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Study Abroad + Options
Founded in 1961, Elisava – Escola Universitària de Barcelona | Disseny i Enginyeria was the first School of Design to open in Spain, and as a pioneer set the methodological guidelines that have served as a starting point for other similar schools. Throughout its history, ELISAVA’s role has been instrumental in shaping the culture of design in Catalonia and Spain. ELISAVA is a college of Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
The Free Elective program at ELISAVA offers students with or without a background in design the opportunity to learn in a hands-on environment from among the top design minds in Catalonia and Spain.
API students participate in several excursions per session designed to help familiarize them with areas of their host city, country, and surrounding region. The following is a listing of all excursions for API Barcelona programs. All excursions are subject to change.
Lisbon is a European city like no other. It boasts as grand a cultural and historical heritage as many other European cities but also has an earthier side that sets it apart. An impressive Gothic cathedral, the Hieronymites Monastery, St. George’s Castle and Torre de Belém are all part of the colorful cityscape. Another side of Lisbon is discovered wandering around the narrow lanes of Alfama, Rossio and Barrio Alto Quarters, and taking in the sounds and rhythm of the city. One experiences a step back in time through visits to the cultural sites in Lisbon, while also gaining an impression of the differences between Portugal and Spain.
El Penedès is one of Spain’s richest regions both in historical and gastronomical terms. Sant Sadurní d’Anoia is the center of production of cava (sparkling wine). You will discover a place of stunning beauty and culture in a vineyard built by “Modernista” architects. Calçotada is an annual gastronomical celebration held only in Winter time. It’s grilled green onion dipped in romesco sauce.
Seville, capital of the Andalucía region of southern Spain, is a unique example where history, tradition, and modernity merge in an incomparable city. The core of Islamic Seville includes the area on the East bank of the Guadalquivir where the Cathedral, the Christian Alcázar, and the medieval quarter is known as the Barrio Santa Cruz is located today. To explore the city’s narrow streets and smell the orange blossoms in Spring while mingling with people at a cafe is definitely an unforgettable experience.
Girona is a jewel of culture and history acquired over 2.000 years. The medieval town is surrounded by a magnificent wall which is preserved almost in its entirety. The Jewish quarter, known as the “Call”, spreads out in a maze of small, narrow and often steeply sloping streets. Besalú was a meeting place of different cultures, which have enriched the heritage of the town. It is a small and picturesque village with great architectural value.
TOTAL CREDITS - 12 credits per semester
This program features two tracks:
Track A: This track is for students without a design background, and is structured as follows:
Track B: This track is for students with a design background, and is structured as follows:
API students will receive a transcript from the Elisava – Escola Universitària de Barcelona | Disseny i Enginyeria/Universitat Pompeu Fabra upon completion of their program.
Alicia Castillo will be your Resident Director and a resource for you on-site.
Mireia Pujol will be your Student Services Director in Barcelona and will assist you in adjusting to the Spanish culture!
Arnau Roma Sansa will be your Academic Director on-site and will assist you in achieving your educational goals abroad.
Laura will be your Program Manager and prepare you to go abroad!
Per the program information page, this program offers two possible Tracks (A and B).
The syllabi for the course offerings below can be found here.
MANDATORY COURSES (FOR TRACK A)
Students in Track A must take a set of mandatory courses. They may then choose 2 of the Elective Courses, or 1 elective and 1 Spanish language course.
Most API partner universities in Spain operate on the contact hour system, wherein the number of credits earned depends on the time spent in class. To determine the conversion of contact hours to U.S. credits, divide the contact hours available by 15.
The objective of this course is to relate the different branches of human knowledge: architecture, sociology, history, anthropology, and art with the aim of developing a cognitive map of the world we live in. This course will analyze the basic theories of art, architecture and design culture since the industrial revolution up to the present day. Using the extensive resources of Barcelona with visits to the cities museums such as MNAC, MACBA, Joan Miró Foundation and the Picasso Museum, emblematic buildings by Gaudi, Mies Van Der Rohe, Richard Meier and Jean Nouvel as well as design stores like Vitra, BD and Vinçon and restaurants and leisure spaces around the city.
