There are many great places in Spain, but if you had to pick just one to spend your summer, our students say – hands down – there is no better city in Spain to spend a summer than Barcelona! It offers the rare combination of sophistication, vibrancy and culture along with unique architecture and the charm of a Mediterranean beach town. College is a time of growth and personal choice; why not get a head start? You’ll leave after four weeks feeling more independent and better prepared for college while making great friends along the way – the perfect summer!
Experience what it’s like studying abroad in beautiful Barcelona
Seven morning Major courses to choose from
Choose from six afternoon electives you’re sure to look forward to
Stay at a modern, upscale residence near charming cafés and quaint shops in the heart of the Sarriá district
Enjoy complimentary membership to a state of the art fitness health spa and pool club with cardio machines, weights, yoga, spinning, Pilates and an Olympic-sized swimming pool
See more of Spain during exciting weekend and day excursions
Enjoy a grand finale with your new friends at the Mediterranean beach resort of Sitges
Choose a Morning Major and an Afternoon Elective.
* Note 4 of the Major courses below (Digital Photography: Barcelona, Business Management, Introduction to Psychology and Online Marketing with Digital Apps) may be taken for college credit or not for credit. These courses are taught at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). UAB is one of the most prestigious universities in Spain, offering highly qualified professors and curriculum. There is a $575 fee for the credit option. Credit is transferable to many colleges and universities; the decision to accept credits is ultimately made by the school you attend.
This course is taught at International House Spanish Language School, a center of learning for over 40 years and one of Spain’s leading teacher training centers. While attention is given to grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing, the main emphasis and goal is enhancing your verbal skills. We don’t just want you to know Spanish, we want you to be able to use it. The school enjoys an ideal location just steps from Plaza Cataluña and Las Ramblas.
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY: BARCELONA* (optional college credit)
Develop your technical skills as well as your artistic vision. Learn about digital cameras, the basics of composition, how to retouch images and be inspired by the masters of photography. The skills you master will culminate in an individual photography project to be completed by the end of the course.
A DSLR or bridge camera with manual functions having at least a 12.0 megapixel sensor is required.
BUSINESS MANAGEMENT * (optional college credit)
This course is designed to engage you in learning about the importance of management in a global business environment. Develop your managerial skills through case studies, role-plays, in-class discussions, guest speakers and active class participation.
INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY* (optional college credit)
Uncover the world of psychology as you explore topics including the scientific method, the study of the mind and mental processes, how memory works, what influences our perception, and why people behave the way they do.
ONLINE MARKETING WITH DIGITAL APPS* (optional college credit)
Videos are no longer just entertainment, they are rapidly overtaking traditional marketing techniques. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video has to be worth at least 1.8 million words.” (Forrester Research). This course gives you the key tools to plan and produce your own promotional video using the latest digital apps. You also learn how to promote your video via social media channels.
COOKING: THE FOOD AND CULTURE OF SPAIN
Expert chefs at the Barcelona Cooking School teach you kitchen skills and develop your understanding of Spanish culture as shaped by culinary traditions. In each class, learn about a different region and how to prepare signature dishes, such as Valencian paella and tapas from Catalonia. The contemporary kitchen is located on Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas, steps from Boqueria Market, one of the most famous food markets in the world.
COMMUNITY SERVICE SANT’EGIDIO COMMUNITY
Give back to Barcelona’s most impoverished this summer with the Sant’Egidio Community, an international mission with chapters around the world. You’ll have the opportunity to take part in various welfare improvement projects, such as preparing meals for soup kitchens, distributing goods from food banks, and assisting with restoration and beautification initiatives. A letter recognizing 42 hours of service detailing the projects accomplished will be issued after the program. Westcoast Connection is a Certifying Organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Explore several aspects of Spain’s incredibly rich and varied culture including:
THE PRINCETON REVIEW SAT (AND ACT TOO!)
