Elisava School of Design
Fall Semester Elective 2018
12 - 18 credits

The design semester at Elisava allows visiting undergraduate students the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in English-taught design courses at one of Europe’s top design school, with a special focus on hands-on experience and direct engagement with the city of Barcelona. Two program tracks allow options for students with or without previous design experience. Students select their track and choose 4 to 6 design courses for a total of 12 - 18 credits.

Application Deadline
May 15, 2018
Apps accepted after deadline as space permits

Application Requirements
Complete online application
Personal statement (300-500 words)
Official transcript
Passport scan (photo page)
Digital photo (passport style)
EU privacy consent form
Track B: Portfolio (4 pages and 2MB max, PDF)


  • World-class faculty of design professionals.
  • Small campus makes it easy for visiting students to mix with locals.
  • Interdisciplinary approach to design encourages collaborative classroom environment.

Program Dates
September 2, 2018 – December 19, 2018

Eligibility Requirements

Age: 18+

Academic Year: Sophomore (2nd year) or above

Cumulative GPA:* 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)

* contact SAI if you don’t meet requirements

Semester Abroad in Design

Semester Abroad in Design

3.0 Credits
Design | Course #: SAO01 | Open
The objective of this course is to relate the different branches of human knowledge: architecture, sociology, history, anthropology and art with the aim of developing a cognitive map of the world we live in.

The establishment of theoretic bases and social knowledge that allow the permeation of design in a global and historic context, The purpose is to give the student analytical and discursive tools to develop their own project from a of critical and innovative point of view.

This course will analyse the basic theories of art, architecture and design culture since the industrial revolution up to the present day. The first phase will study the emergence of industrial design as a specific discipline in Western European culture. This will be followed by an investigation of modern design language in daily life, the value of brands and consumer habits in a new world of mass communication, new technologies and sustainability.

Using the extensive resources of Barcelona with visits to the cities museums such as MNAC, MACBA, Joan Miró Foundation and the Picasso Museum, emblematic buildings by Gaudi, Mies Van Der Rohe, Richard Meier and Jean Nouvel as well as design stores like Vitra, BD and Vinçon and restaurants and leisure spaces around the city.
Contact Hours: 45
This course is centered on the assimilation of procedures that allow understanding of a design language that examines the relationship between necessity and function of objects and the interaction between objects and their environment. The student is also introduced to the semantics of form, color and materials.

Through demonstrations, workshops and studio sessions, this course will exercise student's creativity and knowledge regarding both traditional and contemporary ways of creating and doing. As creative minds and human beings in a constant learning process, we must understand the importance of context and the interactions between the artist/designer and the surrounding world.
Contact Hours: 45
3.0 Credits
Design | Course #: SAO03 | Open
The capacity of communicating trough images and expressing the relevant aspects of a project, from the idea to the final proposal, is a fundamental aspect of design. This course is aimed at providing students with representation concepts and techniques that are broadly applied in design fields. Based on exercises, talks and workshop sessions, the course embraces the ability of students to define and show their ideas by learning about the options and features that Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator offer as a powerful suite specifically conceived for design professionals.

Mandatory for participants to the Study Abroad program without experience in digital representation and visual narrative, the course is also recommended for those design students who want to deepen their knowledge of digital tools and learn more about the Adobe suite. The course approaches also the basic concepts of video editing and production, as well as fundamentals of presentation techniques, in order to provide students with a complete range of options that they will put into practice in many visual communications required by the Study Abroad program as well as by future design projects.
Contact Hours: 45
3.0 Credits
Design | Course #: SAP01 | Open
Pre-requisite: Understanding of the basic concepts of graphic design, 3D modeling and prototyping (mock ups)
This course introduces the tools necessary for conceptualizing and developing comprehensive packaging projects. Students will learn to communicate both formally and graphically the attributes of a product. The goal is to understand the factors affecting production and selection of a package for a specific product, its possibilities and materials.

