Thanksgiving in Uruguay
After we finished our final exams, all 50-something students on the IFSA Argentine Universities program got to go on an excursion to Uruguay to celebrate the end of the semester and Thanksgiving. At first, my friends back in the states were jealous that I was already finished with school, but when I reminded them that my semester started in July, they realized that my semester was just as long as theirs.
To get to Uruguay, we took a one hour ferry ride from Buenos Aires. Once in Uruguay, we traveled to Montevideo, Colonia, and Punta del Este by bus. The director of our program owns an Bed and Breakfast on a lemon tree farm, so we were treated to a day by the pool and lots of fresh squeezed lemonade.
The trip was relaxing compared to most of my other trips where I tried to hike and explore as much as possible. It was nice to be able to unwind from the semester and sit in a hammock and read a book in English. I had taken that for granted since the majority of the reading I did all semester was in Spanish.
On the trip, we all told stories of our best and worst moments during the semester. Some students had stories of getting their phones and wallets stolen, some students got lost using the public transportation, and most of us experienced some amounts of homesickness and frustration from doing an immersion program. But everyone finished the semester safely and had amazing stories of trying new things, traveling to different parts of South America, improving their Spanish, and creating new friendships that will last a lifetime.
Adjusting to living with a host family while abroad was more difficult for me than I expected. By the end of the semester, I was tired of not being able to eat dinner on my own time, and craved the comfort that only comes from your own home. Some of my friends formed close relationships with their host families, while mine felt more like living with random roommates at times. When the director of our program cooked a giant Thanksgiving meal for all of us, I was reminded that my “family” abroad was the friends that I made.