Student exploring his surroundings while studying abroad.

Sands International Performance Ensemble Spain FAQ

Program Overview

Eligibility and How to Apply


Costs, Financial Aid, and Scholarships

Preparing For Study Abroad (Pre-Departure)

After My Program Abroad

Program Overview

What is the Sands IPE semester abroad program at Institute of the Arts Barcelona (IAB) in Sitges, Spain?

Pace University's Sands College of Performing Arts BA in Acting and BA in Directing International Performance Ensemble (IPE) programs include a study abroad component in during students’ fifth semester. This Sands semester abroad program takes place at the Institute of the Arts Barcelona (IAB) in the town of Sitges, approximately a half hour outside of Barcelona. Participants study European-based methods of acting, dance, directing, and other fine art techniques. Students take classes in directing, acting, theater history, script analysis, stage and crew management, voice, movement, and much more. The semester abroad a required component of the IPE curriculum.

What is the Institute of the Arts Barcelona (IAB)?

The IAB is a world-class performing arts training and higher education institution offering Bachelors, Foundation, and Masters programs in acting, dance, and musical theater. The IAB is a multinational and multicultural environment, enrolling students from 50+ countries, and one of the best performing arts training programs in Europe.

What are the dates of the program abroad?

The IAB Academic Calendar for Fall semester is typically from mid-September to mid-December. The first week of the semester in Sitges begins with an IAB induction or orientation week. Exact dates for your cohort can be found on Pace's IAB study abroad program page.

How will I benefit from study abroad?

There are so many benefits to participating in study abroad! You’ll earn credit towards your Pace degree while experiencing a unique performing arts training in a foreign culture - training in European-based methods. Combining strong academics and real-world experiences, studying abroad helps make students more market-ready upon graduation and gain experiential learning and insights. In addition to learning performing arts techniques, studying abroad positively impacts...

  • critical thinking
  • cross-cultural communications skills and intercultural awareness
  • academic performance
  • language learning
  • professional development

You’ll problem solve, develop a deeper global outlook and tolerance for ambiguity, and collaborate with people with diverse backgrounds – paramount for today’s graduates.

I want to do the IAB semester abroad program, but my parents/family is hesitant and want to know more. What should I do?

Pace Education Abroad encourages students to invite their parents and family to the kick-off meeting for the IPE cohort towards the end of the cohort's sophomore Fall semester, one year before going abroad, to learn more about the program details and pre-departure timeline. Pace also has resources on our website specifically for parents and family members who want to know more about study abroad – information that will help them stay informed and support their student as they navigate the study abroad experience. Parental support can positively influence and shape a successful cross-cultural experience!

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Eligibility and How to Apply

Who is eligible to participate on the IPE semester program?

Every junior of Pace’s International Performance Ensemble (IPE) BA actors and BA directors’ program will spend their Fall semester at IAB in Sitges, as long as they meet the study abroad minimum GPA of 2.5. There is no need to apply; you will be automatically enrolled for the program. It is a required component of the IPE curriculum.

What is the application process?

You must complete all necessary application procedures for the IAB Sitges program.

  1. Apply for a passport (if you already have one, check to make sure that your existing passport will be valid at least six months past the program's end date!).
  2. Attend all pre-departure meetings hosted by Education Abroad, including a Spanish student visa workshop.
  3. Pace Education Abroad will create a Study Abroad account for you in the Pace study abroad portal (called "Terra Dotta"). You must then complete the required signature documents and questionnaires associated with your application.
  4. Education Abroad will register you in Pace Portal for the Fall semester abroad, in one CRN for this 18-credit program in Sitges.
  5. Attend the mandatory pre-departure meetings with Pace Education Abroad and IAB staff.

A more detailed checklist and deadlines is provided by Pace Education Abroad to all IPE students and can also be found on the IAB Sitges program page.

Can I participate in the IAB Sitges program as a Pace international student?

International students and/or students without U.S. citizenship must contact the Pace International Students & Scholars office to inquire about participation in this study abroad experience. Failure to do so may result in denial of re-entry to the United States. Students must also contact the Spanish Consulate to determine any special requirements.

Students who hold an EU Schengen area (PDF) passport may not need a Spanish student visa. Contact

What if there are extenuating circumstances which prevent me from studying abroad on this program?

Though this program is mandatory for all students on the IPE track, there are occasionally circumstances which would prohibit students from participating. If this applies to you, please speak with the director of your IPE program, Adrienne Kapstein (

Program withdrawal: Both the Pace Education Abroad Office and the host university/provider must be notified via email if you decide to withdraw from the program, as soon as possible. Students are responsible for reading and understanding the cancellation/withdrawal policies and deadlines of the program they are withdrawing from. If a student does not follow stated cancellation/withdrawal deadlines, they risk losing program fees, housing fees, and possibly partial/full tuition for the Fall term.

