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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, in 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: the Catalan renaissance generating Gaudi’s architecture; Catalan modernists, notably Dali, Miro and Picasso; the 1929 International Exhibition; the Spanish Civil War; the Franco era (1939-75); and the transition to democracy in 1975.

Through guided visits of the Museum of Catalan 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 and its history. Day trips include a visit to the Dali Museum in Figueres, the striking monastery of Montserrat, accessed by train and cable cars, and local beaches.

The program instructors represent the disciplines of History and Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, both with an expertise in Spanish Studies. Students will be assigned both historical texts and translated Spanish literature. Course work in Barcelona includes student presentations at historical sites, daily readings, and weekly student writing assignments. For the final project, due after the program concludes, students choose their topic related to themes covered in the course and produce a traditional academic paper or a digital essay. No Spanish language training necessary but is advantageous. All instruction will be in English.

Check out the program slideshow here!

Location Description

The city of Barcelona is located in Catalonia, a region on Spain’s Northeastern coast. Its geographic location provides the best aspects of the sea including striking Mediterranean beaches on the Costa Brava and fresh seafood, with the amenities associated with a 21st-century metropolitan area, like an excellent array of museums, restaurants, and extensive public transportation network.

Barcelona’s pedestrian-friendly layout offers the chance to stroll past cafes and shops located in the various neighborhoods like the Gothic Quarter, the centrally located Eixample, or the quirky Born.

During free days, several hours by train will bring you to Madrid, Spain's capital, or to France, Spain’s neighbor to the north. In June, during the program's dates, Barcelona is normally warm and partly humid with occasional rain.


Jessica Davidson | | History

John Tkac | | Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Students will live together in fully furnished apartments located in downtown Barcelona within walking distance of a wide variety of restaurants, supermarkets, shops and the Mediterranean coast.  Each apartment will have a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom(s), WIFI, central air, and washer.

Students will receive a weekly stipend that they can use to eat out or purchase food in the markets to cook in their apartments.  In addition, at various points during the program there will be group meals taken with the professors and paid for with program funds.

Additional Items to Consider

No visas are needed for visits under three months in Spain, but students must have a valid passport. 

COVID-19 Location Information:

Each country has different requirements upon entry with regard to COVID-19. Please check this website for the most up-to-date information on what is required for the country (or countries) that are part of this program. Please note that this changes often, so we encourage you to check back frequently.

Applicant Criteria

Honors GPA minimum required

Students must be part of the JMU Honors College.

Application Process

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

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short Essay 

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

Applications Closed.

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.


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