Improve your SAT performance by becoming a better test taker. Learn Princeton Review’s exclusive strategies. Your instructor will help you master the test through in-class practice, drills and test reviews. You will better understand math, critical reading and writing concepts tested on the exams and your instructor will teach proven test-taking techniques. In addition to your course, you get the following materials and extras:
A supplementary fee of $795 applies for the Princeton Review
BARCELONA DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY JOURNAL
Capture the city of Barcelona from behind the lens. Learn to frame, light and compose photos in the inspiring surroundings of art, architecture and Spanish culture. The backdrop of Barcelona and all that you will learn culminates in your creation of a portfolio of your work.
A DSLR or bridge camera with manual functions having at least a 12.0 megapixel sensor is required.
Plan a workout regimen including weight training and aerobics to help meet your fitness goals. If you commit, the results will follow!
BARCELONA SOCCER ACADEMY
Barcelona Soccer Academy is a soccer school founded by a group of professionals who have a long and recognized history of teaching this exciting sport. You will train with highly skilled professional athletes and increase your skills and level of soccer knowledge.
COMMUNITY SERVICE MARTI-CODOLAR YOUTH CENTER
For more than fifty years, Barcelona’s Martí- Codolar Youth Center has been providing disadvantaged children, young people and families a place to participate in educational and recreational programs after school and during the summer. You can make a real difference by facilitating programs, games, computer education and English classes for these children. A certificate for 18 hours of community service will be provided. Westcoast Connection is a Certifying Organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Westcoast Connection includes your membership to this impressive, modern facility around the corner from the residence. This center has it all: yoga, spinning, Pilates, martial arts, aerobics, cardio, weight training or any of the 250 classes offered. The indoor solarium pool and outdoor resort pool with lounge chairs and shady palm trees are great places to relax as well. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS SPECTACULAR FACILITY
Join in the games – Our Sports Coordinator organizes games of basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer and more.
All included in your tuition!
Feel the energy of a Las Ramblas, a very busy, extremely lively street that runs from Plaza Cataluña, a giant square not unlike Trafalgar, Piccadilly or Champs-Élysées, to the statue of Christopher Columbus along the waterfront. On both sides of the street are the older sections of Barcelona, where a lot of the history and traditional culture exist.
Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
Constructed by Antoni Gaudí, this renowned building is known for its uniqueness and artistic creativity. In 1984, it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Guided Bike Tour
The absolute best way for our students to explore and experience the incredible architecture and fascinating history of Barcelona is on a bike. The tour includes many of the most popular tourist attractions and provides an ideal orientation and overview of Barcelona.
Enjoy a mouthwatering evening in the Gothic Quarter tasting different tapas and choosing your favorite!
This animated square is considered the most central area of Barcelona and is steps away from large shopping centers and department stores. Plaza Cataluña is also home to a variety of interesting sculptures and decorative arts, such as the iconic mosaics that decorate the walls of the underground part of Plaza Cataluña. The square is huge at 32,291 square feet and you will be sure to catch a glimpse of regular festive activities.
This charming Barcelona district is renowned for its narrow, Medieval streets and classic Catalonian restaurants. Near this area, you will be able to see the remains of the Roman temple of Augustus. The original center of Roman and Medieval Barcelona still are an inherent aspect of modern Barcelona life. Picasso actually lived and worked in Barri Gòtic from 1895 to 1904!
Park Güell’s construction began in 1900 when Eusebi Güell gave Gaudí the assignment of drawing up plans for developing an estate for well-off families on a large property with unbeatable views of the Mediterranean Sea and Barcelona’s city. The complex condition for the sale of the plots made it unlivable, which eventually instigated its state as a public park. It was recognized as an artistic monument in 1969 and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. It now stands as a tribute to Catalonian modernism and innovation.
