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

Reflecting on Chile/Relexión de Chile

Time August 7th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Chile | No Comments by

I had an incredible experience during my time abroad in Chile. I met fantastic people, saw incredible places, and learned new and interesting information. But I found study abroad to be more than just a chance to study and travel; it was also an opportunity to learn about the world and gain a greater perspective, understanding, and appreciation for it. Living in a different country and different culture can be challenging and at times upsetting. Adjusting to new social norms—such as less personal space, stricter gender roles, and a looser interpretation of times and dates—can be shell-shocking and difficult. People greeted one another with a kiss on the cheek or a hug rather than a handshake; it was not uncommon for men to stare at women; and saying that you would meet at 4:00 could mean anytime between 4:00 and 6:00. When differences such as these surrounded, it was initially hard to find the similarities with which I could relate to those around me. However, I was forced to look beneath the surface and discover the common-ground that lay beneath. Eventually, I was able to embrace many of these cultural differences and my perspective shifted to fit my new understanding of the world.

In addition to expanding my personal worldview, I was also able to expand my circle of friends and family with my fellow study abroad companions, the Chileans I studied with and met during my travels, and my incredible and loving family. I know the relationships I formed while in Chile will last my lifetime and while I will certainly miss them, leaving Chile was not a “goodbye” but rather a “see you later.” I don’t know when I will return to Chile but it has certainly not seen the last of me nor I of it. For now, I will settle with readjusting to being back in the US and expanding my personal horizons here. Studying abroad was by far the best thing I have done in my college career to date, and I cannot wait to continue my travel and exploration of the world and all the people, places, animals, environments, and overall wonder it offers!

_______________________________________________________________________

Tenía una experiencia increíble mientras que estuviera en Chile. Conocí a gente fantástica, vi lugares increíbles, y aprendí información nueva e interesante. Pero mi experiencia en Chile fue más que simplemente una oportunidad de estudiar y viajar; fue una oportunidad para aprender del mundo y ganar una perspectiva y agradecimiento más amplia para la gente, el ambiente, y la cultura. Vivir en un país distinta con una cultura diferente puede ser difícil y algunas veces molestoso. Adaptarse a nuevas normas sociales—como menos espacio personal, roles de género más fijos, y una interpretación de tiempo y fechas más floja—puede ser discordante y complejo. La gente le saludaba con un beso en la mancha o un abrazo en vez de un apretón de manos; fue común para los hombres mirar fijamente a las mujeres; y decir que van a juntar a las 4:00 podía significar cualquier tiempo entre las 4:00 y las 6:00. Cuando diferencias como esos rodeaban, al principio, fue difícil encontrar las similitudes con que podía conectar con mis nuevos compañeros. Pero, eventualmente acepté muchas de esas diferencias culturales y mi perspectiva cambió para ser apta a mi nueva idea del mundo.

En adición de expandir mi propia visión del mundo, también expandí mi círculo de amigos y familia con mis otros compañeros extranjeros, los chilenos con que estudié y conocí durante mis viajes, y mi familia chilena increíble y cariñosa. Sé que las relaciones que hacía en Chile duran toda mi vida y aunque les echo de menos a todos mucho, salir de Chile no fue un “adiós” sino un “hasta luego.” No sé cuándo regresaré a Chile, pero sé que Chile ya no había visto el fin de mi ni yo de él. Para ahora, estaré contenta reajustarme a los EE. UU. y expandir mis horizontales personales acá. “Estudiar afuera” fue la cosa mejor que he hecho en mi carrera de universidad hasta ahora, ¡y no ver el momento hasta que continúe mis viajes y exploración del mundo y la gente, lugares, animales, y maravilla general que existe!

 

 

Share

The Return – My Last Post

Time July 24th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Argentina | No Comments by

Everyone warns you about the perils of reverse culture shock. The readjustment period will take you by surprise and spin you round. you’re changed so much, but everything at home remains the same. But, in truth, going from NYC to the Midwest every summer isn’t very different.

I’m not discounting that there are things that threw me for a loop. Not translating everything to Spanish is one. Also I don’t have to be as aware of my iPhone al the time. (I’m counting it as a success that I never lost mine.) Not being able to take the sube or grab a colectivo is another. The lack of conversations between strangers is something I didn’t think I would miss. But I’m used to going through changes with every return.

I knew I needed to go home. I missed my family and friends. I had lots of projects I needed to catch up on and events to attend. I wanted to be in my home, in nature again.

But I already miss it. I miss the movement of the city, the pleasure of wandering the streets of Palermo. I miss engaging with people. I miss the interior of Argentina with all the different environments. I didn’t get to travel as much as I wanted and there’s still so much to see.

I’m not sure when I’ll get to travel abroad again and not sure I’ll return to Argentina for awhile. It seems a waste of my travel capital to go back so soon. I know I want to use my Spanish again for my next trip. I’ll be back to see more of South & Latin America.

In the mean time I’ll get used to the US. Enjoy the comfort of the lakes, go hiking. But I’ll always be thinking about how the rest of the world is so different from the US.

