Each semester IFSA-Butler students chronicle their adventures and experiences as they live and study in different countries. Read a firsthand perspective of how cultural and educational differences shape their journey.
It says a lot about Buenos Aires, unfortunately, that I shot each of these video clips within walking distance of my host family’s apartment.
Most of the footage is shot from a train I take two days a week back from the farm where I volunteer. Looking out the right window, you can see the high rises in my neighborhood. To my left, past a barbed wire fence, you see Villa 31, one of the biggest slums in the city. It takes the continuously moving train about three minutes to pass the villa.
From Retiro, the city’s central train and bus station, I walk home past Patio Bullrich, one of the most expensive malls in the city. I shot a little footage of the mall, and to give a less extreme image of the neighborhood, I also included some video I took riding the bus down a main avenue a few blocks away. To me at least, Avenida Las Heras seems a lot more similar to the mall it does to the roads in Villa 31.
During a political science lecture last year, I learned that Latin America is the most unequal region in the world. Living in this neighborhood, sadly, that’s not hard to believe.
Once a year here, they celebrate all things rural in the middle of one of the world’s biggest cities.
At the end of July, La Exposición Rural took over part of the Palermo neighborhood yet again, and at my host mom’s recommendation, I went with two friends on a Saturday to see the massive open-air exposition for myself.
After shuffling with huge crowds between wine tastings, salami stands and chicken cages we found the car obstacle courses.
As you can see in the video, they were a highlight. There were actually several obstacle courses, set up by competing car companies to show you just how well their cars handle. Test drivers will drive you through the courses for free (as long as you sign a waiver), bragging about the car you’re in as they stick their heads out the window to see the obstacles underneath them.
The end of the video shows an official event that seemed to be just a cow parade. Thousands of people paid for a chance to sit inside the parade arena, and after leaving the Rural we saw the parade being broadcast live from the restaurant we ate in.
La Rural was bizarre, overwhelming, and as I hope the video shows, a pretty sweet way to spend part of a Saturday.
My name’s Adam, and I’m a rising junior at Northwestern double majoring in journalism and urban studies. I have two hilarious (sometimes even intentionally) parents and two younger siblings I’m going to miss terribly while I’m abroad. I’ve run a half marathon and I’m the messiest eater you may or may not have ever met.
I hope to use this blog to explore some of my own questions about the city, country and continent I’m throwing myself into in two weeks. In the process I hope to answer a couple of yours too, but even more than that I hope you’ll let me know what other questions you have. There’s room for comments on this site for a reason.