Approx. Time Difference
Add 9 hours
- Pre-ILP + Fall
- Pre-ILP + Year
This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants
section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
"I think I got a once in a lifetime opportunity living in Barcelona and studying through EAP and I am very grateful for that. I would never take it back."
~Danielle Cwirko-Godycki, 2010
Click a heading below to see section content.
Study Centers Abroad
UC faculty and staff administer UCEAP programs in Spain. Every program in Spain has a corresponding UCEAP office that is staffed to assist program participants with academic, logistical, and personal concerns. The UC Faculty Director, who is responsible for all UCEAP Spain programs, will maintain an office at the Madrid Study Center.
Autonomous University of Barcelona
Gemma de Blas, Coordinator
Centre d’Estudis University of California
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Facultat de Lletres, Edifici B
08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona), Spain
Phone: (+34) 93-581-4065
UCEAP Spain Study Center Director
Prof. Stephen Small
Centro de Estudios de la Universidad de California
Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociología
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Despacho Nº 1601
28223 Madrid, Spain
Phone: (+34) 91-352-2402
The Autonomous University of Barcelona
UAB Online Registration
You must complete an online admission form prior to departure. Refer to the Predeparture Checklist for details on how to complete the online registration.
UAB Program Description
The Autònoma (UAB) prides itself on offering courses that are relevant to building a better society, and its multidisciplinary approach includes an emphasis on responses to globalization and the accelerated pace of social and economic change. Its facultades and all of its courses are organized into five basic groups: 1) social sciences, 2) human sciences, 3) technology, 4) experimental sciences, and 5) health sciences. In addition to innovative programs in communications, translation, environmental science, and interdisciplinary humanities, the Autònoma facultades build more than the usual number of elective courses into all of their degree requirements, which results in a broader offering for UCEAP students.
- You are required to take a minimum of 18 UC quarter units per semester.
- You must enroll each term in at least two regular university courses offered by the Autònoma.
- Intensive language courses in Castilian Spanish and Catalán are available during the regular semester.
You may participate in the internship program organized by the Barcelona Study Center (see Internships and Community Service in this chapter).
UCEAP maintains an office on the UAB campus, with a half-time staff person available to support UCEAP participants. In addition, the Study Center Director spends approximately one day per week at the Autònoma to follow up on any issues that arise during the regular e-mail contact that you are expected to maintain with the director.
2013-14 Core Courses
Two core courses are available at the UAB campus for the 1314 year:
Globalization: European Union
In addition, you are welcome to register in any of the core courses offered by the Study Center at the University of Barcelona. Be advised, however, that you may not take more than two core courses per term.
In Barcelona today, Catalán is widely spoken and generally used in street signs, official documents, university publications, and political activities. All university information is in Catalán. Past students have noted that using even a few phrases in Catalán helps you meet Catalán people, who are pleased with foreigners’ attempts to learn their language. The Study Center in Barcelona offers many opportunities for students to learn Catalán, and you are encouraged to do so.
The course catalogs at the University of Barcelona (UB) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona do not always indicate whether specific courses are taught in Castilian Spanish or Catalán. The professor decides which language will be used, though he or she may honor student requests that the class be taught in one language or the other. The Study Center keeps track of professors who are known to prefer Catalán as the language of instruction to assist UCEAP students who prefer to limit their course choices to those taught in Castilian (castellano). No matter which language the professor chooses, you may ask questions, take notes, and write your papers and exams in Castilian Spanish.
Students who take all their courses in castellano will have fewer course options or less convenient schedules than those willing to try Catalán. Rather than consider language of instruction to be an obstacle to finding meaningful course work in the universities, UCEAP encourages you to treat the use of Catalán as a challenge. If you already know Spanish well, you can learn enough Catalán to achieve an adequate level of listening comprehension for classroom situations without great difficulty. To facilitate this process, UCEAP provides instruction in Catalán during the ILP and additional coursework is offered during the academic year. You are encouraged to take these courses.
You can begin your Catalán study immediately by going to the UB’s listing of resources for learning Catalán online
Internships and Community Service
UCEAP in Barcelona offers the opportunity to apply for an internship with various local organizations as long as the proposed project is related to your major field of study. Internships start in late January and last through the end of May. You must devote a minimum of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks toward the internship. In order to receive a grade, interns are required to submit an academic paper to the Study Center Director.