— Lily

Share

Friends/Amigos

Time July 24th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Chile | No Comments by

One of the unsung aspects of study abroad is the friends you make through the study abroad program. I met some wonderful people through IFSA-Butler that made my time in Chile better than I could have hoped. This blog post is dedicated to my fellow Chile explorers.
Amelia Shannon: Amelia had been in Chile the previous semester and was the one to help us newbies find our footing. She was always around with a friendly smile and some Chilean advice.
Colin Monahan: “Doer of things.” Colin was always off on some crazy adventure or just finding the new cool thing to do in Valpo. He could always be found with his backpack and sense of adventure!
Dara Canchester: Dara loved life and the world around her. Whether in the city, the mountains, or a rural town, Dara was always able to find the wonder in every place and everyone.
Eliza Cohen: Eliza loved to explore the Valpo area and was always looking to go out with some of the IFSA gang to work in a cafe or have a night on the town.
Grace Riley: Grace was super fun and also really smart. A prefect example of work hard, play hard, she was always on top of her academics but also down to have a good time.
Jaimie Murray: Jaimie sucked the marrow out of the study abroad experience. Through her travel, relationships, and work, she made it a point to experience every aspect of Chile that she could.
Joseph Filardo: A great friend and helpful person. Always willing to help someone out and incredibly humble. Also, had great jokes and was a secretly good singer.
Kelli Duncan: Kelli wasn’t afraid of anything. Whether striking up a conversation with strangers, traveling in an unknown location, or hiking a dangerous path, she was always up for the challenge. An adventurous spirit who cared a lot about the world and the people in it.
Leila Walker: Leila was such a sweetheart and a kind soul. She loved getting to know the Chileans and was always practicing her Spanish.
Magaly Gonzalez: Super smart and hard working, Magaly put the “study” in “study abroad.” A fabulous friend to all in addition to being a fabulous student!
Meg Belinsky: Meg was super fun and always had high, bubbly energy. She was always down to explore Valpo, find a cute cafe to study in, or go on a fun travel adventure.
Megan Ganning: Megan was an incredibly friendly, funny, and fun-loving person. She put her heart into everything she did and loved all the world.
Naomi Takeuchi: Naomi was possibly the happiest and friendliest person I have ever met. She always had a smile on her face and a loving compliment to share.
Sarah Pearson: Sarah was an incredibly dedicated exchange student always practicing her Spanish and making connections with both Chileans and other exchange students.
I love all my IFSA-Butler companions and I know that these relationships will last a lifetime. I miss you all a lot and cannot wait for the next time we see each other!
_______________________________________________________________________
Uno de los aspectos menos obvio del intercambio son los amigos extranjeros que conoces durante el programa. Conocí a algunas personas increíbles con IFSA-Butler que han hecho mi experiencia en Chile mejor que podía imaginar. Ese blog es dedicado a esos compañeros, mis otros exploradores de Chile.
Amelia Shannon: Amelia ha vivido en Chile el semestre pasado y nos ayudó a encontrar nuestras nuevas vidas en Chile. Siempre estaba disponible con una sonrisa amable y unos consejos de Chile.
Colin Monahan: “El hacedor.” Colin siempre estaba en alguna aventura loca o buscando la nueva cosa divertida para hacer en Valpo. Siempre podía encontrarlo con su mochila y espíritu de aventura.
Dara Canchester: A Dara le encantó la vida y el mundo. Si estuviera en la ciudad, las montañas, un pueblo, o el campo, ella siempre podía encontrar lo increíble en cada lugar y cada persona.
Eliza Cohen: A Eliza le gustó mucho explorar Valparaiso y siempre estaba lista para ir a un café para estudiar o un bar para disfrutar la noche.
Grace Riley: Grace fue muy divertida y muy inteligente. Fue la ejempla perfecta de “trabajar mucho, divertirse mucho.” Siempre estaba lista con sus académicos, pero también lista para carretear.
Jaimie Murray: Jaimie disfrutó todo lo que podía de la experiencia del intercambio. Con sus viajes, relaciones, y trabajo se experimentó todos los aspectos posibles de Chile.
Joseph Filardo: Un buen amigo y una persona muy amable. Siempre estaba listo para ayudar y fue muy humilde. También, fue muy cómico y secretamente un cantador muy bueno.
Kelli Duncan: Kelli no tenía medio de nada. Hablando con desconocidos, viajando en un lugar nuevo, a haciendo trekking en un camino difícil, siempre estaba lista. Una persona aventurera que se preocupó mucho del mundo y de los seres humanos.
 Leila Walker: Leila fue muy cariñosa y amable. Le encantó conocer a los chilenos y siempre estaba practicando su español.
Magaly Gonzalez: Muy inteligente y trabajadora, Magaly puso el “estudiar” en “estudiar afuera.” Una muy buena amiga de todos además de ser una muy buena estudiante.
Meg Belinsky: Meg fue muy divertida y siempre tenía mucha energía. Siempre estaba lista para explorar Valpo, encontrar una linda café en que podía trabajar, o viajar en un lugar interesante.
Megan Ganning: Megan fue muy amable, cómica, y divertida. Actuó con todo su corazón en cualquier cosa que hacía y le encantó todo el mundo.
Naomi Takeuchi: Naomi fue, posiblemente, la persona más feliz y más amable que había conocido en toda mi vida. Siempre tenía una sonrisa en su cara y algún cumplido cariñoso para decir.
Sarah Pearson: Sarah fue muy dedicada a su experiencia chilena y siempre estaba practicando su español y hacienda relaciones con chilenos y los otros estudiantes extranjeros.
Me encantan todos mis compañeros de IFSA-Butler y sé que esas relaciones van a mantener durante toda mi vida. Les echo de menos mucho y no veo el momento hasta que nos juntemos la próxima vez.
Share

Siete Gringos in Siete Tazas

Time July 10th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Chile | No Comments by

This is a trip I went on at the beginning of the semester that I didn’t get around to posting about until now.  Seven of us international students (siete gringos) and one Chilean mentor and friend went to Siete Tazas Radal national park in Curicó, Chile. We took a 5:00 AM bus out of Viña to get to Santiago and then took a three-hour train ride from Santiago to Curicó. From there we took an hour-and-a-half bus ride from the town to the start of Radal Park. At this point, we had a long and difficult 11 km uphill climb—with our 20-pound packs—to the Parque Inglés campsite where we were staying. It was a hard hike up a long dirt road, but we talked, sang, and worked our way slowly but surely to the top and reached the campground sweaty, tired, and with spirits high. After setting up camp, some of went for a quick dip in the cold river that ran next to our site. In the evening, we made dinner, told stories, and stargazed before eventually going to bed after a long and satisfying day. The next day we did some arts and crafts, went swimming in the river, and enjoying being in nature and in each other’s company. The day after we packed up camp and began the long journey back to Viña. We hitch-hiked halfway down the road stopping at Siete Tazas Park where we walked around the river system and waterfalls, explored a dried-out riverbed, and went for a quick swim in a freezing cold river hole. We just barely caught the last bus back to town and then, after a bit of stress and challenge involving missed trains and buses, we made our way back to Santiago and Viña after a wonderful weekend. I didn’t know it at the time, but this trip was the start of an incredible semester of traveling, exploring, and making new friends and memories.

