BARCELONA

Pre-College

Barcelona

Join us in Barcelona for an insider’s experience of Spain on this Pre-College summer program for high school students. Broaden your horizons with in-depth, field-based seminars as you become part of an inspiring and supportive community of instructors and students from around the world. Choose two seminars and dive into your subject matter through engaging discussions and hands-on projects that immerse you in Catalán life.

The majority of our Pre-College programs are postponed until next summer. Be the first to know when we announce 2021 dates and new programs: Sign up for our newsletter!

Looking for a program this summer? View our Pre-College Vermont program!

Dates: June 27, 2020  –  July 17, 2020

Eligibility: Completing grades 9 – 12

Duration: 21 days

Tuition: $6,890

Highlights

  • Photograph the colors of Barcelona’s Boquería market 
  • Interview locals on a Spanish scavenger hunt 
  • Check out the unique Catalán Modernista architecture 
  • Step on the pitch at F.C. Barcelona’s Camp Nou Stadium

Itinerary


Departure • Travel Day • Meet your fellow high school student travelers and a Pre-College representative at the Airport in New York, and fly together to Barcelona, Spain. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Our Barcelona Campus • Live among the bright lights and cosmopolitan bustle of Europe’s largest city on the Mediterranean. Barcelona is a gem, known for its unique blend of pragmatism, flair, and civic-mindedness. Located in the hip Raval neighborhood in Barcelona’s historical center, our residential dormitory is the perfect jumping-off point for discovering this fascinating and ever-evolving city. Students and staff reside in air-conditioned singles, doubles, and triples with en suite bathrooms and access to common meeting rooms.

Seminars • Choose two seminars—a major and a minor—and explore Barcelona and the surrounding Catalán countryside through the lens of your chosen subjects. Begin with classroom discussions that frame your seminar concepts and identify key issues. Take the learning beyond the classroom with site visits, meetings with local experts, and field trips. Barcelona’s rich historical, architectural, and cultural background makes it the perfect setting for our field-based seminars. Our dynamic seminars are designed to encourage hands-on, place-based, collaborative learning. 

Photograph vibrant street performers, interview young Spaniards about the Catalán music scene, or meet with innovative entrepreneurs to discuss their latest business ventures. Explore Gaudí’s modernist masterpieces, including the Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell, and wander the cobblestone streets of the Gothic Quarter with your Art & Architecture seminar. Visit the Picasso Museum and the Museum of Modern Art to draw inspiration for your own drawing and sketching projects. Explore the Olympic Stadium in Montjuic, site of the 1992 Olympics, with your Sports Management seminar. 

At the end of your program, showcase your work in a final project, installation, gallery, or performance. Display your photography or paintings in a pop-up gallery, present your findings from your International Business seminar, or prepare a feast to share with your group.

Afternoon & Evening Activities • Explore subjects outside of your seminars, relax, and have fun participating in enriching afternoon activities. Try your hand at chocolate-making at the Museu de la Xocolata. Bike through the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella, or take in a film at an open-air cinema. Enjoy the panoramic views from the balcony at Parc Güell, and head to the beach to relax, swim, or kayak. Find a hidden café for a tertulia, or Spanish conversation hour. The entire group gathers for a community meeting each night before dinner. After dinner, venture out again in the company of your instructors to experience Barcelona by night. Attend live music shows or a theatre performance, or stay in for a movie night or talent show at the residence.

Weekend Excursions • On weekend excursions, escape the city and explore the stunning Catalán countryside. Travel to Castellar de n’Hug, a scenic mountain town nestled in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenées, for a weekend of hiking and exploring the quiet cobblestone streets. Spend a day relaxing on the turquoise beaches of medieval Tossa del Mar and experience the wild and surreal works of Salvador Dalí in his hometown of Figueres. Weekend excursions offer the opportunity to see a different region of Spain with your peers and instructors.

Return • Travel Day • Fly from Barcelona to New York with your group and a Pre-College representative, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

We loved that work on the major and minor seminars was incorporated into field trips and exploration. I also loved that they ate all of their meals out— it added to the travel experience and made Barcelona feel like home. She gained confidence, an even greater sense of adventure, and fell in love with Barcelona and her wonderful tripmates. 

