MORE CULTURE. LESS SHOCK. Programs, Internships and Volunteer Opportunities

Study Abroad in Barcelona

  • Location: Barcelona, Spain
  • Minimum GPA: 2.75 (4.0 scale)
  • Spanish requirement: None
  • Application deadlines: April 1 for fall semester (Sept-Dec)
    October 15 for spring semester (Jan-April)
  • Program advisor: Nikki Bruckmann
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Program Snapshot


What the Engage Barcelona program has to offer

  • Based at the prestigious Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
  • A substantial internship included as part of the program
  • Internships available in a wide range of areas, including business, marketing, communications, arts, design, tourism, sciences, IT, engineering, humanities, social sciences and more
  • A seminar with guest speakers, essays, and group discussions complement the student experience
  • Students also participate in IFSA-Butler's Exploring Community & Culture program
  • The Exploring Barcelona: Identity in a Multinational Society course will help deepen your understanding of and participation in the greater campus environment and Barcelona community
  • No previous study of Spanish required
  • Early application is recommended, as the program is capped at 30 students


  • Participants take Spanish language, a UAB elective and the Exploring Barcelona core course
  • Students may add a second UAB elective for an additional fee
  • UAB courses are divided into tracks
  • The Spanish language course is taught at various levels from beginning through advanced
  • An internship is an embedded part of the program and worth 3 U.S. credits


  • Options include student apartments, residencias or living with a host family
  • Only one student is housed per host family for maximum cultural integration
  • Some meals are included in the host family housing option


Academic Structure

What is the academic structure of the Engage Barcelona program?
This program is available for the spring or fall semester. Students enroll in a set curriculum that includes:

  • Exploring Barcelona: Community and Culture core course
  • One Spanish course
  • One elective at UAB (a second is also available for an additional fee)
  • Internship and seminar

What is the focus of the Engage Barcelona internship seminar?
This course give an academic framework to the internship. It examines at all the fields in which the students are taking internships. The experiences on site at the internship becomes the subject of class discussions and written work. The seminar meets every other week, and includes a guest speaker. The related internship placement is 14-16 hours per week.

Do I have to take the Spanish course if I'm already fluent in Spanish?
Students with seven or more semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent, or who are native Spanish speakers, may opt out of this course and replace it with an elective at UAB for no additional fee.

What tracks are available for UAB electives?
The following tracks are available:

  • International Business, Economics and Internship
  • Humanities, Social Sciences and Internship
  • Politics, Communications and Internship

See the Tracks tab for individual track courses and links to syllabi.

If I opt to take a second UAB elective, can I take courses from different tracks?
Yes. Students can take courses from any track.

Are there other courses available?
Students who test into the Advanced level in Spanish may take a “Spanish for Business” course for no additional fee.

In addition, students who want a more intensive Spanish experience can a 6-credit version of the Spanish course, which is available at all levels from beginning through advanced. This option replaces the 3-credit Spanish Language course, as well as the UAB elective requirement.

About UAB

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona is a public university that is firmly committed to society, but also open to the rest of the world and enjoys a strong international reputation. UAB is a young, dynamic institution, and is among the best academic centers in Spain, both for the quality of its teaching staff and for its excellent research.

Currently the university offers 78 bachelor's degrees, 169 master's degrees and 85 Ph.D. programs. The univerrsity enrolls over 43,000 students, around 2,500 of whom are international students.

UAB is ranked in the top 200 universities in the world in the QS World University Ranking System and is ranked especially high in Social Sciences & Management and Arts & Humanities.

Program Courses

The following two courses are specially designed for IFSA-Butler students on the Engage Barcelona program:

Exploring Barcelona: Identity in a Multinational Society (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
This Exploring Community & Culture course takes students' study abroad experience to another level. It includes a seminar, meeting for three hours every week, in which students learn the historical, social, political and economic context of Barcelona. As part of the course, students are encouraged to join a community of their choosing, participate in unique guided field trips and write essays on their daily experiences in Barcelona.

Internship Seminar (3 U.S. semester credit hour)
This course aims to facilitate the internship experience through mentoring and coaching with lectures. This combination of methodology helps students with the day to day difficulties they may have during their internship, developing their own potential and improving their self-esteem and self-confidence. Students are invited to reflect based on the professor’s feedback while they transfer their knowledge into their internships.

UAB Electives

Spanish (6 U.S. semester credit hours OR 3 U.S. semester credit hours plus a UAB elective, required) Spanish is taught at all levels from beginning through advanced and are offered through the university's Study Abroad Program. Students with seven or more semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent, or who are native Spanish speakers, may opt out of this course and replace it with two electives at UAB.

