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Barcelona - Education & Schools
Younger children usually find it easier than older children to adapt to a foreign country, its educational system and the language. The state schools system obviously operates in Spanish, however many schools offer additional Spanish tuition for expat children to help them adapt. In Catalunya, the teaching of Catalan is also compulsory, which for parents of an expat student may be another consideration - would the learning of two foreign languages be too much for a child.
State schools in Spain are operated by the local Autonomous Community which for Barcelona is Catalunya. Schools operate within a catchment area, so if there is a particular school you wish your child to attend, you need to be a resident within that school's catchment. A list of state schools can be found here. Applications for a state school place need to be made through the Town Hall (Ajuntament). Firstly, you need to download an application form from the Town Hall website here. Then you need to take the completed form, along with other documents including passport, NIE, proof of residence and birth certificates, to the Education Office situated at C Bruc, 90-92, Eixample. Telephone 93 467 7350. Further information is available on the Education Department's website at www.edubcn.cat.
Many expat parents prefer to send their children to one of the international schools in the area. Transferring from a foreign country to an international school and vice versa is much easier than through the Spanish state system. It is also easier for older children to then transfer to a University abroad as international schools will offer qualifications recognised worldwide, such as the International Baccalaureate or British GCSEs and A Levels.
Among the respected international schools in the area are the American School of Barcelona (www.a-s-b.com), The British School of Barcelona (www.britishschoolbarcelona.com) and ESCAAN (www.escaan.com).
A full list of international schools can be found here.
The University of Barcelona was founded over 550 years ago and now has over 80,000 students in the city. As well as full degrees, the University offers shorter courses of study through its Extension Program, and Spanish and Catalan courses for foreigners. Further information on these shorter courses can be found at www.ub.edu/ub/en/other_studies
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