University life : Barcelona and Catalonia
Barcelona and Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in Spain with a history stretching back thousands of years. Its own language—Catalan—is co-official alongside Spanish. With a population of 7.5 million, this densely populated, highly developed area is a powerhouse of the Spanish economy and a benchmark European region.
Catalonia is an industrially active, entrepreneurial country with a keen work ethic. Together with its cutting-edge infrastructure and services, this approach makes Catalonia an ideal place to do business.
Catalonia’s universities reflect its multifaceted society and attract people from all over the world eager to acquire skills and share experiences.
Its centres of learning offer a wide range of educational pathways, including around 1,000 official university degrees in many areas of knowledge, including arts and humanities, science, healthcare, social and legal sciences, architecture and engineering, among others.
Catalonia has always been open to migration: over the course of history it has forged ties with peoples all around the Mediterranean. Its multicultural character has made it a dynamic area with tremendous economic, social and cultural influence.
It boasts a rich diversity of year-round natural beauty. The Pyrenees, the Costa Brava, Barcelona, Montserrat, the Ebro Delta and the hills and plains of Lleida are just some of its outstanding places offering a host of leisure, cultural, sporting and gastronomic activities.
For further information, visit the Catalan Government’s website
Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, has a population of 1.6 million (3.2 million in the greater metropolitan area). Its prime location on the shores of the Mediterranean, its mild climate and its open, cosmopolitan character make the Catalan capital a very special place to live and work.
Barcelona has made a name for itself as a global city thanks to its leading role in the spheres of culture, finance, business and tourism. It is one of the busiest ports on the Mediterranean and a key transport hub between Spain and France.
By seamlessly combining tradition and modernity, Barcelona boasts architectural reminders of its Roman and medieval past alongside Catalan Art Nouveau buildings—including Gaudí’s Modernista masterpieces—and striking examples of contemporary architecture such as the Torre Agbar. Its urban development has made it a focal point for architecture lovers.
Barcelona, the southern gateway to Europe, has been a centre of learning for over 500 years and is now home to one of the largest university communities in Europe, made up of 200,000 students and more than 15,000 lecturers at seven universities offering a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses.
Barcelona’s universities consistently score highly in international rankings and most of them have been named Campuses of International Excellence (CIE), a distinction that aims to promote Spanish universities in Europe.
Barcelona’s huge potential has made it a magnet for new trends from around the world. Design, music, fashion, art and film professionals are part and parcel of this dynamic city.
A wide range of cultural, sporting, leisure and nature activities adds to the city’s wealth of opportunities. It is a perfect place to combine stimulating academic activity with a lively social life.
The Catalan capital
Barcelona expresses our own philosophy to perfection. It’s a city that inspires design, technology, research and creativity. A city proud of its people and their culture. An ideal enclave for training our professionals.
With a population of 1.5 million, Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain. Its origins date back to the 1st century BC and the Roman colony of Barcino. Two thousand years of history have left their indelible mark on the city’s architecture and artistic and cultural heritage. Its excellent international transport connections, its Mediterranean climate and its cosmopolitan character make it an outstanding place to live, work and study.
Catalonia has its own language—Catalan—which is co-official alongside Spanish. The roots of this Romance language lie in the Latin spoken here over a thousand years ago. The first texts in Catalan date from the 12th century.
In accordance with UPF’s statutes, Catalan is the university’s language of communication. Classes at ESCI-UPF are taught in Catalan, Spanish and English. Nonetheless, any subject set to be taught in Catalan will be taught in Spanish instead if any overseas students sign up for it.
Its cafes are full by day, and at night people stroll along the Passeig del Born to have a drink in one of its popular bars. Don’t be fooled though—Born is also packed with culture. The ancient medieval street Carrer Montcada is home to the Picasso Museum and the Museum of World Cultures and leads to the stunning church of Santa Maria del Mar. The recently renovated Born Market is now a cultural centre with the best-conserved 18th-century archaeological site in Europe.
There are enticing shops and boutiques on every street corner. New craftspeople, designers, artists and furniture restorers have make this neighbourhood their home and given it a unique personality that combines tradition and modernity with great flair.
Nearby you will find Barcelona Zoo, Ciutadella Park, where you can take a walk or relax on the lawn, and the beach, which is only 10 minutes’ walk away.
On the edge of the neighbourhood, Santa Caterina Market has made a name for itself not only for its high-quality produce but also for its striking architecture. Leaving Born, you come to Barcelona Cathedral and the Palau de la Música Catalana.
Every year, millions of people flock to the city’s beaches to sunbathe and go for a swim in the sea.
A boardwalk stretches all the way along the Barcelona seafront, from Llevant beach in the north all the way down to Sant Sebastià beach in the south, home to the famous W Hotel.
All the beaches are well connected, well maintained and well equipped with a range of services, including showers and toilets and even beach bars and restaurants. The most popular beaches are also the closest: Barceloneta, Sant Miquel and Sant Sebastià.