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Barcelona: International Business In Barcelona

Spring Semester Study Abroad

La Boqueria

International Business Studies - Spring Semester

  • Study a broad spectrum of business in an international context: Marketing, Management, Finance -- while interacting with international businesses every day.
  • Learn about the culture of Spain and Barcelona in the international elective courses and through your host family.
  • All 16 credits count toward the VT International Business minor.

How Does the Program Benefit You?

  • Classes have already been approved for Pamplin degree requirements. No worries about transfer of credits.
  • Learn international business in-depth while having it all around you
    • You'll only need to take one class to complete the minor when you return to Blacksburg.
  • Discover Picasso, Gaudi, and Dali; tapas, horchata, and bocadillos.
  • Travel to locations in Spain and in Europe -- all easily accessible from Barcelona.
  • A unique chance to live on the Mediterranean and learn Spanish (prior language knowledge not required but a plus).
  • Get to know a Spanish family or señora who will be your hosts. They will turn Spain into your home away from home. (full video on Barcelona -- 66 MB .wmv)

Don't just dabble in international business and culture. Live it!

NOTICE: Once you are admitted to the Program, you are required to attend all pre-departure seminars, workshops, classes, and meetings prior to departure (see the schedule) and to submit all forms and information requested by IES by the designated deadlines.

Comportment.pdf Behavioral Expectations
Housing in Barcelona.pdf
Residential Program Features.pdf

Course Topic                           Course        Location

International Marketing      IB350          IES Center

International Business         IB2007       Univ. Auton. de Barcelona

International Finance           FI2008       Univ. Auton. de Barcelona

Spanish According to ability                   IES Center

Culture Elective (choose one or two below)    IES Center



AH223  Great Twentieth Century Artists of Catalonia: Picasso, Miro, Dalí

Matthew Clear, an engaging scholar of art history, introduces these three Spanish painters, all associated with Barcelona, and puts the analysis of their art into the cultural and social context in which they painted. Students acquire the tools to analyze paintings and Catalan culture through this class. A unique opportunity!

HS-AH251 Barcelona The Cosmopolitan City

Marina Díaz provides an excellent introduction to Barcelona through the history of its urban growth. You’ll really know the city after this course.


CU351  Food as an Expression of Culture

Camila Loew, a knowledgeable and passionate instructor, engages students to better understand Spanish culture through an analysis of food patterns and eating habits, how these have developed, and how they are used to negotiate identities, power relations, etc. Yum!


HP/AN 345 - Catalan Cultural Studies

Is Catalonia a nation? What makes Catalan people different? This course will provide you with the basic intercultural skills and necessary knowledge to understand and live in the context of contemporary Catalan culture (ranging from Barça football club and the ‘92 Olympics to newspaper materials and folk dances and performances).


AH-RL350 The Iberian Peninsula: Cultures and Religions Through the Arts

Meritxell Martín, a knowledgeable and engaging teacher, tackles the influence of different religions on Spanish culture - this first course looks at the influence of Islamic art in the Iberian Peninsula.

RL-SO330  Church and State in Spain from 1492 to the Present

In this second course taught by Meritxell Martín, she looks at the relations between the Catholic Church and the State through Spanish history.


PO-SO-HS331 Understanding Contemporary Spain: Politics, Society and History Marina Díaz presents a course designed to allow students to understand what is going on around them in Spain: the politics, institutions, and recent events.


The courses have been approved by the Pamplin College for transfer back to meet graduation requirements and for the minor. Grades will not be recorded on your transcript, but you must achieve a C or better in each of the classes. Credits are transfered through the U. of Rochester.

Additional courses taught in Spanish for students with advanced Spanish language skills could also be chosen such as Sports & Spain, Music of Spain, Creative Writing. See the advisor for approval.

Note: All courses satisfy the “context” course requirements for the Global Honors Scholars program.


International Business Minor and the Barcelona Program

2020 Checksheet        
        IB-Squared Required Credits
Category Courses Courses at IES Credits earned for Minor
Culture From List From elective list of seven, eg,  3 3
         Food, Artists, The City, Spanish Politics  
Required Core        
    International Finance UAB-FI2008 3 3
    International Marketing IB350 3 3
    International Mgmt. or Tourism None (take upon return to VT) 0 3
    MGT 3314 Int. Bus. UAB IB2007 3 3
    Spanish per ability level 4 3
International Experience included 0 0
Total        16 18

When considering the true incremental cost of this study abroad, you should examine what your expenses would be if you stayed in Blackburg. For example, if you don't do this study abroad, you are going to pay VT tuition and fees anyway which amount to over $15,954 if you are an out-of-state student. Barcelona tuition would be $2,300 less than if you stay in Blacksburg ! That pays for your airfare and more!

You would have to eat meals even in Blacksburg. You would have to buy books. You would have to pay rent.

So studying abroad will cost only slightly more than if you stayed in Blacksburg for the semester! But you'll be learning and living on the Mediterranean!

