The Guggenheim Bilbao and Academics Across the Atlantic

The Spring ’19 group at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

As much as we joke about the ‘abroad’ part of study abroad being a lot more fun, the ‘study’ can be fairly enriching too. Taking classes in Spain has offered opportunities to learn about things that I likely wouldn’t have in Tufts, but also enriches my pre-existing classes and focuses and gain new perspectives on them. At Tufts I’m an American Studies major, a department I love because it is so interdisciplinary. I have taken classes in fields like Urban Studies, Religion and Sociology, and focus on the relationship of institutions and power. I also minor in Art History. These two areas of study interact in several ways, but most recently I have been studying the institution of art museums. took an amazing class with Andrew McClellan on the subject last semester (Tufts students, take it!) and loved it.

For my final paper I combined my interest in art museums and urban studies to write about the viability of the ‘Guggenheim effect.’ Essentially, was building a hip new art museum (with a famous architect) in a struggling city a catalyst for urban regeneration? It was a fascinating paper and research process, and I spent many hours reading about Bilbao and the Guggenheim Bilbao.

So, imagine my complete and utter nerdy excitement when we got to visit the museum this past week. I was so enthralled. Getting to visit places that I have read about and make connections across oceans and classes is just so thrilling. It added a whole new dimension to the things I have learned and will continue to study. I mean, hey, 100 Montaditos is fun. But sometimes getting to visit someplace that you spent months of your life reading about is even better.


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