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The McDermott Scholars Award covers all expenses of a superb four-year academic education at The University of Texas at Dallas, in concert with a diverse array of intensive extracurricular experiences, including internships, travel, and cultural enrichment.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

First three weeks in Spain

¡Bien venidos desde Salamanca, España! As the home of Spain's oldest university, Salamanca is a city full of culture and college life. Among the 35,000 students in attendance, more than 2,000 hail from throughout Europe, Asia, and of course the foreign country of Texas -- providing a rich exchange of cultures and languages. As a part of the University's Cursos Internacionales, I am currently taking advanced classes in Spanish grammar, communications, and business. My language skills continue to improve steadily, though I have to work diligently to avoid using the Spanish "theta." While I do have many things to learn while I'm here, a Spanish lisp is not one of them.

When I am not in class, Salamanca's magnificent architecture provides a beautiful backdrop for enjoying the many historical sites hidden throughout the city. When I need to warm up, a café con leche and a churro from one of the numerous eclectic cafés that line the city's stone streets always hit the spot. I am especially impressed by the city center Plaza Mayor pictured below. Though this picture did come at great cost, for while Spaniards do not use the Mexican term "gringo," you can bet that any goofy-looking American asking a stranger to take his picture in front of the pretty building is aptly labeled the Spanish equivalent: "un guiri."

In the end, my time as a guiri has made me grateful that English has no subjunctive or vosotros forms and thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the rich culture and history of Salamanca, Spain. ¡Te vaya bien!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Settling in in Glasgow

Greetings from slightly gloomy Glasgow. All the pictures above were taken on the same day. The city got two hours of sunshine on Sunday and the locals were awed at the site of blue skies in the winter. It snowed heavily today, but only briefly and during the 35 minutes I was walking home. The strangest part of the weather is something all Dallasites (is that a word?) and even Americans and lower latitude Canadians take for granted: daylight. It only gets light at about 8-8:30 and it starts to get really dark at 4:30. At noon the sun is already half set in the sky and with the high latitude it is weak all day long. The flip side is that I bet the summer daylight is really nice and long here (I went to Edmonton once during the peak of summer. When we landed at 11:00 at night it was still bright outside).