FC Barcelona Stadium Tour
Whether you are an FC Barcelona fan or a “Madridista,” you will be sure to enjoy this excursion! With a capacity of 98,000, Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe and the third largest stadium in the world. The Camp Nou stadium has been FC Barcelona’s home since it was officially opened on September 24, 1957. Of the different facilities inside the stadium, of particular note are the presidential box, the VIPs lounge, the press room, the veteran players’ area and the FC Barcelona Club Museum.
Gaudí’s Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló is one of the two iconic buildings designed by Gaudí on Passeig de Gràcia, the other being La Pedrera. Take note that the façade of the building was originally designed to look as though it had been made of skulls and bones. However, the skulls and bones components culminate into uniquely constructed balconies and supporting pillars. The colors of the building were inspired by the colors found in natural coral.
Plaza Real is one of Barcelona’s most famous squares, as it is situated off of the iconic Las Ramblas. It is a beautifully designed square in Barri Gòtic and is home to some of Gaudí’s earliest works. Can you find the hidden secret of Plaza Real – a set of lamps that he designed for the Barcelona Council? Each lamp has a plaque with his name on it and is a little-known treasure of the area.
Over 130 years after construction began on the Sagrada Familia Basilica, it has reached its final stage of construction. La Sagrada Familia is one of Gaudí’s most well-known masterpieces. He played a pivotal role in its construction until his death in 1962 and did his best to leave a lasting imprint of his concepts into the modern day. La Sagrada Familia is an important icon to Barcelona’s skyline and artistic culture.
Barceloneta Beach is easily the most distinguishable and notable beach in the city. Many people think that it was the setting that inspired Miguel de Cervantes in writing the fight scene between Don Quixote and the Knight of the White Moon. See glamorous yachts filling the Port Olímpic complex and walk along the long palm-lined promenade.
La Boqueria Market
La Boqueria Market features the best products of Catalonia, such as fruit, vegetables, seafood and tapas, all in one place! The history of this market dates back long before 1217, when locals were already taking advantage of selling food items. Today, the market is home to over 200 stalls that sell all kinds of food items and flowers.
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
The Montjuïc fountain celebrated its first performance in 1929 during the Great Universal Exhibition. Designed by Carles Buigas, over 3,000 workers helped to construct this magnificent fountain in one year. Enjoy a breathtaking display of lights, color, motion, music and water acrobatics, making it a must-see attraction in Barcelona.
Barcelona Cooking School
The very best of Catalonian and Spanish cuisine come together in this hands on cooking class. Classes are taught by professionally trained and bilingual Spanish chefs. In working with the freshest ingredients from local markets and farms, this is guaranteed to be a delectable program highlight.
All included in your tuition!
Take a funicular ride to the top of this beautiful mountain retreat for breathtaking views of the Pyrenees mountain range and coastal islands. Visit the famous monastery and enjoy a beautiful hike and relaxing picnic.
Be intrigued by the unique and quirky works of the Salvador DalÍ Museum. This is not just a museum, it’s an experience. The building itself is a work of art – you have to see it to believe it!
Explore the labyrinth of cobblestone streets in the old quarter of this Medieval city.
Stroll through the internationally themed ‘regions’ of Spain’s biggest theme park, with thrilling roller coasters and other exciting rides including Furious Baco and Sea Odyssey.
All included in your tuition!
Plaza del Sol
Plaza del Sol is Madrid’s most central square and is located just a short walk away from Plaza Mayor. The square takes the shape of a semi-circle and hosts important sights, such as “El Oso y El Madroño” (the Bear and the Strawberry Tree) statue, the famous “Tío Pepe” advertisement and the headquarters of the President of Madrid’s Autonomous Community.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, but it is currently only used for state ceremonies. As the biggest palace in all of Europe, it boasts 2,800 rooms and is 1,450,000 square feet. Can you count the 870 windows, 240 balconies and 44 staircases of the palace?
