Studying abroad has always been a dream, but to actually be here has been so surreal. I cannot thank God enough for giving me this opportunity to be in a different world. It’s cliché to say, but it’s definitely going to be a life changing experience. It has only been a week, but I know this new culture has changed my perspective of my own culture and my perspective of the world.
Coming into Argentina, I had no idea what to expect. A week before the trip, I felt overwhelmed with the circle of nervousness and apprehension. I would be immersed in a new language, culture, and people, and with no experience with being out of the country, I felt engulfed in my doubts and worries. It only worsened when I got on the plane and realized that I was one of the few Americans with my minimal four years of high school Spanish, but there was this sense of mysterious adventure that kept me from backing out. (And of course, I had no choice anyway.)
CASTELLANO The first few days in Buenos Aires were challenging. The language barrier was probably one of the most problematic things for me. Being used to the Mexican accent taught in the states, I found the Castellano accent to be so strange, so understanding them was one of the issues. I’m so glad to have two other American students with me who speak Spanish very well because they’ve been great help. For a while, my answers were short and static, and I spent more time just listening and observing to how they spoke. However, as the days went by, I could see that my comprehension was rapidly getting better.
THE SUPTE Another issue for me (and Argentines as well) is getting on the supte (subway). The station where I enter the train is about in the middle of the red line, so in the mornings when the trains proceed to my stop, they’re already packed with people. How do I get on? Well, this is where I try to be aggressive and just throw myself into the train. Some days this past week, I’ve been lucky to get a spot and get to class on time. However, there was one day where I had so much trouble finding a spot on the supte that I was thirty minutes late. Hopefully that won’t occur again.
CLASS&FUN This past week has been balancing Spanish class duties and sight seeing. I’ve been tired everyday, but you’re only in Buenos Aires once! I’m glad my class has been light; otherwise I would not have been able to have the time to explore. I’ve been able to see sights like La Plaza de Mayo, las Madres de los desaparecidos, y Puerto Madero, and it has been remarkable. Never in the world would I have thought to see these in person.
FAMILY The host family I’m living with is amazing. It consists of a father, mother, and their two sons who are 16 and 13. They are the most welcoming and accommodating people I’ve ever met, and I’m so happy that I get to experience Buenos Aires with their help.
Stepping into their home, it’s obvious that family and friend relations are so vital to the success of Argentine life. With the multiple greetings with hugs and kisses received in a day and the long conversations over dinner, I can see that they have so much love for each other and are always willing make time for one another. As I’ve been told, someone can always find a friend who will remain by your side if he or she needed a shoulder to cry on for days.
This is so different from American culture, but it’s something that I appreciate so much about Argentina because it makes me think about the relationships with my family and friends. I question if I spend enough time with them or whether I’m there enough for them when they need someone. This aspect of their culture has really taught me that I should not ever take my family and friends for granted.
One week down with five more to go. I can’t wait to see what’s yet to come!