Academic Excellence2020-07-07T16:41:17+02:00

A personal, fit-for-all-profiles study abroad program

With 2-15 students per class session, ALBA proves to be a very unique study abroad experience. Class is an open conversation, never a lecture.

Offering upper-division classes in Liberal Arts, Economics and Global, International Business, Spanish Language and Culture,  Political Science, History, and more.

View Available Programs
Teachers

Excellent professors from some of the best universities in Spain and the US.

partners

With the accreditation and partnership support of Portland State University and the University of Washington Foster School of Business.

learn beyond

Learn beyond the classroom and become culturally immersed in an amazing European city

NEW! Online Experience

Student professor2
gle logo

An International, Small-group eLearning Environment

Providing a global experience: classes in Spain for students in the USA and Canada

Tell me more!
portland state university small

Easy Credit Transfers

All ALBA classes are accredited by Portland State University, Oregon.  In other words: No matter the Institution you are coming from, you can apply to ALBA and get credit for the classes you take.

University of Washington (UW) students receive direct UW credits for all classes taught by ALBA

tay

Tailored to your needs

Choose the length of your experience, and study abroad in Barcelona up to four consecutive quarter terms.

You also have the flexibility to choose any of the courses being offered in a term –as long as there are no conflicting classes on the schedule– that way you can broaden the scope of your learnings by spicing up your course mix to get a cultural head-start.

View Dates & Costs

All Course Offerings

Courses not being offered in any given term can be requested and offered based on demand.

Students should see their academic advisor about all courses of interest.

International Business, Finance and Economics Courses

5 quarter credits – 3-4 semester credits

(EC 410 PSU)

The principal objective of this course is to understand the nature and significance of trade – flows of goods and services – between countries. This task will involve asking why these flows arise in the first place and what effects they have on the countries involved (usually, two in our analyses). Beyond that, we shall also ask whether, and under what conditions, these effects are good, bad or indifferent and what policies might therefore be deployed to improve or alleviate the situation – and in turn, what effects these policies may have on the other country (ies).

Then, following the mainly theoretical analysis, we will look at trade policies in historical perspective, particularly the evolution of the world trading system under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GAIT) and its successor, the World Trade Organization (WTO). Much of the history of trade relations over this Post-World War II period has been a struggle between national commitments to free trade and more immediate short run (SR) domestic considerations.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(FIN 456 PSU)

This course focuses on the two essential elements of international finance, often called “multinational” finance because in reality the flow of funds across national boundaries is conducted almost entirely by large corporations and large banks with international operations.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(EC 441 PSU)

International economics is divided into two broad subfields: international trade and international money. International trade focuses on real transactions in the international economy, that is, on those transactions that involve a physical movement of goods. On the other hand, international money focuses on financial transactions and refers to the monetary side of the international economy. This course deals with the second aspect of international economics.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(EC 410 PSU)

The aim of this course is to get to know the European Union from an economic perspective. We will study the evolution of this integration agreement, which started as Customs Union and where some of the member countries evolved into a Monetary Union. Special reference will be made to the implications on Member States economies derived from adopting a single currency, as well as the recent enlargement of the Central and Eastern European countries. We will go through the historical evolution of European integration insisting on economic issues, from the Treaty of Rome (1957) up to the present.

This course introduces the main economic aspects of the current development of the European Union (EU) and its policies. The course covers the process of European Integration and its economic impacts on different regions. Special attention will be devoted to the analysis of the economic opportunities and challenges generated by economic integration, and to the assessment of the policies designed to support this process and mitigate its potential side-effects.

The course will touch on the institutional, political and historical background of European integration, though its main focus is on the economic analysis of the policies and prospects for the European Union. Some recent hot topics in the international policy agenda like rising public debt and the euro crisis will also be covered.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(MGMT 446 PSU)

This course focuses on the notion of communication competence in multicultural
settings for managing organizations effectively. It aims to explore what intercultural
communication and pragmatics are, and more importantly, the extreme value that good
intercultural communicators add to organizations for cross-culture relations both
internally and externally. The course encourages contemplation of the nature of the
communicative process across organizations, among management and
representatives of different cultures, speaking different first languages. It delves into
the topics of ….

