Languages@Muhlenberg.edu
Newsletter 2002
 
Adventures Throughout the Hispanic World:
A Fulbright in Action

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 2001-2002. ¡Enhorabuena!