About Barcelona

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About Barcelona

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is Spain’s second largest city and has a metro area population of nearly five million.  The city, located directly on the northeastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, has a rich history dating back at least 2,000 years when it gained prominence as a Roman town under its old name, Barcino.  It is a Mediterranean and cosmopolitan city with Roman ruins, medieval quarters, and avant-garde architecture.  Many of these emblematic constructions have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

It is one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world. It has a huge number of attractions including a city center which retains its medieval street plan; one of the world's most famous streets Las Ramblas; some stunning modernist architecture including several buildings by Gaudí, Spain's most famous architect; dozens of museums including one dedicated to Picasso, another to Miró and yet another to Barcelona's world famous football (soccer) club. Barcelona is almost as lively at night as it is during the day and it has a unique, exciting atmosphere, which provides students with a truly unforgettable experience.

Its long history and economic dynamism have made Barcelona a cultural city.  There is a great tradition of historic-artistic heritage, and it is always in the vanguard of innovative artistic trends.  There are two major arts festivals during the year, one in the summer, the Grec, and one in the autumn, La Mercé, and there are concerts and shows of different kinds happening all the time.  Tradition and modernity are also responsible for shaping Barcelona’s imaginative cuisine, based on fresh produce, fish, sausages and olive oil.  The city enjoys an almost perfect climate, making it an ideal place to be at any time of the year. It even has its own 4 kilometers of sandy beaches, which are less than 15 minutes away from the school.

In 1992, Barcelona gained international recognition by hosting the Olympic Games which brought a massive upturn in its tourism industry. This had the effect of changing the city in ways that are still felt today, as there is an intense focus of modern design permeating all aspects of life in Barcelona from public buildings to something as simple as a park bench or an event poster. For visitors, this has translated into the very modern, yet incredibly old city you see now in the 21st century, where the new elements work to both preserve and celebrate the ancient.

This beautiful city is full of what European cities are known for (outdoor markets, restaurants, shops, museums and churches) and is fantastic for walking with an extensive and reliable Metro system for more far-flung destinations. The core center of town, focused around the Old City provides days of enjoyment for those looking to experience the life of Barcelona, while the beaches provide sun and relaxation during the long periods of agreeably warm weather.

The question often arises about the influence of the Catalán language.  Barcelona's official languages are Catalán and Spanish, and many signs are indicated only in Catalán because it is established by law as the official language.  Catalán is a language, not a dialect of Spanish, and it sounds closer to Italian, Portuguese or French in many ways.  Spanish is widely used, however, and most locals are bilingual in both languages, with more Catalonians using Spanish as their first language.  What is taught at the school is a standard Spanish which will take you anywhere in the Spanish speaking world, and it has never posed a problem in Barcelona.

Travel – Fly into Barcelona’s prize-winning international airport.  The city's geographical position also makes it the easiest (and cheapest) Spanish city to reach from the rest of Europe. Airport pickup is available.

About The School

International House Barcelona is the leading Spanish school in Barcelona and has a stellar reputation.  It is part of the prestigious group of International House, known worldwide for exceptionally high standards.  IH Barcelona has over 30 years experience in teaching Spanish and makes students feel welcome from the very first contact.  The only teachers employed are those who have taken a very specialized training course and have demonstrated their ability to teach effectively.  The school is in a great building, well equipped with modern facilities, and located in the very center of the city, only a five minute walk from the Plaza Catalunya.  IH Barcelona occupies six floors of a distinctive triangular shaped building, dating from the early 20th century and featuring high ceilings, much natural light, and a marble staircase.  It has 40 air conditioned classroom and offers WiFi access with 12 available computers, a library and study center, a terrace, and a bar which is open all day.  The school has a second campus across the street from the main campus.  This location offers an additional 12 classrooms with all the same amenities.

Style of teaching – The main objective of is to improve the students' communicative skills. The emphasis of classroom activities is therefore the development of the students' abilities to speak and understand spoken Spanish.  Classes are conducted entirely in Spanish, and students are given plenty of opportunity to practice the sort of language they are likely to need outside the classroom.  You won’t just know" Spanish, you will be able to use it.  Due attention is also paid to grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing skills.

Levels offered – All levels of Spanish are accommodated, from complete beginners to very advanced.  On your first day of class you will be given a written and speaking placement test.

Class size and hours – Average group size is 7-8 students with an absolute maximum of 10. (A note from Language Link - Although this maximum number is higher than in most of our programs, the highly interactive and dynamic method of teaching in this program produces consistently outstanding results among the students. We have observed classes carefully and feel very comfortable in recommending them.)  Classes begin at 9:30am.

Materials – A wide variety of materials from many sources are used, as well as materials written by IH Barcelona’s teachers.  All materials are included free of charge in your class cost.

Students - The minimum age is 17, although there is a separate program in summer for ages 13 – 16.  The school is always full of people from all over the world who are actively engaged in either learning how to speak a language or learning how to teach one. The amount of interaction between all these people is incredible and hugely beneficial.

Calendar - Unless you are a complete beginner, you may start classes on any Monday for the length of time of your choice. 

2020 Holidays— Classes lost on the holidays listed below cannot be made up at other times, nor is tuition prorated.  January 1, 6; April 10, 13; May 1; June 1, 24; August 15; September 11, 24; October 12; November 1; December 6, 8, 25, 26. 

2020 Start Dates for complete beginners – January  13, 27; February 10, 27; March 9, 23; April 6, 20; May 4, 18; June 2, 15, 29; July 13, 27; August 10, 24; September 7, 21; October 5, 19;  November 2, 16, 30; December 14, 28.

2020 Teen Start Dates: July 6 through August 3

Activities – There is a varied program of social activities.  These include visits and excursions to places of interest in and around Barcelona, video films in Spanish and the very popular Friday Club language exchange, at which you will meet some of our Spanish students who are learning English, French or German at IH Barcelona.  Most of these activities are included in the course fee. Entrance fees and transport costs are not included.  The social program is changed every two weeks so that if you are staying for longer you will not repeat specific activities. IH Barcelona also organizes full-day excursions to towns and places of interest outside Barcelona. A sample two weeks of the social program would include:  Guided tour of the Gothic Quarter, visit to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, visit to the Picasso Museum, IH Friday Club language exchange, all day excursion to the Costa Brava, Figueras and Dalí Museum, visit to Barcelona City Museum, Walk through Ribera District, visit to Gaudí s Park Güell.

Additional locations for classes – There is an additional location of IH Barcelona in nearby Tarragona, but it is used only for the summer teen program.