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

first impressions

Time March 9th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

from top to bottom: expect this when you order grilled cheese/in San Telmo (“no tocar, por favor,” oops)/the Pink House/ one of the tombs in Recoleta/jumping to our first adventure in Buenos Aires!/Buenos Aires!

I’ve only been in Argentina for four days yet SO MUCH has happened. It’s obviously hard to write everything, so I’ll narrow it down a bit.

My first impression of Argentina was definitely influenced by the welcoming weather, gorgeous skies, palm trees, and amazing architecture. After an intense eight hour flight (four hour delay), we were all relieved to finally arrive at our destination. Orientation got me very excited for the next five months ahead! While we were roaming around Palermo, Recoleta Cemetery (very intricate tombs!), San Telmo, Rio de Plato, and Casa Rosa, I immediately fell in love. Buenos Aires is such an alive and beautiful city!

The Friday before we left for Mendoza, we had dinner at  Mala Cara, a restaurant not too far from the hotel. Looking for something easy and familiar to eat, three of us ordered grilled cheese, expecting two slices of bread enveloping a slice of cheese. After several minutes however, the waiter brought out a large piece of tomato with a hunk of cheese on top of it. Needless to say, we couldn’t finish our cheese (very salty!) and were disappointed yet amused all at once.

The next day, we flew to Mendoza and finally met our host families. My heart was racing as I was getting in line to pass the sliding doors to face the crowd, but my anxiety slightly dissipated when I saw a friendly looking woman carrying a sign with my name on it. She greeted me warmly and told me not to be nervous. Unfortunately, I was actually very nervous and found it extremely difficult to participate in conversation. My brain was working 50mph trying to register, decipher, and create a response.

My host mom was very understanding and patiently let me work out the sentences slowly as she guided me around her home. My room is very clean and cozy with excellent wifi….I was worried I wouldn’t have internet access! After a delicious dinner of home baked pizza and dessert (with dulce de leche, of course), I immediately returned to my room to recover. I have to get used to the Argentine way of living! Although as a sleep lover, I’m not too sure how I’ll manage at the moment. Lots of coffee, I guess 😀 It’s finally sinking in that I’m at Argentina at last!

* I apologize for the pictures and format, for some reason I had great difficulty trying to upload bigger pictures and getting it to the right format.

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under the mendocinian sun

Time March 9th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Bienvenidos a Mendoza!

It’s been a while since I last posted! So many things have happened in just 15 days! It’s really hard to believe that only two weeks ago, I was at the airport anxiously counting down the minutes for my flight to Buenos Aires!  After a wonderful two days in the capital, we flew to Mendoza on the 25th to meet our host families. During the entire two hour flight I remember trying to figure out some basic phrases I could say, but I fell asleep; and within minutes,  my heart was racing as I was pushing the cart loaded with my bags at the airport in Mendoza, greeted by smiling faces who were all holding up each of our names. My host mom was extremely welcoming and had the patience to speak very slowly with me so I could understand everything. Her daughters are also very generous and the house is wonderful! Arriving in Mendoza made me finally realize that I’m actually in Argentina for a semester, trying to integrate myself as a Mendocinian. In a lot of ways, the adjustment has been both much easier and harder than I expected. For one thing, I’m falling in love with the patio outside my window, the pack of small dogs that follow me down the street when I leave for class, the endless rows of palm trees, the beautiful parks, excellent weather, and the friendliness of the people. I also can’t get over the vivacious energy of Mendocinians: I can feel the excitement at bars and boliches even on Monday nights, the happy family picnics I see frequently when I go for runs at San Martin park, and how the people are constantly relaxed and know how to live life.  But at the same time, speaking Spanish 24/7 has been a challenge. While at this point, I’m comfortable enough to initiate conversations with my host family and no longer afraid to ask for directions on the street (no longer getting lost!), I also realized how much I have to learn. Classes at the University start in two weeks, and although I’m nervous, I’m ready for the challenge and excited to make more Argentine friends. 

Everything is passing by like a whirlwind and since I can’t describe everything, here are a few pictures below to describe my life so far!

Here is a brief video about the Vendimia festival. I apologize for the shakiness, for some reason I really couldn’t hold still!

I also apologize for the order. From the first picture: Mendoza sign at Plaza Independencia/palm trees/a scene from the Vendimia Festival/Vendimia parade on San Martin street/the Andes/man made lake at San Martin Park/IFSA love/Vendimia stage 1/Vendimia stage 2

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leaving at last

Time February 20th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Yesterday I received my host family information, which made me realize that I have four days left until I’ll be on a plane heading to Argentina! I’ll be living with a mom and her two teenage daughters. Their house is located 20 minutes near the university and close to several parks and public transit, according to Google Maps. The fact that I’m leaving so soon feels very unreal!

While most of my friends have returned to school, some are off on amazing adventures abroad. I ended the first half of my junior year in December, and since then, I’ve been jealously watching everyone pack their bags and begin their study abroad experiences. But after my long vacation, I can finally look forward to the 90 degree weather, (a welcome change from Boston weather, although it hasn’t been much of a winter so far), increasing my Spanish skills, a new environment, meeting new people, and learning about a new culture!

So far I have no idea what to expect, but one of my greatest fears is not being able to communicate in Spanish. Ever since middle school, I’ve take Latin, and it wasn’t until freshmen year of college that I decided to take Spanish (versus a “dead language”). I’ve studied Spanish for five semesters, but I’m very nervous that I won’t be able to communicate with my host family, understand my professors, and that I’ll have extreme difficulty in writing papers in Spanish, etc. Well if anything, I’ll have my potable Spanish dictionary on my Kindle that I can quickly access 😀 Overall, I feel that everything will turn out fine, but I just need to leave and start my adventure already!

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