As I slouch down at my desk in the Biblioteca Nacional of Madrid,
I read, "Dios ha dado al hombre la fuerza de los puños,
y, en compensación, ha entregado a la mujer la fuerza de
la sonrisa... [God gave man the force of his fists, and to
compensate, gave women the force of her smile]" The words
jump out at me, as I glare down at them. While I am seven months
into my Fulbright, the historical texts I read do not cease to
surprise and infuriate me.
My time here has been a mix of educational intrigue and personal
growth. The lecture course I'm taking at the Universidad Complutense
on domestic violence in Spain opens my eyes to the poorly supported
rights of women in a 'first-world' country; while spending the
weekend with a Spanish friend in Barcelona shows me how far my
language skills have come (and how far they have yet to go).
Studying abroad on a post-graduate scholarship is an utterly amazing
experience. It sounds nerdy, but instead of studying for a test,
you study to enhance your own personal knowledge. Everything I
do here is for me and no one else.
All my time has not been spent in the library. The cultural events
and nightlife of Madrid thrive, and I seek to take advantage of
them both (even if there is a new law against the nightly street
party, the botellón!).
As I sit on the 45 bus on my way home from the library, I pass
Plaza de Cibeles, the Prado, and Atocha train station. And, as
the bus passes by, I think how lucky I am to be having this experience.
¡Un beso para todos!
Katie McCleary, '01
Katie is a Fulbright Scholar in Spain for the academic year