- Market Research
- Design an observation strategy
- Comprehension of a trademark & user needs
- Definition of the Product structure & needs
- Learn, use & develop Design innovation techniques
- Results analysis & interpretation
- Identify opportunities
- Define a packaging design briefing content
- Design proposals
- Transform needs into a shape/design proposal
- Create a mock-up

Contact Hours: 45
3.0 Credits
Design | Course #: SAP02 | Open
This course focuses on graphic communication with special attention to texts and the written word, and their integration and relationship with images, colors and textures. The course aims to teach students the basic tools of graphic design: Typography, Color and Composition. It will discuss graphic design as an essential element of communication across social, cultural and functional boundaries.

Short projects will allow students to implement and experiment with design methodology and basic design skills. Projects will range from artistic and experimental calligraphy, typography, poster composition, editorials and digital interaction. All mock-ups (except for digital design) will be presented in foam.

Contact Hours: 45
3.0 Credits
Design | Course #: SAP03 | Open
This course focuses on product and furniture design, covering the entire process from conceptualization, formalization, development and pre-production of a designed object from the human, domestic or work environment. The course will analyze the social, ergonomic and aesthetic environment of the user, the method for producing the final work and the impact of this on the environment as a whole. Students will approach the semantics of objects, their functional and communicative capacity along with the integration of materials and technology. As part of the development and design of products, the class will visit factories, showrooms and design boutiques as well as use the school’s workshops.

- Design management
- Creativity
- Techniques of model construction
- Technical project development
- Suppliers, materials research, and the hardware
- Presentation skills and project communication
- Trade fairs and the latest trends
- Preparation for final project presentation

Contact Hours: 45
3.0 Credits
Design | Course #: SAP04 | Open
Retail is naturally the showplace for new ideas, new concepts and new products. As such, the store environment serves as the selling stage for the latest merchandise offerings of the day, and a tool of communication used to create a dialogue with the targeted customer. Through effective visual merchandising, the retailer communicates both the attributes of the brand, and the attributes of the products offered.

The primary objective of this course is to introduce students to the importance of visual merchandising as an integral component of a successful retail strategy. This course will include an in-depth analysis of the retail store environment. The principles, philosophies and technologies of visual merchandising will be studied through exploration of the marketplace and hands-on classroom experimentation.

- Product analysis
- Space analysis of a store
- Materials used in interiors and visual merchandising
- Store windows, including use of materials
- Retail furniture: types, scale, proportions
- Lighting: types and applications
- Approach to the classic creative process: briefing, brainstorming, ideas scheme, concept
- Final project: students will propose a concept to be applied in visual merchandising and a shop window

Contact Hours: 45
3.0 Credits
Design | Course #: SAP06 | Open
This course is focused on the interaction of design, as a creative process, with food and health, as fundamental part of human being. The relation between design food and health is not only based on the tangible aspects (space, forms, product, packaging...), but in a wide range of approaches, from culture to territory, from well-being to aesthetics. We must understand the whole relation of man with environment to create innovative ways, systems or products to enhance this interaction. Designing in a creative way, connecting mind and hand, the senses and the culture, in a constant communication with other designers, will allow us to find out new ways of understanding our world and improving it.
Contact Hours: 45

Program Options
SAI students at Elisava choose from the following two program tracks:

Track A (for students without a design background): Students enroll in three mandatory courses (below), and select an additional 1 – 3 elective courses for a total of 12 – 18 US credits.

  • The Global and Historic Context of Art and Design
  • Advanced Principles in Design: Integrating Communication, Humanities and Scientific Techniques
  • Digital Representation Principles

Track B (for students with a design background): Students select any 4 – 6 courses from the offering for a total of 12 – 18 US credits.

Optional Spanish Language Class
All semester students can enroll in a Spanish Language Add-on course (3 credits), in addition to a full-time schedule of design classes. The Add-on Spanish course carries an additional fee. Please notify your Admissions Counselor if you wish to add a Spanish class to your schedule.

Courses & Registration

Students make their course selections when submitting SAI’s online application. It is important that students select at least three alternate courses from the schedule of classes. Course registration is confirmed well in advance of the program start date.

