normally meet. I was nervous to go at first but IES helped a lot through the whole process and how to adjust to a new culture. They were completely safe and made sure you knew how to handle the adjustment as well as being open for help if needed. I had an amazing time learning and exploring and I couldn’t of done it without IES Abroad. I walked into my homestay with no idea of the language but my host family chosen by IES was so welcoming it was hardly a problem and in the end I had a spectacular time. There were challenges but that made the whole experience worth it and I am so much better for studying abroad with the IES Abroad program.

Andrew
Male
23 years old
Madison, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin- Madison

If Only I Could Go Back

Overall 10

I always knew that I would be studying abroad at some point during my college career. Coming in, I did not know where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to explore and fulfill a dream. I chose Barcelona because of my limited knowledge in Spanish as well as the desire to be located in Europe for a semester. I enrolled in IES, at first, only because it was the study abroad program that affiliated with my university. After leaving this program, I came to the realization that IES is one of the best programs offered for studying abroad around the world.

This program challenges you not only academically, but also personally. Being able to be in classes with no more than 25 students was a big transition for me, and I was finally able to establish a relationship with every one of my professors. If you go to a large school like I do, I would highly recommend choosing a program like IES.

I was also challenged by many of my professors to experience new things while studying in Spain. Everyone encouraged seeking new places to go, but to learn something about yourself while on your journey. I even found enough courage to travel one weekend by myself. Before this semester of studying abroad, I would have never imagined doing something like this, but now I know that I can travel to so many different places and not have to worry about taking care of myself.

Picking how to stay while in Barcelona can be challenging, but the best choice is the residence hall. I made a group of friends from students all over the US as well as others from Spain. Living in an apartment or a homestay does not give you the ability to meet and live with more than a few people for the whole semester, and that can be a problem at times. Being able to see so many different people each and every day brought me so much joy, and I would not change that for the world.

The IES center is also perfectly located in the city of Barcelona. Right at the tip of Plaza Catalunya, I was able to walk over to La Rambla during my lunch break as well as exploring the Gothic District for hours on end. You can find almost anything you may want or need in just this one place. Barcelona is becoming one of those cities where every study abroad student in Europe puts on their travel list. This city certainly cannot be seen in just one weekend. It took me an entire semester to barely see all of the city.

Studying in Barcelona was absolutely amazing, but it would not have been as great if it was not for IES. This program did everything in their power to make sure that every student was enjoying their semester. They truly do care and they show it with their overall care and persistence to provide every type of opportunity possible for their students. Choose Barcelona. Choose IES. Enjoy a semester you will never forget.

How can this program be improved?

I believe that there needs to be more communication with the residence hall and the IES Abroad Staff. The supervisor of the residence hall favored the Spanish students a bit over the American students because they were able to fully communicate with the supervisor. I feel that something needs to be done in order to have this issue solved and for the supervisor to be able to communicate exactly what he/she feels to the American students that are not fluent in Spanish.

If Only I Could Go Back
Halee
Female
23 years old
United States
Western Washington University

Barcelona Fall Semester

Overall 8

I had a great time with IES in Barcelona. The program staff were always so nice and helpful, and being there during the Catalunya independence protests was very interesting and educational. My living situation (a homestay) was very welcoming. My only complaint would be that there were 300+ American students in the program, which makes it very hard to immerse yourself in the local culture. Also, all but one of my classes were taught in English. IES set me up with an internship once I got there, which helped with my Spanish and feeling like I was more involved in the local activities while I was there. Overall, I had a great time!

How can this program be improved?

A smaller group of students - or larger facilities to accommodate them - too many people in one small space.

Nicole
Female
23 years old
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Wofford College

An Experience of a Lifetime

Overall 9

Barcelona is a city that is truly alive. There are always festivals, parades, human towers, rallies, you name it, that makes the city what it is today. The problem is that many students find that they come to the city as a tourist, and leave the same. In order to integrate into Barcelona, I found I had to learn about its history, and the history of Spain. This allowed me to understand both the hardships and the triumphs that the people have gone through, and I was able to discuss it with them. I mostly utilized my host family. They taught me their opinions on the past. I also watched the news which gave me even more insight. I have found that natives will see you as a tourist until you earn their respect, and I did that through knowledge. Once I was able to talk to them about things that they found imperative to their livelihoods, I could tell that they took me more seriously. I learned that you must respect the culture, people, history, and customs of wherever you travel and be aware that, although they may have prejudices about who you are, if you are able to communicate effectively, you will only feel like an outsider for a short time.

How can this program be improved?

My classes were from 8:00am to 7:00pm which did not give me a lot of time to explore the city during the school days. Maybe not space out classes as much.

Silas
Male
23 years old
Bloomington, IN
Indiana University- Bloomington

IES Barcelona Experience

Overall 9

I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain, from beginning of September until mid-December. It was an incredible experience. During the first few weeks, the entire program took a trip to Tarragona, Spain, which allowed us to learn about another culture, the Catalan culture outside of the metropolitan area. My curriculum consisted of both IES courses and class from a local Spanish university. All of my IES instructors were outstanding. The classes I took enhanced my undergraduate experience. I was able to take advanced business Spanish class and great business classes in international affairs and leadership. Beyond academics, I was able to travel to various European cities throughout the semester. My time abroad is something I will never forget, and I would encourage everyone to experience it.

