About the Programme
The IAB Semester Study Abroad program provides a unique and exciting opportunity to enhance your performing arts skills at Europe's only International Performing Arts Institution and at the same time experience a new culture in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.
The IAB is located in the stunning seaside town of Sitges, just 30 minutes from the centre of Barcelona, and is the perfect base from which to explore the rich arts scene of Cataluña, Spain and beyond! It is known that Picasso, Rusiñol and Dalí all spent time in Sitges, and immersion within Spanish arts and culture is something we greatly encourage within the Study Abroad program. Students undertake a dedicated course on Spanish culture within their discipline and are given the opportunity to improve their Spanish language skills as well as experiencing traditional customs at festivals and during our organised cultural trips throughout the region.
Our semester-long programs in Acting, Dance and Musical Theatre courses, are worth 30 ECTS credits (European HE credits). We are a truly vocational conservatory, helping students to develop their performance skills from dedicated, innovative teachers. Our intense programs marry technical skills and creativity within a professional performance context, with a high number of weekly contact hours and individual feedback sessions and the opportunity to create shows in our fully-equipped theatre.
Despite all teaching and operations being in English, we are a truly international institution, with students and staff representing over 35 different nationalities, giving Study Abroad students the opportunity to befriend like-minded artists from all over the world. Having only 350 students, we are able to ensure that student well-being is of paramount importance – a dedicated Study Abroad student contact is part of our permanent student welfare department and can be contacted with any queries before and throughout the Study Abroad program.
Our student halls are a relaxed and friendly focal point for students, just a minute’s walk to the beach and a 5 minute walk to the IAB. Students are responsible for preparing and cooking for themselves, using the shared facilities available in their accommodation. The IAB itself has an in-house café which provides healthy options for breakfast and lunch, and countless nearby restaurants, bars and cafés offer an inviting alternative for meal times relaxing with friends.
"Hi, I’m Adaia. For my Study Abroad I went to the Royal Conservatorie of Dance of Madrid, I studied one year in Tucaloosa, Alabama, I also spent one year in La Sorbonne Université in Paris, and after I studied in London… so please, believe me when I say this is going to be one of the most exciting and challenging periods of your life. I know first-hand what you will be experiencing which is why I can say without a shadow of a doubt that you will be in extremely good hands.”
Adaia Matas, IAB Study Abroad Coordinator
What makes studying at Institute of the Arts Barcelona a unique opportunity?
As the only International European Performing Arts school, we offer a Study Abroad experience unlike any other. Our incredibly diverse student body brings a wealth of different ideas and cultures with them, but all share in a passion for performance. Studying Abroad at the IAB gives you the chance to perfect your craft with expert teachers and visiting performers, whilst spending your semester fully immersed in one of the richest cultures in the world. We offer the chance to enrich your education with refreshing perspectives on theatre and dance and develop you as a person and a performer in the process.
Will there be opportunities to be submersed in the Spanish culture during my semester abroad? Or opportunities for optional excursions?
The courses we offer on the Study Abroad program all offer the chance to learn about Spanish culture in relation to your chosen area. Our accommodation is ideally located just outside the town centre of Sitges, surrounded by tapas bars with live music, museums and sports centres to experience the culture first hand.
Our study abroad package includes excursions around the region and to various cultural hotspots, such as the Gaudí tour of Barcelona, attending Picasso exhibitions and visiting Montserrat to get a true all-round Spanish experience!
Will I need to know more than just English in order for me to study abroad?
Our courses are fully taught and assessed in English and staff members are all English speakers so it is certainly not essential, however some Spanish phrases may be useful with regard to navigating life in a Spanish town for a semester!
Will there be opportunities to learn traditional dance (flamenco, cultural dance)?
There will be an opportunity to learn from local flamenco and traditional dance teachers in workshops held at the IAB for all IAB students.
What happens in Spring Break?
The IAB does not run its full time programmes during Spring Break. In Europe many people take holidays and celebrate Easter. It is the perfect time to visit other European countries with friends or family or to stay in Sitges and explore Barcelona.
What are my accommodations like? Will I be living with other students studying abroad as well?
All Study Abroad students are accommodated in our student halls or shared apartments well within walking distance from the IAB. A number of our full time students also reside here. Our student halls have a very friendly community with large lounge areas, a bar, garden and with live music most weekends.
What if I have any dietary restrictions and or allergies? What is the dining experience like for the housing conditions?
As you would be cooking for yourself in the evenings, it is your responsibility to ensure your dietary needs are catered for however, the café at the IAB provides snacks for students with specific requirements as requested
What if I decide to arrive early or stay later after my abroad program?