— Karen & Robert Lager, Chevy Chase, MD 

A Day in the Life: Barcelona

Due to the traveling nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in Barcelona.

9 AM • Enjoy breakfast on campus with your group
10 AM • Meet with your major seminar in the classroom to identify topics for the day
11 AM •Take these concepts into the field—on a museum visit, for example, or a meeting with an entrepreneur
2 PM • Break for lunch on the town with friends and your instructor
4 PM • Join a pick-up soccer game at Playa Barceloneta, followed by a dip in the Mediterranean
7 PM • Convene for Community Meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule
8 PM • Head out to enjoy tapas with a small group and instructor
10 PM • Attend a Spanish guitar concert or flamenco show with your group

Seminars


Choose a major and a minor seminar and get an in-depth understanding of Barcelona and the surrounding area. Majors meet most days and minors meet twice a week. Capped at ten students, seminars are serious but fun, encouraging immersive, place-based learning. Frame your seminar concepts and identify key issues in the classroom. Take the learning beyond the classroom with site visits in and around Barcelona that add context and depth to the course material. Cap off your studies with a final project or installation to share your work.

MAJOR SEMINARS (click on seminar to read the full description)

 

Art & Architecture: Medieval to the Surreal
From stark Romanesque churches that were the initial staging ground of the Medieval re-conquest of Spain, to soaring Gothic and later surrealist cathedrals, Barcelona provides a remarkable thousand-year record of the development of European history, art, and architecture. At the beginning of the 20th century, artists frequented a Barcelona café called Els Quatre Gats. Among this crowd were men that would become some of the country’s most influential modern artists: Julio González, Isaac Albéniz, and Pablo Picasso. Barcelona and the surrounding province of Catalonia provided a home and open-air studio for two of the century’s greatest experimental artists: surrealist visual artist Salvador Dalí and the wildly imaginative architect Antoni Gaudí. In this dynamic course, extensive field visits give you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the iconic sights and hidden corners of this artistic and architectural wonderland, and to develop an appreciation for Barcelona’s unique position in world art and architectural history.
Cuisine & Culture
From manchego cheese to the iconic jamón serrano (hocks of cured ham) that hangs in nearly every bodega and taberna, Spain is a country rich in culinary heritage. The worldwide proliferation of tapas-style restaurants and recent phenomenon of molecular gastronomy, championed by Ferran Adrià in his acclaimed restaurant El Bulli have brought Spanish cooking into the international limelight. This course explores the food culture of the Iberian Peninsula and regional Catalán variations, discussing how materials, preparation, presentation, and the fusion of traditional and modern styles reflect cultural values. Visit markets and restaurants, discuss food with chefs, farmers, and restaurant-goers, and discover new tastes as you expand your palate and deepen your knowledge of Iberian tastes. Though there may be cooking classes offered, this course is primarily an exploration of Spanish cuisine and food culture. This seminar is taught in English; there is a $250 supplemental fee for this course.
Fashion & Culture
Boasting brands such as Zara, Pull & Bear, Delpozo, and Bimba y Lola, Spain’s fashion industry is a powerhouse on the world fashion scene. In this seminar, explore Spanish fashion’s historical roots, and the social and cultural factors that helped it take shape. Examine fashion’s role in constructing Spanish identity as you visit key sites in and around Barcelona to learn about the growth of the textile industry and the city’s role in fast fashion. Discuss how trends are born and how, through media and association, they propagate differently in cultures around the world. Then, draw inspiration from Barcelona’s energy to create your own clothing design concepts. Readings and discussions about current issues—such as sustainability or representations of masculinity and femininity—complement visits to design studios and fashion events. For a final project, produce and present your own design portfolios, research a subject of your choice, or co-curate a group fashion show.
International Business
What makes a business succeed in today’s market and what are the steps taken between identifying a need and opening your (real or virtual) doors? This hands-on course begins by explaining the economic playing field where firms operate, with discussions of supply and demand, regulations and free trade, international trade, and currency flows. Examine Europe’s role and the implications on business practices of Catalonia’s independence movement. Through role-playing, discussions, field trips, and lectures, consider the practical aspects of business, including management, finance, marketing, advertising, public relations, organizational psychology, corporate leadership and culture, and business ethics. Working together as a team, put what you have learned into practice as you research, develop, and pitch your own small business.
Photography & Media
Designed for photographers of all skill levels, this course teaches the basics of photography and composition before diving into more advanced shooting techniques and editing instruction. Whether your passion is portrait, landscape, adventure, or abstract photography, build your confidence and nurture your creativity through one-on-one workshops with your instructor and group critiques. Review other photographers’ work, and develop the visual and technical skills to capture the essence of Barcelona and the people and places you encounter. Discuss and explore the implications of digital manipulation in an age dominated by the power of the image, collaborate on projects with other seminars, and curate a gallery showing of your newly created portfolio. Students are responsible for bringing their own digital camera, which should have the option of being operated in manual mode. There is a supplemental fee of $200 for this course.
Spanish Language: Out of the Classroom
Designed for students with at least two years of classroom Spanish, or the equivalent, this language immersion course focuses on group and individual fieldwork complemented by extensive, seminar-style discussions on Spanish culture, literature, history, and the contemporary art and music scene. Classroom instruction is kept to a minimum so that you can practice your Spanish throughout the city at local markets, museums, and restaurants. Interview Fútbol Club Barcelona fans to learn about the city’s long history of soccer excellence, bike the streets of the Gothic Quarter on a guided ride to hidden plazas and architectural gems, or learn the steps of the regional dance, La Sardana. With Barcelona and the surrounding countryside as your classroom, you will improve your comprehension and gain confidence speaking Spanish. Students are required to speak Spanish in class, and choose and research an independent study topic in Spanish life or culture to be presented during the last days of the program.