Where can I find course descriptions for UAB electives?
You can link to course descriptions on our Tracks tab, or you can browse the UAB course website using the following instructions:

  1. Visit the UAB Study Abroad courses website
  2. Review your course options
  3. Click on the course descriptions to learn more about the courses
  4. Note that the course listings indicate if courses are taught in English or Spanish

These elective courses were created especially for international students and are taught by UAB faculty. There is a supplemental fee for taking a second UAB elective unless you are eligible to opt out of the Spanish course. Most courses are taught in English but some are taught in Spanish. A few courses are offered in both English and Spanish.


How will I register for courses?
You will automatically be enrolled in the Exploring Barcelona course.

There are nine levels of Spanish available at UAB, from beginning to advanced. Several weeks before arrival you will receive an email from UAB asking you to take a placement test online to determine your language level. After that, you will be placed in the appropriate class according to your test results.

For the UAB elective, you will indicate your top three choices for electives on the Course Enrollment Form. The more quickly you complete your application, including the Course Enrollment Form, the more likely you will be placed in your top choice. However, IFSA-Butler cannot guarantee the availability of any course prior to the start of the semester.

How am I placed into an internship?
Internships are available at many different kinds of organizations and businesses. You must submit a resume and personal statement with your study abroad application. Students accepted to this program are guaranteed an internship, but final placements are subject to a successful interview prior to or upon arrival in Barcelona. We make every effort to place you in a field that interests you but can make no guarantees.

What if I need to take a required course as my elective?
Contact your IFSA-Butler program advisor if you have a required course.

What are the registration conditions?
You must take a full university course load as determined by IFSA-Butler, which is a minimum of 12 U.S. semester credit hours per semester. Credit will be awarded on a Butler University transcript based on a typical U.S. full course load.

All courses are graded on an A-F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing courses unless pass/fail is the only method of assessment for the course. Students are not allowed to register for on-line, distance education or hybrid courses. See the "Academics" and "Program Fees and Financial Aid" sections in Preparing to Study Abroad for more information.


What do I need to know about exams?
Due to the difference in academic systems, your exam schedule will not be available until after your classes begin. Be sure to confirm exam dates with your professor at the beginning of the semester. You are not permitted to reschedule exams, request alternate assessment or arrange to have your exams proctored in the United States. If this occurs, IFSA-Butler will not be able to assist you in conducting an academic record appeal on the class in which you made this arrangement. Additionally, all academic obligations, including final exams, must be complete before leaving Spain.


How will my home university know what my classes were and what grades I received?
After you return to the U.S., IFSA-Butler will send a Butler University transcript to your home university. The transcript reflects the courses taken, credits attempted and grades earned on the Engage Barcelona program during your study abroad semester. We will also send an official transcript to your permanent home address.

Exploring Community & Culture

Set yourself apart from other students studying abroad with IFSA-Butler's Exploring Community & Culture (C&C) course. C&C is exclusive to IFSA-Butler and is an embedded component of every Engage program.

C&C offers you the exciting chance to experience Barcelona in a way most visitors never can. It is designed to take study abroad to another level. While abroad, do you want to do what locals do? Go where they go? See your new culture and environment through their eyes? The C&C core course helps the unfamiliar place more familiar and gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Spain and Barcelona that you could never learn in a classroom or see on a tour bus. See the Academics tab for the Exploring Barcelona: Identity in a Multinational Society syllabus and course description.



An internship is an integral part of this program and are available in many fields. Interns work for 14-16 hours per week and attend a related seminar every other week. Internships are typically available in the following types of organizations:

  • Small, private corporations
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Community development organizations
  • Local entrepreneurs
  • Consulting companies
  • Technology companies
  • Schools

Within the types of organizations listed above, internships may be available in a wide variety of areas. Sample assignments include the following areas:

