Barcelona is one of the cities with the major life-quality in the world. The climate, gastronomy, lifestyle and cultural events add up to a true Mediterranean experience.

Barcelona welcomes an important number art institutions. As a part of this rich ecosystem Metàfora is a meeting place for international students and artists.

Our intention is to offer our students a working environment where the city itself and the contacts between Metàfora’s students and collaborators become a unique experience.

The sea and mountains makes it a breathing space for people with different concerns and agendas, an oasis of sun and tourism, and at the same time a place for alternative happenings, underground movements and intellectual events.

In this section, you will find practical infomation, as well as help in the process of applying for a student-visa (if you are from outside the European Comunity, or if you are from a country in the EC). You can also see our list of useful links

    Practical information

    Accommodation

    Useful addresses and web sites (see PDF).

    Transport

    There is an extensive and well-functioning system of public transport in Barcelona, consisting of metro, rail and busses. There is a network of city-bikes, Bicing. The system is very affordable and a good alternative to other forms of public transport.

    Spanish Language

    If you are interested in attending Spanish language classes there are a wide choice of language schools in Barcelona. Our students have generally chosen to attend classes at Mediterraneo.

    There are many others, but this one is cheap and quite good.

    Mediterráneo Escuela de Español en Barcelona, (+34) 93 318 70 70, www.escuelamediterraneo.com

    The Catalan government offers free language classes (Catalan and Spanish) at their various Civic Centres.

    For more information call or visit your local Town Hall/Ayuntamiento.

    Health insurance and medical attention

    The standard of medical care is very high in Spain, and if you are from the EC, it is your right to be attended for free.

    For how on to obtain a European insurance form/card, see the Visa and residence section of this web.

    Opening a Bank-account

    If you should wish to open a non-resident bank account, all you need to bring is your passport.

    You will be able to withdraw money at all cash dispensers and arrange for international money-transfers.

    Weather

    Most of our students discover rather quickly that the beaches in Barcelona are very nice if you want a swim on a hot day. Temperatures in June, July and August go up to 35 degrees (95ºF), and in the coldest months of the year (from November to March) it can still be warm on a sunny day. However, the climate of Barcelona is damp, so make sure you bring warm clothes for the winter. Flats and houses are badly conditioned for cold weather, and you may feel cold here during the winter.

    Emergency-numbers in Spain

    • Police: 112
    • Medical emergencies: 061
    • Fire-brigade: 080

    Student-visa, Students from outside the European Community

    Students from other countries in the European Union do not need a student-visa for staying at Metàfora. Students from outside the European union do, if the stay is longer than 3 months. For shorter periods a tourist-visa is enough.

    We try to help future students as much as possible, but we recommend that you contact the Spanish consulate in your country concerning student visa before you apply.

    What should you do before you come to Spain?

    Once admitted to the International Workshop, you will receive admission papers and an invoice for the reservation fee. When you have paid this, you will receive papers confirming your definite enrollment on the course. With these papers you contact the embassy or consulate in your country. They will give you a list of additional requirements for obtaining a student visa (particular to each country, but likely to include private medical insurance, a certain amount of money in the bank, clean criminal record, etc.).

    Sometimes the consulate will require additional information about the course. Do not hesitate to contact us in this case.

    The visa-application process can take a long time, in some cases several months. You are likely to be given a 3 month initial visa to complete once in Spain. Unfortunately, the whole process is dominated by long queues and waiting times, so it is a good idea to start the completion of your visa as soon as you arrive.

    Other insurance

    Barcelona is not a dangerous place, but our students have often had things stolen while walking in the street. Insurance against theft is therefore not a bad idea.

    Once you arrive

    For overseas students, a Certificado de Empadronamiento (registering your address in Barcelona with the City Council) will be first on the list of documents you must process in order to legalise your stay here. You can get the Certificado de Empadronamiento from your local government office/town hall, Ayuntamiento or Ajuntament (each area of Barcelona has one).

    Bring your passport and any document proving that you are living at the apartment or house where you are staying, i.e. tenancy agreement/lease, utility bills, a letter from your landlord or from the person whose name is on the lease, etc. You can also get a form from the town hall and ask your landlord to fill it out and provide the necessary documents (a photocopy of his DNI and most recent utilities bill with his name on it).

    Tarjeta de residencia

    Once you have the Certificado de Empadronamiento you will need the definite tarjeta de residencia de estudiante, student residence card (NIE) .

    Most Overseas students obtain their NIE (this depends on your country of origin) from the Oficina de Extranjeros at the following address: Rambla de Guipúscoa, 74, Barcelona

    You will need:

    • A completed application form. You will find the form on the following link:
    • http://extranjeros.empleo.gob.es/es/ModelosSolicitudes/Mod_solicitudes2/17-Formulario_TIE.pdf
    • 3 ID photos (recognised format: colour, front-view, etc)
    • Original and a photocopy of your passport
    • Photocopy of your initial student visa (which is normally valid for 3 months)
    • An acceptance letter from the school (in Spanish) stating that you have been admitted to the course for more than 3 months.
    • The receipt for your paid tuition fee
    • Any document stating that you have the economic means to support yourself during your stay here in Spain.
    • For example, your bank account statement, a scholarship certificate, a letter from someone saying that he or she will be responsible for your stay here.

    All the documents should be legally validated and in Spanish.

    If you have problems or additional questions, the address of the Central Foreign Office is:

    Oficina de Extranjeros, Avenida Marquès de l’Argentera, 4, 08071 Barcelona

    Metro: Barceloneta (L4). Phone: 93 482 0544

    Office Hours: Mon to Thurs from 9.30 to 15.30, Fri from 9 to 2.

    Beware of the extremely long queues!!!

