Volunteering

BCA encourages students to take advantage of learning opportunities both in and beyond the classroom! Our resident director has established partnerships with local organizations (agencies, non-profits and/or NGOs) where BCA students can complete volunteer experience complementing their academic study.

Once you finalize your classes and semester’s activities, you can plan volunteer service possibilities. The Resident Director advises students regarding volunteer services according to their language skills and academic interests. Students are interviewed and ultimately must be accepted by the representatives of the institutions where the volunteer services are held.

Here is the current list of volunteering opportunities available:

  • Barcelona City Hall activities: Barcelona’s City Hall organizes festivals and events to promote social cohesion in the Raval, one of the city’s most multi-ethnical quarters. BCA students have regularly participated and contributed in the coordination and delivery of those events, such as the fall and the spring multi-cultural fairs. This has allowed students to become involved with people from different countries and to cooperate in projects aimed to strengthen the ties among the diverse population of the city.  These events take place twice a year.
  • Cultural workshops with “Tallers Oberts”: The “Jornades de Tallers Oberts” is a cultural event by which artist open their workshops in order to show the process of their work. The event, organized by Barcelona City Hall takes place in the weekends of May and June. BCA students collaborated in this activity as bilingual cultural guide at the workshops of painters, book illustrators and designers. Students were able to become in contact with local artists and to learn about how connections between the city and its artistic potential could be established.
  • English teacher’s aide: In previous semesters, students collaborated as Teaching Assistant helping English teachers in delivering their classes. This volunteer service has taken place in private and public High Schools of Barcelona and it has been held by students majoring in foreign languages, education and TESL as well as by students majoring in the areas of the humanities and social sciences. Besides learning teaching techniques and group leadership, this opportunity allowed BCAers to interact with the teachers of the institutions they collaborated with and to become acquainted with the Spanish academic system.
  • Immigrant women and children: BCA-Barcelona students collaborated with institutions that endorse women’s social integration. Such institutions are located in neighborhoods highly populated by immigrant families. Students delivered English and/or computer skills classes which contributed to the institutions’ aim of providing educational tools to women in order to widen their employment possibilities and social inclusion.  BCA-Barcelona students cooperated with different institutions in preparing educational activities for children in order to reinforce their school and social inclusion. Students collaborated in the academic follow up of immigrant children. At the same time, putting into practice their own interests (photography, music, sports, etc.), BCA students contributed in the organization of activities aimed to improve the children’s sociocultural integration.
  • Music teacher’s aide: BCAers with strong music instruction collaborated with the Xamfrà Music Center, an institution that promotes cultural education by means of music. The Center offers music classes and activities (such as classes of percussion, guitar, music and movement and music and theater, among others) to students between the age of 7 and 20. These classes focus on the idea of team work and are taught by recognized professors in the field. BCA students, according to their music skills and interests, helped the professors in the delivering of the classes. By doing so, students contributed to the Center’s goal of enhancing social cohesion by fostering communication and understanding among children and young people from different cultures.  Volunteers must be musically trained.
  • Soup kitchens:  There are two nearby soup kitchens that BCA students have the opportunity to volunteer at throughout the week and/or over the weekend as they are available.  Tasks include helping to prepare and serve food, cleaning up, and organizing clothing and food donations.  These soup kitchens serve hundreds of individuals each week, many of whom have experienced hardships since the economic crisis hit a number of years ago.

We are working to establish new volunteer opportunities all the time, so please let us know when completing your application if you are interested in volunteering while studying abroad. Once on site, your resident director will work with you to find a placement that fits your schedule and your goals, as well as the organization’s needs.  Our hope is that your volunteering experience will be mutually beneficial for both you and the organization!  BCA’s expectation is that students take their volunteering commitment seriously and demonstrate this by faithful attendance and communication with their organization.

Student Experiences

kellywithkidsKelly Cakert, Tufts University
Description: “I fully submerged myself in the culture of Barcelona through volunteering, tutoring, teaching basketball, participating in classes and daily conversations with my host family. I made a point to motivate myself to talk to my host family at every meal, and ask them a lot of questions. By tutoring middle school students in their English, I was forced to work on my Spanish as well and ended up learning just as much from them as they learned from me.”

lisa-imageLisa Ewing, Manchester University
Description: “The Raval Festival is a weekend event. One of the nights that I volunteered, I walked with a drum group going on a parade and passed out programs for a choir concert. Another night I checked strollers at a theater, and threw candy for a parade. I got to see the inside of a beautiful theater that many Barcelona locals have never seen, and I also met some nice people who were helping out with the festival.”