My abroad experience is an internship with the viticulture department at the Universidad Publica de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. I’ve been here just over one month so far and I have just under a month to go. I thought it’d be fun to share what a typical work day for me looks like here in Spain!
My alarm goes off, it’s 7:00 in the morning. My room is already bright, the window open to keep the room cool at night since we don’t have AC, which is typical here. I get ready and eat breakfast- always a cup of coffee and maybe some toast or yogurt. I pack my water and snack for the day and walk out the door around 8:00. I meet Agustina, the other summer intern, a masters viticulture student from Uruguay, out front of my building and we walk the fifteen minutes to the University together. In the parking lot we find our coworkers, three other girls in their 20s and a field manager- though never all at once, and hop in the van to head to the vineyard for the day.
The vineyard can be up to 2 hours away and I spend the drive looking out the window in the backseat, amazed by the mountains all around us- it’s absolutely beautiful, and attempting to understand the Spanish being spoken very fast by my coworkers in the front seat. We arrive at the vineyard, never-ending rows of vines with mountains in the background. We split up into teams- pairs or groups of three- and measure the shoots on the vines or the water potential of the leaves. The experiments vary between vineyards and even between plots but some of them evaluate the effect of cover crops, irrigation strategies, or the application of different elements on the growth of the vine and/or composition of the grapes. Around 11 the team stops working and gathers around the car for almuerzo- which I thought meant lunch but here it means a fruit and coffee (except we don’t have coffee on the vineyard). After about 20 minutes it’s back to work until we finish whatever we need to for the day. As we walk through the rows of vines I get to practice my Spanish and/or help my coworkers with their English- one of them is really good, one okay, and the other two don’t know much, Agustina knows a good bit. Once the work is done we head back to the University. In the parking lot Agustina and I are told what time to be there the next morning then free to walk home.
It’s around 2:30 when I get back to the apartment and I make lunch, typically leftovers from dinner the night before; it’s normal to eat around 3 here. One of my roommates, Rúben, and I eat lunch together, talking about work, practicing my Spanish more. Then I have the rest of they day to do whatever I want. I typically spend time journaling, reading, go for a walk around the city, maybe to a park or coffee shop. I may call a friend from home, take a nap, or go eat pinxtos with a friend. Many businesses close from 1:30-4ish so options can be limited. My other roommate, Capucine (she’s from France), gets back from her internship around 5:30. The three of us will often cook dinner around 8:00 in the kitchen, though all separate meals, and eat together, talking and telling stories of our lives and cultures. They’re a lot of fun. We may watch a movie if there’s time or I’ll sit on the couch and read one of the English books I’ve found at book shops in the city. It starts to get dark around 10:30, and I’m in bed around 11, setting my alarm for the next morning.