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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, it saw an explosion 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. Course work covers key moments in twentieth-century Barcelona history beginning in the 1920s with dictatorship, the democratic renaissance of the 1930s,  the Spanish Civil War and subsequent Franco Regime lasting until 1975.  Students will also learn about cultural hallmarks like the Catalan modernist movement featuring Gaudi's architecture and the interplay between the tumultuous twentieth century and the artwork of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.   While in Barcelona, we will explore contemporary issues like nationalism and the Catalan independence movement, tourism, and the intersection of sport and society.  Our discussion will also consider the role of gender and historical memory in the urban consciousness of Barcelona.

Through guided visits of some of the most significant museums and landmarks like the Sagrada Familia, the City History Museum of Barcelona, the National Art Museum of Catalonia, a bomb shelter from the Spanish Civil War, key Gaudi sites and many other locations, students will be immersed in the history of this unique metropolis. Day trips include a visit to the Dali Museum in Figueres, the striking monastery of Montserrat, and to the Medieval town of Girona.

The program instructors represent the disciplines of History and Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, both with an expertise in Spanish Studies. Upon arrival in Barcelona, most of the learning will be experiential as we actively explore sites of interest with a tour guide.  Students will also present research they have completed at these historical sites.  During the three weeks abroad, students will read related assigned texts, and complete bi-weekly writing assignments. For the final project, due after the program concludes, students choose their topic related to 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. 

No foreign language training is needed. Knowledge of Spanish is helpful but not necessary.

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

Students must be in good standing with the Honors College.

First Years, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors

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. 


Space Available. Apply Now for Priority!

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


HON 331: Seminar in Global Studies (3 credits)

HON 332: Seminar in Global Studies (3 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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