In 24 hours, I will be on an airplane headed for Argentina. It’s a crazy thought. In just two days, I’ll be in an entirely different environment surrounded by people and customs I have only been able to study in class.
I have traveled abroad before. (After graduating high school, I went to the British Isles on a complete whim with my sister, who lacked international savviness, like myself.) But this is my first journey A) to a country that does not predominantly speak English for B) longer than a month. Am I nervous? Absolutely. Am I excited? Uh, yes!
To make this first blog post a little easier to navigate and to make sure I get all those pre-departure bases covered, I have composed a list of the most popular questions my friends and family have asked me and my answers to these questions.
Q: But do you speak Spanish? I mean, really speak Spanish?
A: TBD. I have studied Spanish for about eight years, so I know some vocabulary, but I am not really a confident speaker. That’s the major reason I wanted to go abroad! The goal is to be asked this at the end of the program and answer with a confident “yes.”
Q: That Argentine accent though…
A: Yeah, I’ve heard it’s troublesome, but beautiful! I also speak Italian, which I have read is one of the major influencers of its singsong quality, so here’s to hoping that helps some!
Q: Do you know anyone on your program?
A; There are two other Kenyon girls that I know of who are going, and they both are very sweet! But besides them, I’m hoping to make some new amigos. Some students in our program made a Facebook page for us over the winter, so I’ve had some opportunities to interact with some other kids in my program, and they all seem great.
Q: I heard you’re doing a homestay. Thoughts?
A: Very excited about the homestay due to the prospect of full Spanish emersion. We received our housing assignments several weeks ago, and I will be living in Belgrano (a Buenos Aires barrio) with an artist and her seven-year-old son. Since I spend the majority of my year at school where I live with a bunch of college-aged kids, I am a little intimidated to stay with a child and a real adult. But I’m keeping an open mind and plan to be as open-minded as possible. I’m sure I’ll be discussing this more in the future, though!
Q: What are you most nervous about? What are you most excited about?
A: Hands down my most popular questions. I’d say I’m most nervous about looking like a goof. Nobody wants to be the kid who is trying to have a conversation about culture or family must circumlocute to the most extreme by saying “the brother of my grandmother” because you cannot remember “great uncle,” but I have accepted that I will be that kid. A lot. And that’s totally okay. And as for what I’m most excited about? Ha! I could have a whole post about that. Right now, I’m excited to get to some warmer weather (it’s in the 30s here in West Virginia with snow,) and I’m excited to walk around a beautiful city and and see all the sites and eat all the food. But I am also excited to jump into a different culture. I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to submerge myself in such a historic, important city, and I am ready to absorb.