As the halfway point of my time here in Argentina approaches, I’ve been reflecting on how amazing this experience has been for me so far. It has been slightly challenging to adapt to life in Spanish, but otherwise I have had no problems adjusting to life here in Buenos Aires. At this point, I’m more worried about going back!
I have been extremely lucky here that my host mother is a saint. She has made living in a stranger’s home in a foreign country feel like I’m living at my home in the States. She is a great cook, and we have a balanced relationship where she lets me live my life independently but is also readily available to help me out or talk when I need it. She is also far more popular than I could ever dream of being; she is constantly on the phone with a friend or going out to meet someone! I also have a host roommate who is from Northern Argentina and is staying with my host mother because there are no dorms for his university. At first the language barrier made it slightly difficult for us to communicate, but we have become friends over the past two months and I love the extra Spanish practice that comes from talking with someone my own age.
In addition to my host family, I have met a lot of great people in my program. There are a few students from Northwestern, and we have all gotten to know each other really well and I envision us being close friends when we get back! I also have met a lot of people who go to universities that are close to me in the States that I am looking forward to visiting during breaks and maintaining a relationship with!
As far as experiences go, I have had so many amazing ones in Argentina. Seeing Iguazu was easily the highlight for me so far, but immersing myself in the culture of Buenos Aires has been an adventure in itself. In my program classes, I have had the opportunity to watch Argentine movies, read Argentine novels and contemporary short stories, listen to Argentine music (I had no idea how influential rock music is here!), and had some amazing food. I love the more relaxed lifestyle here. People focus on what is more important in their lives, such as relationships and family, but also work when they need to. There is a balance between their personal lives and professional lives that seems to be difficult for a lot of people to find in the U.S. that Argentines and Latin Americans in general seem to understand better. I wouldn’t say that either way of life is better because obviously every country and society has its flaws, but I think I have learned a lot here and being here has given me an opportunity for reflection.
The fact that I only have a year and a half left of college has hit me hard here. Studying abroad is an amazing experience, but it has also made me appreciate my family, friends, and school at home even more. I wouldn’t say I am homesick because I love every second of my time here, but I am definitely looking forward to going home as well and enjoying my remaining time at Northwestern. As corny as this is, my finite time here has made me reflect more about the finite time we have on earth, and I have been reflecting more about who I am as a person and what I want to do with the rest of my time here. I think this is a reflection that would have happened whether I studied abroad or not, but being in a foreign country far removed from my normal life has made it easier to put things in perspective.
In the next two months I plan on taking advantage of every opportunity I can here. I want to keep improving my Spanish, meet more people, and experience as much culture here as I can in that time. I’m looking forward to what my remaining time has to offer!