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CIEE Barcelona Liberal Arts Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Academic Year


Barcelona, Spain




3.0 GPA, junior standing, 4 semester of college-level Spanish (or equivalent), students must have valid passport at the time of application.

Application Due:

3/1 for Fall and Academic Year
9/15 for Spring

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

Designed for students with at least four semesters of college-level Spanish (or the equivalent), the Liberal Arts program at Universitat Pompeu Fabra aims to help students develop skills and competency in the Spanish language while studying Spanish history, politics, and culture. Excursions and homestays or a student residence option in the vibrant city of Barcelona contribute to students' cultural immersion and development of language skills. This program is administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), on behalf of an academic consortium of which the University of Iowa is a member. UI participants on the program join a group of students from other U.S. colleges and universities.

Academic Program

Students complete an intensive Spanish language course that meets for the first few weeks of the semester and then choose among advanced language electives for the remainder of the semester. In addition, students choose courses from a range of courses for foreigners from the local University, regular courses with Spanish students, and an internship. All courses are taught in Spanish. Students are expected to take at least one course direct enrollment at UPF.

In addition to Spanish language classes, all students take a CIEE culture course and, depending on language level, choose courses in English or Spanish from UPF’s Hispanic and European Studies Program (HESP) and/or from UPF’s regular University course offerings in history, humanities, international relations, law, and political science. Students with are expected to take all classes in Spanish from among the offerings of CIEE, HESP, and UPF. Liberal Arts students also have the possibility of doing a business internship for credit.

UI students earn resident credit which may be applied toward the following General Education Areas: Foreign Civilization & Culture, Humanities, Social Sciences and Historical Perspectives. Credit earned on this program may satisfy requirements for the Spanish major or minor as well as other majors/minors.

Cultural Activities

The academic program is supplemented with field trips and excursions that are mandatory. They include visits in Barcelona, day excursions, and longer trips that may include Cuenca, Madrid, Mallorca, the Pyrenees, Zaragoza, Valencia, and Spain’s northern coast. Other cultural activities include those designed to bring American and Spanish students together, such as conversational exchanges with Spanish students. CIEE also organizes Spanish cooking classes in which students are invited to participate.

Program Dates

The duration of spring semester is from early-January to late April. The fall semester program lasts 16 weeks from early-September to mid-December. Students staying for the academic year will finish in late-April.

For More Information

Please come to the Office for Study Abroad Resource Room for a CIEE program catalog that contains much more detailed information than available on our webpage.

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

The Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) is publicly funded and was created by decree of the Catalonian Parliament in 1990. It offers degrees in law, economics, business, social sciences, communications, humanities, biology, and technology, as well as other academic disciplines. Some of the unique features of the university are its trimester-based course and degree structure, highly dedicated teaching staff, small class size and personalized attention to students, focus on technology and quality information services, and an international outlook. Courses are taught in Spanish, Catalan, and English. UPF is located in beautifully renovated historic buildings throughout Barcelona, close to the Ciutadella Park, the Ramblas, the Olympic village, and the port. While most buildings are within walking distance, the rest are all easily accessible via the city’s public transportation system.


Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain with its own distinctive history, culture, and language. The Catalonian traditions of initiative, hard work, and creativity, combined with the continuous influx of different cultures from other parts of Europe, Spain, and more recently Africa, Asia, and Latin America, have endowed the city with a unique vitality and rich cultural and artistic heritage.

The metropolitan area of Barcelona has a population of 2.8 million and is set between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, close to the Pyrenees and Spain’s border with France. Walking through the city, one can observe 2,000 years of architectural history, ranging from the Roman and medieval center’s impressive network of narrow streets and 19th century Eixample district with its original examples of Modernista architecture, to the ultra-modern showpieces that continue to redesign the skyline of the city.

Living Arrangements

Students live in a Spanish home or a student residencia. Based upon student feedback and experience, living in a homestay is the best way to improve language skills and feel more a part of the local culture. Lunch is at the student's own expense and is not included in the program fee. In the residencia, all meals are the responsibility of the student and are not included in the program fee.

Local Transportation

Students take public transportation to their classes, on average, a 30-minute commute by metro or bus to the city center. The residencia is located a short walk or metro ride from UPF and the CIEE offices.


A 3.0 cumulative GPA, junior standing, and four semester of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) are required. Students must have a valid passport at the time of application.

Application Deadline

The online application for the spring session of this program will be available from 8/1 to 9/20. Any supplemental materials are due to the study abroad office one week later.

The application deadline for fall and academic year programs is February 21st.

How to Apply

Before starting an application for this program, students should must meet with their study abroad advisor to discuss their program selection and receive information about supplemental materials that are required for an application. Appointments can be set up in person at 1111 UCC or over the phone at 319-335-0353.

Click here to apply.

Final admissions decisions are made by CIEE in Portland. Well-qualified candidates endorsed by Study Abroad are seldom rejected.


The program fee for spring programs is available by September 15. The program fee for fall and academic year students is available on February 15. This program fee includes an optional on-site airport greet, tuition, housing and all meals in homestays or a monthly meal stipend in University residencias, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, travel insurance, and the UI administrative fee. The program fee does not include transportation to Spain, personal expenses, books and supplies, visa expenses, and local transportation.

Orientation Information

All participants attend a pre-departure orientation specific to the program as well as a general study abroad orientation. CIEE also conducts online orientations for their students.

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