Collage of ImagesStudents in the Catalan Studies program at Harvard University participated in a seven-day trip to Barcelona during the January 2018 Winter Break.


They gained direct contact with the language and culture they have been learning in the classroom by participating in a wide variety of cultural and social activities. They met with professors, undergraduate and graduate students, a translator and a writer, with whom they talked about such topics as architecture, languages, immigration, literature, soccer, memory, urban life…

Over a week…

We explored the Gothic quarter of Barcelona through its Roman and medieval pasts and the multiple popular stories inscribed on its walls.

We walked in the writer Mercè Rodoreda’s neighborhood (Gràcia) through the eyes of her most emblematic character, Colometa, hero of her novel In Diamont Square (translated into English by Peter Bush in 2013).

We immersed ourselves in the ways of living of the immigrants who arrived in the industrial neighborhood of Poblenou, which was known in the 19th century as the Catalan Manchester.

We reviewed the human impact of the Spanish Civil War in the population by visiting a bomb shelter in the outskirts of Barcelona and observing the opening of a mass grave in the area of Lleida, where soldiers where quickly and clandestinely buried.

We read the capitals on the columns of the Romanesque cloister of Sant Cugat and compared its artistic achievements with the arts of contemporary soccer by watching a Barça match.

We played with sounds and words in a translation workshop and we talked in a relaxed atmosphere with students from the Department of Humanities of the University Pompeu Fabra.

We stepped on the Roman foundations of Tarraco (Tarragona) in an adventure that drove us to face one of the gastronomic challenges of the trip: how to prepare a calçotada, a feast which starts with calçots (sweet onions) that are chargrilled and served with romesco sauce.

In conclusion, we had a fantastic cultural and linguistic experience which provided us a deeper understanding of one of the most interesting and fascinating cities of the Mediterranean.

Thank you Imma Boj, Rosa Cerarols, Josep M. Jaumà, Karim Joutet, Queralt Solé, and our sponsors for making this event a memorable and enjoyable one for all!

This trip was funded by the Office of Career Services and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. It was also supported by Institut Ramon Llull.


For further information about the trip and the Catalan Studies program, contact:

Dr. Maria Dasca Batalla: mdascabatalla@fas.harvard.edu.

Dr. Daniel Aguirre: daguirre@fas.harvard.edu

Dr. Elvira Di Fabio: edifabio@fas.harvard.edu


For further information, you can watch this a video about our informal meeting with students from the University Pompeu Fabra: