Friday, October 14, 2011

Last day

Today is our final day of visiting Spain; we’re flying out tomorrow.  We started our adventure with a visit to a visit to Fundar, which is a NGO in Valencia.  NGOs are nongovernment organizations, which from what I could gather is nearly the same thing as a nonprofit organization in America.  Fundar is the largest volunteering company in Valencia and provides many opportunities for the local community.  Nacho, our speaker with Fundar, explained several aspects about being a NGO is Spain.  I thought it was interesting that the level at which the NGOs can be taxed at is determined by the level of benefit offered (10-25%).  For example if a NGO provides service to restore buildings the government would have otherwise had to spend money to restore.  I am not sure if that is how it is done in America but I had thought in America that nonprofits weren’t taxed at all.  Also Nacho explained that a NGO is a non-lucrative not non-profit, in other words any profits that are generated is reinvested in projects that they are performing.

After lunch we were taxied to the arts and science center of Valencia.  This place is beautiful and had some amazing architecture.  I think I could have spent my time just walking around and looking at the buildings.

The arts and science center is an extremely large place and we couldn’t have explored it in it’s entirety.  Everyone was given the opportunity to explore any of the numerous buildings but we all decided to explore the oceanographic center.  Of course there were lots of fish to see.  The oceanographic center was similar to the Georgia aquarium with the separate fish exhibits linked via an outdoor walkway featuring pools with ducks and even penguins.  I found myself adopting to Spanish way, as I have grown to call it, and cutting people off more or less.  At the end of my visit Kevin, Tim, and I were fortunate enough to catch a dolphin show.  The show was very entertaining and similar to what I have seen in America at Sea World, the obvious exception was the announcements were in Spanish.

The end of our adventure in Valencia consisted of a dinner with Stan and three of his students.  We were taken to a local restaurant of Nacho’s choosing.  The meal consisted of 6 courses of pasta, jamon (ham), quesadilla, potatoes with a sour cream with garlic topping, potatoes with ham and egg topping, and finally chicken on a stick.  It has been my experience at the restaurants that have a local “flair” to them feature many small courses rather than the one central meal as I am used to.  To end the evening we, the students, went out with the Spanish students to a bar they choose.  We were driven and I had the most “exciting” ride yet; I was glad that we arrived safely!  After hanging out with the students for an hour or so I left for my room to ready myself for the journey back to America.  Adios Espana, I had a good time!

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