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What courses will I take at the IAB? How many?

This Pace Sands College of Performing Arts semester program (hosted by the Institute of the Arts Barcelona, IAB) features a full program of several pre-selected courses (17-18 credits). Students will complete Pace University academic requirements while training in European-based methods.

BA Acting students will take

  • PAPE 310: Acting V
  • PAPE 350: Performance Ensemble III
  • PAPE 280: Theater History
  • DAN 201: Dance Styles for the Stage
  • IABACT 5505: Advanced Stage Voice
  • IABACT 3000: Sex, Gender, and Love in World Literature (AOK 3 or 4)
  • IABACT 3001: Ideas and the Modern State in Europe (AOK 2)

BA Directing students will take

  • PAPE 370: Directing III
  • PAPE 350: Performance Ensemble III
  • PAPE 280: Theater History
  • PAPE 375: Design for Directors
  • IABACT 3000: Sex, Gender, and Love in World Literature (AOK 3 or 4)
  • IABACT 3001: Ideas and the Modern State in Europe (AOK 2)

Read more about the academics Pace's IAB Sitges study abroad program page.

What happens to my study abroad credits and Pace GPA?

You must take all courses abroad for a letter grade; you may NOT take a class abroad Pass/Fail or audit. Credits earned at a foreign institution will be applied to your Pace degree as Pass/Fail.

  • Per Pace's Sands College of Performing Arts' standards, a "Pass" is considered a C- letter grade or higher.
  • A "Fail" is a D+ or lower letter grade. A "Fail" will be denoted as unsatisfactory and you will not receive academic credit for the failed course. IPE students must retake the class at Pace if they earn a D+ letter grade or lower.
  • Students' Pace cumulative GPA is never affected by study abroad, regardless of whether foreign courses are passed or failed.

How will I get credit for studying abroad?

All courses taken abroad must have a Pace equivalent as approved by a Pace department chair. Pace's Sands College of Performing Arts has pre-approved select IAB courses for BA Acting and BA Directing students to take while abroad, therefore there is no need for students to complete course equivalency forms. Pace Education Abroad will receive students' IAB transcripts 1-3 months after the Fall abroad semester has ended, which is then sent to the Registrar. It takes the Registrar approximately 8-12 weeks to process and convert your foreign credits.

How do I register for my semester classes abroad?

During the registration period at Pace (April for Fall semester), Education Abroad will register IPE study abroad students in a course code (CRN) in Pace Portal. This single 18-credit general code will confirm to Pace Financial Aid and the Office of the Registrar that you are enrolled to study abroad as a Pace student during the subsequent semester.

If you plan to switch your major, speak with the director of the IPE program, Adrienne Kapstein (

Do my study abroad grades matter?

Yes. Although the courses will show up as Pass/Fail on your Pace transcript, the actual grades will be a part of your IAB transcript. If you're planning to attend graduate school after you finish your undergraduate degree at Pace, it is not uncommon for schools to request official transcripts from both Pace and the IAB.

Can I take different courses than those that are pre-approved by Pace for the semester?

Pace's Sands College of Performing Arts has consulted carefully with IAB to select particular courses for BA Acting and BA Directing students to take while abroad to ensure students stay on track for their degree. Due to the conservatory-style rigor of the IAB academics, it is extremely difficult to take additional courses. If there are extenuating circumstances, speak with the director of your IPE program, Adrienne Kapstein (

Can I use academic accommodations while abroad on the IAB program?

If you require academic accommodation(s) in order to participate in your program abroad, you must self-identify and contact Pace Student Accessibility Services to request copies of your Pace-approved Letter of Accommodation and other documents to provide to your Study Abroad program or foreign university. Students seeking accommodations while studying abroad should contact Pace Student Accessibility Services well in advance of the study abroad term to ensure a smooth transition into life abroad. While it is your responsibility to initiate this process, Pace Education Abroad ( will support you throughout the process.

  • Pace Student Accessibility Services for the New York City campus: (212) 346-1199 or 161 William Street, 10th Floor

We also strongly encourage you to self-disclose your disability with IAB’s Student Services team (, so that they can best support you. The Americans with Disabilities Act is not applicable outside the United States, so support for your disability may look different from what you are accustomed to at Pace University and in the U.S. It is ultimately your responsibility to disclose any disabilities and plan for your accommodation needs. If you do not disclose disability-related needs until you are abroad, it may not be feasible for your study abroad program to act on accommodation requests made too close to the date of departure or once on site.

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Costs, Financial Aid and Scholarships

What does the IAB program cost?