The costs below are only estimates. Prices may change due to global economic conditions and changes in pricing by service providers. Cost is the same for in-state and out-of-state students.

Financial Aid is available by application to IES for merit-based scholarships.

Item  Cost (all VT students)  Comments
VT Application &Program Fee+ (Required by the Global Education Office) $200  
Tuition & Fees (based on 2018 pricing) 14,840 IES tuition (same for in-state as for out-of-state) instead of paying VT tuition.
Less Grant for VT Students -2000 Automatic application for VT students
Lodging in Homestay (est.) 2700 Priceless experience
Books 80-110  
Meals not provided 1400 2 meals/day are included with homestay
Airfare 900-1100  
Local Transportation 350 Barcelona has an excellent Metro system
Spanish Consular Student Visa, passport 400 Visa process requires 2 visits to D.C. 
Cell phone 50 Required cell phone
Credit Transfer Fee+ 375 Official transcript required for credit transfer from Spain
Other Personal Exp. (can vary widely)+ 2100-3100 Personal travel, entertainment, etc.*
Total Estimated Costs $21,395-$22,625  
Not included in the estimate - Optional field trips 50-1600 Special programs offered by IES

Figures marked with a "+" are the expenses categories that you would not incur if you stayed in Blacksburg and are the gross incremental or marginal cost of approximately $4,375 (not including for out-of-state students the cost savings or increased tuition).  Including the effect on tuition, this program saves $2300 for out-of-state student's tuition and therefore costs only $1,270 net!

Note: in addition, deposits may be required as specified in the agreements, some are non-refundable such as any VT application deposit and others are refundable such as any facility and equipment damage deposits. A damage deposit is not included in the above costs because it would be refundable at the end of the Program. IES has a confirmation deposit of $500 once you have been admitted. It goes toward tuition.)

*Personal Expenses includes many items of personal choice. The amount you spend will depend on: 

  • Your personal, independent travel
  • The amount of gifts and mementos you purchase
  • What kinds of restaurants you chose to eat in during your unscheduled time
  • Entertainment
  • How often you do laundry, use taxis, etc.
  • Mobile phone rental (required for safety) beyond the $50 listed on the cost table, airtime charges on cell phones

The documents that are the official word on the costs and deposits are the Financial Agreement, Deposit Agreement and other forms that you will sign. The summary here is not legally binding and is provided for information purposes only. Consult the Financial Agreement/Contract and other forms for details.

Virginia Tech reserves the right to make cancellations, date, cost, and deposit adjustments, and other necessary changes in the program. Prices may change due to global economic or other conditions.

 Who is eligible to participate?

This program is intended for students of all majors in the fall of their junior year. Prerequisite courses that must be completed before the program are Intro to Marketing, Intro to Management, and Intro to Finance.

Students must have a GPA of at least 2.75.

"Participating in study abroad does not allow a student any exceptions to meeting Policy 91 requirements. It is the students’ responsibility to understand Pamplin’s specific Policy 91 requirements, which may be viewed here.

Get a valid passport (from US Dept. of State). Apply for it before you start the application process.

Note: once you are accepted into the program, a student visa also is required from the Spanish consulate in DC. You have to have a passport before you can get a visa.

Process for Applying:

Please complete all the following steps BY SEPTEMBER 15th. This is a multistep application process, so be sure to start your application early.

  1. Apply directly to IES >> Complete the application at IES's web site for online application (no application fee)
  2. Please submit a statement of why you are interested in studying in Barcelona to Ellie Walters at She will be the one to authorize your application for IES.
  3. Apply through VT’s Global Education office here. Both applications through IES and VT need to be completed.
  4. IES will contact you within a 3-week time period regarding the admission decision and further actions you need to take (including pre-registration in November to get the classes you want!).
  5. Within three weeks of notification from IES of acceptance in the program, submit your $500 confirmation deposit to IES. This is critical. Don't forget to do it!
  6. Apply for student visa for Spain. You have to go to the Consulate in DC to deliver documents and again to retrieve your passport and visa. From the Consulate's web site:  Student visa applications "have to be approved by relevant authorities in Spain. Therefore the process takes between 8-10 weeks to be approved. Taking that into consideration, we advise to apply in the Consulate as soon as possible."

IES offers a service to help get the visa at an additional cost of $100 which is easier than doing it yourself. If you live outside the mid-Atlantic states, this service may be available to you. If so, they will send you the information after you have been accepted. The service is not available to those in the mid-Atlantic states.

Students in the mountains
View of the Mediterranean

IES Center Excursions

IES offers a variety of excursions to its students. One excursion is included in the base tuition. Other excursions can be purchased as separate options. Here are some potential places you might want to visit during your semester in Spain.

