Sunshine and sea shores, nightlife and good vibes, history and Gaudi, Tapas and Barca; life doesn’t get better than this. Welcome to Barcelona, the capital city of the Catalonian region. Tourists flock to this city that boasts of hosting 8 World Heritage Sites. With it being home to the largest metropolis along the Mediterranean Sea Coast and home to the sixth most populated city in the EU, you sure will find yourself in the midst of people from all walks of life.
Before you head there, however, make sure you do some homework to revise the differences between things being ‘Spanish’ and being ‘Catalan’. You may not want to ruin your first impression by terming something Spanish, when it’s purely Catalan or vice versa.
Other than that, as an international student, don’t worry about student accommodation in Barcelona. Plenty of options are available for students when it comes to student housing in Barcelona.
STUDY IN BARCELONA
For students who focus on Destination Spain, more often than not they are caught up in a fix between a more Spanish Madrid and a more Catalan Barcelona. The choice between the two can be a hard one to choose, but if one has his or her priorities set right, the pick is easier. Barcelona, comes with a comparatively easy and laid back attitude that can create an atmosphere of relaxation in the midst of an economic and financial hub. Madrid on the other hand has a more competitive outlook toward life.
If Barcelona happens to be that choice, you’re in no dearth of renowned Universities to choose from. For a matter of fact, the University of Barcelona, which was ranked number 1 in Spain for a couple of years belongs to the city. The Polytechnic University of Catalonia is another University that has agreements with 130 other institutions for exchange programs. Both these Universities rank in the top 210 of OS World Rankings 2016-17.
Although these universities may have student accommodation in Barcelona, it is also always advisable to search for other Barcelona based student rooms. In this way, you get to meet a wider range of people, local and international alike and would also have much more freedom.
STUDENT LIFE IN BARCELONA
Apart from the sunny beach afternoons and disco light lit blurry nights, there’s a lot more Barcelona offers students. For starters, the very environment in the student houses in Barcelona is amazing. Apart from that, a walk around the city can leave you feeling enriched in the city’s rich Catalan culture and history. Soak in some gothic architecture whilst you relish on some Tapas, visit the museums (some of the top ones are even free for the public!), get lost in the castles, take weekend trips to nearby cities to experience the Spanish side of Spain and of course learn the lingo. The Catalans are extremely proud of their culture, history and language and the more you take the effort to learn it and embrace it, the more you would be welcomed into the warm embrace of Barcelona.
Barcelona, being one of the top destinations for study abroad destinations, is home to international students from all around the world. Finding fellow international students would not be challenge if you go to the right places and make the right contacts. Joining the Erasmus Network and the like could further the chances of meeting people and discovering the region with people.
Also, finding the right student accommodation in Barcelona is a deal breaker when it comes to meeting people. Take your time and try to match all your needs with the most suitable student housing in Barcelona. This could impact your experience in the city.
COST OF LIVING IN BARCELONA
Barcelona, is considered to be a fair bit of a breather as compared to Madrid when it comes to living on a student budget. This is especially so with rent. Student housing in Madrid is believed to be more difficult to spot and a little steep on the pocket as compared to Barcelona based student rooms.
Refer to the links below to get a better idea on your monthly, weekly and daily expenditure in Barcelona:
Given the party and beach culture in Barcelona, it is very easy to give into it without considering your budget. Make sure you don’t end up with a null pocket with two more weeks left for the month to end and account to be filled again. It is important, therefore, to not only keep aside a reasonable amount for leisure expenditure but also make sure you stick to it.
Choosing the right student housing in Barcelona can make a huge difference. The prices vary greatly between various Barcelona housing options and picking the right area that is easily accessible not only to school but also leisure activities can create an impact on your overall budget.
STAYING IN BARCELONA
Like we mentioned in our blog, Compare to the other major global cosmopolitan cities like London, Paris and New York, this Spanish city is rather welcoming to its expat community. Not only are there various options for student housing in Barcelona but they are also priced across a wide range and you can pick what suits your budget the best.