After internship options are announced in early November, the Study Center provides an orientation and informational meeting to all interested students. In order to be considered for internship placement, you must submit a petition and a résumé to the Study Center Director. The Study Center Director and the internship coordinator select candidates according to available internships, academic performance, and major. In past years, the Study Center has arranged internships in the following disciplines: education, psychology, Spanish, medicine, pharmacology, political science, and public relations.
Extending UCEAP Participation
As with most rewarding experiences, extension to the year program in Barcelona requires an exceptional level of organization and maturity. You must be able to plan in advance and prepare for the extension while completing the fall semester in Barcelona.
If you think you might want to extend your studies to the year program at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, you must complete the Departmental and College Preliminary Approval to Extend (DPA) form before departure for Spain and indicate that you want to extend. This form is available both online and at your Campus EAP Office.
Once in Spain, you must submit a completed Request for Final Approval to Extend (RFA) form to your Study Center Director before November 1. Once the RFA is approved by the Study Center Director, the Study Center will submit it to the UCEAP Systemwide Office for final review and approval.
If you fail to submit an approved DPA before departure, you may still have the option to extend to the year program in Barcelona. You will need to submit a Petition to Extend to your Study Center by November 1. Once approved, the Study Center Director will forward the petition to the UCEAP Systemwide Office and your campus for review and approval. This is a lengthy process that may take weeks to complete, and there is no guarantee you will meet the extension deadline. If you have any intention of extending, plan to submit an approved DPA before departure.
UCEAP must approve all extensions. Extensions are not guaranteed and requests are only considered when there is space in the program. The extension request must be supported by the Study Center Director, your UC campus department head, and your dean or provost.
Once your extension is approved, UCEAP will notify your UC campus registrar and Financial Aid Office. For information about the steps you need to take with regard to finances, see the Extension of Participation
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
If you are admitted for a full year program, you will be expected to complete the academic year in Spain. A request to shorten the stay will be treated as withdrawal from UCEAP with possible financial penalties.
Intolerance and Harassment
Improve Your Language Skills
Students with any doubts about their language abilities, especially aural comprehension and reading skills, should give serious consideration to participating in the pre-ILP in Cádiz.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
As is common in most of Europe, July and August are national vacation periods in Spain. By the time you get to Spain in August, most Spaniards are on vacation, many stores are closed, and services are curtailed, including public transportation.
In addition, Study Center staff arrange various activities for your arrival, during the ILP, and throughout your term. Among the planned events are:
- An all-day bus tour of Barcelona, including museum visits
- An excursion to Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey
- A visit to Codorníu Winery
- Thanksgiving dinner
- A Catalan calçotada (spring)
Excursions during the orientation and ILP are included in your UCEAP fees and are meant to introduce you to the culture of Barcelona and Spain. These activities will also allow you to interact with other UC and University of Illinois students studying at the University of Barcelona. If you are a year participant, you can expect additional activities during the spring term.
Travel to Your Host Country
You are responsible for reserving and purchasing your tickets (even if you are on full financial aid). Your Financial Aid Office is not responsible for purchasing tickets. You are strongly urged to purchase a changeable airline ticket. Standby tickets are not appropriate for EAP.
Understanding Your Finances
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Plan to have access to at least $1,000 (in a combination of travelers checks and cash) for various initial expenses, including housing deposits and the first month’s lodging. Although ILP housing and meal costs are included in the UCEAP fees, bear in mind that you will begin looking for permanent housing while the ILP is in progress. Many colegios mayores, boarding houses, and apartments in these cities require payment of up to two months’ rent in advance; you will need to have this money accessible when making housing arrangements.
If you are going to Barcelona, be aware that while there is a Citibank in Barcelona, it is not directly related to Citibank in the U.S. In fact, the Citibank in Barcelona is expensive and past students have had security issues with them. Do not open a Citibank account in the U.S. expecting to use it in Barcelona.
You will have an e-mail account free of charge. Student computer facilities are crowded. You may wait anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours to use e-mail in the university facilities. You are required to type all your papers. You will need to supply your own paper in the computer labs. Past students report that having a laptop makes writing papers and checking e-mail convenient. Many students use Internet cafés for e-mail. Internet cafés have various options and rates; past students recommend shopping around for the best deals. Once you are registered as a regular student at the AUB, you will receive a personal identification number (PIN) that will allow you to activate your personal account. The university has restricted WiFi, which is accessible through personal password and ID number.