_______________________________________________________________________

Ese es un viaje que he hecho en el principio del semestre, pero no había escrito nada hasta ahora. Siete de nosotros estudiantes extranjeros (los siete gringos) y una amiga chilena fuimos a Siete Tazas Radal Parque Nacional en Curicó, Chile. Tomamos un bus a las 5:00 de la madrugada desde Viña a Santiago y de allá tomamos un tren de tres horas hasta Curicó. Desde ese punto, tomamos otro bus de una hora y media hasta el principio del parque. En ese momento, empezamos la caminata de 11 km de un cerro—con las mochilas de 9 kg—hasta el Parque Inglés donde nos quedamos. Fue difícil y pesado, pero hablamos, cantamos, y caminamos lento pero seguro hasta el campo donde llegamos cansados, sudoroso, y felices. Después de hacer las carpas, algunos de nosotros nos bañamos rápidamente en el rio helado que pasó por el sitio. En la noche, cenamos, contamos cuentos, y miramos las estrellas antes de acostarnos después de un día muy largo y rico. El próximo día, hicimos arte, nos bañamos y saltamos en el rio, y disfrutamos de estar en la naturaleza y estar juntos. El día siguiente, salimos del parque y empezamos el largo regreso hasta Viña. Andamos por dedo hasta el Parque Siete Tazas donde caminamos por los ríos, miramos las cataratas, exploramos un río seco, y nos bañamos rápidamente en una laguna helada. Con suerte, tomamos el ultimo bus a Curicó y después de un poco estrés y dificultad de trenes y buses perdidas, llegamos a Santiago y a Viña después de un fin de semana increíble. No lo sabía en el momento, pero ese viaje fue el principio de un semestre inolvidable de viajar, explorar, y hacer nuevos amigos y memorias.

Share

Antofagasta & Atacama

Time July 7th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Chile | No Comments by

 

I spent the past week traveling in the North of Chile exploring San Pedro de Atacama and the surrounding area. Getting there is a bit of a trek—for me, it involved two buses to the airport in Santiago, a two-and-a-half-hour flight to the small coastal town of Antofagasta, and then a five-hour bus ride from Antofagasta to San Pedro—but it was well worth it. I spent my first and last days (Thursday and Tuesday) in Antofagasta wandering around the town and coastline there. Friday morning, I woke up early and got a 7:00 AM bus to San Pedro. On the bus, I met two very nice Argentinians who were sailing from their home town of Ushuaia in the South of Argentina along the coast of Chile. Arriving in San Pedro around noon, I stayed with the Argentinians who had found a very nice and affordable hostel which became my home for the next four days. There, I met two lovely Chilean sisters from Concepción who I went on most of my tours with. That afternoon I went to Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) an incredible and mystical place in the middle of the desert. The following day I explored the small town of San Pedro in the morning, and in the afternoon went to Las Lagunas Escondidas (The Hidden Lagoons) where I floated in one of the natural salt lagoons. The water was quite chilly but the experience was amazing. The next day I woke up very early for a 4:30 AM tour of the El Tatio geyser. At 4300m above sea level and -12°C it was very cold but that didn’t stop me from going for a swim in the thermal fed hot springs. That afternoon I walked to Pukará de Quitor—an area of old ruins, statues, and caverns about 4 km from my hostel—and explored around there. On my last day in San Pedro I visited a few tiny neighboring towns and learned about the history and religion of the area. I also went to Laguna Chaxa which is a reserve known for flamingos and saw the beautiful yet awkward pink creatures in all their glory. I spent the afternoon wandering around some more and taking in the beauty of the desert and mountains that surround San Pedro. With one final vacation day in Antofagasta, I went for a lovely walk along the coast and spent some time knitting on the beach and enjoying the warmth and sun. Then, before I knew it, I was on my way back to Vina ready to enjoy my final days here in Chile before heading back home to the States. I had a fantastic trip and was impressed by the diversity of the north: from beaches, to valleys, to mountains, to lagoons, and more. I am certainly going to miss Chile and all of its’ rich and wonderful environments, people, history, culture, and everything else.