How can this program be improved?

I would change the amount of Americans. I honestly wanted to go through a program that had more Spanish speaking people, so I could improve my language more, but maybe I didn't realize that until I got there.

Rabia
Female
23 years old
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Elmhurst College

Experience of a Lifetime!

Overall 10

Hi there! I spent the Fall 2014 in Barcelona and truly LOVED it. The rich culture, the food, a musician around every corner. I was terribly sad once the program ended, and I wasn't ready to leave. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect once I arrived in Barcelona, but I was pleasantly surprised. I owe a lot of my wonderful experience to IES. IES was invested in making sure we had a great experience and offered many services. For example, I would like to be a physician someday and IES put me into contact with a physician I was able to shadow and even watch perform a back surgery. It was definitely one of the biggest highlights of my experience, and I wouldn't have been able to do it without the help of IES. Barcelona has a lot to offer, from beaches to the nearby Montserrat all while being a bustling metropolis. I loved going and buying fresh juice drinks at one of the many markets located throughout the city. I also had the great opportunity of taking salsa classes at a great place called Antilla where I was better able to integrate and meet some locals. Some difficulties I encountered included finding a good balance between staying in Barcelona and traveling to other parts of Europe. I found that I didn't live as much like a local as I had hoped to and traveling a lot was physically exhausting, but my overall experience was great. This IES program is HIGHLY recommended!!

How can this program be improved?

We had two weeks of orientation at the beginning of the program that were a little too long in my opinion. I think that a week would have been enough, and starting classes after one week would have helped us meet more people sooner. And instead, take that week and put it at the end of the program after finals, thereby lessening the stress of goodbyes, last-minute shopping and finals.

Katie
Female
23 years old
Spartanburg, SC

The True Barcelona Experience

Overall 9

IES Abroad Barcelona truly takes care of its students. I had great classes with really caring professors, a great homestay mother and roommate and made lots of sweet friends while in Spain. IES hosts and organizes many events that give students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture and discover the beauty of the city. I got to hike gorgeous mountains, eat delicious, authentic spanish food and interact with my classmates at many of the events that IES held. The staff is so caring and friendly and approachable and truly made the experience unforgettable. I had all the freedom and structure I needed. I would do it over again in a heartbeat with IES.

How can this program be improved?

I would change the length of the initial orientation! We were all jet-lagged and wanting to explore the city, so sitting in on orientation speeches were a bit much those first few days.

Kelsey
Female
23 years old
New London, Connecticut
Connecticut College

Fall 2014 in Barcelona

Overall 8

I had the most incredible semester studying through IES Abroad in the Liberal Arts and Business program. I really liked the emphasis on field studies. To name a few, I visited a bomb shelter built during the Spanish Civil War, the organization SOS Racisme, the Islamic Council of Barcelona, a restaurant specializing in the deconstructed potato omelette, several local markets, and may more. The DiscoverIES trips were also a great opportunity to meet the other students in the program. Overall I had a great time and would recommend the program to everyone!

How can this program be improved?

The one critique I have is that I didn't learn as much Spanish as I had anticipated, so maybe the structure of the Spanish classes can be reviewed.

Steve
Male
23 years old
Lancaster, PA
Franklin & Marshall College

A Great Experience

Overall 10

My experience with IES Barcelona was a great opportunity for personal growth and the chance to travel around Europe. I truly appreciate the attentiveness of the IES staff to the needs of each individual student. When there was an issue with my linens they immediately gave me replacements, when there were missing items in the apartment they provided new appliances and even installed curtains in my room. The professors were fun, high energy and very well qualified in their fields. Overall I really enjoyed the IES Barcelona experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

How can this program be improved?

Sometimes there were issues with roommates but this is inevitable when you randomly group individuals together. Perhaps a questionnaire or interview of the students would allow for the program to better pair students in apartments.

Laura
Female
23 years old
Mineola, NY
Other

I wouldn't do anything differently

Overall 10

I loved every part of study abroad, thanks to IES. The academic center was new and in a good location. The administration were so supportive and helpful. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. I loved my home stay. I really can't complain.

How can this program be improved?

A little less work. I was surprised by how many assignments and papers I had. Don't get me wrong, I still had fun and had a social life. But yeah, I actually studied.

Kaylynn
Female
23 years old
Des Moines, IA
Drake University

Running Wild in Spain!

Overall 10

IES Abroad is nothing short of spectacular! I just returned from the program in Barcelona (Fall 2014) and every bit of my expectations were surpassed. IES works to emerge their students in all the wonders of the city they live in, especially within the first month. They offer so many activities within the city, all guided by either professors and/or locals. In the program center, the staff is consistently there to help you with any problems or questions you may have, from getting housing reassigned to figuring out where to get a flu shot. I personally got REALLY lucky and had an amazing Spanish professor who worked to educate us so much on the country, culture, and language— and was always ready for our questions.

When I first made the decision to go abroad my number one priority was traveling as much as I possibly could, as it is for many students. I never gave much thought to how the program I chose when I went abroad would affect my experience. IES had such a large affect on making my abroad experience one that was life changing, and I truly felt like a local of Barcelona and gained a much more well rounded understanding of the culture. If you're currently on the prowl for the perfect program, IES (Barcelona) won't disappoint!

