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Barcelona- Frequently Asked Questions

Passport and Visa Information

Do I need a passport even if I’m only going for a month?

Yes.  Always bring a passport with you when traveling to a foreign country.  Remember: make lots of copies of your passport!  Leave one behind with your emergency contacts and put a copy of your passport in each piece of luggage you take with you, including your carry-on.


Do I need a Student Visa if I’m only going for a month? What about if I go for a semester?

For summer programs it is unnecessary to obtain a visa because the program duration is under 90 days in length.  If you plan on extending your stay or doing independent travel after your program ends such that your time abroad will exceed 90 days you will need to obtain a visa before you enter Spain.  All quarter, semester, and year students are required to obtain a visa from the Spanish consulate nearest you before departure.  Please be aware of when to apply for your visa by looking at our Passports and Visas information page.


Should I keep my passport with me every place I go during my time abroad?

No.  Leave your passport and other important documents in a safe place at your apartment.  However, you should carry a COPY of your passport at all times.  That way, should you misplace your wallet or purse, you will not lose your most vital information.


What should I leave behind for my parents/emergency contacts?

Leave your correct contact information, a copy of your airline tickets, a copy of your passport and visa (if applicable), and your Onsite Program Director’s contact information.

City Information


What is the typical weather in this city?

The National Weather Service provides an International Source Weather service with information on weather conditions.  Check it out at  If you want to find out more information on typical weather in Barcelona try  This site provides information on current conditions, historical statistics, seasonal weather, and much more.


What types of clothes should I bring?

The Mediterranean climate in Barcelona produces both warm and cool weather.  In summer students should bring clothing that is light and comfortable.  Cotton t-shirts, shorts/skirts, swimwear, sandals, and light pants are recommended.  For the winter season it is recommended to pack warmer clothing. Sweaters, jackets, and thick pants are important items that should not be left behind.  As a lively city, Barcelona offers a wonderful nightlife.  Although it is not always the case, remember to bring a few items that are slightly more stylish and formal for some night-time activities.


Will I have free time?

GSE offers numerous group activities, but there is also plenty of time to explore and experience all that Barcelona has to offer.


What are some things to do?

Barcelona’s upbeat and relaxed way of life is absolutely contagious.  Situated upon the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona and the region of Catalonia offer the chance to rest and meet new people on intriguing Spanish beaches.  Barcelona is also brimming with museums and impressive architecture, including many works from the renowned modernist architect Antoni Gaudí.  Theaters, concerts, and lively festivals provide daily entertainment.  Following the afternoon siesta, tapas bars open and provide the perfect place to eat and relax before the nightlife begins to stir.  The incredible amount of bars and clubs open to the lively youthful crowds at night reflects the many interests of the population in Spain’s most renowned and cosmopolitan city.


Should I bring a computer?

If you decide to bring a computer on this trip then you must assume all responsibility for the computer.  GSE is in no way responsible for the loss or damage of any personal items while participating on a GSE program.  You will also be able to access computers at the University of Barcelona, and the University Autonoma of Barcelona.

What type of transportation does the city offer?

As a major urban city, Barcelona has numerous means of transportation.  All students are provided with a metro pass good for the beginning of your program.  The metro system of Barcelona is easy to use and provides transportation to all major points in the city.  The provided pass also allows GSE students access to the city-wide bus system, the FGC commuter trains, and the Nitbus (Nightbus).  These means of transportation will ensure that GSE students can travel throughout the city at their own leisure.


University Information


Is attendance mandatory?

Attendance is mandatory.  All matters of attendance comply with the attendance policies of the University of Barcelona and the University Autonoma of Barcelona.


Will I be fluent from this program?

Your level of fluency will be determined on a case by case basis.  All language courses are designed to help facilitate language development and eventual fluency.  Yet, fluency is not an easy task, and requires students to work hard inside and outside of the classroom environment.


Do credits transfer?

The University of Barcelona and the University Autonoma of Barcelona are fully accredited universities.  Many students before you have taken the exact classes that you will be signing up for.  Those who received credit complied with the same protocol set in GSE’s “Transfer Credit” instructions.  Also, it is important to comply with the policies of the University of Barcelona, and the University Autonoma of Barcelona, which include regular attendance, participation, and completion of all required tests and assignments.


Are there university courses that are optional?

The cultural courses provided by the University of Barcelona, and the University Autonoma of Barcelona are optional.  Language courses are not.


What will books and school supplies cost?

The cost of these items will be about $50.  You will be instructed within your first days of class on how to obtain these items.



Are meals provided?

GSE does not provide daily meals; we recognize that each student prefers their own type of diet.  In order to allow students to eat when and what they want GSE does ensure that all student housing is equipped with a kitchen.


Who will I be living with?

Typically, you will live with other members of your program, but you might also have the opportunity to live with other foreigners.  Most likely you will be living in a multi-room apartment and be sharing a room with a friend (if applicable) or a GSE participant who most closely matches your Student Housing Preference questionnaire.


Will I have a single, double or triple room?

As a GSE participant you will most likely share a room with one other person.  If you are participating in the program with a friend GSE will try to accommodate the two of you together.  Remember to let GSE know that you are going with a friend so that housing assignments will be according to your liking.  If you are not going with a friend, GSE will match you up with a program participant who most closely matches your answers on the Student Housing Preference questionnaire.  Occasionally, students will have a single or triple room.




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