_______________________________________________________________________

Pasé la semana pasada viajando en el norte de Chile explorando San Pedro de Atacama y sus alrededores. Llegar allá fue un poco complicada—tuve que tomar dos buses al aeropuerto en Santiago, un vuelo de dos horas y medio al pueblito Antofagasta, y después un bus de cinco horas desde Antofagasta a San Pedro—pero valió la pena. Pasé mi primer y último día (jueves y martes) en Antofagasta explorando el pueblo y la costa. La mañana de viernes, me desperté temprano y tomé el bus a las 7:00 AM a San Pedro. En el bus, conocí a dos argentinos navegando desde su pueblo Ushuaia en el sur de Argentina hasta toda la costa de Chile. Cuando llegué a San Pedro, me quedé con los argentinos que habían buscado un hostal bueno y barato que pasó como mi casa por los cuatro días siguientes. Allá conocí a dos hermanas chilenas muy simpáticas de Concepción con que pasé la mayoría de los tours. Esa tarde fui a Valle de la Luna, un lugar increíble y místico en el medio del desierto. El día siguiente exploré el pueblo pequeño de San Pedro por la mañana, y por la tarde fui a Las Lagunas Escondidas donde floté en una de las lagunas salares. El agua estuvo frio, pero la experiencia fue increíble. El próximo día me desperté muy temprano para un tur a las 4:30 de la madrugada al geyser El Tatio. A 4300 m sobre el nivel del mar y -12°C, fue muy helado, pero eso no me detuvo bañarme en el agua termal del geyser. En la tarde, caminé a Pukará de Quitor—un área de ruinas, figuras y cavernas viejas más o menos 4 km de mi hostal—y exploré ese lugar. En mi último día en San Pedro, visité a algunos pueblos muy pequeños en el alrededor de San Pedro y aprendé sobre la historia y religión del área. También fui a la Laguna Chaxa que es una reserva para los flamencos y vi las bonitas, pero poco elegante, animales rosas de toda su gloria. Pasé la tarde explorando un poco más de San Pedro y apreciando la bonita natural del desierto y las montañas del área. Con un día más de vacaciones en Antofagasta caminé por la costa y tejé en la playa disfrutando del sol y calor. Y, antes de saberlo, estaba regresando a Vina, lista para disfrutar mis últimos días en Chile antes de regresar a los EEUU. Tuve un muy lindo viaje en el norte y me impresioné toda la diversidad entre las playas, las valles, las montañas, los volcanes, las lagunas, y más. Voy a echar de menos mucho todo lo que es Chile y sus lindos y ricos ambientes, gente, historia, cultura, y todo lo demás.

Share

Post Script: Homestay

Time July 6th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Scotland | No Comments by

Since my laptop has crashed, taking the footage from the semester with it, my final final anecdote will have to be told the old fashioned way: written word.

Like all other abroad students, I participated in a three-day long homestay. My host parents were named David and Susan. They lived in an old-fashioned farmhouse in Stirling, Scotland. Their quaint and beautifully curated home sitting on green farmland surrounded by gardens, was sort of the pinnacle of what I pictured country-living in Scotland would be before I left. Susan and David were talkative and welcoming; they introduced us to traditional Scottish meals (including haggis, neeps and tatties – duhlish), gave us a tour of different sites (including Stirling Castle, The Kelpies, and the amazing Falkirk Wheel) and poured us cup after cup of tea over stories about previous exchange students they had hosted, and comparing common practices and products between the U.K. and the U.S.

The moments that I really cherished were ones that were very, for lack of a better word, human. They were experiences one can only encounter through coexisting within a group, rather than ones planned on an itinerary. For example, Susan had a persistent cough that I at first thought might be the result of smoking, but unlike the tobacco scent of my grandfather’s house, hers smelled like rain and clean tile. She apologized for it on the third day, explaining that she was prone to throat infections as a result of being quote, “allergic to children.” I laughed when she said this – she did not. I thought that an odd diagnosis considering not only had she and David hosted approximately 150 other exchange students over the years, but was also a primary school teacher. In another instance, Susan’s car engine had to be jumped when we were leaving the Falkirk Wheel. She was apologetic, embarrassed even, and insisted that the two other students and I continue to wander the grounds and entertain ourselves while she tended to the engine. We did for a short while, then returned to help with the car. I really enjoyed these episodes. They were familiar; reminiscent of charmingly idiosyncratic exchanges when traveling with one’s family. Of course, I also loved sitting on plush chairs in front of a fire place, playing board games. Susan and David were extremely lovely all around, providing comfort and warmth.

I continue to recall my experiences abroad almost daily. I miss Scotland very much, and hope to return soon.

Share

Final Days

Time July 6th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Argentina | No Comments by

It’s all coming to an end. With less than a week left, I know it will soon be over. I’m currently trying to fit one las trip into my semester by visiting Salta & Jujuy – a beautiful area in the north east of Argentina. I didn’t get to see a whole lot of the country, but I tried to make it to as much as I could and I’m glad I’m making this trip, even if it’s causing me trouble.

It’s not an easy thing to admit, but I am a procrastinator. For various reasons, all my own fault, I put almost everything off until the last minute. Unless you are a super calm person, this is not a position I recommend being in. If you’re interested, here’s a run down of what my finals are like.

Two of my classes are finished. Possibly my favorite class was an overview of Argentine literature with Martin Kohan, a well-known author here. We had studied authors like Borges, Art, Cortázar, and Walsh. I wasn’t super worried about it, but I studied hard and took an exam I felt I did well on. Martin had a very easy way of explaining things and it set me at ease. Read More »

Share

Packing Reflections

Time July 3rd, 2017 in 2017 Spring, New Zealand | No Comments by

So here I am again, alone with my suitcase.

Except this time I’ve got no qualms about what to pack. I basically just have to gather everything in my room, stuff it into this bag and hope that it weighs less than 23 kg.

Looking at this job ahead of me I’ve realized two things:

1. I should have less stuff.
2. I’m just as unprepared to go home as I was to come here.

For all the weekend trips we went on I lived out of a small backpack filled with only what I needed for a day – that was usually an extra shirt and a whole bunch of snacks. Even when I spent three weeks travelling around the south island, I only brought a very small bag in addition to the backpack. Granted, I wore the same pair of pants for about a week straight, but I promise my standards of hygiene only go that low when I’m on the road.

And now I’m looking at all the crap that I brought over here and I realized that I only needed about a third of it. Something warm, something waterproof, and a good pair of shoes would have gotten me through this semester just fine. Why I thought it was a good idea to bring three sweatshirts and two pairs of heels remains a complete and total mystery.

Packing “stuff” isn’t the hard part of preparing to go home. For about a week now I’ve been struggling to come to terms with the fact that this semester-long adventure is actually coming to an end. I’ve come to love Auckland and New Zealand, and even though I want to see my family and friends back home I’m really not ready to leave. If it weren’t for my home school’s darn liberal arts requirements then I would be back here next semester in a heartbeat.

But my ticket is paid for and my dog is waiting, so I guess I’m getting on a plane whether I’m ready or not.

Cheers to a wonderful five months, New Zealand.

Share

Second Time’s the Charm

Time July 3rd, 2017 in 2017 Spring, New Zealand | No Comments by

I’ve been here for a while now. It’s only been about four months, but that was long enough to see most of the major spots in the north island and a decent amount of the south island.

Four months is also long enough to start seeing places twice, with the right company.

My mom came to visit Auckland for ten days, and I wanted to show her how amazing this country that I’ve been living in is. We spent the first week in and around the city. This was great, but for me the best part of living in New Zealand is going on a road trip.

So when the last few days of her visit came around, we packed a backpack, hopped in the rental car, and started driving south.

The plan was to tour the Waitomo glowworm caves before heading up to the Coromandel peninsula for the night. I hadn’t seen the glowworm caves yet and they were on my bucket list, but Coromandel was actually one of the first places that we took a weekend trip to. It was one of my favorite places that I’ve been to in all of New Zealand, so I was excited to revisit it.

The caves were incredible, and the endless green, sheep-speckled hills that surround what seems like New Zealand’s only road (highway 1, takes you anywhere and everywhere) never get old. But seeing the Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove for the second time was pretty special (especially since this time I wasn’t the one paying for gas).

Sitting at Cathedral Cove with my mom, I was proud to have studied in New Zealand. This is a wonderful country like no other in the world, and I relished being able to show my mom a small part of what makes it so great.

So even though it was a repeat trip, Coromandel might have been even better the second time around. I wish that I could share New Zealand with everyone I know, but they’ll just have to settle with looking through thousands of landscape pictures and listening to me talk about it for the next several months.

Share

City Lights Leaving Orlando

Time June 29th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | No Comments by

Just like at the beginning of this journey, before landing at home my feelings were all over the place. Considering how late my program ended I was definitely excited to see my family and friends and start my summer. However, I made a lot of my closest friendships toward the end of my semester and it was sad to leave them not knowing when I would see them again. Since being home I’ve definitely been hyper-sensitive to my surroundings. For example, quarters feel much smaller in my hand, compared to colones, and my backyard looks much bigger. But overall, I’m grateful to have had such an incredible experience abroad. Costa Rica will always have a place in my heart.

Share

Daily life/Vida cotidiana

Time June 29th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Chile | No Comments by

 

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about my travels throughout Chile and visiting different wonderful places. While that is a large part of the study abroad experience, I haven’t really spoken about what goes on in my daily life here in Valpo. I live with a fantastic host family consisting of my mom Mónica, sister Cata, and brother Christian in Recreo, Vina del Mar. Also part of the family are six cats and two dogs who keep home life fun and interesting. The house itself is lovely with a gorgeous view of the ocean and a beautiful outdoor patio where Monica loves to garden. Outside of life at home, I am taking six academic courses—three biology classes and three Spanish classes—so during the week, when I am not at home I am usually in class. Getting to class, and around Vina and Valpo in general, usually involves using the metro and/or the micros (small buses that are often packed with people and drive ridiculously fast on very narrow roads). On the odd weekend where I am not traveling or cuddled up with the kitties, I can often be found in an outdoor plaza or in a local bar with some of my fellow IFSA friends. So, while maybe not as exciting as hiking in forest, stargazing on top of a mountain, or seeing awesome wildlife, everyday life in Chile is pretty great in and of itself.

_______________________________________________________________________

He hablado mucho en ese blog sobre mis viajes y excursiones de Chile a varios lugares bonitos e interesantes. Aunque esa es una parte grande en la experiencia de Intercambio, no he hablado sobre mi vida cotidiana acá en Valpo. Vivo con una familia chilena fantástica que consiste de mi mama Mónica, hermana Cata y hermano Christian en Recreo, Viña del Mar. La familia también inclusa seis gatos y dos perros que mantienen la vida divertida e interesante. La casa es muy linda con una vista maravillosa del mar y un patio muy bonito donde Mónica le gusta jardinear. Fuera de mi vida en la casa, tomo seis ramos académicos—tres de biología y tres de español—entonces durante la semana, cuando no estoy en casa generalmente estoy es clase durante. Ir a clase, y alrededor de Viña y Valpo en general, usualmente consiste en usar el metro y/o los micros (buses muy pequeños generalmente con mucha gente que van muy rápidos en calles muy chicos). En los fines de semana cuando no estoy viajando o regalando con los gatos, muchas veces estoy en una plaza o un bar local con algunos de mis compañeros de intercambio. Entonces, aunque probablemente no tan emocionante como hacer trekking en un bosque, ver las estrellas desde la cima de una montaña, o ver animales y naturaleza increíble, mi vida cotidiana en Chile es genial en si mismo.

Share

To the Cape!

Time June 22nd, 2017 in 2017 Spring, New Zealand | No Comments by

dsc02687

Picture 1 of 15

 

Cape Reinga is the northernmost tip of New Zealand, known for its picturesque lighthouse, giant sand dunes, and 90 mile beach (which, by the way, is not 90 miles long. It’s not even 90 kilometers). I didn’t know I was going until 24 hours before we picked up the rental car, but this spontaneous trip was one of the best weekends of the semester.

At least, it was after the first night.

We started the drive at about 4:30 pm so that we could get to our “holiday park,” sleep, then wake up and have a full day ahead of us. This was all fine, until it was time to sleep.

In case you’ve never stayed in one, a holiday park is not luxurious. Essentially, the five of us were staying in a metal box with just enough room for the bunk beds. Which is fine, because we’re all on a pretty tight budget at this point in the semester.

The place was BYOB (bring your own blankets) and I SEVERELY underestimated how cold it was going to be, and of course these tiny metal boxes did not have any heating. So I spent the first night shivering under my duvet cover (just the cover. Not the duvet. Somebody tell me why I thought this was a good idea), wondering if I should pull down the curtains to use as an extra blanket and silently cursing the tiny metal box called a “holiday park.”

But finally the sun came up, and the next day was spectacular.