How can this program be improved?

I wish all the classes were taken at outside universities, because that's when you're really emerged in culture.

Anna
Female
23 years old
Memphis, TN

Study Abroad in Barcelona

Overall 9

Studying abroad was one of the best experiences I have had while being in college. Living in Barcelona was amazing and I enjoyed living in a homestay to fully immerse myself in Spanish culture. Every morning I would wake up to breakfast with my host mom and I would end the day having dinner with her. She became like a second mom to me. Coming from a small town, I was worried about the transition to the big city but it was fine and the metro system worked great. The classes were taught in English and were very similar to classes at my home college.

Caleb
Male
23 years old
Bowdoin, Maine
Ithaca College

IES Barcelona - A Program to Remember

Overall 10

IES Barcelona is a great program that accomplishes a lot. Barcelona in of itself is an amazing place to live– the city is rich with culture, opportunities, great people, fantastic food, and has an international airport to take you all over the world when you have time. The IES Barcelona Administration is great, everything is well organized, and they work hard to provide a great time for the students – from a mandatory trip we took to Tarragona in the beginning of the semester to trips you can sign up for. Even though I prefer traveling with a small group of people and booking my own stuff to do, hostels, and so on, I loved the IES trips I went on. They were fun, well planned out, and great experiences.

Yes, a lot of the fun of study abroad is what you do outside the classroom, but you do spend time in a classroom so it's important for me to note what classes are like. I had a few classes through IES that fascinated me. One of them – Self and Identity in a Postmodern World was one of the best classes I think I've ever taken in my career as a student. Other I took to satisfy general requirements, and while they weren't quite up my alley, I learned a lot from them. I found I was gaining a lot of knowledge about the architecture and the city, and it made my stay in Barcelona even better.

Overall, this is an awesome program. Suggestions for you should you do this program – a) live in a homestay or a dorm because either will likely immerse you more in Barcelona culture in terms of people (trust me so worth it), b) take classes related to the city, you'll be surprised what you retain and how much better it makes your time in the city, and c) travel everywhere and explore Spain, and if you leave Spain don't just go to European cities – Marrakesh, Morocco was without a doubt one of the best places I went.

How can this program be improved?

Not all the classes were compelling to me because the teacher didn't teach in an engaging way. I know it's hard because many of them are teaching in their second or third language, but sometimes I felt like field trips which had a lot of potential weren't utilized as well as they could be.

Sarah
Female
23 years old
Ithaca, New York
Ithaca College

The Right Choice

Overall 9

I couldn't have made a better choice in coming to Barcelona through IES Abroad. The staff is full of wonderful people and the whole program is organized in a way that helped me to take full advantage of my time abroad. Barcelona is an incredible, vibrant city full of life and color. You will never run out of things to do; from the beach to the surrounding mountains and each and every city street in between, there is so much fun to be had. The culture is wonderful and each and the people are full of passion - something you must experience yourself to truly understand. I lived with a local family and consider it one of my favorite parts of the experience. From eating breakfast each morning while talking to my host mom to riding the metro home each night, even the routine I found was something I never got tired of. I left at the end of the semester with a new state of mind, open eyes, and numerous indescribable memories. If that's what you're looking for in a study abroad program, come to Barcelona through IES Abroad!

How can this program be improved?

The fall semester did not a have a full week off, which was something that I missed. However, there were four day weekends that made up for it.

Julia
Female
23 years old
Austin, Texas
University of Texas- Austin

An Unforgettable Experience

Overall 9

I had wanted to study abroad in Barcelona for years before I actually went. My school didn't offer any programs specifically through the school, so I had to go through IES, and though I was nervous that the program wouldn't be as good, from the start, IES did all they could to help me. They provided each student with so much information and so many possible ways of contact, that if I ever had questions, I could ask someone and get a response very quickly. I chose to live with a host family, which I think was the best option because it really fives you a chance to learn more about the culture that you are living in for 4 months of your life. IES places at least 2 students with each other in each house so that you don't feel uncomfortable being alone. The classes at IES were challenging yet allowed the students to be able to travel on weekends and not have any worries about not being able to keep up with the workload. IES also offers weekend trips that are planned through the program, which I think were well worth the money. I went on most of the trips, and they were all very well planned and each one was a great way to meet and connect with more of the students in the program. My experience in Barcelona was one I will never forget. You have to take advantage of all that you can while you are abroad, that way you can leave feeling confident that you did all that you could and you can really see the growth in yourself by the end of the program. Barcelona is an amazing city to be able to immerse yourself in cultural activities, see beautiful places all over, go hang out at the beach, and have a great nightlife all in one. I would offer this program to anyone who was interested.

Devon
Female
23 years old
New London, CT
Connecticut College

Semester in Barcelona

Overall 8

Studying abroad in Barcelona is something I will always cherish and will forever be a significant life event for me. Barcelona is truly a unique city, combining the ancient Roman times with the modern post-Franco era. I particularly loved how each district, or barrio, in the city had its own distinct character, which made exploring even more fun. I was satisfied with the IES program, from having professional and excellent teacher to helping with personal needs. Through my IES apartment located in a residential neighborhood, I got to experience Barcelona as a local and excel my proficiency of Spanish. Barcelona is an amazing city that has countless things to offer, and I cannot wait to return to this city one day.

