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  • Locations: Barcelona, Spain
  • Program Terms: Autumn Semester, SpringSemester(W/Sp), Year (A/W/Sp)
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: CIEE 
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:


In an increasingly globalized economy, international experience and understanding of foreign markets, and practices is essential. Advance your Spanish language skills while pursuing a degree in Business in the dynamic capital of Catalonia.

Through a partnership with ESCI school of business, you’ll explore issues related to business within the context of Spain and the European Union in classes with local students, taught in English or in Spanish. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced level Spanish student, studying abroad in Barcelona offers you challenging coursework, homestays, company visits, internship opportunities, and a variety of cultural excursions and activities that give you insight into international business and a unique intercultural experience.

Study abroad in Barcelona and you will:

  • Learn Spanish or build on the language skills you already have
  • Take classes with local students at a reputable business school
  • Explore the region of Catalonia through 3 day trips and enjoy a weekend trip to another major Spanish city (Madrid, Seville or other) through CIEE planned cultural activities
  • Explore the city with CIEE Guardian Angels (local students who help you get oriented and make the city feel like home)
  • Get credit and real work experience through an internship
The CIEE Difference


In addition to language learning and area studies courses, choose from a variety of Business-specific electives including: International Expansion, Management, Marketing , Sustainability, Consumer Behavior, Finance and Economics. Courses are offered in English and Spanish with direct enrolment options at Universitat Pompeu Fabra available for advanced Spanish speakers.


Step into the professional field and gain valuable international experience with a for-credit internship. CIEE study abroad in Barcelona pairs qualified students with local and international businesses and corporations, giving you the opportunity to learn from and contribute to some of Spain’s most successful organizations.


Enjoy a variety of excursions throughout Barcelona, including company site visits, field trips to art and history museums,  monuments, and guided tours of the city. You’ll also take part in 3 day trips through Catalonia and one extended weekend excursion to another Spanish city (Madid, Seville or other) with business based guided tours and activities.


Recommended credit for the semester program is 16 semester/24 quarter hours. Recommended credit for the academic year is 32 semester/48 quarter hours.

Contact hours for CIEE humanities and business courses are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours, unless otherwise indicated.

Contact hours for CIEE language courses are 60 hours and recommended credit is 4 semester/ 6 quarter hours, unless otherwise indicated.

Contact hours for UPF and ESCI courses are 36-45 hours

Program Requirements

All study abroad students take five courses per semester.

Students with up to three semesters of college-level Spanish, or the equivalent, are required to take one Spanish language course, one ESCI business course (in English), and a second business course at CIEE or ESCI. For their remaining two electives, students take business or humanities courses.

Students with four or five semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) must take one Spanish language course, one culture course in Spanish, and two business courses. Of these two business courses, one must be an ESCI course (in English or Spanish) and one must be taught in Spanish (CIEE or ESCI). The remaining elective can be a humanities or business course in English or Spanish.

Students with six or more semesters of college-level Spanish take ALL of their classes in Spanish, including one CIEE language course, one or two CIEE humanities course(s), and two or three business courses from the Business and Economics Department at UPF and/or ESCI.

Study abroad students with five or more semesters of college-level Spanish may participate in the CIEE Internship Program. CIEE reserves the right to place participants in the language course for which the student is best prepared based on the results of on-site diagnostic testing. All CIEE courses are considered junior- or senior-level.

About Barcelona

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain with its own distinctive history, culture, and language. Set between mountains and the Mediterranean sea, the city's population is 1.6 million, with a total of 4.5 million in the greater metropolitan area. 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.

Where You’ll Study

The Escola Superior de Comerç Internacional (ESCI), was created in 1993 by the Catalan government and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and offers a four-year B.A. in International Business and Marketing. Its modern facilities and central location provide an optimal learning environment. ESCI is home to 500 Spanish students and prides itself on individualized learning through the case method and other group-oriented activities. ESCI courses are taught by ESCI and UPF faculty and business practitioners.

The Universitat Pompeu Fabra was created in 1990. It offers degrees in law, economics, business, social sciences, communications, humanities, and technology. Features include its highly dedicated teaching staff, small class size, focus on technology, and an international outlook. The University has buildings located throughout Barcelona, including buildings near the Ramblas, the Olympic Village, and the port.
The CIEE Study Center in Barcelona, Spain, is located in two adjoining historic buildings on Passatge Permanyer, near Passeig de Gràcia and Plaza Catalunya, Barcelona’s main square. This historic passatgeway provides a quiet haven in the city center and houses CIEE classrooms, a computer lab, and student lounges.