If you’d like to read a complete overview of Barcelona’s neighbourhoods and what the status of student housing in Barcelona are, please refer to our blog on the same. To summarize the article in a nutshell, here are the most popular areas:
- Gotic, Born, Raval : Historical districts of Barcelona’s City Center
- Eixample and Gracia: Bustling shopping districts
- Barceloneta, Vila Olympica, Poblenou: Seafront districts
- Sants & Poble Sec: Affordable districts away from the touristic places
- Sarria-Sant Gervasi, Pedrabeles-Les Cort: Residential districts of Barcelona
When it comes to student rooms in Barcelona, students normally opt for one of the following options:
These apartments normally work as temporary student housing in Barcelona for international expats and students who wish to search for accommodation after they reach the city. These apartments, also known as extended-stay hotels, comes equipped with everything necessary for a person living temporarily and hence can be a good stop over student housing in Barcelona.
If you are an International student on exchange and if you’re looking out to immerse yourself in the Spanish student culture, then dorms are probably your best bet. Most schools in the country offer various options of student housing in Barcelona, primarily, in or around the campus areas. It’s the easiest way to find a group of people you could make friends and hang out with.
Apart from the dorms that universities and schools host, many builders and landlords rent out their houses to specially students. In essence, it stills contains the elements of the dorms in terms of the student culture but the real advantage is that you could choose an area of your choice if you’d like a particular neighbourhood.
TRAVELLING IN AND AROUND BARCELONA
For starters, make sure the locality you have chosen for your student housing in Barcelona is connected to different parts of the city. As we always say, there’s nothing better than travelling by foot whenever possible. It’s not only the most convenient way of getting from A to B, but also the most culturally enriching way. In any case if you’d like to use the public transport, here are your options:
The Metro in Barcelona is operated by two different operators: Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona connects the city via 8 metro lines whereas Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya does so with 3. Hoping on either one of these, you could reach 169 stations in every nook and corner of the city. Please download this network map to assist your travels. You can either pick up a single ticket or choose from one of the many scheme tickets.
The tram system in the city is a fairly new one that started operations only in 2004. The 6 tram lines covers approximately 30 kilometers.
Over 1000 buses play around the city, making it well networked. TMB is the primary operator here and the night buses are facilitated by Baixbus and Tusgsal. The network is integrated with the Metro and Train system and hence the integrated card system helps you use your card in any transport.
If walking isn’t your cup of coffee, Barcelona is a great city to bike through. WIth integrated cycle paths around the city, it is pure joy to pass by the architectural marvel by biking.
SAFETY IN BARCELONA
Barcelona, as you know, is extremely touristic. And like most touristic places, it is infamous for being a hotspot for pickpockets. A few tips to keep in mind while staying in the city are:
- If you are consulting a map, make sure you do so in a cafe or a restaurant. Spreading a map open in the middle of the road is the most touristic thing to do and this attracts the attention of the pickpockets.
- Dressing up modestly, without showcasing jewellery and other expensive articles could make you less of a target.
- Always keep your wallets in your front pocket and your handbags slung sidewise in front of you. This is especially so if you’re travelling in the public transport.
- Carry only the necessary amount of cash and keep the rest either in the bank or in your safety lock at home.
- Fake policemen are becoming a more common occurrence these days. Be sure of the people randomly stopping you to ‘check’ for your passport.
- Another group of people to keep away from are the ‘old men’ with sticks. They appear to trip over your bag placed on the ground only to run away with it before it comes to your attention. Always keep your bag tightly between your feet or on your lap.
VISA PROCEDURE IN BARCELONA
For students who hail from countries outside of the EU, EEA or Switzerland, in order to stay and pursue a course in Spain that lasts over 90 days, it is required to register and obtain a Student Residence Authorisation. This not only enables you to live and study in Spain but also travel within the EU. This Authorisation, however, doesn’t apply to students holding an American passport. Please verify with your country’s embassy if you would require this authorisation or not.
The general documents required in order to apply the visa are as follows:
- 2 Schengen Application forms
- A passport that shows validity till the end of your intended stay in Spain
- 2 passport size photographs
- Acceptance letter from the University you have been admitted to in Spain
- Health Insurance for your stay in Spain
- Proof of financial stability during your stay period.
However, the above mentioned documents are just the general documents required. Based on your country of origin, these documents may vary. Please verify with your respective consulates.