Celebrating 21 years of Life in Argentina
Aaand I’m back. After a hectic, time-consuming shopping period, I finally got the time to write this entry! Basically the past few weeks were spent traveling to 10 different classes and listening to their respective professors give introductions, and then judging by those whether or not I wanted to pursue the class. I also considered factors such as class size and how well I liked the professors. IFSA warned us how the Argentine university registration processes was notoriously disorganized, and that was certainly the case.
Besides castellano, my classes include a seminar about political and social processes in Latin America, a class about contemporary solidarity movements in Argentina, and a human rights class. I’m also taking a film and literature class with a contemporary focus on the 21st century. That class, as well as castellano, is taught at the IFSA headquarters in center of town on Avenida Corrientes. The seminar is taught at La Universidad del Salvador, off Avenida Córdoba a little farther out in Recoleta but nearby a Subte estación. The rest of my classes are at La Universidad Católica Argentina in The San Telmo/Puerto Madero area. Out of all three places, UCA is by far the most modern, though it is an absolute pain to access- if you’re traveling from the center of town, you have to give yourself at least half an hour to cross the Plaza de Mayo (especially when there’s a protest) and then three wide avenidas. I should note that, yes, both universities are very much Catholic, with crosses and pictures of Pope Francis everywhere. According to Lara, the administrations of both are fairly conservatives, although the ideology doesn’t always extend to the professors. Plus the classes I’m taking deal with topics of social injustice, so I assume my sexuality shouldn’t be an issue, maybe, hopefully?
This is an important point in my journey- not only has it been a little over a month since I touched down at Ezeiza, but last week I celebrated my 21st birthday (omg…I’m like kinda old). It happened to be the day I have class all day…it wasn’t bad though. That morning, Marta unexpectedly set out a plate of medialunas and cheesecake with a birthday candle for breakfast. The whole day I was overwhelmed with the amount of I love I received from friends here as well as family and friends back home through email and Facebook. That Saturday, I officially celebrated by going out with some friends on a bar crawl through San Telmo and afterwards to a boliche until 4AM when us Americans couldn’t stay up anymore.
It’s interesting looking back at the month I’ve been here- although time has been moving faster, I’ve still done so many things in this single month. In the next month, I’d like to solidify some favorite lunch/hang out spots in the city, as well as travel outside BA if possible. I have to figure out a few things such as where to print papers from online and a work schedule. Otherwise though, I can feel normalcy setting in.
It’s funny to think how I used to think the first month would be the most miserable. Sure the language barrier is still a thing and there have been frustrating moments I couldn’t communicate with Argentines. However, this is something I was expecting anyway, so it hasn’t made me feel too bad. Thinking back, I’m amazed how much castellano I’ve picked up this past month- and through talking in class and writing assignments, I know I’m going to learn a ton more this next month. Even in class, I’m amazed by how much of the professor’s sentences I’m able to understand, not only just the general gist.
Disappointments? Ehh, I suppose there are two, both of which I’ll hopefully be able to mitigate.
The lack of green space. Perhaps attending college in Maine has really made take nature for granted, because there have been times I’ve felt suffocated by the endless blocks of concrete without even a small park to retreat. Buenos Aires is a very dirty city- dog caca and garbage in the streets is the norm. That’s partially why the ecological reserve in Puerto Madero is one of my favorite parts of the city (video coming soon!) plus it’s location means I can escape there on days I have class at nearby UCA.
Not having classes with Argentines. This is probably my biggest downside. It turns out because I’ve only taken the equivalent of four semesters of college level Spanish, I was limited to picking classes with just international students. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool having classes with students from France & Brazil students, but I always imagined it’s where I would meet local Argentines whom I could study, go out with and hopefully befriend. I think this might not be an issue anymore with this volunteer organization I’ve joined (more on that next entry).
Through Snapchat and Facebook, I’ve been casually viewing people back home finishing up internships and enjoying their last few weeks of summer as they prepare to go back to school. Meanwhile, I am blissfully observing from the other side of the equator, where temperatures are reaching 20° C. It is nearly springtime nears here in Argentina as people become less bundled, and the sun shines a bit brighter.