As a visitor of the Prado Museum, you will have the exceptional opportunity to see the masterpieces of Velázquez, Goya, Raphael, Rubens and Bosch. In the early 1800s, the queen of Spain was so impressed with the Louvre in Paris that she wanted a museum of similar caliber in her country. Of the thousands of works present in the museum, the most famous painting is Velázquez’s “Las Meninas.”
El Retiro Park
This green oasis encompasses some very important gardens, such as the Rose Garden, Jardín de Vivaces and the Parterre Francés, with the oldest tree in Madrid, a bald cypress that is believed to be 400 years old. The park’s architectural, historical and popular elements also cannot be ignored. Row boat on El Retiro Park Lake, spot the Velázquez and Glass palaces and discover the spectacular fountains.
Plaza Mayor is known as Madrid’s grand central square and is considered one of the prettiest open spaces in Spain. It was designed by Juan Gómez de Mora in 1619 and was the center of civilian life at the time. The 237 wrought-iron balconies balance out the magnificent fresco paintings by Carlos Franco, who chose images from the signs of the zodiac and gods to provide an elaborate background for the plaza.
El Rastro Market
El Rastro is a popular open air flea market that composes many market stalls that sell mainly clothing, such as jewelry, handbags and decorative figures. With its beginnings in the Middle Ages, it is now said to be the largest flea market in Europe, with up to 3,500 stalls. If you are a bargain hunter, noteworthy antique shops also line the side streets of the market and are popular attractions.
On our Grand Finale at a luxury resort, end your summer in style at this incredible beach town. You quickly appreciate why Sitges is such a big hit with our groups!
Your modern and upscale residence is located in the heart of the Sarria district with tree-lined streets, charming cafes and quaint shops. You will be living like a local in the most desirable residential quarter of the city.
Just a short distance from the hustle and bustle of downtown, this quiet and picturesque neighborhood will charm and delight you.
This is beyond your typical dorm, it is a residence that will impress! Your summer home is in one of the most exclusive areas of Barcelona with chic cafes, boutiques, parks and theaters only steps away. Each two-person suite features air conditioning, a private bathroom, a safe for your valuables, Internet connection and desks. The residence provides 24-hour security, and features include a garden & sun deck, a state-of-the-art gym with indoor soccer, volleyball and basketball courts, a game room with ping-pong, foosball and pool tables, a snack café and dining hall, a theater, a laundry room and a library, study and computer rooms.Visit Website
Located in the heart of Madrid the Hotel Opera is located among the historical buildings of the Royal Palace, the Opera Theatre, Puerta del Sol and the bustling El Rastro Market.Visit Website
The URH Sitges Playa Hotel is located right in the heart of the pedestrian town center and has wonderful views of both the seaside resort town of Sitges and the beautiful Mediterranean beach.Visit Website
At Westcoast Connection nothing else comes first. From our extensive program planning department through our management team and our leaders, it is our single biggest priority! Safety procedures, equipment – we’ve got it covered. All Program Leaders and Directors are certified in First Aid and CPR. We are extremely proud of our safety record and welcome all questions you may have in this area. Please see more under Safety First.
Participants on this program have the option to fly overseas on our chaperoned group flight that leaves in the evening from the New York area to Barcelona. Our staff will be with you from the time you check in onward. For the many travelers from outside the New York area, you can choose to join the chaperoned flight and we are happy to assist you with arranging connecting flights at suitable times into New York; or if you prefer, you may meet us in Barcelona and we will help you coordinate your flight and times and greet you after you proceed through immigration and customs.
For your return from Barcelona, we offer a chaperoned flight to New York. For travelers from other areas, you may choose to join that flight and arrange transfers at suitable times from New York after the group has cleared customs and immigration in the USA; or you may fly from Barcelona to your home city and our leaders help you to check in and remain in the airport until flights in designated times have departed.
Once you are on your program, you will have sensitive leaders that are caring, approachable and always there for you. Your Program Director and Program Leaders are people with incredible backgrounds including teachers, guitar players, IRONMAN triathletes, SCUBA divers, volunteers, and so much more.
