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

Pokémon, Dogs, & Boliches

First thing’s first- Pokémon Go has officially arrived in Argentina! On the streets, in parks, on the Subte, I’ve seen sooo many people playing the game. I didn’t even know Pokémon was ever a thing in South America. I specifically remember deciding not to download the game when it first blew up back in the U.S. for I didn’t want to get obsessed with something I could only acquire in Argentina via sketchy means. Even still, petty theft is still something to be cautious about, so I think I’ll wait to have my iPhone out all the time trying to catch Pidgeottos.

Second, I now have an Argentine “sister”. Laura is from the south of the country and has returned from the winter break to continue her studies at a local university. She’s lived with Marta the past two years, staying in the room right next to mine. Ever since the dinner table dynamics have changed, with the conversations livelier and more natural. I really appreciate her presence, not just because she’s friendly, but having lived with past exchange students, she could be a good resource.

The third thing I’ll briefly talk about: everything gayyy, (kinda the reason I have this blogging position) which to be honest, isn’t very much. I suppose being the gay capital of South America; I had certain expectations that haven’t been met. Perhaps the biggest thing I’ve noticed: a lack of visibility. There’s no official gay neighborhood, I haven’t seen any rainbow flags or other gay symbols around BA, not even two people of the same gender holding hands. Mario touched upon this at the minority dinner a few weeks back: while most people you ask on the streets would be accepting of gay people, relationships etc. in terms of visibility much of it is underground. However, it’s not like it’s taboo- there are gay and lesbian characters on TV, active LGBT organizations, and the city holds an annual pride parade every November. One of the boliches I went to was a gay one, and there the men freely danced, made out, etc. with one another without trepidation. Of course I know I’ve only been here for four weeks, so hopefully through classes and reaching out I can get a better sense for what it’s like here. At home, I haven’t officially come out to Marta but I’m sure that’ll happen eventually though our conversations.

Overall I can feel time moving more and more quickly with orientation finished and classes beginning this week. I’ve been using much of my free time exploring my barrio of Belgrano- trying the different cafés and restaurants, finding a park to run for exercise and seeing the variety of people who live here, including a multitude of dogs, owned and stray, who give the barrio its reputation as the dog center of BA. Outside Belgrano, myself and some other people from my program have spent countless blissful hours exploring the city. We’ve gazed through museums, aimlessly wandered around parks, hilariously tried to dance tango and merengue, sampled different drinks at the bars and danced at boclihes until 4 or 5 AM. Still, I’m looking forward to starting the “study” part of study abroad. I feel like once I do, I’ll really start living like a more authentic porteño.

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