After breakfast we drove straight to 90 mile beach, which isn’t your typical lounge in the sun, read a book and dip your toes in the water beach. The point of going to this beach is to drive on the sand alongside the Pacific Ocean from the very bottom to the very top, and it was so much fun. We sped, we ghost drove, we waved to the surfers, and we blasted music the whole way. Hanging out the window and pretending to be Beyoncé in her Formation video is not optional.

88 kilometers later we didn’t think the day could get any better, but it did. Whoever decided that boogie boarding down giant sand dunes was a good idea might be one of the most underrated brain-powers of the 21st century. We rented boards, trudged up an enormous pile of sand, and threw ourselves down the steepest dunes we could find for the next three hours. It was like none of us had ever stopped being kids.

The sun was starting to set and we still had one last item on our bucket list, so we sped off (on a real road this time) towards the very tip of the cape. Here we saw the iconic lighthouse and the place where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. We could actually see a line of choppy waves that marked where two bodies of water collided, and just above this line the sun was sinking slowly below the horizon. It was a very peaceful end to an action-packed day.

Back at the holiday park we made s’mores in the communal fireplace and watched a movie. Thankfully someone lent me a blanket, so I was not completely miserable in our tiny metal box that night.

At the end of the day we collectively agreed that this trip might have marked the happiest we’ve ever been in our lives. But then again, we say that every other weekend in New Zealand.

Share

Experiencing a Wonder of the World

Time June 22nd, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Argentina | No Comments by

This blog is supposed to be about my experiences with the program and explorations around my host city, but with the end coming near I hope you all will indulge me. Here is a blog about one of the natural wonders of the world. It’s the one place all Argentine students must visit – Iguzaú.

Iguazú Falls holds the world record for largest series of waterfalls. That should be enough to convince any person who has the opportunity to go, to go. If that doesn’t, here’s my honest opinion: Iguazú is one of the most breathtaking visions I have ever seen in my life. I have seen a ton of waterfalls, including Niagara, but this moved every bit of me.

When my travel buddies and I arrived at the National Park, we first went up to La Garganta del Diablo. The Devil’s Throat sits on top of the falls, billowing mist and allowing for a spectacular view of many falls. It was a cold day and the mist seeped through my rain jacket, but I couldn’t have cared any less. I spent so long taking photos that I had to tell myself to put the camera down and enjoy the view.

Me in front of Garganta del Diablo   Garganta del Diablo

After a quick tram ride back to the main area we set off on the Lower Trail, which led us to a series of falls and a magical view. The waterfalls all in a row with a mystical island in the center. I wish we had been able to visit the island, but it was such a full day, we wouldn’t have had time.

From all the students who had visited before we had heard about a boat ride into the falls. We took a short trail down to the edge of the water, towards the boat launch. After putting our bags in drypacks and taking off our shoes, we were off. Seeing the falls up close was amazing. I could barely keep my eyes open with all the mist, but I fought it. This was to cool of an experience to miss. After the boat ride was over though, I really wished we had visited on a warmer day.

Falls from the boat

Our last bit of the trip was to hike the upper trail – a path that let us see another inspiring view and the tops of more falls. We sat and watched as the sun hit the tops of the trees. As we walked away from the falls we encountered our one and only monkey. It was unfortunately too quick for me to take a good photo.

A view from the upper trail

This experience was so fantastic. If you visit Argentina or come to study, you must go see Iguazú Falls. It’s worth the trip.

Share

Final Reflections

Time June 20th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Scotland | No Comments by

I’ve been back in the U.S. for a few weeks now, with a busted laptop and a ton of responsibilities concerning moving and starting a new job. I’ve taken time to reflect on the good and the bad of my semester abroad in Glasgow, and here are some tips:

  • If you attend the art school, your tutors will not be around a lot of the time. If you need feedback, or advice, it is up to you to go find them and articulate what you need specifically and concisely. This, in addition to primarily working independently, can make your time pretty isolating if you don’t work to socialize. Introduce yourself to your neighbors around the studio, go to events at The Vic, go to zine fairs at the CCA and vintage sales down by the Trongate. It’s not that people won’t be friendly, they just tend to focus on their work pretty intensely.
  • I might have considered independent housing after seeing some of my friends’ apartments in Glasgow. Much of the architecture is very old, so the flats had high ceilings with wide open floor plans, and could be as little as £300 per month. However, if I had done this I wouldn’t have met the close friends I was fortunate to have been assigned student housing with. (There are also security, safety, and insurance reasons associated with student housing – but ask your Ifsa-Butler representative to go over options with you!)
  • Take pictures of everything!! Film things!! Especially if you attend GSA, try to draw daily! I personally entered a pretty bad rut this past semester with my work; I had a lot of trouble creating, and that made me feel useless a lot of time, cause like duh, I’m an art student, I’m supposed to make art. Sketching, filming, taking pictures – even splurging and getting yourself some really nice watercolor paper – can make you feel more productive, even it means taking baby steps.
  • Yo if you’re Jewish and you miss celebrating Passover when springtime rolls around, go to Cafe Cossachok in the Trongate area and get some smoked salmon potato pancakes and borscht. I missed Kosher delis, but Russian food is pretty close. P.S. they do not call smoked salmon, “lox.” Nobody will know what you’re talking about if you ask for it.
  • Soak up your time in the highlands as much as you can. The Argyll forest and Isle of Skye are really indescribable. Words will not do their beauty justice – just go.

I can say that this semester has proven to be one of my most challenging, but in ways that differ from past semesters at my host college. At a liberal arts college in the U.S., students find themselves juggling an array of subjects while trying to complete their decided major and graduate within 3-4 years. This, of course, poses its own challenges and may nudge more neurotic thinkers (such as myself) into a worm hole of self-deprecating thought processes: “I’m taking classes X, Y and Z at levels A, B and C and I’m better at Z than X – why aren’t I better at X? Why aren’t I good at everything? That person over there is great at X. If I’m not good at X I must not be good at Z either. Oh, my god I’m not good at anything.”