MINOR SEMINARS (click on seminar to read the full description)

 

Drawing and Sketching
As travelers through the ages have discovered, sketching is a way to permanently etch in one’s mind the memory of a place. This field-heavy course takes students into the historic neighborhoods of Barcelona and the surrounding countryside, pencil, charcoal, or watercolor in hand, to record their experiences through a series of sketches. Explore the iconic sights and hidden corners of this inspiring city as you develop and refine your artistic vision, working on portraiture and landscape rendering alike. Taught by a practicing artist, this course is meant for students wishing to hone their artistic skills as well as those who simply want to add depth to their experience in Barcelona. Complement opportunities for drawing and sketching with visits to area museums and cultural sites, including the Picasso Museum, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, and Parc Güell. Prepare a personal portfolio and present your work at a program-wide gallery opening at the end of the session.
Entrepreneurship & the Start-Up
The entrepreneur—bold pioneer of business, changing the world and turning a profit along the way—has long captured our collective imagination. In recent years, larger than life characters like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk dominate headlines and raise questions about leadership, charisma, and risk-taking. Meanwhile, Barcelona has emerged as a major hub of innovation. Learn about the conditions that create fertile ground for entrepreneurialism to thrive, from 19th century industrialists to modern Europe, and glean insights from the individuals who thrive in these environments. Survey the startup scene in Barcelona, including machine learning software, on-demand delivery companies, and B2B platforms. Debate whether entrepreneurs are born or made, and apply the entrepreneurial business model to politics, social change, and cultural movements. Examine the personality profiles, strategies, successes, and failures of famous entrepreneurs as you develop and present your own “formula for entrepreneurial success.”
Photography
Designed for photographers of all skill levels, this course explores the use of photography as a storytelling tool for capturing the travel experience. Learn the basics of light, composition, and perspective or delve deeper into shooting techniques. Through review of other photographers’ work, dynamic assignments, and helpful critiques, expand your understanding of photography while developing the visual and technical skills for documenting your experience. Whether your passion is portrait, landscape, adventure, or abstract photography, build your confidence and nurture your creativity through one-on-one lessons with your instructor. Master classes by guest artists, visits to exhibitions, and structured projects help you create a portfolio for display at the end of the program. Students are responsible for bringing their own digital camera, which should have the option of being operated in manual mode. There is a $125 supplemental fee for this course.
Spanish Language Cuisine & Culture
From manchego cheese to the iconic jamón serrano (hocks of cured ham) that hangs in nearly every bodega and taberna, Spain is a country rich in culinary heritage. The worldwide proliferation of tapas-style restaurants and recent phenomenon of molecular gastronomy, championed by Ferran Adrià in his acclaimed restaurant El Bulli have brought Spanish cooking into the international limelight. This course explores the food culture of the Iberian peninsula and regional Catalán variations, discussing how materials, preparation, presentation, and the fusion of traditional and modern styles reflect cultural values. Visit markets and restaurants, discuss food with chefs, farmers, and restaurant-goers, and discover new tastes as you expand your palate and deepen your knowledge of Iberian tastes. Though there may be cooking classes offered, this course is primarily an exploration of Spanish cuisine and food culture. This course is taught in Spanish; there is a $150 supplemental fee for this course.
