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Spanish Language and Culture in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Program sponsor: Northwestern

Spanish Language and Culture in Barcelona, Summer 2018
Spanish Language and Culture in Barcelona, Summer 2018
Spanish Language and Culture Program in Barcelona, Summer 2018
Spanish Language and Culture Program in Barcelona, Summer 2018
Spanish Language and Culture Program in Barcelona, Summer 2018
Spanish Language and Culture Program in Barcelona, Summer 2018

Located in one of Europe's most cosmopolitan and dynamic cities, Northwestern's customized summer program in Barcelona gives students the unique opportunity to increase their Spanish language skills while experiencing first-hand the city's architectural, artistic, and multi-cultural wonders.

The Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) is one of the leading institutions in Spain, known for its international environment and cutting edge academics. UPF has collaborated with the Northwestern Department of Spanish and Portuguese to create a special program for Northwestern students. Northwestern faculty member Elisa Baena will teach a course on modern Spain and serve as Resident Director on the program.

The university is centrally located in the heart of the city, close to Las Ramblas, the waterfront, and Ciutadella Park. The program will offer Spanish language and culture courses, focusing on the city of Barcelona and the region of Catalonia. Through a combination of coursework and excursions to Madrid and sites in and around Barcelona, students will experience a city and culture where modernity and tradition go hand in hand.

Begin Application Process


This is a Northwestern program with a set curriculum, so students must enroll in the courses listed below.

Spanish Grammar (1 unit)
Taught by Spanish instructors at UPF

The class is divided into multiple levels from beginner to superior based on the placement exam results. The material covered during the five week program will be roughly equivalent to one quarter of Spanish at Northwestern as elective or theme credit, or as SPAN 201 or SPAN 301, depending on previous coursework.

Culture and Society in Modern Spain (1 unit)
Course Instructor: Advanced - Elisa Baena; Intermediate - Cristina Ortiz

The class is divided into two sections based on the Spanish classes a student has taken at Northwestern (<199 and 199>). This course is an introduction to Spanish society and culture. The main topics covered are: customs, food and holidays; the economic crisis and its effects on youth; nationalism; immigration to and from Spain; and violence against women. Students are required to observe and interact with locals and report to the class about some of the topics covered.The cultural excursions done as part of the program are part of the coursework in the class. Students are also responsible for visiting other sites on their own. The material covered during the six week program will be roughly equivalent to one quarter of Spanish at Northwestern as elective or theme credit, or as SPAN 199 or SPAN 210, depending on previous coursework.

Spanish Conversation (1 unit)
Taught by Spanish instructors at UPF

Multiple levels are offered from beginner to superior. The material covered during the six week program will be roughly equivalent to one quarter of Spanish at Northwestern as elective or theme credit, or as SPAN 2XX.

Northwestern Spanish minor credit:

For students with SPAN 199 and above

  • Grammar Course - SPAN 301
  • Culture Course - SPAN 210
  • Conversation Course - SPAN 2XX

For students below SPAN 199

  • Grammar Course - SPAN 201
  • Culture Course - SPAN 199
  • Conversation Course - SPAN 2XX
Intermediate Students:

Intermediate students may have the opportunity to pass out of the second year of the Weinberg (WCAS) language requirement on this program; however, it is not guaranteed. Students must take the placement exam with the Spanish Department upon completion of the program.

Program Requirements


Open to students from all majors meeting Northwestern's minimum application requirements.


1 year of college-level Spanish or the equivalent.

Students are encouraged to enroll in at least one Spanish course during the same academic year as the summer program.


  1. Apply for permission to study abroad
    All students are required to apply for permission to study abroad. Learn more about the process, deadlines, and access the application on the apply to study abroad page. Applications must be submitted by February 10th even if your interview will take place after the deadline. 

This program has a maximum enrollment capacity. If there are more applicants than spaces available, then admission to this program will be competitive. It is highly recommended that you include a second choice program in your Northwestern Study Abroad Application, in case you are not offered admission to this program. Listing a second choice program in your Northwestern Study Abroad Application does not affect your chances of getting admitted to this program. Review the admissions criteria and selection process for Northwestern Programs here.


  1. Interview for your program

    Interviews are required with:

    All interviews must be scheduled before February 10th, but can take place after if no other times are availableInterview slots fill up quickly, so please plan ahead when scheduling and do not wait until days before the deadline. Extensions will not be granted. 

    • For the interview, please be prepared to:
      • Discuss your specific motivations for study abroad and reasons for selecting this program
      • Explain how the program and coursework aligns with your personal, academic, and/or professional interests, and
      • Ask informed follow-up questions about program details that you have reviewed on the program website
    • Note: you must still submit your application by February 10th even if your interview will take place after the deadline. 