At the Glasgow School of Art, however, I focused on one thing: my artwork. No assignments, no exams. I had one midyear paper for a gender studies class that met once a week, which didn’t really compare in intensity to my classes back home. My hubris led me to believe that that would make things easier. However, focusing exclusively on one thing actually put more pressure on it. But, like my tarot-reading former housemate has observed in her monthly horoscopes, “calling your capabilities into question doesn’t really help anyone much. It’s very subjective.” Perhaps people should think of themselves from the perspective of cover letters that embellish our talents for the grazing hand of employment. If one exaggerates their faults, they should be allowed some self-indulgent arrogance to balance the morale see-saw. I had an incredible time in Scotland, I 3000% recommend it to anybody thinking about studying abroad, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t face challenges; I reached out to my Ifsa-Butler representative and she set me up with a therapist that was payed for with the program’s insurance. I didn’t expect to have such a hard time adjusting, but I did, and it was the definitely the right move to make. Self-doubt is an easy labyrinth to fall into, especially in a new environment. Remember to look up – there is sunlight above the hedges.

Share

Colors of the Sea in the Mountains

Time June 20th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | No Comments by

This picture was taken on my last full day in Costa Rica, which was spent with a friend in Prusia, a forest in the province of Cartago. I’ve never seen so many gorgeous mushrooms nor ones with colors I would only expect to find in the sea. This was one of my favorite days spent in this country. I’ve met so many incredible people towards the end of my time here and I feel disappointed that I wasn’t closer to them before so I could have enjoyed their company for longer. However, these people are so great that I’m thankful I’ve had the opportunity to spend any time at all with them.

Share

Passionate Professors

Time June 20th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Costa Rica | No Comments by

This photo was taken on the last day of my “Human Genetics, Society, and the Environment” class. My professor taught us many things about eastern medicine and self-care. We spent this day practicing Aikido, a type of martial arts. It was incredibly refreshing to learn alternative ways to heal one’s body through nutrition and meditative activities, as opposed to western practices. It was also very obvious that he is passionate about what he teaches, which shone through in his lectures and always kept me interested. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from him during my time abroad.

Share

Mountains, and Stars, and Penguins…Oh my!

Time June 14th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Chile | No Comments by

Read More »

Share

Return Home

Time June 12th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Scotland | No Comments by

Coming home has been such a bitter sweet experience. Towards the end of my journey I was really missing home and the lifestyle that I have. Colorado is such a beautiful state and I was really looking forward to seeing my family and friends again! I was so happy that I didn’t have to be long distance from my fiancee anymore and that we could finally be together! Long distance was one of the hardest things that our relationship has faced and I was glad to have it over. At the same time it meant that I had to leave Scotland and all of my friends there. Even though most of my friends are a short plane ride away, it’s so different than living together in the same flat. I’ve been home for two weeks now and I still feel like I should be waking up next to my friends and going on an adventure in Europe. Study abroad is such an interesting experience that I think only your friends abroad truly understand it. Of course I can describe to everybody back home how I feel but, nobody really understands it unless you experienced it.

I was supposed to return home on May 29th but my flight ended up getting canceled so I didn’t end up leaving until May 30th! Of course I was slightly sad to go home yet but, I was so happy that I got one more day in Scotland. That last day really made a difference. It felt like closure. The extra day I spent in Edinburgh with my closest friends and it felt so nice to have that last gathering together. I never would’ve thought that extra time would make such a difference but it really did! It was more relaxed and laid back than trying to pack everything and say goodbye to everybody at once.

Coming home and being able to reflect for a couple of weeks  made me realize a lot of things about myself. Before studying abroad I felt like I couldn’t handle the real world. I felt so dependent on my parents that I didn’t think I could handle graduating college. Even though I’m engaged I was worried about starting a life with my fiancee. Study abroad changed my view on being alone. Of course I still missed everything back home but it made me realize that I can do it. I can be on my own away from my parents. I will be able to get married and start a life with my fiancee. I would say that my view of the world is completely different as well. Traveling and going to new places really changes your perspective on how vast and wonderful the Earth is!

If you’re reading this and even considering study abroad you should do it. It’s the most incredible experience that will impact you for a lifetime. Don’t worry about expense because it’ll be worth it no matter the cost. In retrospect study abroad really is a pretty good deal. You’re paying much less than you would to live abroad for 5 months in a different setting. The best advice I can give is to go out and explore. The world is just waiting for you to go and see it!

Share

A Vegetarian in the City of Steak

Time June 7th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Argentina | No Comments by

Coming to Buenos Aires, I was constantly warned about how much I was going to miss out on by keeping to my vegetarian diet. I considered eating back before I came. My main issue is with the US food industry, so eating meat here doesn’t have the same meaning. But when I got here and learned that my host mom was also vegetarian, I decided to stick with it.

Being a vegetarian here was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I get breakfast every day and dinner every night, except Saturday from my host mom. She cooks great rice dishes, polenta, or vegetable milanesas and large salads. Though there is more cabbage than I’m used to, the food is great and much healthier than I would cook for myself. A lot of the time for lunch I make myself simple sandwiches or pasta, but sometimes I like to switch things up.

Empanadas are simple, easy to find, and there is almost always a vegetarian option. My favorite types of empanadas include caprese, humita (which is a corn dish made with both fresh regular corn and creamed white corn), cheese and onion, and plain veggie. Empanadas are also great because sometimes they are very cheap even at high quality.

Also Buenos Aires, being a city of many immigrants, has lots of restaurants from other cultures. Chinese food, italian, Indian, and other cuisines all offer great vegetarian dishes. Because of the cosmopolitan nature of the city, there is an environment of acceptance for those who choose not to eat meat. Even though most people here swear by their steak, it’s normal to find options without it or other meats. There are also lots of dieteticas that cater to those looking for health conscious options.