  • Information Technology/Multimedia
    • Design/development
    • IT engineering
    • Digital media
    • Programming
    • Coding
  • Social Sciences
    • Sociology
    • Criminology
    • Social work
    • Political science
    • Law
  • Health Care (Fitness)
    • Physical therapy
    • Sports science
    • Wellness
    • Rehabilitation counseling
  • Health Sciences (Medical)
    • Optics, optometry
    • Dentistry
    • Dietetics
    • Nutrition
    • Medicine
    • Nursing
    • Pharmacy
    • Veterinary Medicine
    • Psychology
  • Applied Sciences
    • Engineering physics
    • Economic statistics
    • Mathematics
  • Business
    • Administration
    • Management
    • International business
    • Accounting
    • Economics
    • Human resources
    • Finance
    • Marketing
    • Real estate
  • Humanities
    • Conservation, restoration
    • Archaeology
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Art history
    • English literature
    • Anthropology
    • Translation, linguistics
    • Sociology
  • Tourism
    • Culinary arts
    • Tourism management
    • Hotel management
    • E-tourism
    • Gastronomy
  • Architecture
    • Building construction
    • Civil engineering
    • Construction engineering
  • Communication
    • Marketing
    • Advertising
    • Telecommunication
    • Film
    • Video editing
    • Audiovisual media
    • Public relations
    • Social media marketing
  • Social Work
    • Community policy
    • Mediation
    • NGOs
  • Engineering
    • Computer engineering
    • Aerospace engineering
    • Electrical engineering
    • Mechanical engineering
    • Informatics engineering
    • Environmental engineering
    • Chemical engineering
    • Civil engineering
    • Biomedical engineering
  • Arts
    • Dance
    • Music
    • Theatre
    • Photography
    • Production
    • Event planning
    • Music technician
    • Sound technician
  • Education
    • Primary education teaching
    • Early childhood education teaching
    • Speech therapy
    • Special education
    • Teach a second language
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Biotechnology
    • Biochemistry
    • Genetics
  • Design
    • Graphic design
    • Fashion design
    • Industrial design engineering
    • Product design
    • Interior design

Click here to view an internship video compiled by a former student on our program.

Click here to view sample internship assignments.

Your IFSA-Butler program advisor will give more details about the internship, application and selection process.


Housing Options

This program offers three housing options: A student apartment, a carefully selected host family or a residencia.

Student apartment
Fully furnished student apartments are located throughout Barcelona. The apartments typically house up to five students per apartment, with single and double bedrooms (we cannot guarantee a single room) and shared living areas, kitchens and bathrooms. Kitchens are equipped with basic cooking utensils. Students are responsible for purchasing and preparing their own meals. Utilities (electricity, water and heat) and Internet are included in the housing fee. Linens are included.

Host families
Living with a host family is a great way to truly experience the culture of Barcelona. IFSA-Butler selects host families carefully and in most cases houses only one student per family. Host families speak Spanish and Catalan.

Each host family will provide the student with a single bedroom that includes a bed, desk, lamp, fan, closet or space for storing clothes and Internet connection. Linens are also provided. The host family will wash linens once a week, but each student is responsible for washing his or her own clothing.

A residencia includes double-occupancy rooms within an international student residence and hostel. Your fellow residents will include Spanish, Catalan, and international students.

Bed linens and towels are provided. All rooms have the following utilities: bathroom, AC, WiFi, fridge, microwave, TV, desk, and wardrobe. Weekly cleaning service is also provided. The residence has either a communal fully equipped kitchen with tables or kitchenettes in the rooms and a laundry room for all residents to use.

For all housing options, please note the following:

  • The distance between housing and the UAB campus may require a commute to courses via public transportation. The cost of transportation is not included in our program fee.
  • All housing options are non-smoking indoors.


Students who select the host family option will receive two meals per day.

Housing FAQs

Is my housing included in the program fee?
Yes. The IFSA-Butler program fee includes housing while classes are in session (students choosing the residencia or host family pay a supplemental fee).

When will I receive my housing assignment?
You will most likely receive your housing assignment one to two weeks before your departure. However, sometimes we are not able to provide housing assignments until orientation. Your program advisor will notify you of your housing assignment via email when it is ready.

Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.

Should I bring my own linens?
Linens are provided by host families and for students living in residencias and student apartments.

Can I arrange my own housing?
Yes. IFSA-Butler recognizes that some students require independent housing for their time abroad. If you choose not to take advantage of our guaranteed housing, you may sign up for independent housing on the housing preference form. Once you've made this choice, we will not provide housing for you or bill you for the accommodation fee.

Please be advised that housing costs can be high abroad, and many times students living independently end up spending more money than students living in IFSA-Butler arranged housing. If you are hoping to save money by arranging housing on your own, please research your options early so you can compare costs. You must notify us of your intention to live in independent housing by the program application deadline for your term abroad, listed at the top of this page. We are not able to accommodate independent housing requests after the deadline.

