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CIEE Barcelona Liberal Arts Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Academic Year


Barcelona, Spain




3.0 GPA, junior standing, 4-5 semesters college level Spanish (or equivalent)

Application Due:

3/1 for Fall and Academic Year
9/24 for Spring

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

Designed for students with 4-5 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 securing an internship while in Barcelona.

UI students earn resident credit which may be applied toward the following General Education Areas: Foreign Language, Historical Perspectives, International & Global Issues, Literary, Visual & Performing Arts and/or Values, Society & Diversity. Credit earned on this program may satisfy requirements for the International Business Certificate; some courses may satisfy requirements for the Spanish major or minor. To see an updated list of course offerings for this program, go here . (Click on the grey 'All Courses' bar to view classes)

2016-17 Program Dates

Fall 2016: 9/5-12/21

Spring 2017: 1/4-4/26

For More Information

More information about this program is available on the CIEE Barcelona Liberal Arts webpage. If you are interested in learning more about how this program fits in your academic plan, please make an appointment with Study Abroad Advisor Aubree Compton.


Situated on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, Spain is a strikingly beautiful and diverse country. The country has the second largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the largest number of World Heritage cities. Spain’s distinct regions means there is has something for everyone, from lush forests to towering mountains, stunning beaches to vibrant cities, Mediterranean islands and African enclaves. Widely known for excellent food and art, friendly locals, relaxed lifestyle, Flamenco culture, bullfights, fantastic beaches, and lots of sunshine, Spain has been one of the cultural centers of Europe for thousands of years and remains one of the most popular destinations in the world for study and travel.


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.


Castilian Spanish and Catalan are both official languages in Barcelona and the rest of the region of Catalonia. Catalan is regularly used in all aspects of life, but not imposed on non-Catalan speakers. Taxi drivers, shopkeepers, service representatives, professors, and homestay families all speak clear Spanish whenever a Spanish speaker is present. Spanish is widely used at the university, and you are advised on which classes are taught in Spanish. While it is not necessary to speak Catalan to survive in Barcelona, you will find that learning a few words can be an enjoyable experience and open doors to making friends.

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.

Living Logistics

Housing and all meals are included in the program fee. Participants have two housing options: a Spanish homestay or an off-campus residence hall with other international students.


Students live in Spanish-speaking homes where breakfast, dinner and laundry are provided (lunch is the student's expense). Kitchen space is allotted to students if they wish to make lunch to bring to campus. Each homestay houses one or two American students. Homestays are highly recommended because of the high level of language and cultural immersion that contributes to the student's overall learning experience. All homestays are located throughout the urban Barcelona area with a maximum 30 minute commute to the study center via public transportation.

Residence Halls

Students seeking an independent environment should consider living in an off-campus residence hall with international and some Spanish students. Meals and laundry are not included in the student residencia housing option, but students share fully equipped kitchens where they can prepare their own meals. Laundry facilities are available nearby. Please note that space in the residence halls is limited.

**Student staying for a full academic year have the option of living in an apartment during their second semester. Students are responsible for finding, leasing and managing their apartment stay. Meals are not included in the apartment option and are the responsibility of the student.


Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops. All students will have access to free wireless Internet at the CIEE Study Center, in the homestays and residence halls.

All students will receive a UPF student card and email account, and have access to all University computer rooms for academic-related work. Students will receive a code and a password for Campus Global (the UPF Intranet), which will give participants access to class notes, slides, and professor contact information.

Cultural Immersion

Social Activities

CIEE provides many activities throughout the semester aimed to bring American and Spanish students together in a social setting. These activities include conversation exchanges (intercambios) and non-credit cooking classes. There are several volunteer opportunities for participants to work with local youth.


Students with at least 5 semesters of college-level Spanish are eligible for an internship while in Barcelona. Placements are carefully selected and may include opportunities to develop projects in NGOs, local schools, magazines and publishing companies, business and marketing, among others. Students who intern will have a weekly classroom component that provides participants with academic support to their work experience.


Several excursions are included in the program fee and will give participants the opportunity to discover Barcelona, Catalonia and the rest of Spain. Day trips include the Dali Musuem, the Penedes wine region, Girona and the Roman amphitheater of Tarragona. Students will also take part in one overnight trip to Seville, Cordoba, Granada or Madrid.




A 3.0 cumulative GPA, junior standing, and four semester of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) are required.

Next Steps and Application

Students interested in participating in this program must meet with Spain study abroad advisor Aubree Compton prior to application 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.

After receiving permission from your study abroad advisor to apply to this program, click here to begin your application.

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

Application Deadline

The application deadline set for University of Iowa students is March 1 for fall and academic year programs and September 24 for the spring semester program.


> To see the estimated total cost sheet for Spring 2016, Click herePDF

Withdrawal Policy

After applying for a Study Abroad Program, notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to the University of Iowa Study Abroad Office and your CIEE Program Advisor. The date on which the letter or e-mail message is received is the date by which your costs will be calculated. If for any reason you withdraw after the confirmation deadline and before or during the course of the program, the amount/percentage shown in the following chart represents what you will be required to pay.

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
After Application Administrative fee: $0
Course Fee: $300
After Cancellation Deposit Deadline (varies by program) Administrative fee: $400
Course fee: As determined by the program contract with CIEE
After Program Start Date Administrative fee: 100%
Course fee: As determined by the program contract with CIEE

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

Pre-Departure Orientations in Iowa

Students participating in CIEE study abroad programs will have three separate pre-departure orientations:

The first orientation is for University of Iowa students attending this and other CIEE Spain programs. During this orientation, students receive information on registering for their program on ISIS, payment and billing, course approvals and other practical matters. Students also have the opportunity to ask questions about academics, Spanish culture and other general topics from someone who has lived, studied and worked in Spain.

The second required orientation is the general study abroad orientation for all University of Iowa students going abroad (called 'TIPS'). This orientation covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as Health and Safety, Communication, Money, Goals and much more. This event is usually held on a Saturday afternoon in late autumn/spring.

Finally, CIEE will hold an online pre-departure orientation specifically for students participating in the Barcelona Liberal Arts program prior to departure. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and interact with their future peers and the resident director in an online setting.

On-Site Orientation in Spain

Upon arrival in Barcelona, students will attend a mandatory, 3 day orientation. During this session, participants will be introduced to the country, culture and academic program, and are provided with practical information about living in Barcelona. This orientation serves to inform students of issues relevant to their experience and help them make a gradual transition to Spanish life. The orientation includes both structured cultural activities and independent sightseeing. Ongoing support is provided on an individual and group basis throughout the duration of the program.

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