Katie
Female
23 years old
Saint Paul, Minnesota
University of Saint Thomas

Barça Barça, Força Força!

Overall 10

Studying abroad in Barcelona through IES was easily the best decision in all of my 21 years of life. While walking through the city my friend and I even noted how all your life you, "Oh be careful, be wise, these are the decisions that will impact or change the rest of your life." Our decision as to study abroad, electing an international program vs. a school ran one, which program, which term put all of my best friends and memories and I together. Studying abroad showed me a clearer picture of who I am, what I am capable of, and of the world around me.

As far as the program itself, I was overly impressed in my close connections with those who worked with the students and led the sponsored activities and trips.

The trips themselves helped me better understand and see other parts of Spain. It was nice to on a few IES planned trips mixed in with my own as I was able to successfully see the best parts of a city while having everything pre-planned for me, even with scheduled independent time to do as I pleased. This was very nice, especially being on our own completely after the planned day activities.

The school was largely committed to helping us live as part of Barcelona. They held firey and interesting debates over current issues for students to attend, mini tours and explorations through vineyards, markets, and cool up and coming neighborhoods. They also offered plenty of workshops for dancing, cooking, and bike rides! They even hosted plenty of events planned by current student to keep us involved like massage and pizza days during test weeks, dinners or parties on celebrations, and photo competitions on Instagram.

My favorite part about choosing this program was that whenever my friends and I would travel anywhere, or others would travel to visit us, they all would leave saying the same thing. It was always a parting thought of how others wish they would have chosen our program and picked our city.

This always filled me with such pride. Although everyone liked their study abroad experiences, but I was full heartedly in love with mine. In love with my new friends that I still have and am flying to visit next week, in love with the best city that will always hold a place in my heart, and in love with the culture that is unlike that of anywhere else in Europe, or the rest of the world for that matter, which I will miss so much.

If you want to try great food, learn rich culture, leave your comfort zone for an international program whose students are from different states, and different countries, experience the best night life and have the most beautiful architecture, parks, and scenery that I have ever seen, IES Barcelona is for you. You won't regret it.

How can this program be improved?

I would have liked if there was an easier grading system for IES classes or an easier time scheduling them so that I didn't feel like I was wasted my days monday through thursday. My classes were spread out enough to have some time between them, but not enough time to get on a metro to go explore and come back for class.

Rachel
Female
23 years old
Westlake Village, CA
Colgate University

Semester in Spain

Overall 9

My overall experience with IES Abroad was extremely positive. Upon arrival, we had 1.5 weeks of optional orientation activities before class started. By participating in these events, I made friends, adjusted to the new time zone, and got to know Barcelona. My program did not have classes on Fridays, which was perfect for weekend traveling! Also, there were several optional trips that IES planned to different Spanish cities. I went on many of these trips (including those to Granada, Costa Brava, Mallorca, and Madrid), and I thoroughly enjoyed the activities they planned and the ability to travel with other students in my program. One down side to these trips was that there were several sites I wanted to see but was unable to visit because our schedule did not permit it. I also did not like how most of the dinners on these trips were hotel buffets, which prevented me from trying as much of the local cuisine as I had hoped. In regard to my classes, I was extremely satisfied. I loved my professors, found them extremely approachable and helpful, and learned more than I expected. However, my Spanish did not improve as much as I had hoped, as I spoke in English during most of the day with my friends. I also had an amazing experience in my home stay (students can also elect to stay in dorms or apartments). Throughout the semester, I learned so much from my host family, got to have home cooked meals every night, and was able to practice my Spanish much more than students in other living arrangements. I had such an enriching, fun, and memorable semester, and I would highly recommend IES Abroad Barcelona!

Oluwamayowa
Male
23 years old
San Antonio, Texas
Trinity University

IES Barcelona, A Life Changing Experience!

Overall 9

If I had the power, I would force every student in America to study abroad in Spain. That is the kind of experience it has given me time and time again. If you want to enjoy your day, from the moment you wake up til the moment you lay in your bed to go to sleep, without a doubt, Spain is the place to study. From the food to the people, Spain is priceless!

How can this program be improved?

No program is perfect, but this is pretty close to it. I would suggest to make the program longer! Haha

Kyra
Female
23 years old
Guilderland, New York
Villanova University

Barcelona and Beyond

Overall 10

I will never forget the day I ventured to explore "Parc de Montjuic." I felt at one with Barcelona and myself, busy beholding the beauty around me, learning the history of the Castle atop the hill, touring the Olympic sites, and gawking at the view of the city from "El Museau Nacional d'Art de Catalunya." What a great day it was, a "me" day for the books. Four months full of days like this one allowed me to eternally fall in love with the bustling cosmopolitan city of Barcelona, the rich and unique Catalan culture and the new way of like I embraced by living in Spain. Living in Barcelona went beyond the journey of being in a new place experiencing new things, to embarking on a journey of self-discovery.