Barcelona: During the ILP in Barcelona, address mail to the Barcelona Study Center.
Universitat de Barcelona Centro California Illinois
Facultad de Filología
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585
08007 Barcelona, SPAIN
Mail During the Year
Mail should be sent directly to your private housing after the ILP.
Pre-ILP and ILP Housing & Meals
During your program’s ILP in Barcelona, your housing is prearranged in a local colegio mayor (roughly equivalent to a dormitory). UC and University of Illinois students attending the University of Barcelona will also be housed in the colegio mayor. Photos, maps, and information about the colegio are available on the website, listed below:
The website may include online room reservation services; you do not need to use these as your room will be reserved for you by UCEAP.
ILP housing is prearranged and is a program requirement. Room and board for your ILP colegio mayor is included in your UCEAP fees. If you move out of your ILP housing early and into your own housing, you will not be issued a refund.
You will probably share a room with another UCEAP student. Dorm rooms are reserved for UCEAP students only. Overnight guests are not permitted in the dorms or private homes (family or friends may not stay with you). Dependents and spouses may arrive at the end of the ILP. They cannot be accommodated in the ILP housing.
You may not arrive early to the colegio mayor. If you arrive early to your host city you must arrange your own accommodations. You must move out of the colegio mayor on the date indicated on your program calendar.
Living standards in Europe are different from those in the U.S. and rooms in a colegio mayor tend to be smaller and older than U.S. dorm rooms. All rooms are fully furnished. Although there may be a wash basin in each room, students usually share common showers and toilet facilities. Rooms are cleaned twice a week.
Bed linens are provided, but you must bring your own towels and toiletries. Coin-operated washing machines are available for students staying in the residencias.
Meals During the ILP
During the ILP, any meals provided at the colegio mayor are included in UCEAP fees. Only breakfast and one meal is provided, including weekends. Breakfast, which is not considered a “meal” in Spain, usually consists of a roll or bread and coffee—many students find it an adjustment to attend morning classes without a more substantial start.
You must find and arrange for your own housing beyond the ILP. There are many types of housing options from which you can choose. Students usually rent an apartment, live in a private home, live in a boarding house (pensión or hostal), or live in a university residence hall or colegio mayor.
During orientation you will learn more about how to find housing for the remainder of your term. You can generally expect to look in newspapers, check fliers posted around campus, and talk to other students. Study Center staff will discuss housing options and provide assistance, such as guidelines for interpreting leases, pointing out better (and worse) areas of town, etc. However, finding and arranging housing is ultimately up to you. It can be stressful, although returning students generally describe it as a unique and ultimately positive experience that fully immersed them in the host city.
If you can’t find housing by the end of the ILP, you can temporarily live in a pensión or hostal while locating permanent housing (students also frequently stay in one or the other while traveling).
Housing costs vary according to what type you choose. For an estimate of room and board costs, look at the UCEAP Student Budget in the Participants
section of the UCEAP website.
After the ILP you will pay rent directly to your landlord—not to UCEAP. You are personally responsible for all housing and meal costs following the ILP.
Types of Housing
Each apartment is unique and will vary in size, condition, and location. Keep in mind that living standards in Europe are different from those in the U.S. and apartments tend to be smaller and older.
Apartments are usually rented furnished (including some kitchenware). Prices vary greatly depending on the area. You will be required to pay a deposit and/ or first and last month’s rent in advance. Make sure to request a receipt stating the conditions for return of the deposit, or you will likely lose it. If you rent through an agency, be prepared to pay a non-refundable agency fee equivalent to one month’s rent.
Apartments are less restrictive than other living situations and offer more privacy. If you plan to bring a dependent or spouse with you, this may be a good housing option. However, many start-up issues must be attended to, and living independently or with other American roommates can impair integration into the Spanish community. It is important that you seek out Spanish roommates in order to achieve a truly educational and culturally rewarding (if initially more demanding) experience.
