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First time student to Europe- Need help with ticket purchase and itinerary

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Okay so I am a college student from California and this will be my first time traveling out of the U.S. I will be going to Barcelona in July for 2 weeks (July 6-20) to study abroad. A couple of us want to leave early and stay later. I had purchased a round trip ticket from July 3- July 27 but one of the airlines is no loner operating so basically I will have to start from scratch.
Some of the places I wanted to visit where Paris, London, and Rome.

I had originally purchased the round trip ticket from California to Barcelona and back because our group decided to just see what other students are doing and just buy tickets in Europe as we go. I know one person who bought a one way ticket from California to London (July 3-4) then from there they will go to Barcelona (July 6) because we all have to be in Barcelona by July 6 to check in at the University.

I need advice on the what would basically be the smartest route to take I know ticket prices go up the closer you get to the dates but i am wondering if I should just purchase another round trip ticket from California to Barcelona and just see how many places I am able fit (and afford) while I am there or should I buy a one way ticket from California to London then head to Barcelona in time for classes (July 6) and purchase my return ticket while i'm over there because then I won't have to worry about making it back to Barcelona because let's say I am in Paris I can just buy it from Paris to California. ( I know the price will be high but I'm worried that the price might double or triple) HELP!!

July 3- Leave
July 4- ?? London?? Which will be about only a full day
July 5-??
July 6- Have to be in Barcelona for Classes
July 7 - 20 Classes in Barcelona
July 20- leave to Paris? Rome?
July 20 - 27 ??

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