International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987



Location: Spain


On this two-day excursion students will visit some of the main monuments, neighborhoods and attractions of Barcelona, Spain's most cosmopolitan city and one of modern Europe's top destinations for tourism, culture and commerce. Under ISA staff guidance and tutelage, students will gain an appreciation for the modernist architectural and artistic contributions of, respectively, Barcelona native Antonio Gaudí and one-time Barcelona resident Pablo Picasso.

Our Barcelona trip divides naturally into two learning modules: the focus of the first day is on medieval Barcelona, which includes the Gothic Quarter and the bohemian El Born district. We visit Barcelona Cathedral as well as the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. Since Barcelona's Picasso Museum (several exist but this is one of the world's best collections with 3,500 works) is situated in the heart of Barri Gótic, we interrupt our medieval tour to learn about one of the looming giants of the 20th century art world. Our guided tour encompasses detailed explanations of a handful of masterpieces, paying attention to the artist's special relationship with the city of Barcelona.

On Day Two our tour focuses more squarely on modernist Barcelona, as we visit emblematic monuments such as Park Güell and Casa Batlló. Gaudi's spectacular Sagrada Familia project, still in progress, serves as the centerpiece of our exploration of the modernist movement. The guided tour stresses aspects of the historical context surrounding the building of this monument, and draws liberally on anecdotes from the life of Gaudí: why Barcelona decided to erect such an enormous monument; how Antonio Gaudì took over a project already underway and transformed its traditional design into the elaborate temple that we all know today; and finally, his religio-aesthetic conception of what he believed he was setting out to accomplish. Students will also learn about the damage done to the monument during the bombings and destruction of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.

Available in the following sessions