Sports Management
The ever-growing sports industry provides opportunities in a number of fields, including team and athlete management, sports marketing and sponsorship, journalism, and media. In this course, examine different cultural models and successful management strategies for sports organizations, with particular emphasis on FIFA and the Spanish sporting scene. Step onto the largest stadium in Europe, Barcelona’s Camp Nou, and meet with coaches and managers to learn what goes into making a successful sporting franchise. Visit the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, site of the 1992 Olympics, and investigate whether the promise of business opportunities as a result of hosting the Olympic Games materialized. Examine the psychological effects of fandom and interview fans to gain insight into what draws people to attend matches, buy concessions, and support local teams. Explore effective marketing and communication methods, including the role of social media. Learn how effective sports managers solve business problems, and gain the skill set to understand future career options in this exciting field.
Survival Spanish
For students with little or no background in Spanish language, this course allows participants to function at a basic “survival” level in Spanish. A series of fun, dynamic language games and field exercises on such topics as food, greetings, getting around, and local culture and etiquette improve your ability to engage with locals while enhancing your experience in Barcelona. With a limited class size, instructors identify students’ underdeveloped areas in their Spanish knowledge and customize activities to address these gaps. Classroom instruction is kept to a minimum so that you can practice your Spanish throughout the city at local markets, museums, and restaurants.

What to Expect


Seminars • Pre-College seminars are interactive and collaborative, taking advantage of the vast cultural and historical richness of Barcelona to enhance your experience. You can expect to meet with local and regional experts, artists, entrepreneurs, and guest speakers during the program. Each seminar works toward a final project—a short film, a business proposal, a performance piece, a gallery opening, or a dramatic reading, to give a few examples—which you present to fellow participants on the final night of the program. 

Afternoons & Evenings • Outside of seminars, each day on your Pre-College program brings new adventures and a variety of activities from which to choose. Play pick-up soccer, see a flamenco show, head to a museum, relax on the beaches of the Mediterranean, and more.

Physical Activity • This is a physically active summer program. You can expect to spend most of each day outside and on the move with your seminar group, and to walk, swim, or play pick-up soccer or basketball. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.

Accommodations • Our residence is located in the popular Raval district of the Gothic Quarters and a short walk from the beach. Accommodations here are dormitory-style, with air-conditioned single, double, and triple rooms, and ensuite bathrooms. We have access to common space and classrooms for community meetings and seminars. Leaders reside on the same hall with the students throughout the program.

Meals • We begin each day together with a traditional Spanish breakfast at our residence. For lunches, seminar groups may eat together or we break into small groups of three or more students to eat at a restaurant of their choice. Please note that lunches are not included in the tuition. We eat dinners at restaurants in small groups of staff and students to discover Barcelona’s culinary scene.

Audrey had an incredible experience. She will remember this summer for the rest of her life—and likely stay in touch with many of the friends she made on the program. She enjoyed the chance to speak Spanish with locals and loved feeling like she lived there, even if just for a few weeks.

— Jennifer Kriz & Bob Mullen, San Francisco, CA