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

I Took A Pill In Ibiza

Homesickness has surprisingly been a nonissue. I think this is mainly because Argentine society isn’t drastically different from any Western society, so I haven’t really experienced a strong culture shock. Aside from being in a city, my daily life has become more structured, similar to if I was back at Bates, with less time to think about home. Plus with social media, I’m easily able to keep up with friends, and with my parents every Sunday through Skype. Occasionally though, there are cracks in my contentment; like once when I was entering my Subte station, I was startled to hear a familiar sound from the Sony store nearby:

“But you don’t wanna be high like me, never really knowing why like me, you don’t ever wanna step off that rollercoaster, all alone…”

For me, music has always been a kind of diary, with certain songs able to bring back memories from a particular time. So hearing that Mike Posner song immediately triggered flashbacks to the months before I left for Argentina; back to dorm room parties, the radio show my friend and I had last semester, and other people back at Bates, making me feel a tinge of sadness.

This is mostly my fault- in an effort to truly immerse myself, I’ve cut off most of my English speaking music since arriving. Instead I’ve been listening to music with Spanish lyrics, mainly from a Spotify playlist I put together months ago with songs from across Latin America. I’ve also received suggestions from Marta and Lara about Argentine artists, both past and contemporary. Additionally I’ve also discovered an Argentine MTV-like TV program, which plays music videos of songs that are currently charting. It’s interesting how similar the system is in England, where older songs can not only become popular again, but also actually re-chat. Similarly, it’s cool seeing how artists from one Spanish speaking country make it big in another, or across all of Latin America for that matter. For example, “Amiga Mía” appeared on this program, even though the artist is from Spain, and the song originally charted back in 1998. “Algo Está Cambiando” by Mexican singer Julieta Vengas also became popular again, even though it charted back in 2004. I’ve also been here long enough to recognize certain mindless songs which seem to be played every single place.

Despite my efforts, it’s impossible to truly escape English speaking music. Of course I expected American music to be present in Argentina, but not to the extent that I discovered here. With this, and because of my self-impossed English embargo, it’s been a legitimate shock for me every time I’ve heard some song from back home. This is especially true in bars or boliches, where American music is played more often than less. I could be dancing with friends to a wordless EDM beat and it would transition into a song by twenty-one pilots or Justin Timberlake, making me feel melancholy for home. I just have to keep plugging in to Spanish and keep the English I hear to a minimum, similar to learning the language itself. I’ll promise to reward myself with a nostalgia trip in December.

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