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Barcelona is at the very center of the international eye. It may be the sunny weather, the beautiful architecture, or the buzzing cultural activity, but increasingly more people are choosing it both to visit and to live in. Nevertheless, for those interested in moving there, where to get started? Which are its studying options? In addition, how much do they cost? Here we propose a guide.

Moving to Barcelona: a general approach

Paperwork according to your nationality

If you are a European Union citizen, you will not need a visa, only your passport or ID. If you want a more extensive stay, you must have a NIE number (“Número de Indentificación de Extranjeros”). It is used for identification and taxes, enabling you to be hired at a job, have property, or open a bank account. When going to a NIE expediter (look for Departments of Foreigners or “Extranjería”), remember to have both your passport and your application form and to book individual appointments and not a collective one (for couples or groups).
If you are not an EU citizen, you can apply for a tourist visa (less than 90 days residency), a work visa (if you already have a job in Barcelona), a non-lucrative Spanish visa (if you prove that you can self-sustain, whether through a steady income or a large savings sum), a family reunification visa (an ex-pat married to a Spanish citizen) or a student visa, whether you are part of an exchange or scholarship program, or you are studying at a school or university. Remember that, to apply for this visa, you must submit your admission letter from the university where you are going to study. 


If you are an EU citizen, you can use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). UK citizens can use their Global Health Insurance Card, and non-EU citizens can rely on Travel insurance. There is also travel abroad insurance for those who aim to move to Barcelona to study.

Study in Barcelona: reasons why

The international community, the local culture

The upraise in tourism and inhabitants from different countries expanded the cultural patchwork, which was already enormous. You will find all kinds of nationalities and, if you want to be able to communicate with all of them, you can learn Spanish Barcelona.  

Top-level education

Barcelona houses some great Spanish universities, such as the University of Barcelona, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, and the University of Pompeu Fabra, among many others. In these cases, you will find what you are looking for in Barcelona’s educational offers You can aim to have a Bachelor’s degree, or maybe you are thinking of entering a Master’s or Doctor Program. Take into account that each university will have its requirements, and speaking Spanish may be one of them (you can prove this by submitting a DELE or “Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera” certificate). If you want to prepare beforehand to be able to listen to and participate in the courses, try learning with Expanish

Costs of studying in Barcelona

Barcelona is known to be an inexpensive city to live in when compared to other European cities. See what it has to offer for students in particular:

Public or private universities

Considering that Barcelona has both public and private universities, you can apply for any of them. Costs may vary according to the degree you are interested in and to the country you come from– citizens from outside the EU can expect to pay €1000 or €1500 more than EU citizens. If you want to study in a public university, your ground budget will be around €1000 or less, and you can expect to pay up to €3,500 per year. However, when opting for an MBA, the total cost will be around €1,800. Given the point you want to study in a private university, the ground budget will be much higher (€4000 or more), and the most you can expect to pay is between €20,000 and €30,000 (MBA is more expensive than Bachelor’s or Masters Degrees). Take into account that this sum does not contemplate school materials. The University of Granada, the University of Salamanca, and Universitat Rovira I Virgili are some of the cheapest universities. Still, you can widen your choices by looking for scholarships, such as the Erasmus program. 


You have several options. From the more expensive to the cheapest, you can choose: in the first place, to rent an apartment or house (private accommodations), which has an average monthly cost of €800 up to €1400. Secondly, you can also go to student residence halls that cost around €600 a month. Finally, living with a local family can be arranged, and costs are settled according to the region. Consider that most of these options do not include food nor essential utilities, such as water, heating, or electricity, which add around €100. If you want to lower your expenses, consider either sharing the cost with somebody else or living nearby, for cities like Madrid and Barcelona are more expensive for accommodation. 

Some extras

If you want to have your Wi-Fi, keep in mind a monthly extra €30. The cost of food will alter according to your lifestyle, but it goes from €200 to €400. Regarding transportation, you can choose to pay for each trip (less than €2) or get a transport pass (between €40 and €50). As mentioned, books are not included in the university’s fees. You should also consider health insurance, which costs up to €200 a year.

Overall, your first step is to decide what you want to study and which degree you aim for. Then, according to your particular conditions, you can choose the “where”, the “how” and the “how much”.


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