Every staff member takes part in and must complete our extensive training weekends that review our philosophy and procedures to provide a well-supervised and fun-filled program.
Our Program Directors, the individuals responsible for overseeing each itinerary, take on the roles of teachers, coaches, camp counselors, mentors, concierges and hosts. They’ve been trained to provide individual attention, help you navigate your courses and pre-college life, and create an inclusive environment within the residence and each class. There’s a definite art to building dynamic groups, and we’ve worked hard to master it! We want you smiling on day one right through to a teary goodbye at your farewell banquet.
Our leaders are non-smokers. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Summer Leaders section.
Our Pre-College Enrichment programs are designed to give you a taste of the excitement and independence you will experience in college. Just like in college, you will be part of a large group of students, live in a residence, be assigned a roommate and have your choice of classes. And like in college, you will enjoy a warm, family environment within your residence where you enjoy many opportunities to socialize with other students within your residence and classes. Our staff hiring and training emphasizes social safety and establishing an inclusive culture. We are extremely skilled at this. We take great care in crafting an environment that simulates and prepares you for life as a college student, both academically and socially.
We have partnered with some of the most prestigious schools in Barcelona. You may choose to study Spanish at The International House Language School, centrally located and just steps from Plaza Cataluña and Las Ramblas. This is one of Spain’s leading teacher training centers and boasts some of the best Spanish teachers in the city. Choose one of several university level courses taught at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and enjoy state of the art teaching and facilities, in addition to earning college credit. Or, you may choose to embrace the rich food and dining traditions of Spain and study cooking at Barcelona Cooking, a cutting edge culinary school just steps from the Boqueria Market.
Course offerings cover a diverse range of academic disciplines and interests so you can explore your passion, whether it’s Spanish language, business, photography or psychology to name a few. We work with highly qualified instructors so courses are taught by university faculty, local industry professionals and specialists. Some classes have the option to earn 3 college credits, which are transferable to many colleges and universities, while others are enrichment courses and include a Certificate of Completion at the end of the program. For those who choose community service options, a letter is issued for the hours completed.
8:00 AM - Wake Up
8:30 AM - 9:15 AM - Breakfast
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM - Major Course
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM - Lunch
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM - Elective Class
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM - Student's Choice (Sports, Pool & Health Club, City Exploring, Pre-Planned Staff-Led Outing)
8:15 PM - 9:30 PM - Dinner
9:30 PM - 11:30 PM - Evening Activities (Group or Several Options)
11:30 PM - Curfew
Note the schedule above is “typical,” your personal schedule and lunch time may vary based on your course choices.
Talk about an incredible summer. This program is the perfect balance of study, cultural immersion, college preparation and touring highlights. You will have the unique opportunity to study at internationally renowned schools while living in the heart of Barcelona. While staying in a college residence, eating in the dining hall, working out at the gym, going to class and utilizing public transportation, you will get a true taste of the college experience.
Getting a sneak peek at college life wouldn’t be complete without gaining some independence. Within structured daily schedules, our summer leaders provide guidance and supervision and are always available at designated meeting spots. This means that, together with your classmates, you’ll be able to navigate your way around the city, and explore neighboring sights, restaurants and cafes. Our tightly knit groups also come together for evening meals and activities, making it easy for our students to meet and build lasting friendships!
As you travel to new places and experience different cultures, your journey may challenge your ideas and preconceived notions. We recognize this and strive to provide an environment where you are free to question and learn. This is nurtured by our leaders’ open and non-judgmental guidance.
Our experience lends itself to trying new things and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. While living, working and learning together, you are afforded the chance to interact with very different communities. Everybody grows in their social acceptance of others. Your perception will change as your understanding of and empathy for others grows. Whereas prior to your travels, you may have held stereotypes for some communities, your new first-hand experience will enable you to see we often share more in common with others than we may have known.
