SEK Catalunia - excellent international school near Barcelona at a reasonable price29.12.19
International school SEK Catalunya located 35 km North from Barcelona city center in mountainous near the village La Garriga.
School accommodates about 900 students, including students of Junior school 3-11 years, Nursery for children 1-3 years, Middle school 12-16 years and 16-19 years of High school.
Floors of the school are divided by the age groups while maintaining the same style across the school. Each floor has two wings where 5-6 classrooms sit around a large open area which is used to work on projects.
One floor is allocated for science labs, robotics classes, and classes of visual arts.
Despite the fact that the school offers the international IB program for all age groups - PYP, MTP and IB, the program in Junior and middle school copies more the Spanish school system, up until the last two years, where students choose to study Spanish Program in Spanish or International IB program in English.
Secondary school consists of four years. Students study all sciences, math, art and lots of languages (teaching English, Spanish, Catalan, + 1 more European language). By the end of Middle school, students make decisions if they want to finish school with Spanish system Spanish Bachelariato where teaching would be multi-lingual, but mostly in Spanish, or the international IB program, where teaching is all in English with the compulsory study of Spanish.
All subjects are taught in English, but for any age, it is compulsory to study Spanish and Catalan languages.
The school accepts both day and boarding students. Day students are 95 % of the total number and there are about 5% of students who need accommodation in the boarding house. At the same time, many international students are in Spain with their families which live in Barcelona and the surrounding area. Every day, a large fleet of school buses collect children on 6 routes, 3 of which go to the North of the school along the Costa Brava, one route takes the children deep into the West from Garriga, 2 routes collect children living in the Barcelona side, finishing the routes on the two central squares of Barcelona.
SEK Catalunya boarding accommodation
I was very impressed by the residence of the school, which occupies the top floor of the high school. The boarding house has 50 beds for boys and girls age of 12-19 years. Spacious and comfortable rooms could accommodate up to 4 students. But as the school has recently started to accept students to boarding, the residence is not full and children live in ensuite rooms for one or a maximum two in a room.
The boarding house is divided into 2 areas, for girls and boys, with corridors opened into one vast lounge with full kitchen, which the school fills daily with fresh fruits, everything for sandwiches, tea, milk, eggs, and vegetables.
Three times a day international students living in the boarding eat in the school cafeteria, where the team of chefs prepares them a healthy meal. At four o'clock every day all boarding students gather in the leisure area of the residence and cook some snacks to spend time with friends.
The school pays much attention to sports and creative development of children. Younger students necessarily study music, while the music school is part of the Conservatory of Barcelona. All children learn to play musical instruments, sing, compose music and take part in concerts, both at the level of the school and the province. In high school music lessons are not compulsory, as students want to focus on academic study. But if the children want, they can continue their musical education to enter the Conservatory in the future.
Also, there is a very good sports infrastructure on campus. In addition to the sports hall, where it is very popular to practice roller hockey, and swimming pool, which has compulsory lessons for all ages, there are lots of playgrounds for football, tennis, paddle etc.
SEK Catalunya belongs to the network of international schools SEK, together with another SEK school in Madrid, as well as a school in the French Alps and a school in Ireland near Dublin. All schools are part of a professional sport program and SEK Catalunya school offers professional skiing. For this purpose, students of sports Academy are mooving for the winter to the school in the French Alps, where the first half of the day they follow the school curriculum and every day, after lunch, skiing.
The school accepts children without any knowledge of Spanish or Catalan but requires good English. Because when adding two more languages for international students there are not much time for pulling up English, which is the language of studying.
And finally, I would like to say that families who want to live closer to the school, can choose any town near La Garriga, where the school is located. You do not have to live in Barcelona, each of these small towns and big cities of the coast - is a self-sufficient city, with numerous shops, restaurants, beaches, sports facilities - everything you need for a comfortable life of the neighborhood, while to get to Barcelona you would need 20-40 minutes by car or train.