Language of Instruction: English
Recommended US semester credits: 3
This course is centered on the assimilation of procedures that allow understanding of a design language that examines the relationship between necessity and function of objects and the interaction between objects and their environment. The student is also introduced to the semantics of form, color, and materials.
This course is focused on the city and on urban design, understanding the global need growing cities have, “to sew” the modern and traditional city through a redesigned public space. In this sense, the experience developed in the city of Barcelona in the last 40 years is a great example that we will analyze in order to understand the methodologies and interiorize the tools of interpretation and transformation of the city, from the bigger to the smaller scale.
Modern-day packaging needs call for professionals with the power to communicate—both formally and graphically—the attributes of a product. With the aim of training professionals whose design is nurtured in a sense of social and environmental responsibility, the program shows the right tools for conceptualizing and developing comprehensive packaging projects. The goal is to understand the factors affecting production and selection of a package for a specific product, its possibilities and materials.
This course is aimed at providing students with representation concepts and techniques that are broadly applied in design fields. Based on exercises, talks and workshop sessions, the course embraces the ability of students to define and show their ideas by learning about the options and features that Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Indesign, and Adobe Illustrator offer as a powerful suite specifically conceived for design professionals. The course approaches also the basic concepts of video editing and production, as well as fundamentals of presentation techniques, in order to provide students with a complete range of options that they will put into practice in many visual communications required by the Study Abroad program as well as by future design projects.
This course is focused on the interaction of design, as a creative process, with food and health, as a fundamental part of human being. The relation between design food and health is not only based on the tangible aspects (space, forms, product, packaging…) but in a wide range of approaches, from culture to territory, from well-being to aesthetics. We must understand the whole relation of man with the environment to create innovative ways, systems or products to enhance this interaction. Designing in a creative way, connecting mind and hand, the senses and the culture, in a constant communication with other designers, will allow us to find out new ways of understanding our world and improving it.
This course focuses on the areas of product and furniture design. Covering the whole process from conceptualization, formalization, development, and pre-production of a designed object from the human, domestic or work environment. The course will study the social, ergonomic and aesthetic environment of the user, the ways of producing the final work and the impact of this on the environment as a whole. Students will approach the semantics of objects, their functional and communicative capacity along with the integration of materials and technology.
Retail is naturally the showplace for new ideas, new concepts, and new products. As such, the store environment serves as the selling stage for the latest merchandise offerings of the day, and a tool of communication used to create a dialogue with the targeted customer. Through effective visual merchandising, the retailer communicates both the attributes of the brand and the attributes of the products offered. The primary objective of this program is to present students the importance of visual merchandising as an integral component of a successful retail strategy. Classes will include an in-depth analysis of the retail store environment.
Language of Instruction: English
Course Level: Lower Division
Recommended US semester credits: 3
Course Level: Lower Division
This course focuses on graphic communication with special attention to texts and the written word and their integration and relationship with images, colors, and textures. Projects ranging from artistic and experimental calligraphy, typography, poster composition, editorials and digital interaction. The course centers on the vision of graphic design as an essential element of communication crossing social, cultural and functional boundaries. This concept of design, not only as a formal exercise, will incorporate functional challenges and technological links, taken in this graphical context.
Students in both tracks have the option to take a 3 credit Spanish language course.
Language of Instruction: Spanish
API students in Barcelona can choose from three different housing options. Students may choose to live with a host family, in a student apartment, or in a student dormitory. Internet access is included in all three options.
Students who choose to live with families share a double room with a fellow API student and be provided with 2 meals per day and laundry service. Students can opt for a single room for an additional fee.
API apartments in Barcelona generally have 2-4 bedrooms (the majority of which are double-rooms) with a shared kitchen, common area, and bathrooms. Apartments are located throughout the center of Barcelona and tend to be 30-45 minutes from the universities. Students can opt for a single room for an additional fee.
Students who would prefer apartment-style living alongside other Spanish and American students would enjoy API’s dorm/residence hall option. The student dorm has both single and double-room options, with a shared kitchen and private bathroom. Internet access is guaranteed in all rooms. This option carries an additional fee.