There really is a difference in how different summer programs operate! Motivated students going away with qualified leaders is a given. But what sets us apart is the depth of our qualified personnel that allow us to perform with the greatest consistency at the highest level.
Your Program Director and Program Leaders are with you throughout your program. They have daily contact with one of our two 24-hour Communication Centers and are in regular contact with our Company Directors. Our Company Directors are the most seasoned veterans who each oversee specific programs providing support to program staff and to assist with any situations that may arise. Our Company Directors alternate between traveling to visit programs and being reached in the office. Program visits enable us to provide ongoing support and development to our Program Directors, allows program staff to have a sounding board for their own progress in reaching trip goals, helps us to identify any challenging areas for improvement while it still has relevance to your summer rather than as a mention on your end-of-summer survey, and helps us to identify the future Directors from the current crop of all-star summer staff. These visits are by Company Directors along with our Regional Supervisors, who are former Program Directors with further experience out in the field. Collectively our planning, supervisory and management team is an incredible resource with over 420 summers of combined teen travel experience. Last year we had 205 scheduled supervisory program visits to make sure all was running well, provide ongoing support to our staff in the field, and have fun! This investment in depth of personnel is unrivaled in teen travel and is a critical element to achieving consistent, excellent program quality and surpassing client expectations!
Included in the trip tuition are all activities and entertainment described, breakfast & dinner daily, lunches as indicated on your specific program, gratuities, taxes, land transportation, accommodations and fanatical customer service from our full-time team and summer Communication Centers. This can add up to tremendous value!
With 36 years of experience creating perfectly-planned summer programs, students will also take in the sights, impressive weekend and day trips, all included in the program tuition. Considering travel as education in itself, students get to immerse themselves in a new city and culture for an overall enriching experience. This study - travel balance is unique as, when not in class, our groups can be seen enjoying Barcelona’s most famous sights and simply having the summer of a lifetime!
A big part of your Pre-College Enrichment program’s success depends on how well you eat. We are proud of the fact that year after year we are complimented for our quality, quantity and choice of food! Breakfasts in Spain are eaten at the dining hall or hotels and are buffets with a variety of hot and cold choices. For dinners, on most school nights, you will dine at the residence hall. On other nights, either the whole group goes to the same restaurant or we divide into smaller groups with staff to sample quainter places with a variety of different cuisines. For lunch, you enjoy the choice of eating in smaller groups and choosing from local cafés and small restaurants. Food options are varied and plentiful; taste seafood from the coast, paella, incredible fresh fruits and plenty of fresh vegetables and meats. But don’t worry, they also have North American style options on the menu.
We have satisfied the choosiest of eaters and gladly accommodate most special dietary requests including vegetarian, anaphylactic food allergies, lactose intolerance, celiac disease and kosher style. We welcome discussing your individual requirements with you and have extensive personal experience in this area. International travel may present more challenges than domestic locations and we are happy to review your personal needs and help you select an appropriate itinerary.
During the day, students travel in small groups by public transportation for the short ride from their residence to classes. In the evenings, our staff travels together with students on any public transportation. Our staff is there to support and guide you at all times.
On day and weekend excursions you’ll ride in a charted deluxe, air-conditioned motor coach with a professional driver.
You only need to bring one week’s worth of clothing as outlined in our packing list as we have the opportunity to do laundry at your convenience. You can drop off your laundry at a local wash and fold service and then pick it up clean, folded and ready to go or you will have the opportunity to do laundry in your residence hall.
While you’re out having the summer of your life, your parents should feel like they are in on the action as well. We post updates to our blog and Facebook page and e-mail photos approximately once a week so those at home can be in on the fun. Parents also have access to our dedicated office Program Monitors 24/7 for any questions and/or concerns. We’re as in touch as any program operator could possibly be via smartphones with e-mail and text. The goal is uncompromising safety and peace of mind, day after day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Participants may bring their personal cell phones.
In last summer’s surveys, 98% of responding teens and parents said they would recommend us to others. We must be doing something right!