Pre-Departure Calendar
May 15 2018
Application Deadline
Applications accepted after deadline as space permits.
Within 1 week of acceptance
SAI Deposits Due
$500 Confirmation Deposit (applied toward program fee)
$300 Security Deposit (refundable)
May 1 2018
50% of Total Program Fee Due
Students who are accepted and submit SAI deposits after this date will have an amended pay schedule. Either 50% or 100% of Program Fee will be due within 5 business days, based on the deposit payment date.
June 1 2018
SAI Scholarship Application Deadline
Students wishing to apply for an SAI scholarship must have all application items submitted by 11:59pm Pacific Time on this date.
July 1 2018
SAI Financial Aid Verification Deadline
Students wishing to defer payment until financial aid disbursement must submit the financial aid verification forms to SAI by this date.
July 1 2018
Balance of Total Program Fee Due
August 1 2018
SAI Pre-Departure Form Due

On-Site Calendar
September 2 2018
Arrival & Housing Check-in
Students arrive into El Prat Barcelona (BCN) airport. SAI airport pickup is provided between 10:00am and 3:00pm, and students are transferred to SAI housing.
September 3 2018
SAI Orientation
Mandatory SAI orientation is held at the SAI Barcelona office and introduces students to their city while covering safety, policies, housing, and culture.
September 5 2018
Elisava Academic Orientation & Classes Begin
Elisava orientation provides details on academic policies, and allows students to meet one another and their professors. Classes begin after orientation.
December 18 2018
Final Exams End
December 19 2018
Program End & Housing Check-out
Students must move out of SAI housing by 10:00am to return home or pursue independent travel.
SAI Program Fees* USD
Application Fee $100
Security Deposit
Refundable at the end of the term.
Program Fee: 12 credits
Includes tuition, standard housing and SAI Signature Services (see What’s Included).
Program Fee: 15 credits
Includes tuition, standard housing and SAI Signature Services (see What’s Included).
Program Fee: 18 credits
Includes tuition, standard housing and SAI Signature Services (see What’s Included).
Optional / Additional Fees:  
Optional Spanish Language Add-On (3 credits)
Payment is made directly to Elisava upon arrival.
Optional Private Room Housing Supplement
Private room in a shared apartment, with a shared bathroom.
Optional Visa Processing Fee
Available for some jurisdictions.
International Mailing Supplement
Students residing outside the U.S. are charged an international mailing supplement to ensure visa paperwork arrives in a timely manner.

*prices are subject to change

Note: certain SAI-affiliated US universities require specific payment arrangements. These may require that some fees are paid by the student directly to SAI, and other fees are paid to SAI by the affiliated university on behalf of the student. If you attend an SAI-affiliated university please contact your study abroad office or speak with your SAI Admissions Counselor for details.

Budget Low Est. High Est.
Airfare to/from Barcelona
$950 $1,200
Visa fees, paid to Consulate.
$160 $160
Books, Supplies & Course Fees $200 / course $250 / course
Includes groceries and eating out.
$700 / month $1,000 / month
Personal Expenses $300 / month $350 / month
Transportation within Barcelona
Public transportation with some taxi rides.
$100 / month $150 / month
Weekend Travel
Cost varies greatly by student.
$300 / month $1,000 / month

This is an SAI Signature Services Program; it includes our full services!

  • Program tuition and U.S. academic credit
  • Accommodation in carefully selected student housing
  • Airport pickup and transportation on arrival day
  • Student health insurance providing full coverage and medical emergency evacuation
  • Cell phone rental with free incoming calls and texts while in host country
  • SAI staff on-site dedicated to providing personal assistance
  • SAI orientation to the host city and school
  • SAI weekend excursion
  • Frequent SAI cultural activities and day trips
  • 24-hour on-site emergency support

Pre-departure and Re-entry services

  • Admissions counselor assigned to you, providing friendly assistance throughout your study abroad experience
  • Helpful pre-departure tools and resources
  • Online student groups to acquaint you with other SAI students
  • Assistance with student visa application
  • Assistance with financial aid and loan processing
  • Paid registration fees for national re-entry conferences
  • SAI Ambassador Program for SAI alumni, with paid internship opportunities
  • SAI alumni network

SAI offers activities, at no extra cost, for students to get to know their community, city and country. Following is a sample of the activities included in this program. Please note that actual activities may differ.

Welcome Lunch
Students are welcomed to their new city over a traditional 3 course Spanish lunch to mingle and get to know each other.

