Study Abroad in Barcelona
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Studying abroad in Barcelona? Lucky you! Spending a semester or two among Gaudí’s otherworldly architecture, enjoying world class nightlife and to-die-for Tapas—it’s hard to find a more perfect (and affordable) slice of paradise, tbh. The only trouble is deciding what to bring along with you.
The coastal metropolis offers plenty of options for the study abroad beach bums. Pack a bathing suit and sandals (bulky beach towels can be purchased overseas) and shop around till you find your favorite stretch of sand.
Now, Catalan culture isn’t strictly conservative, but you should not be wandering around the Ramblas in a bikini. Throw on light, knee length skirt and tank top and you’ll blend right in. Shawls or sarongs are the perfect lightweight accessory that can cover your shoulders in churches (and you will want to visit the churches). Barcelona fashion tends to focus on earthy tones, high quality fabrics and flattering fit. It’s casual, but meticulous. A far cry from the edgy street style of London or luxurious Italian brands. But don’t pack every flowy shirt you own—this is an opportunity to try that capsule wardrobe you’ve been browsing on Pinterest. Blending in with locals will also help you avoid pickpocketing and theft while you study in Barcelona. Not to sound scary, but standing around in shorts and Reeboks basically puts a target over your head. If you’re going to buy anything new for your semester abroad in Barcelona, invest in an anti-theft crossbody bag. The reinforced straps make it harder to nab, and you’ll just feel safer having your valuables close and secure.
Finally, we’ve got the nightlife. Barcelona is lit. Parties really pick up steam around 1 am, and keep on tugging til morning. To keep up with the locals, you need to dress comfortably (no stilettos) but you’ll also need to look nice. Avoid sleeveless tees and sneakers—even your Yeezy knock-offs won’t impress Barcelona bouncers. By following some basic fashion guidelines, you and your squad are sure to a have a fun night.
You’ll also need a plug adaptor to fit Spanish outlets, and a voltage convertor just in case your devices aren’t dual voltage.
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Study Abroad Barcelona Forecast
If you’re interested in study abroad, Barcelona has the best weather. The Catalan capital is #blessed, enjoying mild winters and balmy summers by the Balearic Sea.
For many students, a fall semester in Barcelona is heaven. You’ll avoid the August humidity, but still enjoy mid 70s temperatures throughout September and October. By the time November rolls around, the temperatures average around 57°F and you might experience some overcast or rainy days, but nothing to worry about. Just make sure you pack a jacket, and you’ll be all set. Even on the chilliest days, you can borrow a scarf from your over-packing peers ;)
January and February are Barcelona’s coldest months. With low temperatures dipping to 44°F, you might be a bit chilly. But don’t toss you bathing suits just yet! Barcelona will be back to that mid-70 heat by May.
Barcelona’s best weather lasts from May until the end of July. Who can protest non-stop sunshine and 86°F beach days? If you’re willing to endure August’s humidity, a summer term in Barcelona is a great choice for studying abroad in Europe.
Study Abroad Day Trips from Barcelona
So you’re studying abroad in Spain…. but you’ve landed in Catalonia. Where are the flamenco dancers, the paella and chorizo, the bullfighting? Barcelona has it’s own unique culture, but with plenty of day trips available throughout the country, you can have it all.
Spend a weekend in Madrid, which is just a 6 hour train ride away from Barcelona. Stop half way through your route to experience Zaragoza, where Francisco Goya’s murals still decorate the grand Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar. Or take a study break in Alicante, an easy to navigate city that offers castles, beaches and mountains. Bottom line: bring along an overnight bag, because there are plenty of affordable ways to explore Spain during your study abroad trip.
10 Must Pack Items for Studying Abroad in Barcelona
DSLR Camera to capture all the amazing architecture
Sarong to go from the beach to church
Sunglasses for that Catalonia sun
Plugs and adaptors to keep all your devices good-to-go
Reusable water bottle to stay hydrated