Student Visa

  • U.S. passport holders are not required to apply for a student visa for this program. 
  • International students should contact the Spanish Consulate in Chicago and the Spanish Consulate in their home country for information about entry requirements to Spain. 

Program Contacts

Estimated Credit

3 Northwestern units. Visit Registration & Credit to learn more about credit types and requirements, registration, and other considerations.


Self-catered single or double rooms at TSH Campus Marina the city's largest international student residential facility located in the Poble Nou neighborhood, a 13 minute walk to the UPF Main Ciutadella Campus where classes will be held.

Room amenities include a bathroom, air conditioning, closet space, television, telephone, desk, and wi-fi.

TSH Marina has a 24-hour reception desk, a night security guard, 4 Rooftop Pools, a game room, laundry facilities, vending machines, a fitness center, study area, and shared Kitchen and lounge on each floor. 

TSH is located near many grocery stores and markets, the Marina metro stop, the old bullfight ring, Sagrada Familia, the Bullet building, and some of the best coffee shops in Barcelona.

Host Institution

UPF is a public, international, and research-intensive university that, in just twenty-five years, has earned a place for itself among the best universities in Europe, awarded with an International Excellence Campus (CEI) label by the Spanish Ministry of Education. Northwestern students take their courses on the main university campus, the Ciutadella Campus, which is within walking distance of TSH, the student dormitory, and there is a metro stop across the street from the campus, making Barcelona and the surrounding areas easily accessible.



Students will participate in weekly excursions to important historical and cultural sites, which will give context to Catalonian society. Visits typically include guided tours of Sagrada Familia, Montserrat, Montjuic, and various museums around the city.


An annual highlight of the program, students will have the opportunity to spend a weekend in the capital city of Madrid, where they will see the sites and view famous works of art.

Program Resources

Browse the 2019 program handbook for more detailed information about excursions, courses, and identity-based considerations. Note: This is the previous year's handbook and should be used for informational purposes only. Do not make any travel plans based off of the dates or information provided here.

Review identity-specific information about Barcelona:

Program Cost

Summer program costs vary, but summer study abroad tends to be much less expensive overall than a regular quarter at Northwestern. Review the comparison.

Summer 2020: $10,605

Billed by Northwestern
  • Tuition: $4,825
  • Housing: $2,600
  • GeoBlue: $75

Total program fee: $7,500

Estimated Additional Costs
  • Airfare: $1,500
  • Meals: $1,000
  • Local transportation: $100
  • Books & supplies: $105
  • Personal expenses: $400

Total: $3,105

Financial Aid & Scholarships

  • Students applying to this program are eligible to apply for GLO scholarships and are also encouraged to apply for other funding opportunities.
  • Northwestern students receiving financial aid during the academic year may be eligible to apply for summer aid for this program. Visit the summer aid & scholarships page for additional information.
  • Undergraduate Language Grants (ULG) support the intensive and experiential learning of foreign languages. The Office of the Provost awards funds to help defray the costs of intensive language study abroad or in the United States.

Program Financial Details

This section outlines some of the billing and financial arrangements for Northwestern Programs, and is intended as a guide to help you navigate the financial aspects of your study abroad process. You should always refer to your program materials for the most current information and instructions. Contact your study abroad adviser (listed above) if you have any questions.

Program Confirmation

Once you are approved to attend a Northwestern study abroad program, you will need to complete a Program Confirmation form to confirm your participation. Northwestern students admitted to Northwestern programs are not required to pay a confirmation deposit, but will be charged a cancellation fee for withdrawing from the program after confirming.

Northwestern Invoice

Your Northwestern invoice will be issued through CAESAR on the regular quarterly schedule, and will include your program fee, which includes tuition, accommodations abroad, all related program activities, and international health insurance. Your program's billable costs and estimated budget are outlined above.

If you receive financial aid and/or loans, these funds will continue to apply directly to your CAESAR account. If you were awarded a ULA scholarship, it will also disburse to your CAESAR account.

If you use the Northwestern 9PAY plan, you may continue to use 9PAY for your NU-billed study abroad expenses, but you should request a study abroad 9PAY estimate to have your plan set up appropriately. The 9PAY plan is not available for summer programs.

Student Visa Financial Certification

If you are required to obtain a student visa, you may need to provide documentation that you will be supported financially for the duration of your time abroad. This may require bank statements from your parents and/or a financial aid award letter; review your visa application instructions carefully to be sure you are providing the appropriate documentation, and contact ULA for assistance.

If you primarily fund your education through financial aid and/or loans, you may also contact Krista Bethel in the financial aid office to request a letter of financial support.

Withdrawal & Refund Policies

If you withdraw or are dismissed from a Northwestern Program after submitting your program confirmation form, you are subject to the withdrawal & refund policies for Northwestern Programs.

Life in Barcelona

Video by: Kamila Postolowicz - Barcelona 2019, School of Communication 2021

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