Barcelona, Spain

Spanish Language Immersion for Foodies

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Develop your Spanish skills and palate in Barcelona

Tapas and ancient temples. Picasso and paella. Quirky, colorful buildings that look straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. In Barcelona you’ll discover all this and more. Delicious food abounds, with specialties unique to the Catalonian region like creamy custard and caramel desserts.

This program was designed for serious foodies! You will receive between 15-20 hours of language learning per week coupled with activities focused around Spanish gastronomy. Spain is a culinary powerhouse and is known the world over to be the best Mediterranean cuisine has to offer. Experience what makes Spanish cooking so unique and special. Combine your language learning with food tastings, cooking workshops, activities with local chefs and artisans. This adventure will take you on a journey your taste buds won't forget!

Here you’ll study the standard Spanish language, also known as Castilian, while being exposed to the regional Catalan language as well. Not to worry: In Barcelona, 98% of the population speaks “regular” Spanish, even if they also speak Catalan. Barcelona is a fascinating place to discover linguistic differences while ramping up your Spanish vocabulary and conversational skills.

CIEE Gap Year Abroad programs are focused on supporting participants in acquiring knowledge and developing skills to live in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world. In addition to developing your language skills and gaining a better understanding of the local culture, you will take part in our Global Competence Course. This online course will allow you to connect and collaborate in real-time with our entire cohort of Gap participants worldwide, through interactive workshops and discussions. Reflect on your own cultural biases, share insights about your experience and learn about topics ranging from cultural identity and leadership styles to how to work and live sustainably or develop communication skills.

On weekends and evenings, you'll spend time with your homestay where you'll get into the rhythm of Spanish life and explore all your neighborhood has to offer. Prepare meals with your hosts, hit the beach, take a day trip to explore a nearby town or nature reserve. Make the most of this amazing opportunity!"

The Take-Aways


    15-20 hours per week of Spanish language learning designed to improve real-world language skills


    Build a strong foundation in the core components of intercultural learning. Come home with an improved sense of self and awareness of what shapes others.


    Earn a Certificate of Learning in Spanish

  • of alumni said their language skills improved

  • said they learned to interact with different cultural backgrounds

  • said their level of independence increased


Location & Culture

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The stylish capital of Spain’s Catalonia region is world-renowned for its contemporary art and striking architecture.

Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid, but feels decidedly different. It has its own unique personality and is known more for rock music than flamenco dancing. Whimsical buildings and cultural curiosities make every day sightseeing far-from-ordinary. Youthful energy fills busy boulevards lined with cafes, shops, and street performers. Beach volleyball matches bring a California vibe to the Catalan coast.  

Tapas are everywhere, all day long. Cakes and both sweet and savory pastries fill bakery window displays. Mouth-watering churros with mugs of thick chocolate for dipping are found at authentic churrerías. Food markets from the world-famous La Boqueria to smaller neighborhood stands sell patatas bravas, ham croquettes, pizza slices and more. Juicy melons, plums and citrus fruits are bountiful in summer. The fresh-squeezed orange juice is the best you’ll ever have!

Lovers of modern art and architecture could spend every day exploring galleries, museums and historic buildings. The Picasso Museum offers the full package: Its famous collection is housed inside a cluster of five medieval mansions. The city’s majestic Gothic cathedral, decorated with gargoyles, dates from the 14th century and is the focal point for the entire Catalonian capital.

Football (soccer) fans should head to Camp Nou, FC Barcelona club’s home stadium. As the largest football stadium in Europe – and the third biggest in the world – it draws die-hards to its sold-out games and thousands of visitors to its Stadium and Museum Tour.

Daily Life

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Daily Life

A successful Gap experience achieves the right balance between structured language instruction, practice in the community and cultural activities to be fully immersed in the local culture.

Here's how a typical week goes on a CIEE Gap Language & Culture program:

  • 15-20 hours of interactive language learning at a language school
  • 1 hour of the CIEE Global Competence Course (online with our global gap community)
  • 2 cultural activities
  • Free time to explore and have fun!

Weekends are for group excursions (two per 6-week block) or personal travel and exploration.

*If Covid-19 homestay requirements cannot be met participants will be placed in a CIEE-vetted dormitory or apartment. Confirmation will be communicated to participants in advance.

  • Carefully Screened Homestay*

  • Local Support

    Local CIEE Center staff available 24/7


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Sample Activities

  • Visit the open market of Boqueria to discover the amazing and delicious food and ingredients used by local home cooks and chefs alike!
  • Learn about local culture through cooking. Learn how to cook iconic dishes like tapas, gazpacho, paella and more. 
  • No experience in Barcelona would be complete without an in-depth tour of some of the coolest neighborhoods the city has to offer! Discover the winding streets, little cafes, and hidden squares that make local life so vibrant


  • Montserrat – visit the holy mountain of Catalonia
  • Tarragona - discover Roman ruins and sandy beaches in the southernmost Catalan capital

​​Please note this list of activities is based on past programs and subject to change at CIEE's discretion to both adapt to local circumstances and participant feedback. Our goal when revising itineraries is always to enhance your experience. Every activity is designed to provide you with a deep immersion in your topic, local culture and sights. Get ready for maximum fun!

Eligibility & Fees

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Eligibility & Fees


  • High school graduates in good academic standing.
  • Students must demonstrate, through the application and interview process, flexibility and maturity.
  • Students must be 17 years or older at the time of their departure.
  • No previous language experience required.



Apply for one or two 6-week blocks. Combining blocks in two different locations is not yet available.

Program fee includes iNext travel insurance. Full inclusions are found online.

Ready to change your life?