Colegios mayores (residence halls) generally are run by religious orders and are subsidized by the Spanish government. Rules and regulations, especially in women’s halls, have been strict in previous years, but certain rules are easing, and the curfew has been extended until 2 a.m. or, in some halls, lifted entirely. In Madrid, residence halls that are under the regulation of the Complutense University are not as strict. These residence halls are not run by religious orders and some are coed. However, it can be difficult to secure a room.
The halls provide numerous activities and the opportunity to live with Spaniards of similar ages and interests. They also provide an excellent opportunity to speak Spanish. They may, however, be expensive compared to private rentals. The social and residential atmosphere in the colegio mayor during the year, when Spanish students are also in residence, is somewhat different than a U.S. dormitory. A colegio mayor is more like an English college house; each has its own rules and traditions, and offers a variety of academic and social activities such as lectures, musical performances, sports clubs, etc. Residents are expected to take an active part in the colegio life.
The primary purposes for being with a host family are to interact socially and culturally, to acquire knowledge about Spanish daily living, and to improve language proficiency in Spanish. It is expected that everyone, including other guests in the home, will speak Spanish at all times. If a host family requests that you speak in English, it may be beneficial to work out a reciprocal arrangement whereby you occasionally speak in English, while remaining committed to using their help to learn Spanish.
Living in a private home usually means sharing a room with another student (either Spanish or some other nationality) or possibly having a single room in the home of a Spanish couple or señora. Although you will be living in their home, the “family” may not treat you like a member of the household. This is a business relationship and is a common arrangement for Spanish university students or young professionals.
Homes and Rooms
Homes and rooms in Spain tend to be smaller than is typically the case in California. Storage space tends to be limited and amenities may be different from what you are accustomed to in the U.S. (for example, many rooms have no closets). You may encounter certain inconveniences: lack of central heating, air-conditioning, and laundry facilities; restrictions on the use of hot water and electricity; charges for the use of the telephone, etc.
If you are living in a family environment, adhere to the customs established in the house for all members of the household. Be considerate as to your arrival times at night and in the early morning hours. Be aware of noise level and avoid rowdy behavior when others might be sleeping. You will have to ask permission to bring any guests home. Overnight guests are usually not permitted. Remember that many Spaniards smoke, even in the house.
Although meals sometimes are offered with the cost of the room, consider arranging for the room only or partial meals, since you will be in school during the main meal.
Boarding house options include living in a residencia, pensión, or hostal.
A residencia usually provides room and board to about a dozen or more men or women. A residencia might be one or two floors of a particular building with a number of bedrooms, and a common eating and living area. The residencia is rarely coed. The person running the residencia typically prepares the food and sets residencia guidelines. The people living in the residencia tend to stay for extended periods of time, from a few months to a few years, and the boarders usually integrate with one another more than they would if in a pensión or hostal.
A pensión or hostal would be similar although typically smaller and perhaps without the dining and common living area. Both usually consist of individual rooms in a building. In some pensiones, you may stay indefinitely, but hostales usually require guests to move after a limited time period. Most pensiones will not reserve rooms ahead of time; if they do, they frequently require a large, often non-refundable deposit. In a hostal, students do not reserve rooms in advance, but space may be reserved on a day-to-day basis after checking in. A family often operates a pensión or hostal as its primary business. Pensiones and hostales offer service and convenience that are rated by officially regulated categories on a one- to five-star system. Hostales are not the same as hosteles (as in “youth hostel”).
Meals after the ILP
The cost and set-up will vary depending on where you decide to live. You are responsible for all meal costs. If you decide to live in an accommodation that includes the cost of meals, you must pay for the meals even if you miss them.
Some of the best and least expensive food is offered through a colegio mayor or residencia. You must purchase meal plans in advance for this service, but you do not need to be residents of these establishments to take part in their meal plans.
University restaurant cafeterias are designed specifically for students and the food is cheap, filling, and nutritious. Spanish students eat the basic fare of an appetizer, main dish, dessert, and a drink for approximately €5,50. Vegetarians may substitute the main dish with a salad, bread, or another vegetable. Sandwiches or baguettes are between €1,50 and €4, and other options include coffee with milk, €0,85; croissant, €1,50; Coca-Cola, €1,10; combined dish, €3,50.
In Barcelona, university restaurants offer meals for about €5 to €10, and you may be able to buy a 10-meal coupon to save some money. University restaurants are open from early October to mid-June and closed during all official holidays.
