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Barcelona University: Unique Opportunity for Study Abroad
Barcelona is quickly becoming a center of international studies, as evidenced by the jump in foreign students from 8,000 in 2003 to 17,000 in 2006. Not only have foreign undergraduate students in Barcelona more than doubled; at the postgraduate level, over 23% of the student body throughout public universities in Catalonia is foreign.

This growing internationalism is due in large part to joint marketing efforts between Spanish universities and Spain's government to promote its institutions of higher learning in foreign markets, a campaign which has only recently gotten underway.

Another important factor in the budding role of Barcelona as a center of international studies is the widespread appeal of the city itself. Modern and culturally diverse, Barcelona offers a unique blend of Spanish laid-backness, metropolitan dynamism and social open-mindedness difficult to find elsewhere. Interesting architecture, beautiful sea-side boardwalks, active nightlife and an invigorating artistic atmosphere are just a few of the reasons why thousands of people each year visit what is perhaps Spain's most appealing city overall.

Thanks to the World's Fair in 1888, the 1992 Olympics and the more recent Universal Forum of the Cultures in 2004, Barcelona has flourished as a city of great artistic and cultural significance on the global stage. One example is the up-and-coming director Isabel Coixet, who recently received the European Woman Award in recognition for her work in the Spanish film industry.

Considered the best female director in Spain, Coixet is a history graduate from Barcelona University. Works such as "My Life Without Me" and "The Secret Life of Words," both filmed in English, have been widely praised as true works of art. The director is part of a fresh artistic movement in Barcelona unparalleled throughout the rest of Spain and much of Europe.

Barcelona is fertile soil for creativity and artistic expression due in large part to the open-mindedness of its people. The coexistence of multiple languages and cultures (among them, Spanish and Basque) has given rise to a unique environment where foreign languages and customs breathe new life into the city streets.

Barcelona's diverse history and artistic spirit also makes it one of Spain's most important centers of tourism. One walk through the city takes visitors from Roman ruins to the city's Gothic center and on to the characteristic architecture of Catalan Modernism. One of the most attractive areas for tourists and residents alike, Las Ramblas, can be found between the city's historic center and its old port. Cafes and restaurants, street performances and shops of all kinds draw large crowds of people to this boardwalk until the late hours of the night.

The combination of quality educational opportunities and a stimulating cultural environment makes Barcelona an ideal place to study abroad, and recent efforts to capitalize on the city's value for international students only promises to increase its appeal.
About the Author
If you're thinking about studying Spanish in Spain take a good look at Barcelona University. Recently rated among the 200 best universities in the world, this school provides an excellent educational experience in one of Spain's most modern, international, culturally and artistically stimulating cities.
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