Housing & Meals

Study abroad students can choose to live in either Spanish homestays (there is also an option to live in a homestay along with another CIEE student) or in a student residencia (residence hall) with other Spanish and international students. These are located in urban settings throughout the city. Students living in a homestay will have breakfast and dinner provided at home, while lunch is at the students’ expense. Kitchen space is allotted the student should they wish to make picnic lunches to bring to campus, and many students choose to eat at the several university-run cafeterias. Students in homestays will have their laundry done for them once a week. Meals and laundry are not included in the student residencia option, but students share fully equipped kitchens where they can prepare their own meals and laundry facilities are available. All homestays and residencias are located within the city of Barcelona, and within 30 minutes by public transportation to the CIEE study center and host institutions.

As space in the residencias is limited, students who request to live there cannot be assigned a place, are accommodated through a “homestay”. In the event that there are more requests to live in a residencia than the total available spaces, study abroad students with more advanced Spanish take priority over those with less Spanish (proficiency level isbased on students´CIEE Spanish course pre-registration and academic background in Spanish, as reflected on the transcript). Students who are not assigned the housing option of their choice are notified by the Resident Staff prior to arriving in Barcelona.

Academic Program

The Business and Culture study abroad program is designed for students interested in improving their language skills while taking classes in business, Spanish language and culture. The program is unique because both the theories of modern management and economics and the cultural context in which business is conducted are studied.

Students with beginner to intermediate-level Spanish skills (up to three semesters) take business classes in English at both CIEE and ESCI. Students with intermediate-advanced Spanish skills (four and five semesters) take a combination of business classes in English and Spanish at CIEE and ESCI. Advanced students (those with six or more semesters of Spanish) take all of their classes in Spanish, with business classes at CIEE and ESCI. Students at all levels must take at least two business courses.

Academic Culture

The CIEE Study Center is located in a historic building located in Passatge Permanyer, a historic passageway near Plaza Catalunya, Barcelona’s main square. It is a 20 minute walk from ESCI to the CIEE Study Center. Study abroad students can commute from ESCI to the CIEE Study Center by bus or metro in 15 minutes. CIEE also maintains a satellite office at ESCI.

ESCI professors follow a mix of Spanish and U.S. teaching styles. In the Spanish university system, students are responsible for their work and must take an active role in selecting outside readings to complement lectures. Traditional Spanish professors use the lecture method, and students take careful notes, often studying together to fill in any gaps. ESCI professors also emphasize the use of the case method and group-learning activities. Attendance is mandatory and tardiness and absences result in a lowering of the final grade.  Students should not enroll in courses for subjects they have not previously studied at the college level.

UPF  classes take place at the UPF campus, about a 10 minute walk from ESCI business school. Emphasis is on attendance at daily lectures and careful note taking. The syllabus is not as detailed as an American syllabus, and students are expected to decide for themselves which readings from the syllabus they need to study in order to fill in gaps missed during the lectures. Relatively less emphasis is placed on participation, with much greater emphasis on the final exam. UPF classrooms are modern, comfortable, and equipped with the most up-to-date technology used for instruction.

Spanish language courses are taught by CIEE professors at the CIEE Study Center and ESCI. Classes are small, with a maximum of 12 participants. Special emphasis is placed on the use of Spanish in a business environment.

CIEE humanities courses have a maximum of 22 students per class, though average class size is around 16.

Although extracurricular activities and personal travel contribute to the student’s overall study abroad experience, early departure for or late return from vacation is not allowed. Any extended travel should take place prior to the start of the program, during vacation periods, or upon completion of the program.

Nature of Classes

ESCI and UPF courses are with Spanish and other international students. CIEE courses are with other CIEE students only.

Language Environment

As students gain proficiency in Spanish, resident staff encourage them to use their language skills in everyday settings. They are encouraged to meet with local students through CIEE language exchanges, spend time with their host family, and to work on group projects with classmates. The more study abroad students participate, the greater their development of Spanish language proficiency and understanding of Spanish society.

Grading System

In CIEE and ESCI courses, students are graded on the basis of class participation, in-class activities, homework assignments, exams, papers, and oral presentations. In some courses, assessment is based on a theoretical exam and a practical aspect of the class, specifically a group or individual project.

In UPF courses, assessment is primarily based on a final exam. Some courses require a term paper in addition to the final exam. Occasionally, a term paper can be substituted for the final exam. Mid-terms are rarely given. Grades are given on a 10-point scale and converted to the U.S. grading scale.

Students must check with their professors to find out exam and other due dates. Under no circumstances will CIEE alter the date of an exam or the deadline of an assignment for a student who has made travel plans on the same day


An internship allows students the opportunity to have practical work experience in a company within a variety of industry sectors. In addition to the on-site business experience, students participating in an internship program have a weekly classroom component which provides academic support to their practical experience. (Prerequisite: five or more semesters of college-level Spanish)

Language of Instruction



Language courses are taught by experienced professors who specialize in teaching Spanish as a second language. ESCI and CIEE courses are taught by local university faculty and business professionals.