Campus Life: Barcelona IS Your Campus at UPF!

Oct 18, 2019 10:45:00 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

When you study abroad on the CAPA Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) direct enroll program, you’ll hear many different languages spoken on campus. It’s a trilingual university (Catalan, Spanish, and English), and welcomes 9,000 students each year, about 1,500 of them international, so as one may assume, there will be an exciting mix of cultural backgrounds and opportunities to make friends from around the world. UPF is an authentically urban campus, with classes in three areas of the city: Ciutadella (Social Sciences and Humanities), Poblenou (ITC and Communication Sciences), and Mar (Health and Life Sciences). You’ll get to know Barcelona quickly and intimately as you navigate your way to your classes and beyond.

Read on to find out more about what it’s like to live and study at UPF, from your housing options, to the facilities available on campus, to the many clubs and events that will help you make new friends, to the student support services, and some bonus CAPA inclusions, as well as a few notes on accessibility.

Pinterest Graphic - UPF - Campus Life


In true urban university style, UPF doesn’t have its own on-campus residences, but you’ll have several options to consider.

You can choose to live within commuting distance in a shared apartment with other CAPA students, or you can opt for a homestay with a family if you’re looking for a closer connection to the local culture.

A third option is to find accommodation on your own, with CAPA’s guidance, which you can do through the connections that UPF has built up over the years and have found to be reliable. They recommend a company called Resa Housing that provides accommodation for international students attending many different universities across Barcelona. There are two specific residence halls run by Resa Housing which are close to campus. There’s the Residència La Ciutadella near the Ciutadella campus (where you’re most likely to have classes), and Residència Campus del Mar near the Mar campus. Spend some time on the accommodation section of the UPF website to explore these two options and others.

Where you choose to live will determine what is included in terms of inventory, as well as the facilities available within or nearby your housing. CAPA staff will be able to guide you to make the right decision for your particular needs and preferences.

UPF Campus Life Photo 1


As a UPF student, you’ll truly be integrated into Barcelona life and the city itself. You’ll find yourself with much more independence than you would on a traditional self-contained campus. The city essentially is your campus, so you’ll find all you need nearby. There are shops, cafes, restaurants, galleries, and more on your doorstep, but we’ll look more in depth at the local area in another post.

On the campus itself, you’ll find a bookstore and stationery shop, a cafeteria, printing services, a lost and found area, a bank, and the housing office. There are also several libraries and computer labs. While there are no sports facilities directly on campus, UPF has agreements with several fitness venues nearby which students are welcome to use.

UPF Campus Life Photo 2


One of the best ways to get involved in university life and meet other UPF students outside of your classes is by joining a club. There are around 40 to choose from, or you could also consider joining Student Council. There are sports clubs, political groups, musical groups and a choir, a local chapter of Amnesty International, Student Marketing Association, Barcelona Debating Society, Entrepreneurship Society, and religious groups, among others.


When you arrive in Barcelona, you’ll find out about a variety of volunteering opportunities and you’ll have a calendar packed full of activities that you can participate in which will help you get to know the city. You’ll also be welcome to join in on a highly recommended linguistic exchange program that will help you improve your Spanish or Catalan skills and connect with others who would like to improve their English. Keep an eye on the culture calendar for upcoming theater, music, and art events as well as workshops, contests, and experiences.

UPF Campus Life Photo 3


We’ve talked about some of the academic support available already, but you’ll also find guidance for other areas of your life during your time at UPF.

The student information desk is a good place to start. They’re either be able to answer your questions themselves or point you in the right direction to someone who will be able to help you. They’ve also created a useful student guide that you can access online anytime.

If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, there is also a psychological support service available.


As a CAPA student, you’ll have access to extra benefits and inclusions like a CAPA orientation; welcome and farewell events; and access to CAPA emergency services, including the CAPA Guardian App.

You’ll also be able to join in on My Global City events. These change depending on the term, but some examples include learning about Mediterranean cuisine with a Tapas tasting experience, exploring the Gothic Quarter, and touring the local Gaudi architecture.

UPF Barcelona Photo 4


If you have a disability, UPF will do their best to accommodate any special needs, and will be more likely to be able to provide what you will need to succeed if they are notified in advance. The buildings, classrooms and libraries, are accessible. They’re able to make provisions for exams if you need extra time or computers with adapted programs, for example. With notice, documents in Braille can also be organized. You can also request a note taker if needed.

Wondering what you’ll find in the neighborhoods surrounding the UPF campuses? Stay tuned as we explore the local areas in a coming post.

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Topics: Barcelona, Spain, Direct Enroll