Location Info

Living and Studying in Barcelona

Population: 2 million
Location: Northeastern Spain, along the Mediterranean Sea

City features

  • Beautiful mediterranean climate
  • A thriving business center with an entrepreneurial spirit
  • A reputation for some of Spain's best food
  • An "old city" that's among the most charming in Europe
  • Gaudi architecture is found throughout the city, adding to its unique personality
  • A student-friendly environment with great entertainment options

Do more!

  • Visit the Picasso museum, which houses more than 3,500 of his works
  • Relax on the area's nearby beaches
  • Travel 30 miles to Montserrat, a mountain area that's a powerful symbol of Catalunya

Spain Guides: Catalonia
Barcelona Tourism
Time Out Barcelona
Barcelona Tourist Guide

Dates & Fees

Program Dates

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Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.

Program housing is available only until the date listed as "Program ends" on the calendar.

Exams must be taken where and when scheduled. Under no circumstances may students request that an exam time be changed. In Spain, exams are taken under formal examination conditions, and changes cannot be made for individuals.

Program Fees

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Fall Payments Due: July 1
Spring Payments Due: November 15

What's included in our Barcelona program fees
Expense calculator

Program Fee Bills
IFSA-Butler will send a single bill for tuition, services, housing and meals. Any bills for tuition differentials and/or supplemental housing fees will be sent separately.

Students who choose the host family housing option will have two meals per day included in their program fee. Those who choose the student apartment or residencia option must provide all of their own meals. An optional meal plan is available for students living in a residencia.

Personal Cost Estimates

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What's included in our Barcelona program fees
Expense calculator

Financial Aid

IFSA-Butler’s general scholarship funds are available for Engage programs, and we offer several other innovative opportunities to help fund your Engage Barcelona experience. Our Up Front program allows you to bill immediate expenses such as airfare and the program deposit to your IFSA-Butler account and then use financial aid or our monthly payment option to pay for these expenses. In addition, our Work to Study grants pay IFSA-Butler students for various projects completed before or during their time abroad.

Don’t forget that federal financial aid such as Guaranteed Student Loans, Pell Grants and Parent/PLUS loans can usually apply toward study abroad. Ask your home campus financial aid office for details on transferring these funds to IFSA-Butler for your semester abroad, and don’t forget to also ask whether your state scholarships, 529 plan or home campus scholarships can be used to help pay for study abroad.

Program Excursions

Arrival and orientation

  • Airport pick-up for group flight travelers (when a group flight is offered)
  • Four-day on-site orientation: includes transportation, accommodation, activities and most meals
  • Introduction to Catalonian culture
  • Discussion of academic differences and expectations
  • IFSA-Butler staff lead sessions on academics, living in Spain, integrating into the host university and more
  • Introduction to Catalan language
  • Welcome meal

The following list of excursions, events and activities may be offered during your semester abroad in Barcelona. Please note that not all activities or these exact excursions are offered every semester.

  • Girona with guided tour of medieval centre and famous Jewish Quarter
  • Dali's house in Portlligat
  • Prehistoric cave paintings
  • Poblet Monastery
  • Trip to Roman Tarragona
  • Overnight trip to Girona
  • Volcanic National Park
  • Dali Museum
  • Collserola and La Fageda Forests

Your IFSA-Butler Team

IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help students prepare for their program in Barcelona:

nikkiProgram Advisor Nikki Bruckmann assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Nikki can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, extn. 4257. Nikki studied abroad as an undergrad. Being completely inspired by the personal impact of her experience, Nikki continued to work for the program as a service learning assistant, preparing students for their predeparture and assisting them while abroad. After graduation, Nikki spent a year living and working abroad and returned home to obtain her masters in Social and Cultural Anthropology. Nikki is passionate about higher education, culture and study abroad.


beckiStudent Accounts Coordinator Becki Niccum assists with the financial side of study abroad and processes payments and invoices. Becki can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-3077.


donnettaStudent & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler since 2000, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of 4 college students (one who has studied abroad too), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4252.


abbyAcademic Records Coordinator Abby Miller graduated from Butler University where she worked as a guide for international students from all over the world. From that experience and combined with her own world travels, she knows the amazing experiences that studying abroad can provide. Abby is excited to work with IFSA-Butler students and to help answer any questions about their academic records. Abby can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4217.

Get Connected

Connect with IFSA-Butler Students

If you really want to know what it's like to study abroad, connect with IFSA-Butler alumni and students who are currently abroad on an IFSA-Butler program. Check out the following:

Student Network

Student Blogs
Experiences Abroad Videos
For Students


Coming soon!

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