CIEE Architecture and Design
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain with its own distinctive history, culture, and language. Its metropolitan area has a population of 2.8 million and is set between the mountains and the Mediterranean. Walking though the city, one can observe 2,000 years of architectural history—Roman remains, the network of narrow streets in the Old Town, the 19th Century Eixample district with its original examples of Modernista architecture—contrasting with the ultramodern showpieces that continue to redesign its skyline.
Drawing on a wealth of resources in Barcelona, the Architecture and Design study abroad program at the CIEE Study Center in Barcelona aims to offer students a unique cultural perspective on the history and practice of architecture and design in contemporary Spain. The Architecture track is offered in English. For the Design track, students must have four semesters of college-level Spanish and their coursework is in English and Spanish
Fall or Spring Semester
Fields of Study
Architecture, Art History, Design, Graphic Arts, Internship, Spanish Language
Eligibility: 3.0 CGPA
The Architecture and Design program started in 2007. The program has a thematic focus, and it accommodates students at many language levels from low to advanced, and with varying majors within the visual arts. The program is divided into two tracks: Architecture—with ESARQ as its host institution—and Design—with ELISAVA as its host institution. While classes at the host institutions are taught in Spanish, CIEE-arranged courses are in both Spanish and in English.
The CIEE Study Center is located in a historic building located in Passatge Permanyer, a historic passageway near Plaza Catalunya, Barcelona’s main square. ELISAVA courses are held at ELISAVA School of Design in the Ramblas, and ESARQ courses are held at Universitat Internacional de Catalunya. Both campuses are well connected to the CIEE Study Center by public transportation.
While CIEE courses are designed to follow the American academic culture, courses at the host institutions are characteristic of the local university system. Syllabi are not as detailed as American syllabi and students are often expected to decide for themselves which readings from the syllabus they need to study to fill in gaps missed during the lectures. It is common to share notes with Spanish students and study together, which can benefit students in their language learning as well. Relatively less emphasis is placed on participation and much more on papers, projects, and exams.
Classes at ELISAVA and ESARQ have between 20 (studio classes) and 40 (regular classes) students. As a small, private school, ESARQ places special emphasis on providing students with highly individualized attention. It is the perfect match for CIEE students, who are able to attend architecture courses in Spanish with local students while also benefitting from private tutorials with ESARQ instructors. ELISAVA is a top design school in Barcelona associated with the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. The atmosphere is dynamic, creative, and multidisciplinary, also creating an ideal environment for CIEE students.
Students can live in either Spanish homes or in a student residencia (residence hall) with other Spanish and international students. Students living in a homestay have breakfast and dinner at home, while lunch is at the students’ expense, and many eat at the several university-run cafeterias. Meals are not included in the student residencia option, but students share fully equipped kitchens where they can prepare their own meals. All homestays and residencias are located in the city of Barcelona, and students take public transportation to their classes; the average commute to the city center, by metro or bus, is 30 minutes.
As space in the residencias is limited, students who are not placed there are placed in a homestay. Students who are not assigned the housing option of their choice will be notified by the resident staff prior to arriving in Barcelona
Web links: http://www.ciee.org/study
back to top
Programs in Spain
- Barcelona, Spain
- Granada: Abroad Advanced Language Program
Useful Links for Spain