The 5 Best Things About Studying Abroad in Spain

International Business & Public Relations major Ali Kunkel ’23 studied abroad in Barcelona during the spring of 2022.

Studying abroad in Barcelona gives anyone the perfect mix of city life with the laid-back Spanish atmosphere. It felt completely different from the United States, but also completely different from other Mediterranean countries. 

During the Spring of 2022, I studied abroad in Barcelona for three months and attended Universidad Pompeu Fabra, located twenty minutes from the beach. It was truly the best experience in Europe I could have had. There are some things that are uniquely Spanish, so if you’re looking to live in Spain for three months, this post is for you.

Five girls stand in a line with their arms around one another, posing for a picture.
Taken in a famous tourist attraction, Park Guell, in Barcelona


This should be the first thing on anyone’s mind when remembering their experience in Spain. Spain focuses on simple, hearty dishes that can be grazed on and served in a social setting. I remember patatas bravas, pan con tomate, and croquettes the most (and of course the café con leche). One of the best things about the food is that it’s cheaper and better quality; you can get a latte for about two euros, which is something I did every day. 


Obviously not everywhere in Spain is a city, but Barcelona is an amazing location to study abroad. It is right on the beach – which is amazing coming from Elizabethtown, PA. There is plenty to do from shopping to sightseeing to enjoying the nightlife. 


Most study abroad programs may have more difficult classes than here in the U.S. That was true in Spain as well. Though my classes didn’t start until 2 p.m., they had strict attendance policies, and we were graded on a few projects and the final, so there wasn’t much wiggle room. Still, the professors were all super helpful and would get you through. 

A girl in a light pink top and black pants poses in front of a row of old columns, gesturing up to them with her right hand.
Taken in Pompeii during a trip to Naples


Although Spain is in Southern Europe, this contributes to its laid-back atmosphere, which I’ll talk about next. The location is good for other reasons. Flights to France or Italy cost 50 euros on average (on budget airlines), but Spain itself has many places to go. It has mountains, coastal towns, and islands. Some of the most popular places include Madrid, Sevilla, Ibiza, and the Canary Island. 


Family and life are important in Spain. People take off two hours for lunch to go home and be with their families. There is also a slower pace of life; most places aren’t open on Sunday and they don’t work super long hours like in the U.S. In general, the atmosphere of even a big city like Barcelona is laid back, and the culture values the enjoyment of the little things, which ends up being what study abroad is all about.

Overall, I loved my time in Spain, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to travel and have new experiences. Studying abroad is an amazing way to grow as a person and learn how to be independent while also making new friends. 

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