Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Bilbao’ Category

Adapting to the Siesta in Bilbao

Nicholas Mathis is a student at Virginia Military Institute and an ISA Featured Blogger. Nicholas is currently studying abroad with ISA in Bilbao, Spain.

Blog Post 3 number 2 - friends

I like to think of myself as a pretty easy-going guy.  I don’t get easily upset, and I like to go with the flow. But here I am, staring at the sign hanging in front of the sports office in my university that tells me the working hours. “Closed from 1:00 to 4:00,” I said slowly, not believing what I was seeing. “Who closes in the middle of the day!?”

Read more

Museo Guggenheim Bilbao: A Catalyst for Change

Nicholas Mathis is a student at Virginia Military Institute and an ISA Featured Blogger. Nicholas is currently studying abroad with ISA in Bilbao, Spain.

Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain

It’s hard to talk about Bilbao and not talk about the Guggenheim Museum; the city and the museum are forever fused together in the public perception, and for good reason. The Guggenheim was the center of the city wide revolution in Bilbao that transformed this once industrial shipyard into a tourism powerhouse. The museum is one of the first places I visited while here in Bilbao, and I continue to visit as there are rotating exhibitions. In addition, the museum is located right across the river from my university. I’m lucky enough to be able to see the museum every day on my way to class, and every day when I’m heading home.

Read more

Here I Come, Spain! My First Days in Madrid.

Nicholas Mathis is a student at Virginia Military Institute and an ISA featured blogger. Nicholas is currently studying abroad with ISA in Bilbao, Spain.

So, the best place to start is always the beginning right? The first prompt for ISA asked me about my first 48 hours. It’s had to describe such a huge change in such a short period of time. I’ve never been across the Atlantic, and this was the furthest I had ever been from the US. It’s been incredible so far, but the only way to talk about what it’s like now is to talk about how I got here in the first place.

Bye America; Hola España!

Read more

Walk Like a Spaniard, But Talk Like One, Too?

Emily Bowman  is a student at University of Denver and is an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures  blogger corresponding with the World Affairs Council of Houston. Emily is currently studying in Bilbao, Spain on a Fall 2 Program.

I love being an expat. I think it suits me. Not to say that the territory doesn’t include some bumpy terrain. There’s always something, no matter how long it’s been since you unpacked your suitcase, that reminds you that you are a piece from a different puzzle – you just don’t quite fit.

Read more

Explore Bilbao on a Stationary Bike

Emily Bowman  is a student at University of Denver and is an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures  blogger corresponding with the World Affairs Council of Houston. Emily is currently studying in Bilbao, Spain on a Fall 2 Program.

This morning, I turned on the TV in my host mum’s kitchen to watch the new while I ate breakfast, like I do for most meals. However, this morning, I was greeted by a very happy surprise!

Euskal Irrati Telebista (Eitb), the Basque Country’s public broadcasting service, has created a program called “In English, Please”, to entertain and educate the people of the Basque country in English, of course.

The show is hosted by Alan Griffin, an Australian politician, who has apparently taken a break from his day job to ramble around Euskadi on his bicycle, attempting to speak with locals in English along the way.

Not only is this program highly entertaining (just get an eye full of the title sequence, which shows Griffin pedaling away on his stationary bike at various locales to the tune of Queen’s “Bicycle Race“), but you actually learn a lot about Bilbao about the Basque Country along the way.

For instance, you can explore the Guggenheim Museum:

Read more

UNESCO Extea: Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future in Bilbao

Emily Bowman  is a student at University of Denver and is an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures  blogger corresponding with the World Affairs Council of Houston. Emily is currently studying in Bilbao, Spain on a Fall 2 Program.

On the eve of the International Day of Peace (September 21st), the University of Deusto hosted a round table discussion organized by UNESCO Etxea on the topic of “Building a Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future: Meeting our Responsibilities to the Next Generation”.

Read more

Spain & Second Impressions

Emily Bowman  is a student at University of Denver and is an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures  blogger corresponding with the World Affairs Council of Houston. Emily is currently studying in Bilbao, Spain on a Fall 2 Program.

The past few days have been hectic, but in the best possible way. You know that feeling that everything is shifting, moving, changing, and you’re just rolling along with the current? I love that.

I’ve been in Santander for over a month now, and lately I started to feel like I’d set down some durable roots in Spain. This was, after all, the city where I got my first taste of Spain. While Santander is only one short hour by bus from Bilbao, my current locale, I can’t help but feel like my entire outlook on Spain has been altered somewhere in the shift.

Santander

I should mention that, as far as some Spaniards are concerned, the two cities are worlds apart. There exists a considerable rivalry between Santander and Bilbao. I have yet to discover exactly where it has its base.

When I first arrived in Santander, it didn’t take long before I revealed to some of my acquaintances there that I would, in fact, be studying in Spain for much longer than the summer term at the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo. I would also be studying at the Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao through the fall semester. To my surprise, some of my acquaintances wrinkled their brows (or their noses) and wanted to know exactly why I planned on studying abroad – studying Spanish, no less – in Bilbao.

I asked my professor, Javier (who is a native of Cantabria, the region of which Santander is the capital), why the people I met in Santander were so put-off by the fact that I would be studying abroad in Bilbao. He told me that there was a big rivalry between the two cities’ futbol teams. While plausible, I don’t buy it, mostly because whenever I’ve spoken with a person from Santander about their futbol team, they have always laughed and informed me that they always lose. I just never got the impression that the people of Santander were ready to get up in arms over their futbol team or their rivals.

The disregard is not one-sided. The very first night I found myself in Bilbao, I was sitting at the table in my host mother’s kitchen chatting with her and her friend who lives in the apartment on the first floor of our building. Her friend commented that I looked a bit tan, so I informed her that I had spent the last month in Santander, a popular beach town on the northern coast. To this, she told me a phrase sometimes heard here in Bilbao: “A Santander, cagar y volver,” which roughly translates to, “Santander, sh•t and return”. Well, then.

Bilbao

What does all of this signify? While I am physically barely 100 km away from the little slice of Spain that I have experienced these last five weeks, in many ways, I realize that I have entered into an entirely new side of the country. Isn’t it always just the way that once you feel like you know something, it changes? I love that. It only means that there’s more in store to discover.

This is a reason why I chose to study abroad in Bilbao. I wanted to become acquainted with a little-known corner of Spain, something else than the bullfights and flamenco dancers. Obviously, if the reactions I have witnessed from the people I have met in both Santander and Bilbao are anything to go by, then I’ve hit the mark. For all those considered, Bilbao is something different, alright.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 14,631 other followers