While in Barcelona, I always felt the support of the IES Abroad team; they truly had our best interests in mind. The staff was there to spark our excitement and calm any nerves--whether the issue was figuring out the metro system, or adjusting to a home-stay, or simply wanting a recommendation for a tasty tapas bar, the staff was eager to help. I also had professors that gave me the in class experience and a wealth of knowledge that served to enhance my personal experience and growth abroad. Overall, both the staff and professors urged us to step out of our comfort zones, something I am very grateful for.

How can this program be improved?

If I had to change one thing about this program it would be better planning for the final exams and papers. The semester I was there, this period fell right after Spring Break, which was a difficult transition.

Lyssa
Female
23 years old
Burlington, VT
University of Vermont

Spain Will Change Your Life

Overall 10

Studying in Barcelona was the best decision I ever made. The city is full of culture, adventure and an amazing social scene. Every part of the city is easily accessible via metro/bus. You will find anything and everything that you're looking for by coming here. Barcelona's culture and history is so rich, the food is an amazing experience and the people are awesome. Whether your social preference is partying or chilling with cheese and wine, you'll be happy you came. My favorite thing to do here was to wander and get lost in the city. This is how I found all of my favorite places. Most of the students traveled on the weekends to other countries. I met so many wonderful friends just sitting in the airport figuring out we were both IES students looking for adventure. This experience in Barcelona has given me so many friends with such a special bond we will share forever. Most of my friends lived in home stays: which they loved because they had great host families. I stayed in a dorm. I loved this. It was a great mix of 12 Americans to give me comfort in a dorm of 200 Spanish students. Most people were dissatisfied with the Sodexo food (which still has a Spanish flair) but I enjoyed it even though it did get repetitive. Academics were fine. Professors are kind but a bit jumbled. Really not a lot courseload wise but you do need to put effort into it. All in all, GO TO SPAIN AND MAKE THE BEST MEMORIES OF YOUR LIFE.

How can this program be improved?

This program could improve with NO FRIDAY CLASSES. Students all want to explore the city or travel without worrying about failing because of attendance.

Alexis
Female
23 years old
Bloomington, IN
Indiana University- Bloomington

IES Barcelona Summer Internship Program

Overall 9

This past summer I had an internship in Barcelona, Spain. I was given this great opportunity through IES. This experience and summer was one that I will never forget. Everything from networking events in Spanish to the crazy wild night life of Barcelona made this summer the best one I have ever had. Working in a Spanish environment did present difficulties, but there were none that I was unable to overcome. As I learned to absorb the differences around me and appreciate my circumstances I fell in love with my internship and the Spanish culture that I was immersed in for the entire summer.

How can this program be improved?

I wish that I would have had a better RA throughout my stay. She was extremely annoying and did not help us get settled into our new environment. I also wish that the living conditions were a little nicer...

Becka
Female
23 years old
Burlington, VT
University of Vermont

IES Barcelona

Overall 10

IES Barcelona was an amazing experience. The course work was at an appropriate level for a study abroad program. I had some really great professors and was able to take classes to learn more about Barcelona as a city! Living in Barcelona for three months and studying with IES is an experience that I will never forget.

How can this program be improved?

I lived in the dorm option and it left some room to be desired. I loved my roommates, but living there was difficult at times.

Adam
Male
23 years old
United States
University of Connecticut

Experiences in Barcelona

Overall 8

My experience in Barcelona was one of the most memorable things I've ever done in my life and I wouldn't change or trade it for anything! The IES Staff really made my experience a lot better by making me feel safer and more comfortable in a foreign environment. The culture of the area was unrivaled and it was very common to see cultural dancer and singer walking up and down the street performing. The traveling I did abroad really helped solidify my experience by giving me a broader viewpoint of the world and letting me experience a slice of life though the eyes of another culture. Overall this trip helped shape and develop myself by opening my eyes to the way other cultures and people live and interact. It really helped shape the person I am today.

How can this program be improved?

I feel like the program was pretty well designed but I feel that the academics could be improved, it was far to easy and lead to problems getting credit at my home university.
Studying abroad in a foreign country seemed like the last thing I wanted to do entering the summer before I left for Spain. As the time drew closer, the excitement and adventures that would await me across the globe turned that fear and reluctance into pure excitement and adrenaline. This program did not let my expectations down.
The experiences I had abroad were things I thought I would never get to experience in my life. Things like being present for a FC Barcelona Vs. Real Madrid game blew my expectations of how much life and spirit a city could really have. The traveling I did abroad through IES and on my own really opened my eyes to an entirely different world (literally and mentally). Through IES we went to places such as Tarragona and Girona, two cities with an incredible amount of history which me and my friends really took to heart. You would never expect to see partial castles and massive roman ruins that close to home. Some of the greatest memories I have abroad were on the trips lead by the IES staff. The staff was very knowledgeable about the areas and regions we were traveling in and the destinations we explored. They would also add their own insight and include information that only the locals would know, it made the experience that much more enjoyable.
The IES staffs made the city really feel like home once we arrived at the airport. They gave us clear and concise instructions on what areas to avoid at night, which areas had fun activities to enjoy and where the most famous parts of the city were. They made sure we were fully prepared to live and function in Barcelona. The staff was also accessible either by phone or in their office to answer or address any concerns we might have had while abroad.
The living accommodations I had mixed feelings about, certain people I talked to loved where they lived while other (including myself) felt they were something not so spectacular. I happened to live in a dorm (which was my first choice). What I soon realized was that most of the Spanish students and staff seemed to alienate us (the study abroad students) for some unknown reason. We were hazed by the senior students for a solid week before IES stepped in and made them stop. The staffs on the other hand seem to not want anything to do with us and made us feel alone when we needed something handed by them. Other than the issues with the staff and students, the dorm was in the middle of a beautiful, safe area of Barcelona which had very easy access to the IES center and the rest of the city via the metro/bus.
Overall my experience abroad through IES Liberal Arts and Business Program was a great one and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interesting in that region of Spain. The staffs made me feel really comfortable in a foreign city and the experiences I had will be with me forever. The program was very well structured and student focused resulting in an amazing experience for myself and my fellow abroad students.

