- Fall: April 15
- Spring: October 1
About Design Thinking, Business, and Liberal Arts
Find yourself in Barcelona! This charming Catalan city will inspire and empower you to live your best life. Whether your passion for design, business or politics, the city of Barcelona holds important lessons to be learned for those curious enough to explore.
Design Thinking, Business, and Liberal Arts Benefits
- Find out more about our Guaranteed Scholarships for the Design Thinking, Business and Liberal Arts program here.
- Build your own curriculum with IFSA-taught courses and electives at the Universitat Autonoma Barcelona
- Develop your independence as you explore the easy to navigate city streets and live in your own apartment with international and American roommates
- Travel and see the rest of Europe in your free time - Paris, Rome, London, and Prague (and many more) are only a short and inexpensive flight or train away
- No language study is required, but we'll make sure you're ready with survival Catalan during orientation
- Jump start your career journey with an internship
What our students say
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The IFSA Difference
Academics at Design Thinking, Business, and Liberal Arts
Essential Catalan By introducing key words and phrases in the classroom—and venturing out into the city to practice them—this class also provides insights into local customs and daily life. Right from the start, you'll gain essential skills to communicate effectively and navigate in a new culture.
Choose two program courses from the list below. IFSA-taught courses explore disciplines through the lens of the self and the city, helping you to understand the subject in the context of Barcelona, and to apply lessons learned to your future self.
Catalan Identity and Politics (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
This is a cross-disciplinary that analyses the reasons behind the emergence of contemporary political separatism. It begins with the origins of Catalan identity by discussing the historical background, including Francoism and the Transition to democracy and a conflictive, though often peaceful, history with the Spanish state. Moving into the fields of political sociology and political science, the course addresses constitutional arrangements, political parties, linguistic normalization, immigration, and minority rights. The pivotal secessionist events of recent years are examined as part of students developing understanding of identity issues in Catalonia, including important nuances of Barcelona's dual role as a traditional regional capital but also a global city.
Design Thinking (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Design thinking is a powerful approach to solving a wide variety of problems across many different disciplines. In this experiential course, students will learn how to flexibly sort through and solve challenges and pursue opportunities. At its coure design thinking relies on creativity; and unless one has already unleashed their innate creativity, the power of design thinking is constrained. Therefore , in this truly interdisciplinary course students will build their "creative confidence," learn design thinking, and apply these skills to a variety of challenges as they actively engage in the creative process individually and in teams.
Exploring Barcelona: Identity in a Multinational Society (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
This Exploring Community & Culture course takes students study abroad experience to another level. It includes a seminar, meeting for three hours every week, in which students learn the historical, social, political and economic context of Barcelona. As part of the course, students are encouraged to join a community of their choosing, participate in unique guided field trips and write essays on their daily experiences in Barcelona.
Food Culture and Spanish Society (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Understanding food in culture and society is a local and global concern. Through anthropological and sociological lenses, students will consider the importance and roles of food in our personal and social lives. Even though we need food to survive and it is present in every society and culture, we cannot take for granted that we eat the same food for the same reasons at the same time; or assume that food is available everywhere with the same quality and under the same conditions. It is a matter of national security and is tied to economic growth. Situated in the fascinating culinary settee of Barcelona, this course examines food as part of national heritage, cultural identity, and as a sometimes controversial product for tourist consumption.
Internship and Methodology Seminar (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Students will be placed in individual internships but will collectively take part in the seminar to be prepared for the experience, understand expectations, set personal objectives, identify and strengthen specific skills, critically reflect on their progress, share experiences, and learn from one other throughout. A carefully selected series of progress-focused assignments complements these learning activities, including a Personal Skills Survey, Internship Journals and Summaries, Response Papers, and a Final Presentation and Paper. Knowledge of the Spanish work environment and the transferability of skills acquired is another important component of this learning experience. Students will gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their goals, their professional areas, as well as Spanish work culture. In this seminar, which is focused on understanding the application of theory to practice, students gain real world work experience while developing intercultural agility--skills and experiences which are critically important to personal, academic and professional success.
Linguistic Anthropology (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
This course examines the complex interplay of language and culture and the ways in which it impacts everyday practice. Language as a human condition will be investigated through and anthropological lens, using theory to understand the use of language and how it is a fundamental difference among peoples and communities. The course combines basic ideas of anthropology with those of linguistics, fostering students understanding' of how linguistic anthropologists study language, culture, and society. The course also brings in concepts from sociolinguistics to further develop student's awareness of how we acquire language, what it means for language to express meaning, what dialogue looks and sounds like within diverse cultures, how these questions relate to identity, and to explore attitudes and ideologies about varieties of language.
Service Operations Management (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
This course is designed to explore, challenge and refine the principals of service operations Management in hospitality and tourism operations. The foundation is built upon an understanding that service excellence is achieved through strategy, systems and staff. By the end of this course, students should have an understanding and appreciation for facility designs and layouts, planning and analyzing service delivery system, defining and measuring service quality, and service recovery. Additionally, students will know strategies for managing demand and supply and making continual improvements a competitive strategy. Barcelona as a city of tourism provides the ideal backdrop for an up-close examination of these issues.
Social Media Marketing in the Age of Self (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
This course will outfit students with the tools and expertise to develop strategic and comprehensive social media marketing plans that integrate with overall marketing and communications efforts to achieve business goals. Through case studies and hands-on exercises, students will develop a deep understanding of social media platforms and best practices, leveraging these channels to elevate one's reach and reputation. Topics include choosing appropriate platforms, creating effective and engaging social media content, and developing social media policies and content management strategies. The class emphasizes social listening, ethics and diversity.
Social Psychology (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Social psychology examines the perceptions, thoughts, feelings and behaviors of individuals within their social environments. In this course, methodologies used to investigate social psychology phenomena are introduced, aiding understanding of the application of social psychology research to real-world problems. Special attention is devoted to issues of socioeconomic class in Spain. This course includes three investigative field visits to diverse Barcelona neighborhoods, providing vibrant context for discussions.
Choose three electives at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB). Courses are available in art & architecture, business, communication, economics and politics, Mediterranean studies, and Spanish language. Most courses are taught in English; some classes can be taken in Spanish for students with level B2 language proficiency. See the UAB course catalog for up-to-date offerings.
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The IFSA Team
IFSA has a dedicated team who are here to help you prepare to achieve your goals. Feel free to reach out. We are happy to answer your questions!