Basic guide to living in Barcelona as a foreign student

If you are planning to study in the city of Barcelona as a foreign student but are worried about the challenge of living in a new and unfamiliar city, in this article you will find a lot of useful information that can help you settle into your new life in this city.

This basic guide for foreign students who decide to study in Barcelona contains tips on how to survive in the city. Students who choose to learn Spanish in Barcelona and do it through a school like Expanish, are more covered since the institution provides everything they will need in a kind of package that includes the course; but if you are one of those students who will be traveling on your own, then surely this guide will be very useful to learn the basics needed to get by in this city.


There are several accommodation options for foreign students, depending on their needs and budget. It is important to look for accommodation in advance to reserve it before traveling, as Barcelona receives many students throughout the year and there may not be much availability. The following are some of the options for accommodation:

  • Student residences: This is one of the most popular options; it involves living with other students with whom you share services and amenities. 


  • Shared apartment: This involves renting a room in a shared apartment. This option is one of the most economical; depending on the size of the room, the characteristics of the apartment and the neighborhood where the apartment is located, the rental price will range between 250 and 450 euros per month. If you decide to rent a room it is very important to read very carefully any document you are going to sign, and always demand that the owner of the apartment signs a receipt that specifies the amounts paid, stating his name, his NIF (tax identification number), the name of the student, the amount that has been paid and the concept of payment. You will usually be asked to pay a deposit along with the first month’s payment in order to rent the apartment.


  • “Viure i conviure” Program: This program of the Roure Foundation offers students the possibility of living in the home of a senior citizen in exchange for their company.


  • Hostels: If you need a place to stay as soon as you arrive in the city while you find accommodation, you can consult the network of Youth Hostels in Catalonia.

How to travel in Barcelona

Barcelona has a very wide and efficient public transport network, which allows you to move around the city and the rest of the municipalities of its metropolitan area. There are many means of transport available to travel from your place to the spanish school barcelona you are studying at.

Metro: It is the fastest and easiest way to move around the city. There are 8 lines, which connect all the neighborhoods of Barcelona and most of the metropolitan area. Each line is identified with a different color. Tickets are obtained from the automatic machines that you can find in all stations, or at authorized points of sale. These tickets are integrated, which allows you to use different means of transport with the same ticket. There are different types of tickets that you can purchase according to your needs:
Single ticket – It costs 2,4€ and allows you to make one trip.
T-Casual – Costs 11.35 and allows you to make 10 trips
T-Usual – Costs £40 and allows you to make an unlimited number of trips for 30 consecutive days
T- Jove – Costs 80€, is for people under 25 years old and allows you to make an unlimited number of trips for 90 consecutive days.

Train: Trains operate in the metropolitan area and also allow you to move to other towns outside Barcelona. You can use integrated tickets or an individual ticket.

Bus: There are more than 100 regular bus lines that reach any part of the city. Buses operate throughout the day from Monday to Sunday, from 6:00 to 22:30 approximately. At night there is a night bus service, consisting of 18 lines that connect different parts of the city.

Bicing: It is a public service for renting mechanical and electric bicycles, which allows you to move around the city economically, quickly, and without polluting the environment. This service is available all year round at any time. By paying 50€ a year, you can get a bicycle at any of the more than 480 stations spread throughout the city. When you finish using it, you must go to a Bicing station and lock it up.

Leisure and free time

Barcelona is a multicultural city that offers a wide range of activities to do. You can visit the city center which is characterized by its elegant buildings, narrow streets, and the many Roman remains that are still preserved. The old part of the city is ideal for a leisurely stroll.
The cultural offer of the city is very generous: exhibitions, museums, art galleries, music festivals, shows, concerts and much more. If you want a leisurely stroll you can walk through one of the many gardens and parks in the city; the most prominent is the Parque de la Ciudadela.

If you find yourself living in the city during the summer, you can make the most of its paradisiacal beaches, where you can relax, have a few drinks in its bars and restaurants or take a dip in the sea. The city is also full of restaurants where you can enjoy delicious Catalan food at any time of the day. And at night you can go out for tapas or dancing until the wee hours of the morning.


Barcelona’s gastronomy is based on a Mediterranean diet. However, in recent years, international cuisine has grown significantly enabling the supply of Asian, Arab, African, and Latin American restaurants. Of course you can always count on the typical dishes of Barcelona, such as bread with tomato, escalivada, escudella, Catalan cream and panellets among others.

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