5 quarter credits / 3.3-4 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(MKTG 376 PSU)

This course is designed as an introduction to the study of global business. We will examine contemporary issues regarding the political, social, and economic consequences of the globalization of markets and industries. We will also examine the responses of multinational enterprises to the challenges of globalization. Topics include: national business systems, regional and multilateral integration, international trade and investment, the global financial system, culture, ethics and international operations. Because of its introductory nature, the course will introduce a large number of key issues whose understanding can be deepened through subsequent courses or readings.

Course Objectives:
In today’s environment many companies operate globally. This class will expose students to the challenges and opportunities managers face when conducting business internationally. The goal is to provide students with the frameworks and tools to …..

5 quarter credits / 3.3-4 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(BA 385/MGMT 399 PSU)

Organizations do not exist in a vacuum. Every day, businesses and their employees face a wide range of pressures and constraints that comprise the political, social, legal, and ethical environment of business. The purpose of this course is to dramatically increase your understanding of these forces and prepare you to become a more effective member of the international business community. The course is organized into three modules:

1. Making Ethical Decisions
2. Managing Relationships
3. Building Socially Responsible Systems, Practices, and Policies.

5 quarter credits / 3.3-4 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(BA 302/MGMT 399 PSU)

The field of Organizational Behavior has evolved to help organizations manage and lead their people in a way that maximizes the organization’s success and employee wellbeing. This course is an introduction to the basic concepts and topics in leadership and organizational behavior (OB). We will survey several topics that are related to managing and leading people in organizations, including personality, decision making, motivation, leadership, team dynamics, negotiations, and organizational culture. Throughout this course, we will examine how individuals in organizations function across different contexts and levels of analysis: individually, inter-personally and in groups, and in organizations.

5 quarter credits / 3.3-4 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(BA 311/MKTG 399 PSU)

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental marketing concepts and their application by business and non-business organizations. The goal is to expose the students to these concepts as they are used in a wide variety of settings, including consumer goods firms, manufacturing and service industries, and small and large businesses. The course will give you an overview of marketing strategy issues, elements of a market – company, customers, and competition, as well as the fundamental elements of the
marketing mix – product, price, placement (distribution) and promotion. In addition, the course adopts a modern, customer-centric view of marketing and will, via managerial marketing models, prepare students to comfortably apply the marketing strategies in a quantitative, precise, and informed fashion. As with any class, the knowledge that you take away from the class will be determined in large part by the degree to which you rigorously pursue an understanding of the materials covered. This includes reading the assigned materials, asking informed questions, and productively interacting with your peers in team assignments.

5 quarter credits / 3.3-4 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(MKTG 363 PSU)

This course is designed to provide you with an understanding of the study of consumer behavior from a marketing point of view. Emphasis will be placed on theories from behavioral sciences and psychology with both a theoretical and applications-oriented perspective. Throughout the quarter we will study how people respond to the marketing of products and services, and how business managers can use consumer research, along with technology and data analytics, to build better relationships with their customers. Throughout the quarter we will focus on how consumers evaluate product offerings, and the role branding plays in decision-making process. Emphasis will be placed on long-term strategies that enable companies to sustain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download Syllabus (PDF)

(STATS 241 PSU)

This is an introductory course designed to get you started with business data. The ability to understand and interpret data is becoming increasingly important in the industry. A good understanding of statistics is a requirement to make correct and relevant interpretations of data. This course will give you a working knowledge of Excel with the aim of getting to use it for more advance topics in Business and Finance. It will take you from basic operations such as reading data into excel using various data formats, organizing and manipulating data, to various advanced functionality (like confidence interval, hypothesis testing) of Excel using examples.

