Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

What makes this program special?

This demanding academic program makes the most of its location by immersing students in the life of Barcelona and of the region. Classroom sessions are combined with field trips to historic and architectural sites, museums, a variety of city neighborhoods, the port, etc. The group also makes instructor-led excursions outside of the city, focusing on Tarragona, the site of major Roman remains, and Figueres, home to the artist Salvador Dalí.

What is the program curriculum?

All students take the same curriculum, in four subject areas:

  • Barcelona in Historical Context: Roman Origins to the Spanish Civil War
  • Barcelona—The Community: Catalonia, Spain, and the European Union
  • The City: 20th-Century Architecture, Urban Development, Art, and Design in Barcelona
  • Spanish Language Workshop

For recommendation letter #1, may I submit a letter from a teacher who knows me well instead of from my principal, headmaster, or guidance counselor?

Substitutions are not accepted for letter #1. Most principals, headmasters, and guidance counselors check with the student’s teachers before writing recommendations. The perspective of a school administrator is valuable in making admissions decisions.

Are classes held in English?

Yes.

How much Spanish will I be required to know?

None. In the Spanish Language Workshop students are grouped by language ability ranging from no previous knowledge of Spanish to native command of the language.

Where is the residence located?

It is located in Sarrià-Sant Gervasi, a beautiful, upscale area of Barcelona. Many small restaurants, interesting shops, and other amenities are within short walking distance of the dormitory, and all major tourist attractions are within a 15-minute bus ride.

How much supervision is provided?

Resident advisers who have training and experience working with Columbia's Programs for High School Students are housed on the same floor as the students at the residence. The Site Director and Site Coordinator also live at the residence during the program.

The resident advisers provide supervision evenings and weekends. They also arrange for group activities during the day when class is not in session.

What kind of security is there at the residence?

The reception desk, staffed 24 hours a day, controls access to the residence. Additional security guards are at the entrance at night.

Do I need to bring a cell phone?

Experience proves that it can be a great convenience to bring one.

What should I wear?

It is warm in July in Barcelona and students should bring summer clothes.

May I be away from the dormitory overnight?

Students are not allowed to be away from the dormitory overnight, and curfews are strictly enforced.

Does the residence provide linens?

The residence provides sheets. The program provides one towel per student and participants may want to bring an extra towel or purchase one in Barcelona, particulary for trips to the beach.

What about laundry?

There are card-operated washing machines and dryers at the residence. Cards can be purchased at the reception desk.

Are the rooms cleaned?

Rooms are generally cleaned twice a week.

Are there hotels near to the residence hall where family members can stay if they are visiting?

The residence hall is in the heart of Barcelona and there are many nearby hotels.

Do I need to have health insurance coverage?

Students are required to have their own medical and mental health insurance or Medicaid coverage to participate in the program. The program also provides limited  emergency medical insurance.

What are the living arrangements like?

Students will all be housed in close proximity to one another within the same University of Barcelona residence hall. All rooms have air conditioning, a private bathroom, a small refrigerator, and an Internet connection. Rooms have phones to receive outside calls and to call reception.

Do I need to bring my computer?

Yes, you are required to bring a laptop or equivalent device. Computing facilities are available at the University of Barcelona campus on class days. At the residence hall, public computer access is limited, though students' rooms have Internet connection.

How much spending money should I bring?

Although the program covers all meals, transportation, and scheduled course activities, we suggest that students have access to a minimum of $900.00 during the program, though spending can vary greatly depending on the student. The easiest way to access money is by bringing an ATM card, since this avoids having to exchange traveler's checks or cash.