Approx. Time Difference
Add 9 hours
- 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.
"It was the unconscious learning done outside of class that describes my lifestyle: walking the streets, running to the metro, meeting up for tapas, shopping in the Gothic Quarter, enjoying a coffee on Rambla Catalunya, taking the train to visit nearby towns and cities..."
~ Gabrielle Lampert, UC Davis
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.
University of Barcelona
Gemma de Blas, Coordinator
Facultad de Filología
Universitat de Barcelona
Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes, 585
08007 Barcelona, Spain
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
The University of Barcelona
UB Online Registration
Academic year and spring semester students must complete an online admission form prior to departure. Refer to the Predeparture Checklist for details on how to complete your online registration.
UB Program Description
UCEAP students at the University of Barcelona (UB) may take a combination of regular UB courses and UCEAP-designed core courses, including two core courses taught at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) campus. Within the regular university facultades, previous UC students have primarily taken courses in the humanities and social sciences, especially in the fields of Spanish literature, economics, history, art history, Catalán studies, and linguistics. Other disciplines are available for students who have the requisite background.
- You are required to take a minimum of 18 UC quarter units per semester.
- You may not enroll in more than two core courses per term.
- University courses may be taught in Spanish, Catalán, or a combination of the two.
- The program offers training in Catalán during the ILP and the semester to support students in regular university courses that are taught in the local language.
2013-14 Core Courses
- Social, Political, and Cultural History of 20th-century Spain
- 20th-century Spanish Literature
- Conversation and Composition
- Analysis of Hispanic Literary Texts
- Spanish Linguistics
- Contemporary Spanish Art: Picasso, Dali, and Miro
- Don Quijote
- Contemporary Spanish Cinema
- Latin American Literature
- Barcelona in Prime Time: Justice, Law and Mass Media
Courses offered in the fall are usually posted on the UB website by late July. You may participate in the internship program organized by the Barcelona Study Center (see Internships and Community Service in this chapter).
Courses in Studio Art
The Faculty of Fine Arts (Belles Arts) at the University of Barcelona offers instruction in painting, sculpture, drawing, design, image, art restoration, and art education. Space is extremely limited and admission to these programs is highly competitive. Only highly motivated students who have a clear idea of how they want to develop their artistic talents should apply. Those who are accepted are required to take two classes at the Facultad de Belles Arts, and may be asked to dedicate as many as 12 hours per week to each class.
If you want to study studio art at Barcelona, you must submit a portfolio of your work (either photographs, slides, or a CD) and another copy of your current official or unofficial transcript to the UCEAP Systemwide Office prior to the start of the term in which you propose to study in Barcelona. The deadline for year students is March 15 and the deadline for spring students is October 15. Your portfolio will be forwarded to Barcelona for presentation to the dean of the facultad for an admission decision. Admission is not guaranteed; it is best to have an alternate academic plan for your time in Spain.
If you wish to study art history, do so in the Facultad de Historia. There is no need for a separate application, but it is helpful to have some background in history. The language of instruction in both art history and studio art tends to be Catalán.
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 UB and the UAB 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
Although extension options are not built into this program, it may be possible for you to participate in two different UCEAP programs consecutively.
If you would like to participate in two programs, you must submit an application for each program by the campus deadline. You will go through the regular UCEAP selection process for each program. You must meet all selection criteria for both programs and your UC campus must select you to participate. The Campus EAP Office may have other requirements as well. If you are considering this option, schedule an appointment with the Campus EAP Office to discuss the process.
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
- A Catalan calçotada
- Visits to the Dalí Museum
- Excursions to St. Pere, Girona, and Besalú
If you are a spring semester student, you will receive a shorter orientation upon arrival.
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 UCEAP students studying at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, as well as University of Illinois students studying with you at the UB.
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.
Barcelona Spring Program
You will apply for the under 180 day visa. Details on requirements and visa application process will be provided in your Predeparture Checklist
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 year-long 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.
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 at both universities in Barcelona 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 either of the host universities in Barcelona, you will receive a personal identification number (PIN) that will allow you to activate your personal virtual space. Both Barcelona universities have a restricted WiFi facility, 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). 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.
During your program’s two-week ILP, you will be placed in a private home. This will be pre-arranged for you. You are required to fill out a homestay questionnaire prior to your arrival to collect information that will assist the Barcelona staff in their placement procedures. You will remain in your homestay for a few days after the end of the ILP while you look for permanent semester housing. The homestay is mandatory, since it is an important component of acclimating you to speaking Spanish before the academic term begins. If you do not complete the entire time in the homestay for any reason, no refund will be issued.
ILP housing is prearranged and is a program requirement. Room and board for your ILP colegio mayor or private homes are 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. Barcelona spring students will be placed two per private home. 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 or homestay. If you arrive early to your host city you must arrange your own accommodations. You must move out of the colegio mayor or homestay 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. If you are a Barcelona spring student staying in a private home, one washing per week is included in your fees. You are responsible for extra washings if required.
Meals During ILP
During the Year ILP, any meals provided at the colegio mayor are included in your 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
Barcelona spring students will be provided with a light breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
You must find and arrange for your own housing for the year 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. The availability of each of these depends on the city in which you will be studying.
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. Specific housing information at each UCEAP host university is provided in this chapter.
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.
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”).
Melas 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 students get a list of recommended “homes” in town. This 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 University of Barcelona, students live in apartments, boarding houses, and private homes around Barcelona. Because the university has several campuses housing different academic disciplines in different locations, most students will do some commuting (anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes or more) daily via Barcelona’s public transportation system. Rental costs vary according to the accommodations and neighborhood, but a typical range last year was approximately €400 per month for a single room in a shared apartment,boarding house, or private home. In most cases utilities are included.
You should plan to spend some time researching the various Barcelona neighborhoods 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 Dali museum, and to the Penedes wine region; and group celebratory dinners at Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Informal get-togethers with Spanish students are sometimes organized.
The University of Barcelona sports facilities are located in the Pedralbes area. To become a member of a university team or to use the sports facilities (track, tennis courts, swimming pool, fitness classes, team sports, etc.), you will need to purchase a membership card at the physical education office in Pedralbes.
The UB offers a wide array of cultural activities—music, theater, exhibitions— in addition to the opportunities available around the city. More details are available on the UB website
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 (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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Identify yourself as a University of California-Education Abroad program student (Policy number: ADD N04834823).
- Then place a collect call to Europe Assistance/USA to let them know about your appointment.
Call through AT&T 900 99 00 11 for a collect-call (in English).
Europ Assistance phone: 1-202- 828-5896 (collect calls outside the
Or send them an email message at: email@example.com
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.
Barcelona students: The program provides a list of recommended doctors and clinics, which is included in the Orientation package you will receive at the beginning of the ILP.
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.