Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

I promise I am taking classes here

In lieu of midterm season here in Buenos Aires, I decided it’d be a good idea to write about my classes (also I may be doing this to procrastinate writing my paper oops). When I told adults I was studying abroad, the vast majority of them would make some kind of comment like “Make sure you actually do some studying!” or “You are taking classes, right?” I think a lot of times the perspective of “study abroad” is lots of partying, minimal studying. However, I have definitely not found that to be true!

Although I can honestly say that I spend significantly less time in a library or in my room studying hard here than I do at Northwestern, I think that I am definitely learning more on a daily basis than I do there, but it’s just a different kind of learning! The lifestyle here is so incredibly different from ours in the US, and each day I am surprised by the things I learn through interacting with other people and observing. A post another day can be dedicated to all the major differences, because I don’t want to bore you with everything now. Just trust me on it.
Photos below –
Back to classes, where I DO learn things I swear (I just think the most important things I have learned have been living each day here). I am taking 5 classes in total – three of them are at two different universities in Buenos Aires and the other two classes are through IFSA. Major differences between classes here and in the US:

  • Teachers are always late. It may be 5 min, 45 min, or they may just never show up at all!
  • Students sometimes smoke cigarettes while in class at Universidad de Buenos Aires
  • The classes are long (each of mine are 3-4 hours) and only once a week
  • People get through the long classes by drinking mate in class (see my last post to learn what mate is) and pass it around so everyone shares it, even the professor
  • I have to travel 45 min to an hour to class every day by bus or subway
  • Students decide what singular subject they want to study and take all their classes during the four years in the same subject with all of the same students, unlike NU where I have a different group of students in each class and am required to take a variety of classes in different subjects.
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My classes are:

  1. Literatura Latinoamericana y Argentina – IFSA
  2. Castellano Avanzado – IFSA
    –>These two are my IFSA classes, so they’re all students from universities in the US. Our teacher in each class is fabulous  also (and I can understand their Spanish, which doesn’t always happen due to the unique accent here!)
  1. Literatura Española del Siglo de Oro – USAL
  2. Neurociencias I – USAL
    –>These are in the Universidad del Salvador, which is a private catholic university. In my neuroscience class the professor really frightened me at first, but now since I am the only foreign student, I think he has a bit more sympathy. I must say though, if you think memorizing all the terms for the Central Nervous System are difficult in English, you should try it in a foreign language!
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  1. Seminario de Antropología y Educación: Interculturalidad, Inmigrantes y Personas Indígenas – Universidad de Buenos Aires
    –>This class is easily the most unique of the ones I am taking. It is a four-hour long seminar and is in the public university, which is completely free! For this reason, it is the most diverse classroom I have ever been in, with students ranging from 18 to grandparents (like 70s I’m guessing). It is in a building that used to be a cigarette factory, so the bathroom has no toilet seats, toilet paper, soap, or paper towels. There was also a pigeon in class one day. There are constantly people that walk into class to announce protests they’re organizing and the walls are covered in propaganda. Also below is a lunch my friend Ashley and I had in the cafeteria before class. Hummus is pretty rare here, so we were excited to find some in a restaurant across the street and prepared a picnic (we also got some strange looks because of our choice in lunch compared to the other students’)! New tradition :)
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One Response to “I promise I am taking classes here”

  1. Lindsay Howard Says:

    Becca! My mom sent us your blog, and I’m thrilled to see it. I can’t believe you’re playing soccer for the university there – girl, you are a rockstar. I admire how you are so open to new people and experiences and are savoring this time away. It’s amazing that you can study science terms in SPANISH! I’m sure that you miss things at home, but you’ll be amazed what you’ll miss from Buenos Aires when you get back to the states! A few things I did when I studied abroad in valencia, spain was to journal in Spanish (because you’ll be amazed looking back how fluent you are), hang out with locals as much as possible (which you’re doing by joining the soccer team – AMAZING), and do as many local, truly authentic cultural things as possible (check!). I can’t wait to hear more about it, and definitely keep blogging. I love it and am so happy for you!!! Love from NY! -Lindsay

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