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03/07/2016

Business + Culture, Spring 2016, Newsletter II

THE HOMESTAY EXPERIENCE

What happens when two cultures from across the ocean meet and spend a few months in each other’s company?

As a way of offering a glimpse into life at a homestay in Spain, we asked our Business & Culture students to send us a short dinnertime video, with some unexpected and beautiful results!  Thanks to Alexandra (Minnesota), Aaron (Indiana), Cameron (Indiana), Tyson (Wisconsin), and Will (Wofford College) for your amazing contributions!

 

“WE DON’T HAVE ANYTHING REMOTELY LIKE THIS BACK HOME!”: HIKING AND WINE-TASTING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

Cavas Codorniu is the oldest continuing business in Spain, with its roots going back to the 17th century, so it was an appropriate place for the Business&Culture group to begin a weekend trip into the Catalan countryside. The champagne region of France may have become a household name, but Catalans will proudly tell you that their cava sparkling wine is equally fine and has just as much heritage as its French sibling.  Founded in 1551 in the shadow of the mythical Montserrat hills, the winery now produces 60 million bottles a year of wine and is a prime example of how to make an old family business into an industrialized giant.

During the tour of the huge grounds, we learned each stage of the process from vine to finished product, and all the subtle changes along the way. James from Scranton University was impressed “It’s amazing how the skin from a red grape can change the color of a wine to make it rose, and how they have to make sure every single bottle is rotated each day for two months to get the right end result.”  The visit, of course, had to conclude with a customary wine-tasting and some shopping for the lucky folks back home.

Cavas

L-R: Zach (Cornell), James (Scranton), Thales & Taylor (Brandeis)

We later moved onto Montserrat, a small nearby national park just a short journey but a world away from Barcelona. Named for its ‘serrated’ mountain tops, it’s full of bizarre rock formations (think a grey version of Utah’s national parks), but also home to a centuries’ old Benedictine monastery perched on the edge of the cliffs.  Tyler from Brandeis was impressed by this juxtaposition of nature and history:  “We don’t have anything remotely like this in the States – our country itself is just a few hundred years old.  We have the scenery, like in Utah or Arizona, but not with the centuries of culture and history that goes with it.”  Some chose to walk off the cava with a hike all the way up to the Sant Jeroni peak, catching some much needed Sunday fresh air before heading back to Barcelona refreshed and ready for mid-term week.

Montserrat

L-R: Eleanor (Wisconsin), Ashley (Indiana), Zach(Cornell), Tyler (Brandeis), James (Scranton), Robert (Wisconsin) and Thales (Brandeis)  taking in the views in Montserrat!

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