The following article was submitted by Yasmine Duran as part of her scholarship application for ROOSTERGNN Academy’s Travel Journalism & Photography Internship Seminar in Madrid, Spain.

Yasmine Duran and her friend on the way to get tapas to celebrate her acceptance into RGNN’s 2018 Internship Seminar | Yasmine Duran

Spain has always had a soft spot in my heart. The first time I visited was my sophomore year of high school and I completely fell in love. The trip consisted of twelve days along the Mediterranean. We spent time in parts of Italy, France, and Spain was our last destination. While both Italy and France were both beautiful and fulfilling in their own ways, nothing compares to the feeling of comfort my friends and I had in Spain.

For starters, I think I may have been biased because I worked at a tapas restaurant in Chicago prior to going on the trip. Also, I grew up loving Disney’s The Cheetah Girls, so when in Barcelona I was living my childhood dream. All jokes aside, Spain gave me the familiar feel of a quicker paced city life than Italy and France did, but still felt tranquil. Spain was our last destination on the trip and we visited Barcelona, Seville, and Granada. Sadly, Madrid was not on our itinerary and I could not have been sadder. A Ronaldo fan like me was crushed!

Spanish food at Café Ibérico | Yasmine Duran

Life works in mysterious ways. As mentioned, I was pretty upset I was unable to see Madrid on my trip in high school. Three years later, I find out about an amazing opportunity on my university’s job board! The other day, I was bored at work and like to check on the job board randomly to see if any cool new positions have been posted. I saw a post about ROOSTERGNN’s Travel Journalism, Photography and Video Internship Seminar in Spain. Immediately, I thought ‘whoa! This is right up my alley’. I clicked for more information and was sucked into this deep hole of information digging.

I knew that this opportunity was meant for me and something I had to take advantage of as soon as possible. I went home that day so eager to tell my mom.

Cafecito | Yasmine Duran

As soon as she got home I explained my news and she encouraged me to go forward and apply right away. Sure enough, I was contacted to schedule an interview, and everything went great! At the end of the week I was informed I was accepted and I immediately texted my sorority sister Dayra that we had to celebrate with a tapas dinner.

Café Ibérico is a super cute and trendy Spanish restaurant in the downtown Chicago area. They are the most authentic tapas and sangria – I think. Thrilled and extremely hungry, we both feasted like queens! We shared orders of patatas bravas, paella, croquetas, and salmón ahumado. At the very end, we shared a flan and washed the delicious dinner with a cafecito.

Words cannot explain how excited and blessed I feel to have been granted the opportunity to work with ROOSTERGNN next summer.