For semester programs, students will pay their normal Pace tuition and fees to Pace. Housing is not included and must be paid by the student directly to the host institution or third-party provider abroad. Out-of-pocket expenses (airfare, meals, local transportation, visas, and personal expenses etc.) are the responsibility of the student. All study abroad programs carry a $100 Study Abroad Fee, billed to the student's account at Pace, which includes a graduation sash with the country flag of your study abroad destination.

Budget sheet: To see an outline of costs associated with the IAB program, review the "budget sheet" on the Pace IAB program page, under the 'Costs' tab. This budgeting resource outlines the *estimated costs associated with your chosen study abroad program – both academic and non-academic. (*Actual figures may vary and individual expenses may differ.) For questions regarding applicable financial aid, reach out to Pace Financial Aid by including a copy of the budget sheet to your email to

Another helpful resource are IAB study abroad alumni from previous IPE cohorts.

What financial aid applies to the IAB program?

The IAB program is a Pace "partner" program, therefore 100% of federal and state financial aid applies to the semester abroad in Spain. Up to $12,500 of Pace institutional aid (scholarships/grants) applies to the semester abroad. (For example, if a student receives $15,000 of Pace scholarships and grants per semester, they will forfeit $2,500 for the semester abroad; this $2,500 cannot be carried over to the following semester.) In order to be eligible for any financial aid during your term abroad, you must be enrolled as a full-time student abroad. Full-time status is a minimum of 12 credits per semester.

In general, study abroad-specific scholarships are granted on top of the $12,500 Pace institutional aid cap for Partner programs. However, there may be instances where receiving a study abroad scholarship could affect a student's regular Pace institutional aid eligibility. Students should always check with Pace Financial Aid ( to determine if this is the case for their individual financial situation.

Pace tuition remission or exchange does not apply. If you plan to use Veteran Affairs benefits, contact Pace Education Abroad ( and Pace Veteran Affairs ( well in advance of your semester abroad.

What scholarships and funding opportunities are available for the IPE semester abroad?

There are scholarships for study abroad specific to Pace students. There are also scholarships based on where you are studying abroad and what you are studying abroad. Some programs offer scholarships for academically outstanding students. Private foundations/organizations provide aid to students, but you need to do research to find them. Plan your study abroad early, since the scholarship application process takes time. Read our Scholarships page for more information on more than 50 scholarships.

In addition, the director of your IPE program has compiled a list of external scholarships, grants, and funding databases (PDF) for students to consider. Keep in mind that scholarship deadlines tend to be earlier than Pace study abroad program applications.

How do I manage finances while studying abroad?

In addition to using your program's "budget sheet" provided by Pace, which outlines estimated expenses, it’s important to manage your money while abroad and budget accordingly. Talk with IAB study abroad alumni from previous IPE cohorts about their experience. Additionally, these links provide tips as a jumping off point:

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Preparing For Study Abroad (Pre-Departure)

How do I get (or renew) a passport?

For U.S. citizens, information on applying for a new passport (or renewing) can be found on the U.S. State Department website. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond your study abroad program's end date. The U.S. State Department processes passports in 10-12 weeks. Allow plenty of time for processing, and plan well in advance – especially since you will also need to obtain a visa to study abroad with your new passport, which could take several additional weeks.

While abroad, keep your passport in a safe place and do not carry it with you on a daily basis to reduce the risk of losing it; carry a photocopy instead.

Do I need a visa to study abroad?

Because the IAB academic program is around 90 days and students arrive early to settle into housing, students holding U.S. passports will need a Student Visa for Spain. Pace Education Abroad works with IPE students to obtain a Student Visa from the New York City Spanish Consulate through a group visa application process around March ahead of the Fall semester abroad. In order to participate in this group process, you must have a valid passport in hand prior to March 1.

Students who don't participate in the group process will need to obtain a Student Visa as an individual, which takes more time and effort on the student's part. Obtaining a visa is ultimately the student's responsibility, and will depend on your nationality and what the country you are visiting require. It is important that you know what is required of you before attempting to enter a country. Failing to obtain a visa (or the correct visa) could result in a denial of entry into a country.

Students who hold an EU Schengen area passport may not need a Spanish student visa. Contact

International students at Pace who want to study abroad should consult with Pace International Students and Scholars to ensure that you will maintain your F-1 status.

Find detailed steps for applying for a visa on the 'Passport & Visa' tab on Pace's IAB program page.

Do I need international health insurance?

Students going on semester study abroad programs need to purchase mandatory international travel insurance for the academic term abroad, which is arranged through Pace. Read more about Health and Safety while studying abroad.