5 quarter credits / 3.3-4 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

https://alba.pdx.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Data_Analysis_Using_Excel-3.pdf

(BA 213 PSU – ACCTG 225 UW)

Visiting Professor Christina Nichols from the U. of Washington

Decision Making with Accounting Information – International Perspectives (Managerial Accounting)

In this course students take on the perspective of management and evaluate how to make decisions based on
accounting information. Specifically, after this course students will be able to:

  • Quantify the financial impact of pursuing one decision over another
  • Analyze the impacts on a firm’s profits when the price, volume, cost structures, and sales mix change
  • Create financial plans for different components of a firm
  • Evaluate how well a company performs relative to its financial plan
  • Calculate how much it costs to manufacture a product and value the inventory on financial statements
  • Assess the cost implications for multinational companies, such as currency fluctuations and transfer
    pricing
Prerequisites

It is expected that basic accounting knowledge presented in an introductory financial accounting class is
understood.

5 quarter credits / 3.3-4 semester credits

Download the syllabus

Geography, Art, Architecture, Sociology and Communications Courses

5 quarter credits – 3-4 semester credits

(SOC 410 PSU)

This core course introduces the student to contemporary issues in Barcelona and Catalonia by paying close attention to its cultural, historic, and artistic patrimony. It begins by exploring the pressing issues of today — the question of independence in Catalonia and the widely acclaimed “Barcelona Model.

*This is our ALBA core class that all ALBA students take and greatly benefit from in understanding Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and the European Union. Course substitution may be granted under special consideration.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(INTL 399 PSU)

The course aims to initiate students to the history and culture of 20th and 21st Century Spain through the filmic and literary perspective conferred by Spanish filmmakers and novelists to the socio-historical events that took place from 1936 to the post global financial crisis age. This course offers the possibility of exploring how cinema and literature can be a lucrative method of learning Spanish contemporary history, politics, culture and society, a key factor for a successful integration to the host culture while studying abroad. Therefore, while this course invites to experience and interpret films and novels produced under the Franco’s censorship and during the democracy, it also offers an astonishing space to value Franco’s overall impact on Spanish society, both during the totalitarian regime (1939-1975) and since the restoration of the democracy. Finally, this course also pays a close attention to the transformation of Spanish culture after the 2008 crisis by analyzing the Golden Age of Spanish TV Shows, when we will address topics related with the dichotomy between global firms and national governments, the idea of liberty in a consumer society, the moral and ethical choices in business and political parties as well as the concept of the crisis of democracy.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(ART 410 PSU)

A survey of Spanish and Catalonian art and architecture using the city of Barcelona as the classroom. From Ancient Rome through the Middle Ages, including Romanesque and Gothic art and architecture, the Golden Age of Spanish Painters, where the influence of Humanism, the Enlightenment, the Reformation, and other political and social changes influence the works of Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya. The course deals with the Art Nouveau movement in Barcelona, where the works of architects such as Gaudí and Puig i Cadalfach are seen as a direct reaction to the spoils of the Industrial Revolution, the early 20th Century Avant-Garde movements, with Picasso, Dalí, and Miró all playing major roles, and finally, Barcelona’s urban transformation from major, industrialized city to its post-Olympic status in the 21st century.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

Starting Summer 19. Visiting artist and instructor Terrence Gasca (Portland, Oregon)

(ART 299 PSU)

A hands-on course (limited to 10 students per course) with an on-site approach that employs art as a tool for developing a historical understanding of modern Spanish and Catalan masters, including five of Spain’s most prominent artists and their work, representing Impressionism, Costumbrismo, Cubism, Surrealism, and New Realism. Through analysis, interpretation, art and architecture, on-site sketching, lectures, and discussion, students will challenge their visual skills with drawing, painting, collage, and journaling using the city of Barcelona as a backdrop. The course provides a strong foundation for future courses in art history, art theory, and the making of art in general. See the syllabus for further description.

