This summer I studied abroad in London, England. The program I participated
in was 14 weeks long. I studied for the first six weeks at Boston University's
building in South Kensington. The remainder of the program I worked a non-paid
internship at ING-Barings. I earned four credits for the internship because
it was non-paid. Although I was very busy with schoolwork and an internship,
I still managed to travel on the weekends. I was lucky enough to visit Wales,
Dublin, Paris, Rome, Milan, Florence, Barcelona, Pamplona, Zurich, and Interlaken.
I could write pages on all my experiences in each city, but I have chose to
talk about Pamplona, Spain.
In Pamplona some courageous young friends of mine and myself decided to
run with the bulls. The encierro or running of the bulls is the single
most characteristic event of the Fiesta of San Fermin. This event has given
the Fiesta worldwide fame and appears on news broadcasts around the world
during that special week in July. Ernest Hemmingway made the festival famous
in his book The Sun Always Rises. It is held at eight o'clock each
morning from the 7th to the 14th of July. It consists largely of young men
(although it admits all types) who run in front of raging bulls to lead them
from their pen and into the bull-ring. It usually lasts from two to three
minutesalthough if there are complications due to loose bulls it can
last much longer.
The runners who gather at the bottom of Santo Domingothe starting
lineare crowded together as they sing a homily to the image of San Fermin,
which is placed in a niche on the wall, is decorated with the scarves of the
peñas. The song goes like this: "A San Fermin pedimos, por set nuestro
patrón, nos guíe en el encierro dándonos su bendición"
("We ask San Fermin, as our Patron, to guide us through the Bull Run and give
its his blessing."). It is tradition for young male Spaniards because
the first run for a young man signifies his entrance into manhood. A rocket
goes off at the moment the bulls are let out into the street. A second rocket
goes off to let everyone know that all the bulls are now in the street. The
length of the run is about a half a mile. The entrance to the arena is extremely
narrow causing congestion. This is where most people often get gored or even
killed. After running the entire course and getting within ten feet from one
of the bulls, I jumped on the fence just before the entrance to the bullring.
This turned out to be one of my smarter decisions in life. In the next few
seconds I watched two bulls stampede two young males. Once in the bullring
two bulls are let into the arena, and people are allowed to taunt the bulls.
This was also very amusing.
In the end we survived and it turned out to be one of the most memorable moments
in my life. This will provide many stories for my children and friends. My experience
in Europe was the best time of my life and I learned more than I could have
ever learned in a classroom. I would like to thank the Honors College for the
scholarship once again.