Gaby
Female
23 years old
Austin, TX
University of Texas- Austin

Best semester of my life!

Overall 10

I had always wanted to study abroad but at the same time I was a little scared to just venture into the wold all on my own. IES Barcelona was the perfect fit for me! They provided the support needed while allowing me the freedom to take full advantage of my study abroad experience.

DG101
Male
31 years old
Berkeley, California
George Washington University

IES in a Nutshell

Overall 8

Popular program in a great location. The facility is located in an excellent area of the city and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Teachers were nice and enthusiastic. The program did not have class on Fridays, allowing students to travel around Europe. Overall, if I had to do it all over again, I would go back to Barcelona with IES Abroad.

How can this program be improved?

IES Abroad could hold itself to higher academic standards. At the time, my school would not count my classes abroad towards my GPA and none of the business courses offered were allowed to fulfill my requirement for my major.

Aldrich
Male
23 years old
Minneapolis, MN
Augsburg College

Amazing Experience

Overall 10

Everything from my classmates and roomates, the local food and learning the language, living with a host mom, commuting into the heart of Barcelona to go to school- made it an unforgettable experience. IES was great at incorporating the local culture and history into all of our classes, which made it personal and more interesting. Another thing IES did really well was organizing day/weekend trips to other cities in Spain, always creating a learning and cultural experience out of it.

Kelli
Female
23 years old
Austin, TX
University of Texas- Austin

The Perfect City

Overall 9

Barcelona is an absolutely incredible city - I truly don't think I could have picked a better city in which to study. There was always so much to do and it is truly a city that has something for everyone. The parks are beautiful, the Spanish tortilla is incredible (I ate it at almost every restaurant), the sunset on Barceloneta is something you have to see, the nightlife is great, and there are so many hidden places that you just have to discover for yourself. The people are friendly and as lame as this sounds, the subway system is great. I loved my daily walks through the city, and even getting lost was a fun adventure. The IES staff is absolutely incredible - they are eager for us to not only learn the language, but to become truly immersed in the culture. I am counting down the days until I can return to Barcelona.

How can this program be improved?

The only thing I didn't like about the IES Barcelona Program was the fact that finals and presentations and projects were all crammed into the last week, making it very stressful. Since it was many of our last weeks in the city, it should have been a week spent getting in all of those last-minute Barcelona things - instead of spent stressing about all the school work. I just wish the work had been more spread out over the course of the program, instead of all lumped together.

BCN_J
Male
23 years old
Fairfax, Va
Pennsylvania State University

Killing it in Barcelona

Overall 10

IES Barcelona Liberal Arts and Business wasn't named the #1 study abroad program for nothing. So many course options (take classes at UAB - you are placed with kids studying abroad from all over the world), field trips, and student activities around the city are prepared for you.

Even if you don't speak any Spanish (I had taken French in high school), getting around Barcelona is not too difficult. The subway and bus system are amazing, so you can travel from one part of the city to another with ease. The food in Barcelona is also simply amazing. It is the most cosmopolitan city in Spain, so you won't be stuck with just traditional Spanish food. Catalan food is French oriented, but there are also Asian restaurants, Irish pubs, German food, African cuisine, you name it and you can find it.

I recommend taking out a student loan (or borrow money from family if possible) in order to have spending money for travel and eating out (eat out as much as possible, there is no city in America where food is as good as in Europe). I had a $6,500 student loan and spent about $3,000 on snowboarding trips to the Pyrenees and Alps (16 days riding in Europe total). The rest was spent in Barcelona mostly on food and going out with friends. Depending on your style, I would also suggest under packing clothes and buying some new threads in Spain. If you go for the Spring semester, the after Christmas sales begin in January and last all month and you can find great deals on just about everything.

One thing not to do is stay in Spain. Travel to as many countries as possible (Paris, London, Berlin, or any northern city in January/February will be cold -- check the weather before you travel) and eat as much new food as possible (especially Jamon de belota in Spain -- the expensive stuff, its worth it).

How can this program be improved?

There is a mandatory language course, which if you have never taken Spanish is not very fun. Try to get your teacher to work with your class on speaking and the basic conversational skills you will need to get around. It takes a while, but after a month or so you will be able to understand what people are saying to you even if you can't talk to them.

Lisa
Female
23 years old
Austin, TX
University of Texas- Austin

Endless Fun!