In addition, the Spanish Consulate of New York requires Student Visa applicants to obtain particular health insurance that is insured by Spain's public health system (no co-pay or deductible). Pace Education Abroad has identified a recommended Spanish insurance company that previous Spain-bound study abroad students have used and strongly recommend you obtain for the purposes of meeting the New York Spain Consulate student visa requirements. Read more on the 'Passport & Visa' tab on Pace's IAB program page.

What about COVID-19?

Though Pace no longer requires students to be COVID-vaccine compliant, we strongly recommend that Pace students who want to study abroad be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they leave the U.S., since laws may be different abroad and change at any time.

What is culture shock?

Once you are overseas, you may experience some cultural challenges adjusting to your new host country. This is a normal reaction to living in a new environment. The process of recognizing, understanding, and adapting to the differences you will encounter is called culture shock. Culture shock consists of different phases: honeymoon (initial euphoria), negotiation, adjustment (gradual understanding), and adaptation. To lessen the culture shock you may feel, try to learn as much about your host country as possible before heading abroad. There are many resources to help you understand what you may go through and provide you with advice on how to cope, such as this one: Adjustments and Culture Shock

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After My Program Abroad

Does my participation in the IAB program impact my housing back on Pace campus in the Spring?

During your Fall semester abroad, look out for communication from Pace Residence Life about securing on-campus housing through the Pace Portal for the Spring semester when you return to Pace.

When will I see my study abroad credits posted to Degree Works?

Pace Education Abroad will receive your IAB official transcript approximately 1-3 months after your program abroad has ended. Pace Education Abroad will then forward your foreign transcript to The Registrar for processing and conversion of your foreign credits. Please allow up to 12 weeks for the Registrar to process and update your Degree Works.

What is reverse culture shock?

Just as you probably experienced some degree of cultural adjustment upon arrival to your host country overseas, you will likely experience some form of reverse culture shock upon your return. It can look different for each individual, affecting some people to a greater extent than others or coming in waves over days, weeks, or months. Some common challenges of reverse cultural adjustment are feeling boredom; finding it hard to explain your study abroad experience; not feeling like others want to hear about your experiences or that they don't understand you; reverse homesickness for your study abroad country; realizing personal relationships have changed; or feeling alienated. Your view of the United States or your home culture may have changed while gaining a new perspective abroad, and it could take some time to readjust to your life back home. Some tips to manage this readjustment include:

  • Talk with people who understand your situation - like the Pace Education Abroad office staff or fellow classmates who have also studied abroad (Pace's Study Abroad Club)
  • Connect with international students at Pace who are studying abroad in New York
  • Incorporate parts of your life or the culture from abroad back at home
  • Turn your photos and memories into a scrapbook - you'll want to capture the memories while they are still fresh
  • Create space to intentionally reconnect with family and friends - and ask them what is new with them!
  • Keep a journal to record your reactions about being home and identify coping strategies
  • Keep an open mind, the same way you did when you went abroad
  • Identify what you are looking forward to when returning home
  • Share your story - save a few photo highlights on your phone ready to show people; prepare specific adjectives beyond "awesome, fun, challenging" to describe your experience; have a few example stories of why it was "awesome, fun, challenging"
    • Understand that others have a different, less involved relationship to your study abroad experience than you and therefore, may not be as interested in hearing about every detail of your adventures and accomplishments as you will be in sharing those experiences. Instead, think ahead about a short answer; medium answer; and long answer to the standard "How was it?" question.
  • Give yourself a break! It takes time to readjust.

There are many online resources that help students better understand reverse culture shock. If you would like to seek out professional help, contact the Pace Counseling Center.

How do I put my study abroad experience on my resume?

Outline the academic components of your studies abroad on your resume: the courses you took, presentations you gave, and projects you worked on. But study abroad is more than just learning in a classroom overseas. It's what happens in your daily life abroad, your explorations and cultural encounters, where the most personal growth occurs. These "soft skills" that you'll strengthen during study abroad — intercultural fluency, critical thinking/problem-solving, flexibility, adaptability, resilience, initiative, cross-cultural communication, working in global teams, self-awareness — are what today's employers are looking for! Put these words on your resume and in your cover letters, if they apply to you. There is a rising demand from employers for global-ready graduates. Be sure to highlight the diversity of your experiences abroad, that you willingly went out of your comfort zone, and the fact that you succeeded in navigating a new culture, currency, transportation system, language, etc. Include real examples of how you've demonstrated these soft skills in your cover letter, and how you overcame specific challenges abroad. In addition, you can leverage the new friends and contacts you made abroad to network for jobs. For help translating your experience abroad into your future career, visit Career Services at Pace. There are also many online resources to guide students in turning their study abroad into a resume builder.

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