International Student Life in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a prime study abroad destination with top universities, a cosmopolitan atmosphere, and a welcoming vibe. It fosters diverse friendships and offers an international environment for students, making it ideal for higher studies. Barcelona's vibrant food scene, beautiful parks, and diverse international community make it highly sought after by students. A vibrant city in Spain, Barcelona offers a taste of the country's lively charm, with its simple, relaxed lifestyle amid the hustle of urban living.

Unlike the fast pace of Madrid, Barcelona is known for its relaxed vibe. From two-hour lunch breaks to the slow walking pace, everything about this city inspires you to relax and reach your highest potential.

Credit to: Aleksandar Pasaric

Barcelona Transportation

Barcelona's popularity among international students is due to its easy accessibility via car, plane, or boat, with direct flights to major cities from the city. Barcelona boasts connections to numerous countries with direct flights to major cities, facilitating visits from friends and family and enabling exploration of Spain and Europe. The city's flat terrain and extensive transportation options, including bikes, trains, taxis, and buses, make getting around easy and affordable for students attending institutions in Barcelona.

We here in Barcelona often use the phrase: “everything is walking distance!” Whether the commute to the club is 10 or 50 minutes, Barcelona is a completely walkable city. If you prefer a slightly faster way of getting around the city, the metro is the first place to start.

The top three methods of transportation used:

  • Metro
  • Bus
  • Taxi
Credit: Enrico Perini

Barcelona Housing

International students favor the Gracia neighbourhood in Barcelona for its safety, affordability, and local charm. According to Housing Anywhere, a private room in a shared student residence in Gracia typically costs €800-€1000 per month.

Barcelona's vibrant nightlife offers students a plethora of options including live music, DJs, clubs, bars, and restaurants. With favourable weather year-round, outdoor areas like the Gothic Quarter and Port Olimpic are popular destinations for nighttime exploration.

Best neighbourhoods in Barcelona:

  • Gràcia. 
  • Barceloneta.
  • El Born. 
  • L'Eixample.
  • El Raval. 
  • Barri Gòtic. 

If you are looking for some more information about student housing accommodation, check out this article

Can I live in Barcelona without speaking Catalan?

Understandably, a possible language barrier can prevent anyone from taking the first steps to a new adventure! In Barcelona, Spanish and Catalan are both used, but don't worry if some in Barcelona prefer Catalan over Spanish. It's not vastly different; many words are similar or slightly varied in pronunciation. You'll become familiar with it, just like Spanish. Additionally, many people speak English in addition to Spanish, so don’t worry! You will fit in with whatever language you use!

If you’re looking for some ways to sharpen your Spanish before arriving, check out this article!

My Experience- Tessa S.

When I decided to apply for study abroad programs in Barcelona, I had no idea what to expect. I am a Politics and Musical Studies double major, and I was not sure I would be able to continue with major-specific courses if I studied abroad. Coming here was not as much of a challenge as I expected- thanks to my team at StudiesIn- and when I got here, I immediately adapted to the new culture. Getting off the bus at my new apartment, I had a moment of panic. I was homesick and scared about how to adapt to a completely new city. Now, I am so glad I stuck with it, and I love every day that I get to explore this city. I live in an apartment with my best friend, and I take the metro every day to classes and my internship at a Spanish start up. In the mornings, I go to a coffee shop I love, and I now know both baristas and locals, and I get to chat with them before we go our separate ways! After classes, I walk around the city, or sometimes I go home and do some studying before going out for claras- a beer and lemonade drink popular in Spain- and tapas. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and the weekends, I meet up with my friends at a bar before going to one of the many clubs in Barcelona!

There are also always free events going on around the city- whether it is a yoga class on Barceloneta Beach, or a painting class in the Gothic Quarter- you can always find something to do! If you feel like exploring other areas in Spain, or other countries in Europe, flights out of Barcelona are affordable and fast! Recently, I took a train from Barcelona to Madrid, and I was able to go to the Prado Museum, the Royal Palace of Madrid, and some incredible and inexpensive restaurants.

Barcelona truly is the perfect place for anyone who wants to relax, explore, study their passions, and learn more about the world around them. I highly recommend considering Barcelona as your study destination!

In short, Barcelona isn't just a city – it's an experience. So pack your bags, grab your textbooks, and get ready for the ride of a lifetime!

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Study in Spain

Written by

Tessa Sternal

Undergraduate, 2023

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