Health and Safety
Health Insurance Coverage
As Brown University is the administering institution for CASA Barcelona, all students studying abroad on the CASA Barcelona program are enrolled in an accident and sickness plan through Sanitas during their program dates. Students should use this plan for coverage while in Spain. There are many hospitals and medical centers throughout the country that can be used by Sanitas customers. Upon arrival, participating students will be provided with a Sanitas card as well as instructions on how to set up appointments and information regarding the participating centers in Barcelona and the rest of Spain.
In addition, participating students are also covered through Brown’s International SOS and study abroad/travel abroad accident and sickness insurance policy (Starr Insurance) at no additional cost. This policy covers travel, medical, emotional support, and security advice and services. You should use this coverage when traveling outside of Spain during your program dates. There is one exception, however, for mental health or counseling needs both while in Spain and traveling outside Spain, students should contact International SOS.
The Sanitas and International SOS plans are not designed to replace your regular health insurance. Prior to their departure for Barcelona, all students are required to demonstrate to their home university that they have obtained an individual comprehensive health plan that will provide coverage for accidents and illness, including emergency evacuation and repatriation, for their entire period abroad of the program. If you are currently covered by a plan through your home university, you may be provided with the option to continue this coverage while abroad. If not, you will need to present evidence of coverage to your home institution before you travel abroad.
- 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.
Farmacia Josep Clapés Antoja: Las Ramblas, 98
Farmacia Torres 24 horas: Carrer d’Aribau, 62
Farmacia Rosa Penella Peris: Carrer de Muntaner, 254
Farmacia Laguna Ventosa: Carrer de Provença, 459
Farmacia la Pedrera: Passeig de Gràcia, 90
Medical appointments can easily be made at Sanitas approved health clinics and specialists’ offices throughout Barcelona.
Students can consult the Sanitas app for the option that best suits their specific needs. Calling ahead to book an appointment is the best option and means a student will not pay for the consultation up-front. If a student opts to use his/her own private medical insurance, it is the student’s responsibility to understand how his/her insurance coverage works, pay when necessary for any treatment and to file all reimbursement requests.
Centre Mèdic Vila Olímpica
Avda. Icaria, 182
Tel: 93 225 19 48
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 7:30am -8:30pm
Centro Médico Teknon
c/ Vilana, 12
Tel: 93 290 62 00
Centro Médico Delfos
Avenida Vallcarca, 151
Hospital El Pilar - Grupo Quirónsalud
c/ Balmes, 271
Tel: 93 236 0500/93 237 5780
Clínica Sagrada Familia
c/ Torras i Pujalt, 1
Tel: 628 604 412 – emergencies
email@example.com (for specialist appointments)
Translation service available
Clínica Tres Torres
c/ Doctor Roux, 76
Tel: 93 204 13 00
Hospital Universitari Dexeus - Grupo Quirónsalud
c/ Sabino Arana 5-19 Planta 1
Tel: 93 227 4747
Specialist hospital for victims of sexual assault:
c/ Villarroel, 170
Tel: 932 275 400
Clínica Dental Sanitas
Milenium Santa Eulalia
c/ Santa Eulàlia, 52
Tel: 93 459 7685
International SOS Emotional Support 24/7 every day of the year
Tel: +1 215 942 8478
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|