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Some things to ponder

After a semester abroad, I feel like I’ve learned so many things that I couldn’t possibly fit them all into one blog post. But as I begin to transition back into life in the States, I feel that I have to reflect a little bit on some of the life lessons that Argentina has taught me. So here are a few of my favorites- I’m sure I’ll be jotting many more down in a journal for the next few months, but I thought I’d begin by sharing these with ya’ll :)

Ocio productivo: This is a phrase my director in Mendoza, Jose, would use a lot. It translates to “productive laziness”, and it refers to the idea that we can use spare time to be lazy and unproductive, which actually ends up being productive to us in the end. This is a concept very foreign, I think, to most Americans, especially those in college. In the US, time is money, and if you’re wasting time in any way and not being as productive as possible with every minute you have, it’s a bad thing. In Argentina, things would move a lot slower, and sometimes it would get frustrating to have to wait in line or not be able to get something done right away. The time I spent abroad doing this, however, taught me that sometimes it’s okay to “waste time”. The times I wasn’t keeping myself busy or occupied with work, even if I was just sitting around bored at home, were a nice break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and they let my mind rest a bit, even if I wasn’t aware of it. I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to incorporate this back into everyday life back in college, when there’s so much to get done, but I’m definitely going to try my hardest to be “lazy” every once in a while in the US 😉

The universality of people: I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned about being around is how people are people, no matter where you go. During my time in the university in Argentina, I got to meet and become friends with people from all over the world, which for me was an invaluable experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It was amazing to me, though, that I was still able to connect with these people in the same way that I could with friends back home; even though we spoke different languages, came from very different backgrounds, and in many ways were nothing like one another, we could still relate to one another on a distinctly human level, and that was enough to become friends. This is something I’m still trying to wrap my head around, but I think it’s one of the coolest things I’ve learned from my experience.

The importance of keeping an open mind: Some of my most incredible experiences abroad were random, spontaneous opportunities that I never could have expected or planned for. One of my mottos going into this semester was to say yes to as many things I could, and to only deny an opportunity if there was a good reason for it, not because it was new or surprised me. This turned out to serve me very well, and many doors were opened for me throughout the semester just because I was open to new and exciting opportunities. I know the opportunities that will present themselves to me this next semester will be drastically different from those which I just encountered, but I’m going to move forward with this attitude and hope it serves me as well as it has in the past :)

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