Costa Brava- Figueres, Girona, Cadaques

  • Dali Museum - the largest surrealist object in the world -- a riot of visual treatsGirona's large medieval cathedral - Old Jewish Quarter - beautiful quaint town, Roman walls surrounding the old city
  • Cadaques --Mediterranean fishing village with quiet beaches, next to Dali's home, artistic community 
  • Empuries -- Roman & Greek settlements
  • Costa Brava Video



Youtube video

Montserrat -- day trip

  • Montserrat Video  
  • Monastery (business supports the monks)
  • Museum of Art preserving Catalan heritage
  • Black Madonna in stunning Basilica
  • Hermitages along the cliffs and rock formations
  • Hiking along the top of a ridge

Other Locations (day trips possible)

  • Sitges - coastal resort
  • Calella/Blanes - coastal vacation resorts
  • Alt Penedes - wine producing region
  • Tarragona - Roman ruins, beach, port city

Museums in Barcelona


Each student must have a valid passport from their home country. You can apply for a passport at the Blacksburg Post Office. You should insure that you have the proper vaccinations for this program. This can be done through a county health department or your family physician. Your familiy physician usually does not have the more specialized vaccines and should refer you to the county health department. You can see a list of recommended vaccinations and other health information at the CDC travel website.

These sites have additional information:

You will be living in a bedroom for a semester. Do not try to take your entire wardrobe with you. A small suitcase or medium-size backpack is ideal for weekend trips. The airlines limit the weight of your luggage so pack light. The suggested packing list will help you choose what to take.

Electric Applicances

Spain and the rest of Europe uses 220 volt, 50 HZ electricity. Your standard USA hair dryers, curling irons, shavers and battery chargers will not work in Europe. You should check that your computer and any electronics that you take will work on 220 V/50Hz current.

You can take ONE (1) 22" rolling suitcase, or backpack and a small book backpack. You will not be allowed to take a larger suitcase. Almost every study abroad student brings back a lot of souvenirs so a collapsible bag to bring back your treasures is a good idea. Shipping items from overseas can be expensive and a hassle.

You will be expected to carry your own luggage. Therefore, it is important that you choose lightweight, yet sturdy luggage.  Bags with wheels are good for carting around luggage. An inexpensive folding luggage cart is also handy if you don't want to invest in rolling luggage or don't want to carry a large backpack all the time.

You can take ONE (1) 22" rolling suitcase, or backpack and a small book backpack. You will not be allowed to take a larger suitcase. Almost every study abroad student brings back a lot of souvenirs so a collapsible bag to bring back your treasures is a good idea. Shipping items from overseas can be expensive and a hassle.

You will be expected to carry your own luggage. Therefore, it is important that you choose lightweight, yet sturdy luggage.  Bags with wheels are good for carting around luggage. An inexpensive folding luggage cart is also handy if you don't want to invest in rolling luggage or don't want to carry a large backpack all the time.

Barcelona Spring bookmark.pdf

Students have a blast in Barcelona. There is time to explore and have fun. Being overseas for a month is a treat by itself, and Barcelona has a lot to offer. Traveling to France or other parts of Spain offers even more excitement. Over 85% of the one year's participants felt that overall the Program was "Better than I expected." Here are a few student comments about the overall experience:

"All the visits were fantastic, and I had an amazing trip."

"I really enjoyed this program and would do it again immediately. Thank you."

"The staff was very helpful. The IES center is in a great location to pursue
everything in the city. Our guest lectures and tour guides were amazingly
knowledgable. "

"The field trips were the best part of the study abroad experience. They
were activities that I would have not done on my own if it wasn´t scheduled."

"The teachers at IES ... were all amazing, so nice, and very helpful."

"we had great teachers both from IES and that came with us through VT. We also had so many resources at our hands that were very helpful throughout the trip."

"the staff was all very friendly and accommodating. I also really enjoyed living with a host family."

Here are some thoughtful comments about the long lasting implications of going on the Barcelona study abroad from students who have the perspective of being several years beyond graduation:

"... it is really difficult to find opportunities like this to live and study overseas in such a culturally integrated and useful way. ... living with a host family ... is often the best way to learn how to live and communicate cross-culturally."

"Simply put, in addition to the classroom studies, living overseas always gives you a unique chance to develop cross-cultural communication skills as well as ability to adapt and flex--very transferrable to any business setting. While I know the myriad reasons to be more short-term and practical about using the summer as a resume, I want to encourage you, as someone looking back, to never sacrifice the long-term benefits and the experiences that will impact you 5 or 20 years down the line."

"Dr. Shome and Dr. Morgan are great professors to work with and get to know. They always put a lot of hard work into designing a program that will add the most value to your experience both inside and outside of the classroom. "

Lace (Cosgrove) Fang

"... by doing the classwork overseas, I received a different perspective due to the influence of being in a different culture, meeting new people, and visiting locations on-site that if I took the class at VT. In addition, by being in a different country, I could see the actual application of international business (for example, how a lot of the American companies have spread over the world in Barcelona). A first-hand experience on business and culture (and anything for that matter) has a lot more impact than learning it through a book."

Vicky Nguyen

"... an experience that taught me a lot academically, culturally, and socially"

Kevan Moniri