Traveling the World with a U.S. Ambassador

Posted on Friday, May 06, 2016

Think of one of the best days you’ve ever had – now imagine spending that day with someone very important… like the U.S. Ambassador to Spain.

As an intern with the U.S. Commercial Service in Spain, I had imagined I would meet the ambassador at some point, but I never imagined spending a whole day with him!

I was invited to FITUR (International Fair for Tourism) one of Spain’s biggest trade fairs, to represent the U.S. Commercial Service and promote tourism within the United States. As I walked into the Americas pavilion, all around me I was surrounded by countries from North America, Central and South America, all working to promote tourism in their respective countries. Walking throughout the pavilion was like spending five minutes in each country- at one corner you could sample pineapple from Costa Rica, hot chocolate from Mexico, observe cigars being hand made from Cuba, or watch an Argentinian tango. But my world tour was not limited to the Americas - there were also separate pavilions to showcase the countries of Europe, Africa, and Asia. For a trade fair seeking to promote tourism, I was definitely THAT eager tourist in every line waiting to taste the Belgian chocolate, Turkish coffee, and have my name written in Taiwanese.

As I thought to myself, “What a great internship, I am sampling foods from all over the world and I get a day out of the office!” My supervisor walks over to me and asks that I assist the ambassador in the ribbon cutting ceremony to welcome the American tourism companies to FITUR. Hold a ribbon? No problem! That was until I saw the amount of cameras going off in my face and the video crew! I thought, “So this is what it’s like to be a little bit of a celebrity!” But the fun didn’t end there.
Another intern and I were invited to walk with the ambassador around the Americas pavilion and visit Galicia’s (one of Spain’s historic regions) exhibition. The setup was breathtaking, Galicia is well known for their fishing industry and architecture.

I have always believed that the best way to familiarize oneself with a culture is through sampling their cuisine, and we did just that. The afternoon was spent sampling typical Galician delicacies – empanadas, (breaded fish pies) pulpo a la gallega, (Galician style octopus) various types of pork and cheeses, and filloas (crepe like pancakes). Needless to say, I was stuffed!

This perfect day did eventually have to come to an end, but it has been one of my best days in Spain. After having been at FITUR, my advice to friends back home is to TRAVEL as much as you can! Whether that be while you’re still in college or after graduation. The world has so much for us to see, and you never know… you may find yourself traveling the world with a U.S. Ambassador.  
 

Daniela Escobar
U.S. Commercial Service
Spring 2016, Madrid, Spain