Earlier this month I attended Fulbright Spain’s Mid-Year Seminar in Burgos, which is about 2 hours (by bus) from Logroño. I was excited to see my friends who are teaching in Madrid and Galicia, as well as hanging out with people in my cohort from La Rioja. Even though we live in a small city, we don’t see each other as often as you think so the seminar gave us an excuse to catch up too. Plus who doesn’t like free food and hotel housing for a few days…
The highlight of the entire seminar, for me, was that talent show. After a few practices my cohort and I “sang” to the instrumental Closer by The Chainsmokers, La Rioja style. Not to toot my own horn, but we were the shit and everyone knew it on day one. It was probably the most fun I ever had at a conference as we sang about living in Wine Country while holding bottles of wine and wearing our red scarves from the grape/wine festival in La Rioja called San Mateo. I’m not one for the limelight, but I have to admit that it felt great to showcase our talents and well as our bond as a cohort. All of us Fulbrighters also went out together and grabbed some pinchos because, why not?!
However, it wasn’t all fun and games. We attended sessions on a variety of topics, including cultural adaptation and teaching, as well as presentations by researchers, college profressors and teaching assistants. It was interesting to see how everyone else spent their time outside the classroom and gave me ideas on how to maximize my last few months here with Fulbright. In Burgos we also toured the city and visited the only cathedral in Spain to be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the rest in Spain are only recognized by UNESCO as part of the city centers, not individually). By the end of the seminar I felt refreshed and ready to continue after what seemed like a Fulbright college reunion (with a bunch of insanely motivated and intelligent people). Next stop, a day trip to León!
Honestly I was tired by the last day, but the traveling must go on. I went with a friend to León, Spain which is about 1.5 to 2 hours from Burgos. It rained the majority of the trip and even snowed the day I left! Leòn is also one of the few places in northern Spain with real tapas, meaning you order a drink and it automatically comes with food (kind of like a 2 for 1 deal). The food was delicious, the cathedral was picturesque and I even did a bit of shopping since it was still rebajas (sales) season. It was a good few days and by Sunday I was more than ready to go sleep in my own bed.