BAFF Fellows enjoyed a lively four-night stay in the grand city of Nashville, Tennessee for the Fall 2018 Enrichment Trip. This much-awaited occasion serves to reunite Fellows for a week of professional enlightenment, cultural enjoyment, community contribution, as well as some quality bonding time. Fellows were greeted by CIEE staff at the iconic Acme Feed & Seed, a 22,000-square-foot former feed story and farm supply facility, now the number one site for food and entertainment in downtown Nashville. With an abundance of food and music, the Fellows shared stories of their host companies, supervisors, projects, and voyages thus far. The new addition to the Enrichment Trip was having our BAFF Research Scholars with us for the entire week.
Tuesday started off with a visit to The Wond’ry, Vanderbilt University’s innovation center. This three-story space serves as the ideas laboratory for Vanderbilt students and faculty to hammer out their scientific, artistic, tech, and entrepreneurial products to deliver to the world. This makerspace provides members with 3D printers, sewing machines, casting, robotics, computer, and circuitry equipment. In addition, a range of innovation and product launch programs provide students with the real-world experience for entering the market. Following this visit, the group swung over to the Nashville Parthenon to enjoy the architectural phenomenon and histories famous works of art.
Later that afternoon, the group gathered at the Bridgestone Arena to begin the Stray Boots Scavenger Hunt. Split off into six teams, the group raced around the city to find clues and answer trivia about Nashville. The team discovered the sites such as the Grand Ol’ Opry, Tootsies, the Johnny Cash Museum, and many other locations. The scavenger hunt would lead every team to dinner at the Wildhorse Saloon, where the group would rest their britches for a bit with dinner and live music. But then they put on their dancing shoes for a session of line dancing lessons.
On Wednesday, the group would focus their morning energies to ‘giving back’, having been bused out to a former industrial area which is object of the Nashville Greenfield Restoration Project. We were greeted by Sam West of the Tennessee Environmental Council. This energetic and comical individual directed the group to different garden sections throughout the field to clean and weed the flower beds for winter. This green acreage formerly served as a dumping ground for a glass factory, but is now being tended to by the Council to facilitate a revitalization process. The presence of flower seeds, pollen, trees, bees, and fauna on this area, would all contribute to the rejuvenation of land, with hopes of transforming it into an official park or community garden for the community to enjoy. Mr. West gave a tour of the land, indicating specific tree and plant species, gave an explanation of his solitary bee houses, and enlightened the group about other revitalization projects managed by the Tennessee Environmental Council. The group enjoyed physical activity, fresh air, a gorgeous scenery, the inspiration of a hard-working environmentalist, and the satisfaction of having give back to the Nashville community.
Later that afternoon, the group drove out to Arrington Vineyards for a light dinner, some wine-tasting, and a brief introduction of the history.
On Thursday, the group joined for our interactive seminar, Dimensions of Culture, conducted by Laura Lyons. This session allows the Fellows to reflect upon their cultural immersion experience by taking a step back and observing the
The Fellows would later meet at the historic Hermitage Hotel for their farewell dinner in the company of our distinguished BAFF Board of Directors. This is an honorable occasion for the Fellows to meet the Directors and express their gratitude for the scholarship; equally an opportunity for the Board Members to hear about the Fellows’ work in the U.S. as well as events and issues back home in the Baltics.