Overall 8

Barcelona is an amazing city with so many things to do! From the beautiful beaches to historical landmarks and architecture everyday can be an adventure! The staff is very helpful, providing great advice and excursions to make the most out of your time abroad. My weeks consisted of morning classes at the IES center, followed by delicious lunches (plenty of restaurants around the center), exploring the city in the afternoon, and having a typical Spanish dinner with my homestay family (one of my favorite parts of my day). The weekends offered plenty of time to travel to nearby cities like Sitges, or plan a trip to a nearby country with your friends. The most difficult aspect of living in Barcelona was maintaing a budget, but this can easily be done with some planning!

How can this program be improved?

If I had to change one thing I would change the size of the program. Being in a program of 300 Americans makes if hard to make friends outside of your program.

Liza
Female
23 years old
Rochester, NY
University of Rochester

A Little Bit of Something for Everyone!

Overall 9

Barcelona is an amazing city with a little bit of everything. The nightlife is amazing, the city is beautiful, and you can climb mountains, sit on the beach, or enjoy a walk through one of the many parks. There are museums, historical buildings, modern buildings, lots of shopping, and a whole lot of culture. Each day I would enjoy walking to my class, either at the IES abroad center or one of the Spanish universities I also took classes at. After classes, I would go get coffee with friends, hang out in the park, or go to the beach. On the weekends I was able to explore the various museums, architecture, or just wander around the city. I loved the people I lived with in my dorm, they were from all over the world. I also had an amazing internship where I was able to get to know many people born and raised in the city of Barcelona. The weather is beautiful, the people are super friendly, and it is a very accessible city. Sometimes it is almost overwhelming how much there is to do, and how little time you have there, as well as the fact you want to travel to other places in Europe. I had an amazing experience, and I would recommend this program to everyone!

How can this program be improved?

If I had to change one thing about my experience abroad, I would not have Friday classes so that traveling on the weekends would be easier and you would not have to worry about missing classes.

Sarah19
Female
23 years old
Austin, Texas
University of Texas- Austin

An Amazing Decision

Overall 10

Studying abroad was something that I always wanted to do, and I decided to study in Barcelona to improve my Spanish, learn more about my culture, and to experience a part of the world that I had never seen. Each day I would see amazing food, people, and things that you can't find anywhere else. I loved the culture and social aspects of Barcelona. It is a city where you can find wonderful Modern Art by artists like Gaudi, you can visit beautiful cathedrals, or you can simply walk the streets and hear and see wonderful street musicians and life around you. I'm also extremely happy that I decided to live in a homestay, because this was key to my development of Spanish. I learned a lot more about traditional daily life in Barcelona, and I even took home wonderful recipes from my senora (like how to make tortilla de patatas and coques). Along with the daily encounters around the city, my course schedule allowed me to further learn about the city and Europe as a whole. We had lots of trips to understand and appreciate things that we were studying, and I loved each day. Barcelona was amazing, and I can't wait to go back one day!

How can this program be improved?

I wish that I had either done a slightly longer program or that the program center allowed a few more vacation days. There are so many wonderful places and things to see, and sometimes it felt as though I couldn't take the time explore as much as I would have liked.

mswelch
Female
23 years old
Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan

Wonderful City

Overall 8

I very much enjoyed my semester studying in Barcelona. For someone who always pictured themselves living in a city, this was a great opportunity to test it out. The city itself is fantastic. There's always something interesting to do, and of course there is always the beach. Some of the highlights from my semester were the days I would spend wandering around the city's Barri Gotic. There are lots of small shops and restaurants hidden through these narrow streets. I also really enjoyed the antiques market that takes place every Thursday in Placa del Seu. One difficulty that I had was the amount of effort it took to feel immersed in the life of the city. Being in a city is a very different study abroad experience than a small town. It takes more work to seek out opportunities and make connections with local people than it would otherwise. For anyone attempting to get a more immersive experience, I would recommend living in a homestay, joining a conversation circle/language exchange program, and subscribing to one of the online news/events publications that post about happenings in the city (lecool.com is one).

How can this program be improved?

There is a language course requirement that had class Monday, Wednesday, Friday of each week. I knew I wouldn't be able to get credit for the course, and didn't really get much out of it. I felt a more conversation based class or participation in a language exchange would have been more helpful for someone at my language level.

Beth920
Female
23 years old
Bloomington, Indiana
Indiana University- Bloomington

The Best Semester of My Life

Overall 8

Spending four months in Barcelona, Spain, one of the most cultural cities in the world will absolutely change your life and your outlook on the world. I lived with a host family for four months and they completely made the experience I had. Learning and living the Catalonian culture every day was something I'll never forget. The academics are challenging enough, but nothing unlike you'd see at any four-year institution. The staff is incredibly helpful and reliable; I was able to go to them with absolutely any question or concern, no matter how big or small. Exploring the city has so much to offer between the sites, restaurants, and nightlife. And there couldn't be a more perfect location as a launch pad to the rest of your travels in Europe. I highly recommend Barcelona as your study abroad destination and I wouldn't have done it without the IES program.

How can this program be improved?

More stability and help getting to Barcelona from the US would be extremely beneficial. I would also suggest a few more faculty members with international backgrounds, not just expats from the US who have decided to move to Barcelona.