This incredibly innovative, hands-on approach to learning, experiencing and enjoying Barcelona’s art history will be taught by veteran artist and art instructor Terrence Gasca (Portland, Oregon) See some of Terrence’s art at terrencegasca.com

5 quarter credits / 3.3-4 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(COM 415 PSU)

Being abroad is a life changing experience. It offers a stimulating opportunity to explore a new culture
and reflect upon how becoming a sojourner can be a key factor of the process of identity formation.
Encountering a new culture reveals something of the culture from which the sojourner comes from as
not being at home also entails a constant reinterpretation of home values and traditions.
For this reason, this course aims to interrogate until what extend the sojourner needs to evaluate the principles by which he/she obtains an understanding of a cultural phenomena as well as the methods and techniques used to question these.

This course is an exceptional tool for abroad students. While it aims to maximize student’s intercultural experience, it also helps them to explore and bridge the gap between how the new culture is presented in this globalized era and the means by which a sojourner can effectively acquire a communicative competence while being in a new home, Barcelona, as well as in his/her trips across Europe.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(ARCH 410 PSU)

This subject covers main issues in urban history, architecture and planning focusing on the main challenges for urban design at the present moment and presenting the city of Barcelona as a particular case study. Main discussions on urban economy, society, ecology and culture are introduced and illustrated with specific readings. The contents focus on the process of urban change that has transformed cities and urban spaces since the last third of the 20th century. Issues such as gentrification, urban sprawl, urban regeneration and urban design in public urban spaces are considered using the city of Barcelona as an urban laboratory to observe in detail and understand the complexity of these dynamics. Finally, the analysis of the role and implications of urban public spaces critically show both the goals of urban planning and the real social use of space that define cities and urban life at the present moment.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(MGMT 446 PSU)

This course focuses on the notion of communication competence in multicultural settings for managing organizations effectively. It aims to explore what intercultural communication and pragmatics are, and more importantly, the extreme value that good intercultural communicators add to organizations for cross-culture relations both internally and externally. The course encourages contemplation of the nature of the communicative process across organizations, among management and representatives of different cultures, speaking different first languages.

5 quarter credits / 3.3-4 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(GEOG 355u PSU)

The aim of the course is to focus on the explanation of recent urban evolutions and transformation processes in urban Europe taking as an example and study case the city of Barcelona. The course will consider the main trends characterising contemporary urban transitions from the economic, social and territorial perspectives. The discussion on the changing patterns in landscapes is presented as a useful approach to both evaluate and to achieve a better understanding of the processes of urban change and transformation. In this way, the “shifting landscapes” of Barcelona are explained as the physical and morphological translation of other hidden shifts in the urban economy, society and culture.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(GEOG 399 PSU)

The main aim of the course is to offer an overview of how information and telecommunications technologies are changing both urban spaces and human behavior in cities.

More specifically, the course is organized into three parts:

Firstly, some preliminary definitions are presented. Concepts such as ‘digital technology’, ‘real-time communication’ or ‘smart city’ are explained.

Secondly, key evidence and facts are presented to illustrate how information and telecommunication technologies have definitely changed the nature of many different economic, social and cultural processes and, as a consequence, the whole urban life and lifestyle. A wide range of examples are presented to explain how digital technologies have provided with innovation and creativity the urban planning and management.

Thirdly, some conclusions are presented on how digital technologies can have a stronger influence on cities future urban life.