In areas of town near university campuses there are often shops and bars that serve cheap bocadillos, sometimes for as little as €2.
Study Center staff will provide you with a list of housing options during the Barcelona orientation meeting. It is not difficult to find suitable housing in Barcelona and many students make a few moves during the year in order to experience a variety of different living situations.
All Autònoma students get a list of recommended “homes” in town.The housing list has been used by former UCEAP participants and consists of a variety of options, such as living with a “señora,” a family, or sharing apartments with other students. The list is updated every year.
At the Autonomous University of Barcelona, you may choose to live near the university (about 25 to 30 minutes by metro rail or bus from central Barcelona) or to live in central Barcelona and commute to the university. Either way, you can make use of Barcelona’s public transportation system. You may choose from the following housing options:
- Autonomous University apartment complex, the Vila Universitària. This modern apartment complex is highly recommended since it is well-appointed and provides an excellent opportunity to meet Spanish students and be immersed in the culture. It is difficult to get into if not requested in advance. Send an e-mail to the program coordinator to request a spot.
- Housing in private homes or shared apartments in Cerdanyola del Vallès or Sant Cugat del Vallès (the residential area closest to the university). This area is popular with UAB students and there is a shuttle bus service to the university. Rental costs vary according to the accommodations chosen.
- Housing in central Barcelona with a commute to campus. UCEAP recommends that if you choose this option, live in the Gràcia or Sarrià area of Barcelona. It is clean, modern, and close to the Metro station that takes you to the UAB campus.
You should plan to spend some time researching the various Barcelona neighborhoods (like Gràcia and Sarrià) and the city in general. Familiarizing yourself with Barcelona now will make the search for post-ILP housing easier.
Past group activities organized by the Study Center have included visits to museums and historical sites in Barcelona and around Catalonia; trips to Valencia for the Fallas, to Zaragoza and Fuendetodos (birthplace of Goya), to Figueres and the Dalí museum, and to the Penedes wine region; and group celebratory dinners at Thanksgiving and the end of the year.
The Autonomous University of Barcelona Sports and Physical Activities Service (SAF) is considered among the best public sports complexes in Catalonia. The “SAF” provides a variety of activities for students including fitness classes, outdoor courses such as skiing and rafting, and team sports, as well as a full range of facilities for individual use. You must purchase a membership card in order to use the facility.
Each year the university’s Cultura en Viu program organizes a host of cultural activities including exhibitions, film screenings, lectures, performances, and classes. The program also serves as an umbrella organization for student performing arts groups (music, theater, dance, etc.)
Students with Disabilities
As a UCEAP participant you are automatically covered by UCEAP insurance anywhere in the world (not only while in Spain) 14 days before the official start of the program and up to 31 days after the official end of the program.
Europ Assistance/USA (UCEAP assistance providers) have made a direct payment arrangement with Clinica Tres Torres through Hospiquality. You do not have to pay for the visits up front and then file an insurance claim for a refund. IMPORTANT: If you require emergency medical care, please go to the nearest Urgencias, for immediate attention.
Read the following instructions carefully:
- Make an appointment with Clinica Tress Torres.
Phones: 9 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.: 628604412; 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 a.m. 932041300. Email: email@example.com
Identify yourself as a University of California-Education Abroad program student (Policy number: ADDN 04834823).
- Then place a collect call to Europ Assistance/USA (EA/USA) to let them know about your appointment.
Call through AT&T 900 99 00 11 for a collect-call (in English).
Europ Assistance (EA/USA) phone: 1-202- 828-5896 (collect calls outside the U.S.)
Or send them an email message at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Services provided by Clinica Tres Torres include the following:
- 24-hour emergency service
- Latest technological equipment
- Translation services during medical consult
- Direct billing to the UCEAP insurance
If you prefer, you may go to any medical center, pay up front, and file a claim through the UCEAP insurance.
Cádiz students: There is no university health center, but students may visit a local clinic: Clinica La Salud, C/ Feduchy s/n.
Demonstrations & Protests
Traffic & Transportation Safety
UCEAP Contingency Planning
Forest fires occur frequently in Spain during the summer months, especially in southern areas of the country.
The University of California, in accordance with applicable
Federal and State law and University policy, does not
discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion,
sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical
condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status,
citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era
veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also
prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy
covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs
and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s
student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to
the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.