Barcelona is an excellent city to study in. It is home to some of the best universities in Spain. In addition, the locals are used to living with foreigners. Most arrive attracted by its higher education institutions and employment opportunities, so you won’t feel like a stranger in this city.

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide so you know what to expect as a foreign student in Barcelona. It will be especially useful if it’s your first time in the city. We will also give you useful information to help you adapt to your new lifestyle.

Accommodation as a foreign student in Barcelona

You will find many options for student accommodation. Barcelona receives hundreds of students every year, both from other cities and from other countries. That’s why rooms, shared flats and student residences abound. Find out what they are all about:

  • Rooms: Some flat owners rent out their empty rooms to students. It’s a cheap option, but you’ll probably have to live with the owner, as well as cook your own food and clean your room.
  • Shared flats: these flats are often occupied by other students. You have the option of renting one of the rooms and paying a fee to the landlord. Most commonly, you will have to pay one or two months’ deposit along with the first month’s payment and sign a contract with the terms of the rental.

One of the advantages is that you will be able to live with people close to your own age. However, you will also have to take care of household chores such as cleaning and cooking.

  • Student halls of residence: these are a favourite among students because of all the amenities and facilities they offer. They are usually student-only buildings where you have the option of renting a room or sharing a flat with others.

The best thing about student residences are the services included in the accommodation fee. These include cleaning, laundry and canteen services. In addition, residents can enjoy facilities such as a games room, karaoke, swimming pool, rooftop terrace, gym and more.

To stay in a student residence, you should make your reservation well in advance, as they are increasingly in demand.

Public transport

In Barcelona, you will have several public transport options. All of them operate efficiently and will connect you with any point in the city. Among them, you will find:

  • Metro: the metro will take you to all Barcelona’s neighbourhoods. It is the fastest way to get around, as you avoid all the surface traffic. Before taking it, we recommend you check the map, as there are 8 lines and you could get lost.
  • Train: if you plan to visit a town outside Barcelona or to get to know the metropolitan area, you could take the train. It is fast and cheap, you only need to buy a ticket.
  • Bus: in your day-to-day life, you will probably take more buses than any other means of transport. They are available from 6:00 am to 10:30 pm. However, there is also a night service, although it covers fewer routes than usual.
  • Bicycles: in Barcelona, you’ll find that cycling is very common. Bicycles are part of public transport and you can hire them at any of the stations around the city.


Food is based on the Mediterranean diet and its typical dishes. In the local restaurants, you can enjoy escalivada, escudella, paella, seafood, panellets and other local dishes.

However, there is also a wide range of international food on offer, so you can also eat dishes from other regions of the world. From Arabic and Asian to Latin American and African food.

Leisure and entertainment

Barcelona has plenty of cultural and tourist attractions. Museums, music festivals, parks, gardens, exhibitions, shows and more. In this city, you will always have something to do and a new destination to discover.

Some of the places you can’t miss are:

  • La Sagrada Familia
  • Park Güell
  • The Gothic Quarter
  • La Casa Batlló and Casa Milà
  • Las Ramblas
  • El Born
  • Viewpoints such as Montjuic and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi.

Barcelona is also one of the Spanish capitals with a beach. In summer, the coastal area is full of life with restaurants, bars and all the people who come to take a dip.

Based on this basic information, we hope you will get a better idea of what to expect in Barcelona. This city is one of the most important capitals in Spain, so you are sure to enjoy it to the fullest as a foreign student.

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