Finally, the course approaches these contents using the city of Barcelona as an urban laboratory where testing the previously mentioned ideas on the basis of existing on-going projects to develop Barcelona as a future smart city.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download syllabus (PDF)

(GEOG 331u PSU)

The subject covers main issues on globalization and territorial change worldwide. Main discussions on global economy, digital technology, environmental, social and cultural transformations in regions are introduced and illustrated with specific readings. The contents focus on how postindustrial economies and postmodern cultures are defining a real functionally integrated world. Particularly, how the process of internationalization of places which synthetically represents globalization can be explained as a negotiation between the global and the local. Key study cases are offered regarding both the increasing capability for global transportation, telecommunication or consumption and the new importance of local peculiarities. Finally, the city of Barcelona is presented as an urban laboratory to observe and understand how these global dynamics affect and interact with local places.

Download Syllabus (PDF)

(WS 375u PSU)

The purpose of this course is for students to learn about the history of sexualities, the complexity of gender in the Spanish-speaking world over the course of time, how repressive laws have affected individual experiences of sex and gender, and how more recently both activists and scholars have challenged normative sexualities, offering new opportunities for community and support. While based in academic theory and readings, this course encourages student experiential learning onsite in Barcelona.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

Political Science and History Courses

5 quarter credits – 3-4 semester credits

(PS 399 PSU)

Political development in Europe: theory and historical experience; national political systems compared. The various forms of democracy: parties, elections, institutions and interest groups. Transition issues: immigration and cultural autonomy; the EU decision-making process.

Lower Intermediate, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate, Advanced, Catalan (available by arrangement)

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(PS 399 PSU)

This course explores issues of development, the state, and democracy within the Mediterranean region with a special attention to Southern Europe, North Africa, Turkey, and the “Balkans” (from a comparative perspective). In this exploration we will pay attention to issues of Modernity and its significance and connection to development, the state, and democracy. The religion-politics duality is of essence throughout the semester; and the role and relevance of ontological thinking for the purpose of understanding and explaining social reality will be a common intellectual thread throughout the semester. A cultural component (films, related to Mediterranean political issues) will be part of this course.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download Syllabus (PDF)

(PS 399 PSU)

This course deals with the politics of development from a comparative perspective. We will be addressing development issues across different points in time and across different world regions. Two main topics/concepts will be analyzed throughout the semester: development and the state. We will study Latin America, Africa, and Asia, which form part of what is known as the developing world or Third World, which in fact we will challenge this labeling. We will as well present a comparative overview of the Latin American, African, and Asian regions in general; and address and familiarize ourselves with the debates surrounding the virtues & vices of market economies (and globalization); and the role and relevance of ontological thinking for the purpose of understanding and explaining social reality will be a common intellectual thread throughout the semester. A cultural component, (films, related to development politics), will be part of this course.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download syllabus (PDF)

(PS 399 PSU)

This course examines major social, political, and economic changes in Spain (Catalunya & Euskadi). With an emphasis on the last 30 years, this seminar-style course will aim to understand different explanations of current Spanish Politics and Society. Therefore, this course is geared to all students who want to understand the changes that have taken place in Spain (with a focus on Catalunya and Euskadi) during the last years since the Democratic transition. Nevertheless, the Spanish Second Republic, its demise, the Spanish Civil War, and Franco’s regime will be discussed since they are of essence to understand Spain’s current status. The role and relevance of ontological thinking for the purpose of understanding and explaining social reality will be a common intellectual thread throughout the semester. A cultural component, (films, related to Spanish politics), will be part of this course.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download syllabus (PDF)

(HIST 399 PSU)

This course will cover the history of Spain from its emergence as a “composite monarchy” in the fifteenth century to the present day. We will begin with the age of exploration and the creation of the world’s largest empire since the time of Alexander the Great under the Habsburgs. We will continue with the decline of Spain during Europe’s Thirty Years’ War and then move to the reconstruction of the state under the Bourbon monarchy in the eighteenth century. The latter third of the course will cover the modern period focusing on liberalism, economic development, social change, civil war, Francoism, and the transition to democracy. Along the way, we will touch upon a variety of themes, including religion, the Inquisition (and its abolition), backwardness, the “Black Legend,” regional differentiation, and women in society. The last part of the class will touch on the last 40 years in Spanish history.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(HIST 399 PSU)

This course covers the major social, economic, and political trends in western Europe from the Renaissance to the present. Topics covered include: Renaissance, Reformation, the crisis of the seventeenth century, the French Revolution, the industrial revolution, liberalism, the nation state, the world wars of the twentieth century, the Cold War, and the emergence of a new global order. This will not be a “blow-by-blow” narrative history. Rather, the idea is to introduce the student to broad trends taking place over centuries that have served to structure what we now think of the modern west.

