You might know that I'm thinking about applying for a Fulbright grant for the 2009-2010 school year in order to study abroad on someone else's dime. Ideally, I would end up in España, but I would settle for Chile, Peru, maybe Bolivia... The problem is that you can only apply for one country. However, I think I might have a chance at getting in to the Spain program (which is fiercely competitive).
In the fall, I will be working for Dr. Cooper on money from a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. Dr. Cooper has coauthors in Barcelona and Valencia. I don't speak Catalán, and don't really think that I'd like to spend a year in Barcelona (maybe more than the one weekend I spent would be cool, but I'd put a voluntary 2 week cap on time in Barcelona). However, they speak Castillian Spanish (castellano) in Valencia in addition to the local language, valencià, which is predominate in communications such as public signage. It is a form of Catalán, but I can actually read it, as opposed to the kind they speak in Barcelona.
So, if things go well with Dr. Cooper, I may have the opportunity to get a letter of recommendation from him, a letter of affiliation from the university where his coauthor works, and letters of recommendation from two (former??) Fulbright scholars who were my thesis advisor and my favorite spanish teacher in undergrad. It's at least worth applying for.
Valencia would be better than a latin-american alternative because I can go straight south whenever I want on my own dime...If I can get the US department of state to pay for a year-long trip to Spain, then I might as well milk it for all it's worth. With this connection, there might be equal odds of me getting in to any of the 4 countries of potential interest. I need to talk to the scholarship lady at FSU to see what I need to do to beef up my application.
I also need to come up with an idea for community involvement in the city of Valencia in my proposal to go to there. Let me know if you have any ideas that could help me rock out the application process.