Carrie
Female
23 years old
Oak Park, Illinois
Indiana University- Bloomington

4 Months in Barcelona

Overall 9

Studying abroad in Barcelona has been the best decision of my life to date. Barcelona is an incredible place to study abroad because it has a young, fun, international atmosphere with PLENTY to do. You have the beach, La Rambla, Parc de Guell and all the other Gaudi architecture, exciting nightlife, great food and best of all you get to experience the Barcelona lifestyle. This lifestyle is what I enjoyed most about my time there. I am a night owl so Barcelona was a perfect city for me, where you do everything late: eat, go out at night, go to sleep, wake up. Everyone takes their time and really enjoys life to the fullest. I had a homestay and loved improving my Spanish speaking skills and experiencing Spanish life first hand. One thing that I noticed while in my homestay, was how much Spaniards really cherish their friends and family. When my parents came to visit my homestay parents cooked a massive meal that lasted for 3 hours and included lots of great conversation. It was one of my favorite moments abroad. I also was able to take two classes at a university in Barcelona called Universitat de Pompeu Fabra. This was really cool because I got to see what a Spanish student's life was like at school. Another great opportunity that I took advantage of was all the field trip that IES offers. Through my program I was able to travel to Valencia, Sevilla, Cordoba, Montserrat and Morocco. Overall, I had an incredible experience in Barcelona and highly recommend the city and the IES program.

How can this program be improved?

I would have wanted my homestay to be much closer to the actual center of the city.

Lauren
Female
23 years old
charlottesville, VA
University of Virginia

Study in Barcelona

Overall 10

Studying in Barcelona through IES was a great experience. The building where the classes take place, is in the center of the city, right at the end of Las Ramblas (a key place in Barcelona.) The living situation was equally convenient. All the locations were within walking distance to school or a metro stop, so finding your way in was a snap. I had the chance to do a home stay and was a bit nervous to start, but IES assigns each group a residence assistant (RA.) The RA comes to visit you every other week to check in and make sure that your living situation is good! This way if there are any problems, you have someone to tell immediately. One last great thing was that we only had classes Monday through Thursday, so there was more time to travel on the weekends! Overall, this was an amazing study abroad trip!

How can this program be improved?

If I had to change one thing it would be the pre-trip preparation. IES provides you with a lot of information and plenty to get you prepared, but I felt it was all very abstract until I had actually landed in Spain.

Katlin
Female
23 years old
Barcelona, Spain
Loyola University Chicago

IES Barcelona

Overall 9

I spent about five months living and studying in Barcelona, Spain and it was the best five months of my life. I would recommended this opportunity to any one interested. Spain and the city of Barcelona are beautiful, and worth experiencing. I would say that speaking spanish is useful but not entirely necessary in Barcelona however you should be aware that Catalan an important language in Barcelona and a lot of signs are in both spanish and Catalan. Many europeans speak enough English to get their point across. Barcelona is pretty central to the rest of europe so movement between locations/countries is extremely easy and quick. Also movement in the city was really easy with the public transportation however while I was studying they were doing some construction so there were some longer travel times. But in general it was one of the easiest public transportation systems I used in Europe. Pick pocketing can occur but this did not happen to frequently to students who attempted to blend into the culture and environment, because they are looking for tourist and easy targets so my suggestion would just to be aware of your surrounding and your belongings at all times. Also be aware of the eating schedule in Spain it is quite different to the US schedule and to other european countries. From the other students I studied with this seemed to be the hardest thing to adjust too. Barcelona is also known as a partying city so be prepared to have a blast any time you want. These were some of the best memories and experiences I have had in my life

How can this program be improved?

If I could change one thing about the program it would be the class schedule. For the IES program classes were held on fridays. This made traveling over the weekend at times impossible. As a student you are only allowed to a miss each class a certain number of times so again traveling over the weekends can be difficult.

kdavis36
Female
23 years old
Urbana, IL

Day-to-day experiences

Overall 10

I lived with a host family, which was a great learning experience for me. Because my host mom lived about 40 minutes (walking-wise) away from IES, I took the metro to class. After class I would often walk around and explore with friends, shop, or occasionally nap, as many of my classes were at 9:00 AM. At night, I would go out to local bars with my friends.

How can this program be improved?

The attendance policy (requiring class on Fridays) was one of the most frustrating aspects of the program. Often-time, traveling on weekends to different countries would require a flight that would leave on Friday. Because Spanish class was mandatory on Friday, I would often have to leave later in the evening, which would result in my arrival to other countries/cities extremely late. I would then get to, essentially, only spend 24 hours at that location, despite spending large amounts of money to travel. While some people might argue that it's not necessary to travel, it was extremely necessary for me. Not only was it my first time traveling alone, it was my first time (and for quite some time to come), my last time in Europe, and I wanted to make the most of my experience.

Marano
Female
23 years old
Durham, New Hampshire
University of New Hampshire

A Day in Barcelona

Overall 10

The school was really easily accessible from all locations. There also was a lot around the school which made errands easier. The teachers were really helpful too and really easy to connect with.

How can this program be improved?

Better options for traveling with the program to places.

About The Provider

IES Abroad offers 120+ programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student should have the opportunity to go abroad—especially in a fun, safe, and superior academic and cultural environment.

From our headquarters in Chicago to our 35 locations and the staff on-site, we all work toward the common goal of providing mind-bending, life-changing, opinion-altering study abroad opportunities.

We’re not ashamed to admit we’re a little bit obsessed with study abroad.