Spain: The Importance of Being Basque
Travel back in time to a land of rolling green hills, rich local culture and people who have a deep respect for the nature that nourishes their lives and livelihoods. Amidst the peaks of the Pyrenees straddling France and Spain, the Basque people fiercely preserve their linguistic, artistic, economic and cultural heritage. From alpine hamlets to fishing villages, from modern art in Bilbao to green design in Vitoria, Basque culture expresses an unmistakable connection to the bounty of the land and traditions of the past, while building a thriving economic future. Living, working and learning with Basque business leaders, farmers, shepherds and families, celebrate the hidden beauty of this ancient culture. This summer, put on a traditional Basque beret, lace up a pair of comfortable walking shoes and discover the importance of being Basque.
Begin your adventure in what Ernest Hemingway called “the most Spanish of all cities.” A mix of regional cultures from across the Iberian peninsula, Madrileños share their royal neighborhoods, artistic treasures and laid back way of life with you during a multi-day orientation to Spanish life and language. Then, travel northwest into the heart of Basque country for a thorough introduction to Basque language, traditions and culture. During hikes through the Pyrenees, discussions with shepherds, afternoons in world-class modern art museums and cooking classes with Basque chefs, learn about the link between traditional culture, economics, commerce and cultural preservation. Living with a local family, gain a deeper insight and connection to your new community. Practice your Spanish language skills in open air markets, play soccer with your host brothers or sisters and explore your new community with fellow Corps members. To complete your journey into the heart of Basque culture, travel to Vitoria, Bilbao and cross the French frontier to Bayonne and Biarritz before returning to Madrid.
Orientation in Madrid
- Practice your Spanish language skills from the Puerta del Sol to Retiro Park.
- Taste tapas in the cafes under the arches of the Plaza Mayor.
- Visit the largest royal palace in Western Europe.
- Explore the masterpieces in the Prado Museum.
- Learn about the links between cultural preservation and modern economics.
- Hike the Pyrenees.
- Participate in a Basque cooking workshop with a skilled chef.
- Practice words and phrases in the Basque language.
- Learn how to play pelota vasca.
Family and Community Stay
- Become part of a Spanish family.
- Get together with fellow Corps members to explore your new community.
- Play soccer with your host siblings.
- Enjoy the beauty of the Atlantic coast.
Field Exploration and Journey’s End
- Cross the border and enjoy an overnight in the French Pays Basque.
- Explore Bayonne and Biarritz.
- Learn about eco-friendly urbanism in Vitoria.
- Marvel at the art and architecture at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
- Discuss re-entry and all that you’ve learned about Basque culture and contemporary Spain before the journey home.
Program: Spain – The Importance of Being Basque
Start/End: New York’s JFK International Airport
Prerequisite: At least 1 year of Spanish