Discovering Barcelona: Born walking tour and Picasso Museum
Students enjoy a walk through the old Born neighborhood, going back to the old Medieval times in Barcelona, and discover one of the jewels of the city: Santa Maria del Mar church, in pure 14th century Catalan Gothic style. The group finishes the tour at the famous Picasso Museum.

Gaudí Modernism Architecture Walking Tour
Students join a walking tour to visit some of the best-known works of the world-renowned Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí. The Gaudí Modernist tour begins with an appreciation of the exterior of the Sagrada Familia, then on to Casa Batllò and Casa Milà.

Volunteering in a Primary School
Students visit a local primary school to participate in English classroom activities with children between the ages of 3 and 12. This enriching activity is available for students to continue throughout their term if they wish.

Weekend Excursion to Seville
Students take a weekend trip to enjoy the beauty of the city of Seville, which represents the Southern Spanish way of life, in its purest and most intense form. Seville is known for its narrow, winding, medieval lanes and romantic hidden plazas, as well as for its two traditions: flamenco and bullfighting. Students explore the city, eat great food, see beautiful art, and take a fun bike tour.

Dalí and Girona Day Trip
Students take a day trip to visit the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Salvador Dalí’s hometown of Figueres, followed by a visit to the beautiful capital city of the province: Girona. Girona has more than 2000 years of history, and its highlights include the old Jewish quarter, its historical fortified enclosures, as well as the Palanques Vermelles Bridge, built by the Eiffel Company in 1827.

The Spanish Family Experience
Semester students are invited to participate in a unique volunteer activity in Barcelona. Under the guidance of SAI’s on-site Program Coordinator, students are introduced to a local family with the goal of facilitating cultural exchange. Students typically meet with their “families” once a week and spend time chatting with the children in English, followed by a family dinner. This allows students to get a glimpse of family life in Barcelona and to create lasting friendships. Additional cultural enrichment activities include language exchanges with young locals (19 to 30 years old).

Spanish Cooking Lesson
Students take a cooking lesson designed to teach typical Spanish (mostly Catalan) dishes that are easy to make again independently. Dishes are prepared according to the season and include appetizer, main course and dessert.

Castellers “Human Castles” Workshop
The origins of the Catalan tradition of building human towers, or “castles” as they are called in Catalan, date back to the 18th century. Small town groups (colles) compete around the tallest and strongest castles. Students join one of the groups (colles) of Barcelona, where they are invited to join a training session to discover how the spectacular “human castles” are created!

Sitges Beach Day
Students visit the town of Sitges, which is a paradise of sun, sea and mild temperatures year-round, and a venue for international film and music festivals. Beautiful views and long beaches make Sitges a wonderful day trip.

Montserrat & Cava Cellar Day Trip
Students take a day trip to Montserrat, a spectacularly beautiful Benedictine mountain retreat. Its unusual rock formations and its natural beauty have made it a Catalonian icon. Students take the cable train up the mountain to visit the monastery and wander the mountain paths, with amazing views of the Catalonian countryside. After this, students visit a Cava cellar where the prestigious sparkling wine is made and exported around the world.

Farewell Dinner
Students celebrate the end of a successful semester abroad and say their goodbyes over a delicious Spanish meal.

Standard Housing: Student apartment
SAI student apartments are convenient, clean, and well equipped, with shared occupancy bedrooms (upgrade to private bedroom available). Typical residences house 2 – 8 students and contain a combination of private and shared bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and living areas. Furnishings, a washing machine, basic kitchen supplies, bed linens and towels are provided. All apartments are equipped with wireless internet. SAI on-site staff is available to respond to any maintenance needs that may arise.

Passports should be valid for 6 months after planned departure from Spain.

Student Visas
In accordance with Spanish law students studying in Spain for 90 days or more are required to obtain a student visa. Those with Spanish/EU citizenship are exempted. Non-US nationals should consult their local Consulate for details on student visa requirements.

Students must appear in person at the Spanish Consulate to present their visa application. SAI is able to process visa applications (no trip to the Consulate required!) for students who live or attend school in some jurisdictions. Students who wish to use this optional service should contact SAI directly to confirm that they are eligible.

For those who prefer to present their visa application in person, SAI provides student visa consulting at no cost.

About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.