Health and Safety
Health Insurance Coverage
All participants are required to have health insurance that provides coverage in Spain and at home for the entire duration of their time in Barcelona. If students plan to travel internationally, the insurance should also provide cover for travel to other countries. It is essential that before arrival in Spain, students speak to their Health Insurance provider to determine details of the coverage. Often, many health service providers will not process American insurance claims and will expect payment at the time of the service, so students should have access to funds that will cover unforeseen medical expenses. Some larger insurance companies have agreements with specific health service providers in Barcelona and students do not have to pay up-front for services there. It is the students’ responsibility to determine which medical practitioners and centers have agreements with their health insurance provider before arrival in Barcelona. Students should be sure to obtain a receipt of any medical services given to submit with their insurance claim for reimbursement. It is important to know how to make a claim before departing the U.S.
- Does the policy cover the entire period abroad?
- Will the plan cover the entire cost of hospitalization, doctor visits and medication?
- Is there a deductible? If so, how much?
- Is there a dollar limit to the amount of coverage provided?
- What are the procedures for filing a claim for medical expenses abroad?
- Does the plan cover pre-existing medical conditions?
- Which, if any, health service providers in Barcelona have agreements with the health insurance company?
- Will this insurance cover me in the US for the insured semester if I decide, for medical or other reasons, to return before the end of the program?
- Does the plan cover for COVID-19 treatment?
If a student requires prescription medication, they should bring a supply with them to last the entire time that they will be abroad. Although many medications are available worldwide, they are not always identical in strength or composition to what students take at home. In addition, brand names of the same medication usually differ between the US and Europe. Bring medications in carry-on luggage, in the original containers, along with a letter from the doctor explaining the dosage, why the medication has been prescribed, and why the student is traveling with a large quantity.
Note: It is illegal to ship medications to Spain; any medications found will be confiscated and a heavy fine may be applied.
If any student plans to travel outside of Spain, particularly to the continent of Africa, it is important to have had the necessary immunizations before departing the U.S. Students can learn about associated health issues through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Students must go to a pharmacy for all medications, including aspirin, as they are not sold in drug stores or grocery stores. Pharmacists in Spain are trained to do over-the-counter diagnoses for minor ailments, so the pharmacy is a good first stop if a student is not feeling well.
Pharmacies are generally open Monday through Friday 9:00am-1:30pm and 5:00pm-8:30pm. “Farmacias de guardia” are designated pharmacies that open all night and on the weekends on a rotation basis. Students can find out which ones are open by checking the list in all pharmacy windows or by checking the farmacias.es website.
Medical appointments can easily be made at numerous health clinics and specialists’ offices throughout Barcelona.
Students can consult CASA-Barcelona staff for the option that best suits their specific needs. In most cases, a student will pay for the consultation up-front and file for reimbursement from their home insurance company by submitting the appropriate paperwork and all original receipts. It is the student’s responsibility to understand how his/her insurance coverage works and to file all reimbursement requests.
Dr. Fidel Saval
Avda. Diagonal, 389, 3º
Tel: 93 416 06 43
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 5pm-8pm
Centre Mèdic Vila Olímpica
Avda. Icaria, 182
Tel: 93 225 19 48
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 7:30am -8:30pm
For English speaking medical professionals, please consult the U.S. Consulate General Medical List
Hospital del Mar
Passeig Marítim, 25-29
Tel: 932 483 000
c/ Villarroel, 170
Tel: 932 275 400
Specialist hospital for victims of sexual assault
Avenida Vallcarca, 151
Clínica Sagrada Familia
c/ Torras i Pujalt, 1
Tel: 628 604 412 – emergencies
firstname.lastname@example.org (for specialist appointments)
Translation service available
Centro Médico Teknon
c/ Vilana, 12
Tel: 93 290 62 00
Clínica Tres Torres
c/ Doctor Roux, 76
Tel: 93 204 13 00
Safety in Barcelona
Spain is generally as safe as the U.S., and in some cases safer. As is true of any large city, however, there are problems with petty thievery in Barcelona. You can avoid many problems by being cautious and remembering the important points about staying safe listed below. While crime, most certainly violent crime, is less prevalent in Barcelona than in similar-sized cities in the U.S., tourists are always a favorite target of criminals, so please be mindful of your surroundings and belongings at all times.
