My name is Laila Kitchen and I am a junior in LSA and the School of Education. I participated in the CGIS program ‘Multidisciplinary Studies in Barcelona’ as a rising junior in the summer of 2022. Before going on the program, I knew I had to be financially cautious because I had a set budget of $1900 USD for the two months I was there. I had originally planned on sticking to a strict weekly budget, however, upon arrival, things got tricky. I was spending money left and right. So I came up with some solutions.

Tracking spending. Firstly, I created a spending tracker in my notes app. I would track the date, how much I spent, on what, and the payment type. I would also give myself a weekly limit of $230 USD so I stayed within my means.

Free events. I also went to free events to offset the cost of living. CGIS’ partner organization, Barcelona SAE has a list of free things you can do. TikTok and Youtube are fun free resources you can use to find free and exciting activities. If your program offers any free events, go! They’re great opportunities to meet locals and people in your program.

Low-cost traveling in groups. I was able to go to Paris, France and Hamburg, Germany by doing this. I traveled to Paris by bus and stayed for two days; it was $130 USD round trip. I also met a group of girls in my program and we shared an Airbnb for about $50 USD each.The metros in Paris were cheap, we ate at some restaurants but also packed lunches on our excursions. For Hamburg, I traveled by plane, it was $200 USD and I stayed with my friend. It was similar in terms of cost because I used the same methods.

Eating in and grocery shopping. You will be in a new place, of course you should try the cuisine! However, you should also be responsible. Cooking your own food can be fun! You can look at local recipes from your place of study. If you stay with a host family, eat at home!

Clothing. You may be tempted to go to Zara or Bershka as soon as you land, however I am suggesting that you wait. If you wait until the summer sales, a lot of inventory will be on sale. If you are a thrifter, like myself, the Barcelona scene is fun! There is a flea market on the weekends, there are thrift stores, and affordable clothing stores! For first hand stores, I liked Primark and Pull and Bear, they were cheaper than Zara and Bershka!


Questions for Laila about her Multidisciplinary Studies in Barcelona experiences in Summer 2022? Contact her at

Identity tags: Race, Ethnicity, Sexual orientation, Gender identity, Socioeconomic status, Black, African American, Queer, Low-income