    Student-visa, Students from countries inside the European Comunity

    What should you do before you come to Spain?

    If you are from an EC-country, remember to bring a European insurance-card from the public health-care centre in your country. This will give you FREE medical care while you are here, at any public hospital or medical centre. You do not need any private medical insurance if you are from an EC-country.

    If you forget to bring a form, you can have it sent from your home country, if necessary, but a doctor’s visit without one can cost you more than 90€.

    Other insurance

    Barcelona is not a dangerous place, but our students have often had things stolen while walking in the street. Insurance against theft is therefore not a bad idea.

    Once you arrive

    It is not strictly necessary for EC students to formalise their papers in any way while studying in Spain.Nevertheless, there are 3 things which are good to do when you arrive to Spain:

    • Registering your address in Barcelona at the City Council, called Certificado de Empadronamiento
    • Obtaining a I.E. (número d e Identificación del Extranjero)
    • Registering with a Medical Centre in the neighbourhood of your house.

    Certificado de Empadronamiento

    If you want to “legalise” your situation in Spain, registering your address in Barcelona at the City Council will be first on the list of things to do. It is recommendable for EC-students to get “empadronado”, because it makes the bureaucracy run smoother if you should need to see a doctor, go to hospital etc.

    You can get the Certificado de Empadronamiento from your local government office/town hall, Ayuntamiento or Ajuntament (each area of Barcelona has one).

    Bring your passport and any document proving that you are living at the apartment or house where you are staying, i.e. tenancy agreement/lease, utility bills, a letter from your landlord or from the person whose name is on the lease, etc. You can also get a form from the town hall and ask your landlord to fill it out and provide the necessary documents (a photocopy of his/her DNI and most recent utilities bill with his name on it).

    N.I.E. (numero de Identificación del Extranjero)

    The NIE. is an identity-number for foreigners in Spain. It is good to have, even for EC-students who are not obliged to have one. It is not a social security number (you need an European health insurance card to see a doctor).

    The NIE is needed when you apply for a job and need to sign a contract. Getting it from the start avoids unnecessary stress if you suddenly find yourself in a situation where you urgently need it.

    It takes about a month for the card to be ready to pick up, but the receipt of application is enough if you have to sign a work contract or similar.

    The application should be presented at the police station in Barceloneta, Pg. Joan de Borbó, number 32

    Useful links

    www.bcn.es City council’s web-page. Good for maps and cultural info.

    www.gencat.net Information offered by the Catalan Government.

    Galleries and Museums in Barcelona

    www.artbarcelona.es

    www.macba.es

    Barcelona’s Contemporary Art Museum, is five minutes’ walk from the Plaza Catalunya in the city centre.

    www.museupicasso.bcn.es

    The hugely expanded Picasso Museum (Montcada 15-23) now occupies five Gothic palaces in the heart of Barcelona’s old city.

    www.cccb.org

    The CCCB (Montalegre 5) opened in 1994 and puts on exhibitions, music, dance, courses, debates, lectures

    www.obrasocial.lacaixa.es/laCaixaFoundation/home_en.html

    CaixaForum includes a selection of works from the Foundations Contemporary Art Collection as well as visiting exhibitions. Most exhibitions are free. Good library.

    www.salvador-dali.org

    The official web site for the Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres – 1.2h by train from Barcelona

    www.bcn.fjmiro.es

    Museum for the work of Miró, but also good contemporary art Exhibitions. Excellent library.

    www.mnac.es

    Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya includes one of the worlds greatest collections of Romanesque art.

    www.bcn.es/virreinaexposicions

    Exhibitions centre on Ramblas. Good temporal Art Exhibitions.

    www.fundaciotapies.org

    The Fundació Antoni Tàpies was created in 1984 by the artist Antoni Tàpies to promote the study and knowledge of modern and contemporary art.

    Living in barcelona, First-time visitors

    As most people probably know, Barcelona is the capital of the Spanish region of Catalonia.  The main languages are Spanish and Catalan, the latter being not a dialect, but a language with its own regulated grammar. Although everybody in Catalonia speaks Spanish, the Catalans take great pride in their language and national identity, and any attempt on the visitor’s part to learn about their language and culture is warmly appreciated.

    The “Time-Out” guidebook to Barcelona is especially recommendable. Apart from tourist-attractions and museums it has a very complete listing of concert-halls and all kinds of bars. However, we can mention here a few places that are definitely a “must” if you come to Barcelona for the first time:

    You must stroll down “Ramblas”, a pedestrian street that goes from Plaça Catalunya to the harbour. Here you will find La Boquería, the main market, which is one of the biggest and most beautiful food-markets in Europe. The food here is quite cheap, but avoid the stalls at the entrance, where the prices are double or triple the prices in the stalls inside the market. On Ramblas you will also find the Art-centres “La Virreina” and “Centre d’Art, Santa Monica”, and among other Art centres or Museums we could mention “MACBA”, “CCCB”, “Fundació Miró”, “Fundació Tàpies” and “Fundació la Caixa”, “Caixa Forum” and many more.

    Another feature that ought to be mentioned is the architecture of Antonio Gaudí. “La Pedrera” on Passeig de Gràcia, the unfinished church “Sagrada Familia” and “Parc Güell” are all impressive tourist attractions. The harbour has recently been restored and both “Moll de la Fusta” and “Vila Olímpica” are colourful and interesting places to go.

    In the gothic area, on the left side of Ramblas you will find several small squares and gothic churches, the biggest of which is the Cathedral of Barcelona. Every Sunday morning people gather in front of the cathedral to dance “Sardanas”, the Catalan national dance.

    Good reading for the plane Merce Rodoreda “Plaça del Diamant” or George Orwell “Homage to Catalonia”.