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Honors: Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain


Barcelona, Spain

Program Description

Though an important part of Spain, Barcelona is proud of its independent Catalan identity and language. The city has long been an intellectual and artistic hub and, by the twentieth century, the city saw an efflorescence of modern art, political consciousness, and revolutionary politics. Both the unique aspects of Barcelona and its ties to the rest of the country will be explored during the study abroad program. We will particularly focus on key moments in twentieth century Barcelona history: 1920s urbanization and dictatorship; modernist artists notably Dali, Miro, and Picasso; the Second Republic (1931-1936); the Spanish Civil War; the Franco era (1939-75); and the transition to democracy in 1975; and the post-Franco period.

Through guided visits of the Catalonian Museum of history and the Museum of the City of Barcelona and to key Gaudi sites and many other city locations, students will be exposed to the character of the metropolis, its people, and its history. Students will hear lectures by local academics and a journalist/film maker who will speak to the unique experience and identity of Catalonia. Students will also attend a live concert as a group in the breathtaking Palau de la Musica Catalana. Day trips will also be planned including to the Dali Museum in Figueres, the famous monastery of Montserrat, and local beaches. Course work includes informal lectures, readings, and student writing.

No Spanish language training necessary but is advantageous. All instruction will be in English.

Location Description

The city of Barcelona is located in Northeastern Spain in the region of Catalonia. It is a coastal location with striking Mediterranean beaches on the Costa Brava. In June, during the program's dates, Barcelona is normally warm and partly humid with occasional rain.

The city is modern in every sense. It has a renowned subway system that students will navigate with the program directors. It is also a walking friendly city with many cafes and shops, particularly in the safe and central neighborhood, the Eixample, where students will stay. Several hours by train will bring you to Madrid, Spain's capital, or to France, Spain's neighbor to the north.


Jessica Davidson | | History
John Tkac | | Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Students will stay in double, and occasionally triple, rooms in either the Hotel Paseo de Gracia centrally located on one of the major streets in the city, or Hostal Goya, close to the central Plaza de Urquinaona. The Metro is easily available with a stop directly outside of the hotel. The hotel is also in walking distance of the Plaza de Catalunya (the central square of the city) and the Ramblas, a famous pedestrian commercial zone leading to the Mediterranean port.

The hotel will provide breakfast daily and students will be given a stipend to pay for lunch and dinner. Breakfast usually includes a buffet of cereal, pastries, cheeses, fruit, and yogurt along with juice and coffee. Various meals will be taken as a group and paid for with program funds.

Additional Items to Consider

No visas are needed for visits under three months in Spain. A valid passport is required.  The academic preparation for these study abroad trips begins with mandatory regular meetings in the spring semester. In these meetings, students get to know each other and instructors prepare the groundwork for the upcoming experience through readings, films, and lectures.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must be a member of the JMU Honors Program.

First and second year students are eligible to apply. (At the time of program participation, students will be rising sophomores and rising juniors.)

All majors are welcome.

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Interview with the program director may be required
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU and first semester transfer students.

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

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Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


HON 200: Special Topics in Honors: Twentieth Century Barcelona (6 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.