During the orientation sessions, CASA-Barcelona invites local police officers and the U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona to provide participants with safety tips to follow for ensuring that their stay in Barcelona is a safe one.
The Catalan Department of the Interior in collaboration with the "Barcelona Centre Universitari" (BCU) offers these safety tips to international students studying in Barcelona.
- Always carry the emergency contact telephone number of the CASA-Barcelona staff member on call.
- Students should carry only a copy of their passport and visa with them. Leave the original in the safe at the dorm room. Only carry an original passport if you are traveling outside of the local area or if it is required for offical business.
- Pick-pockets operate, often in pairs or small groups, on public transport and the main tourist areas in the city, such as the Ramblas, the beach, and the downtown area. Students should bear in mind that pick-pockets use distraction techniques to steal people’s possessions. Typical distraction techniques are: asking for directions, jostling the target, making a commotion, feigning a fall, anything to divert a person’s attention away from their valuables.
- Do not carry large amounts of money or all your credit cards. It is wise to carry only small amounts of money and one credit card. Leave the remainder in the safe in your room at the dorm.
- Do not put a wallet in the back pocket – the front pocket is safer. Likewise, carry backpacks in front rather than behind in crowded transportation or areas (the metro, buses, markets, the beach)
- Do not leave backpacks or bags hanging over the back of a chair or on the next chair in a bar or restaurant. Have the strap wrapped around the chair leg or keep in on one’s lap.
- It is not safe to walk alone at night. This is especially true after leaving a club or bar. Take a taxi to the door. Use an app, such as Free Now, to pre-book taxis as often there are none available at peak times.
- Do not give personal information to strangers or accept a ride (nor be accompanied) home with a stranger met at a bar or elsewhere.
- If students choose to drink alcohol, they should drink in moderation and remain vigilant of their surroundings at all times. Never accept a drink from a stranger and only accept drinks that you have seen being served.
- Always carry a fully-charged mobile phone with a sufficient balance to make calls.
U.S. State Department and Consulate General in Barcelona
Department of State Registration
Before traveling to Barcelona, students must register with the State Department through the Smart Travelers Enrollment Program (STEP).
The U.S. Department of State has a website dedicated exclusively to American students abroad. It is highly recommended that students check the information regarding issues related to health, safety and emergencies.
U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona
The website of the United States Consulate General in Barcelona contains many useful tips and information for U.S. citizens in Barcelona, from how to renew a passport to what to do in the event of an emergency.
Consulate General: 08: 30-17: 30.
Tel: (+34) 93 280 22 27
Consular Section: 09: 00-13: 00 (except local and United States holidays). It can also be accessed by prior online appointment.
For emergencies outside office hours: (+34) 91 587 22 00
United States Consulate General in Barcelona
Passeig Reina Elisenda de Montcada, 23
Ferrocarriles de la Generalitat de Catalunya: Reina Elisenda
Bus: 64, 22
Upon arrival in Barcelona, each student will receive a card with the necessary telephone numbers in the case of an emergency. It is advisable to carry the card at all times.
|In Barcelona||In the U.S.|
|CASA-Barcelona||93 452 8299||Brown University||(401) 863 3555|
|CASA-Barcelona Director: office||93 452 8299||Brown Emergency||(401) 863 4111|
|CASA-Barcelona Director: mobile||608.251.893||Columbia University||(212) 854 5061|
|US Consulate||93 280 2227||Columbia Emergency||(212) 854 5555|
|Police (Emergency)||092||Cornell University||(607) 255 6224|
|Policy Reports||902 102 112||Cornell Emergency||(607) 255 1111|
|Ambulance||061||Dartmouth Emergency||(603) 603 3333|
|Cancel credit card||900 991 216||Harvard University||(617) 496 2722|
|General emergency Europe-wide||112||Harvard Emergency||(617) 432 1212|
|Radio Taxi||93 303 3033||Johns Hopkins University||(410) 516 7856|
|Johns Hopkins Emergency||(410) 516 7777|
|Northwestern University||(847) 467 6400|
|Northwestern Emergency||(847) 491 3456|
|University of Pennsylvania||(215) 898 9073|
|Pennsylvania Emergency||(215) 573 3333|
|Vanderbilt University||(615) 343 3139|
|Vanderbilt Emergency||(615) 421 1911|