“Tenho Saudades de Portugal!

I arrived in Lisbon in the fall of 2007 with a research question: how is a major new European directive, the Water Framework Directive, being implemented in Portugal? I had decided with my colleagues at the Technical University of Lisbon and the University of Porto to focus my research in the Alentejo, a dry region in the Southeastern corner of Portugal characterized by vineyards, olive orchards, and montados (see picture). Thus, I split my time between Lisbon, the capitol of Portugal, and Beja, a small city in the center of the Alentejo region. This allowed me an amazing opportunity to experience both “new” and “old” world Portugal.

In Lisbon, my days were spent at the university where I met people from all over the world. My nights were spent going to see Portuguese, French, and American films at the Cinemateca film house, seeing fado at an old chapel near my house, or going out for a drink in the Barrio Alto with friends. Weekends were for futbol games and for coffees and long walks along the coast near Estoril. The vibrant movimento of Lisbon was a great contrast to the city of Beja. In Beja, my days were spent driving through the country to speak with farmers. At night, the local restaurants served amazing food – sopa alentajana, cabrito, and porco preto. After a good meal, I would go to bed early listening to crickets singing outside. In this way, I was able to experience both the modernity of urban Portugal and the tranquility of rural Portugal – both of which I came to love. My Fulbright Fellowship in Portugal was a transformative experience that I will always remember.”

US Fulbright Student in Portugal, AY 2007/2008.