If you have free time or vacation time before or after the program, it may be possible for you to stay in Sitges, please contact the Study Abroad coordinator if you wish to do this so we can arrange accommodation and make sure you are accounted for! You may also need to consider any visa restrictions you may have that would stop you remaining in Spain or travelling around other European countries outside of the program’s allotted timescale.
May I have friends or family come to visit me?
Family and friends are very welcome to visit whilst you study at the IAB, they are able to watch any shows you might perform in and we can recommend activities for you to enjoy together if desired.
Will I be able to be immersed with classes or projects at IAB with existing full-time students?
As a Study Abroad student you will fully integrated in the regular classes and join the second year of the relevant Batchelors degree programme. You will work alongside our full time second year students. Some of your assessments will be exactly the same as the full time student assessments and some are taken by you but not the rest of the class. You will be in at least one performance.
What performing opportunities are offered at IAB? Are there opportunities to perform within the institution as well outside in community?
Throughout the term, our theatre is in near-constant use for student productions and performances; you would be able to take part in shows at the Institute where appropriate as well as in any performances we give in local spaces in and around the region. Our semesters generally lead up to an end of semester show in which all students participate.
Is the community safe, and would all shops and restaurants be within walking distance?
Sitges is very popular among families and couples with a very relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, the community being very safe and welcoming. The centre of Sitges is a 10 minute walk from our student accommodation where the main cultural area is located.
What is the student to teacher ratio in the classes?
We have an student to teacher ratio of 12:1.
What are the professional credits of the faculty?
Our teachers have studied and taught at some of the leading performing arts institutions in the world and have practised their trades as directors and performers in their own right as a part of international companies and shows. Click here to see teacher profiles.
What does a typical day of classes look like?
Working days at the IAB are full and intense, classes last 1 hour 30 minutes and students can have anything between 2 and 6 classes a day.
Will my credits transfer towards my current degree?
Yes, our semester-long programs are fully accredited as a UK qualification worth 30 ECTS credits normally transferable to your home university, your Head of Department can advise on the technicalities of credit transfer.
If I decide to stay longer than a semester is that option be available?
At the present moment, we are only offering semester-long courses at the IAB.
What kind of counselling is offered and/or do you have pastoral care?
We offer a counseling service at the IAB, as well as having student mentors on hand to help with any problems. We have a number of staff members responsible for student welfare and pastoral care. Whilst you are here we will tell you who to contact should you need to discuss any problems that may arise during the Study Abroad program.
What if I have a medical emergency? Will there be a contact person available 24 hours I can contact as a liaison for the program?
Yes, you may contact our Study Abroad coordinator, whose details you will be given before arrival.
What is the best suggestion for banking? A debit card and/or credit card without foreign fees?
We would suggest a pre-paid travel card or a debit/credit card that will not charge you extra fees for cash withdrawals or using your card abroad.
Do I need to purchase a SIM card for my cell phone? Or what suggestions do you have for cell phone communication.
As you are here for a whole semester, we would recommend buying either a Spanish SIM card or a cheap Spanish mobile, this helps prevent any large bills incurred by contacting fellow classmates or family during your time at the IAB.
Do I need to bring my laptop?
Although we have computers in our library, it is recommended that you bring a laptop to be able to work on research projects during independent study hours.
What are the dress codes for the dance classes and what appropriate shoes do you require?
Prior to arrival, uniform lists will be provided to all study abroad students.
What are average temperatures for weather in Sitges Spain for Spring, fall, and winter?
The average temperatures are 50°F, 55°F, 75°F and 65°F,in spring, summer, fall and winter respectively; it has been known to get up to 90°F in August!
Will I need a student visa to study abroad?
As you will be studying in Spain for longer than 90 days, you will need to have a student visa. We are able to supply you with a letter of acceptance onto our program and your home study abroad advisor should be able to help regarding visa applications.
Does my financial aid apply that I am using in my existing university?
With regards to financial aid, you are advised to contact your home Study Abroad department.
What is included in the program fee? And what is not included? What will I need to be responsible for financially?
Our Study Abroad package includes full tuition and cultural trips during your stay. You will be responsible for food, health and travel insurance, and spending money.
Do I need to audition for your program if I am already accepted into a theatre/dance department at my current University?
No, there is no need for you to do another audition to attend one of our programs, provided you are already enrolled on a valid performing arts program at your home university.
Will I graduate on time if I study at IAB?
Yes, you can still graduate on time if you study at the IAB, the credits you gain through the semester abroad with us should be able to count towards your degree, see you study abroad advisor and head of department for full details.
How To Apply
Download the application form and fill it out accurately. The form is a PDF document that will need to be emailed back to us: