Well, everyone, it’s been a week and a half now since my plane touched down in icy Chicago for the winter holidays. Going from 85 degree weather and walking into biting winds and snow told me quickly that I had indeed arrived home.
My last two weeks in Argentina kept me quite busy. For four days, two friends and I headed far down South to El Calafate to see the glaciers (and even trek over them!), and later that same week, Mario, our IFSA director in Buenos Aires, took us to his house in Colonia, Uruguay for an astounding, fantastic Thanksgiving dinner that we did not expect! Despite the hot Uruguayan sun, it was I guess as close to Thanksgiving as we could have come. My last week in Buenos Aires consisted of writing long research papers and seeing the remaining sites that I had not visited.
But, by the time my last 2 weeks were over, I think I was truly ready to come home. It was a semester in which I got to know a truly unique culture, meet some amazing people, see some beautiful places, and have some of the best times of my life, without a doubt. I love the winter holiday season so that, combined with my family, was calling my name as I eagerly hopped on to the plane embarking from Ezeiza International Airport.
I have now (quite easily) transitioned back into the daily routine of life in the United States. There are definitely times every day when I think about Buenos Aires and how much I miss it, but I am very thankful to be back with close family and friends and thankful for the experience I had down South.
Such a great experience would not have been possible without IFSA-Butler. Their staff was so kind, proactive and helpful, and were there with us every step of the way. They always alerted us to cool activities and events going on, and even took us on some great trips. They provided us with insurance and even doctors in case of emergencies. Enough can’t be said about their role in my experience.
It’s hard to describe what I learned in terms of scholastic achievements while down here in Buenos Aires. Sure, school was definitely a part of everything, but they always say that study abroad is not about what you learn in books, but what you gain in life experience. This could not be more true. I had never really experienced any other cultures in full before arriving in Buenos Aires, and I am so thankful that I have been able to broaden my horizons. In doing so, I have been able to find things that I love about Argentine culture, and at the same time find things that make me appreciate the USA more. I made a great list of things I learned on my personal blog, http://jfrake.wordpress.com/
All in all, it was a fantastic semester, and it’s kind of sad to be done for IFSA, but that’s all folks! I hope you enjoyed reading, and make the decision to STUDY ABROAD!