5 quarter credits / 3.3 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

(HIST 457 PSU)

The class will cover the social, religious, political and economic history of Spain from the Islamic conquest of the 4th century to the 18th century. This class will be taught by visiting Oregon State University professor, Dr. Nicole von Germeten, in summer 2017

5 quarter credits / 3.3-4 semester credits

Download the syllabus (PDF)

Spanish Language & Culture Courses

6 quarter credits – 4 semester credits

Spanish language classes are taught in Spanish for all levels. These classes are designed to develop and sharpen Spanish language skills by exploring local Spanish and Catalan culture including its geography, history, art, architecture, music, film and traditions. The class uses innovative materials and tasks to provide the optimum context for acquiring greater knowledge of the Spanish language and culture. A significant amount of class time is spent out of the classroom in the streets, markets and monuments of Barcelona for contextual learning which emphasizes and develops communicative strategies which lead to greater autonomy and fluency.

6 quarter credits / 4-5 semester credits

SPAN 199 – Beginner: Very little to no previous Spanish Download the syllabus

SPAN 299 – Intermediate: Have a good base of comprehension and expression Download the syllabus

SPAN 399 – High Intermediate: Ya tiene un buen nivel de español y quiere mejorar. Download the syllabus

(SPAN 330 PSU/399)

Taught in Spanish and completely outside of the classroom in the streets of Barcelona, monuments, museums and markets. This class is designed to develop and sharpen Spanish language skills by exploring local Spanish and Catalan culture including its geography, history, art, architecture, music, film and traditions. The class uses innovative materials and tasks to provide the optimum context for acquiring greater knowledge of the Spanish language and culture. The class is built around out-of-class activities with an emphasis placed on communicative strategies which lead to greater autonomy and fluency.

6 quarter credits / 4 semester credits

Nivel Intermedio-Alto: Habla español bien.
Cada clase tiene lugar FUERA DE LA AULA. Se trata de tareas linguisticas y culturales por las calles, museos, monumentos y mercados de Barcelona
Download the syllabus

(SPAN 299 PSU / SPAN 399 PSU)

This course is designed for intermediate students of the Spanish language. Students will practice their language skills and design a professional portfolio. Readings will provide models for practice in writing resumes, job applications, professional letters, interviews and marketing materials necessary in today’s international professional environment including NGOs.

This course is guided by the national standards, known as the five Cs: Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, and Community. This second year Spanish course is an intermediate level four-skills course designed for students with one year or more of previous study of Spanish at the university level. The main objectives of this course are to increase students’ reading and writing skills, oral production, and listening comprehension with focus on professional development. In class the students will have the opportunity to…

6 quarter credits / 4-5 semester credits

Required: a good base of comprehension and expression.
Designed for business and non-business related majors
Download the syllabus

  • Classes conducted in Spanish
  • All levels of Spanish are accommodated
  • Level tests will be taken during orientation
  • Course work (papers, presentations, projects) in Spanish. English if granted exception.
upfstab white

Universitat Pompeu Fabra courses included in your tuition fee

ALBA has recently partnered with Universitat Pompeu Fabra, which is according to many studies, the number one Spanish university. Allowing us to offer an even wider range of classes and an even richer Study Abroad Experience.

Taking courses at the UPF has plenty of benefits for you, make sure you don’t miss out on this unique oportunity

Learn more about it