Plus, one can’t forget that most desserts (like flan and alfajores, among others) are vegetarian!

— Lily

Share

Everyday Sights on my Walk to the University of Glasgow

Time June 7th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Scotland | No Comments by

Murano's Cat

Picture 1 of 8

This is one of the many cats that I saw around Glasgow. It must have lived near the Murano Street student flats because I would always see it nearby. Here, it is walking along a wall next to one of Murano's stark brick buildings.

Share

Santiago

Time June 5th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Chile | No Comments by

 

This post is a compilation of photos from three separate trips to Santiago. The first two were through IFSA-Butler: the first to learn about immigration in Chile, and the second to visit the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (the Museum of Memory and Human Rights) and learn more about the political history of Chile. The third was to visit my Chilean sister Cata who studies in Santiago. The first trip was interesting and fun. We went to the Parque Palestina for a discussion on middle-eastern immigration in Chile, had lunch at a Mediterranean restaurant, spoke with a professor about racism, and went to a street festival celebrating immigrant culture. The second trip was interesting, enlightening and upsetting. At the museum, we had a tour about the history of the Chilean dictatorship during the 1970s-80s. Then we went to a memorial park which—from 1974-1978—had been the largest torture center in Santiago. There we had a tour with a survivor of the camp which was difficult to listen to but also very important and insightful. In the evening, saw a play about a Mapuche boy that was murdered by a police officer. It was an emotionally exhausting day but very important and interesting. The third trip was super fun and it was great to spend the weekend with Cata. She took me to San Cristobal and Santa Lucia–two beautiful cerros (large hills/small mountains) with great views of Santiago. Overall, Santiago is a great city with lots to offer. It has history, culture, and nature as well as great places to eat, see, and/or visit. Each of my trips were distinct and gave me a unique perspective on Chile and its’ lovely capital.

————————————————————————

Ese post es una compilación de fotos de tres viajes distintos a Santiago. Los primeros dos fueron con IFSA-Butler: lo primero para aprender de inmigración en Chile, y lo segundo para visitar al Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos y aprender más sobre la historia política de Chile. En lo tercero, visité a mi hermanita chilena Cata que estudia en Santiago. El primer viaje fue divertido e interesante. Fuimos al Parque Palestina para una discusión de inmigración árabe en Chile, almorzamos en un restaurante mediterráneo, charlamos con un profesor sobre el racismo en Chile, y fuimos a un festival para la cultura inmigrante. El segundo viaje fue interesante, esclarecedor y triste. En el museo, tuvimos un tour sobre la historia de la dictadura chilena. Después fuimos a un parque de memoria que—durante 1974 y 1978—era el centro más grande de tortura en Santiago. Alla tuvimos un tour con una sobreviviente que fue difícil de escuchar, pero importante y perspicaz. En la tarde vimos una obra de teatro sobre el asesinato de un chico mapuche por un carabinero. Fue un viaje muy pesado pero muy importante e interesante. Mi tercer viaje fue muy divertido y fue genial pasar el fin de semana con mi hermana en Santiago. Cata me trajo a San Cristóbal y Santa Lucia—dos cerros muy lindos con vistas maravillosas de la ciudad. En fin, Santiago es una ciudad con mucho de ofrecer. Tiene historia, cultura y naturaleza además de muchos lugares para comer, visitar, y/o ver. Cada uno de mis viajes fueron muy diferentes y me dieron una perspectiva única de Chile y su lindo capital.

Share

Homeward Bound

Time June 5th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, England | No Comments by

Well, that’s the semester done. I traveled, trained, trammed, troubled, traversed, and triumphed. And then I had my exams, and I have an entirely different slew of words for how that went, mostly of the four letter variety. Regardless, though, I made my way through, and I’m currently using my phone as a hotspot in Heathrow because the wifi here is allergic to functionality.

It’s a weird feeling, knowing that by tomorrow I’ll be back in the states. It’s not necessarily a bad feeling – I have missed my home, my friends and my family quite a bit these past six months –  but it is an odd one. Nothing feels quite real right now, because I’ve just packed up and left a place I got to call home for a half year, and there’s a good chance I’ll never be back in the area again. I don’t know that I like that, so for right now I’m determined to keep as many memories of the place as I can. In my own fashion, that probably means I’m going to have Norwich, if not UEA, appear as a backdrop in one of my next novels. It’s certainly suited for it, with all the charm and old architectural styles that surround the city center. Even if I don’t end up walking those streets in person, I get to write about them, and that’s almost as good.

Studying abroad has been an adventure in self-maintenance, or personal growth if you’d prefer the self-help phrasing. A lot of what I’ve been doing, both by virtue of living completely alone and without an immediate, close support network as well as the far more hands-off approach of universities in the U.K., has been entirely driven by me. Figuring out what I want or need to do every day and how I’m meant to manage that hasn’t always been easy, especially during my recent trek through Europe (I think I might have run at least a mile just trying to catch my trains alone). It has been edifying, though, and it’s one of those moments where once I’ve done something, no matter how unpleasant or hard the experience was, I know I can do that something again if it comes to it. Out of all the things I’m bringing back with me, that knowledge is probably what I’m most grateful to have.

I also brought back some fancy tea, of course, but that sounds less impressive. I’ll have one more reflections post in the next few days to wrap things up, but for now, I await my plane and try and figure out for the tenth time if everything is where I left it. It is, but try telling my anxiety that.

Share

Isle of Skye Trip

Time June 5th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Scotland | No Comments by

Our second trip that IFSA organized was to the Isle of Skye. It was a long 5 hour bus ride to get from Glasgow to the large island in the north west, but it was broken up by fun, quick stops in highland towns and continuous historical facts from our tour guide. Everyone was struck by the beauty and vast wilderness of the highlands which felt so purely Scottish. I hope my pictures can somehow do it justice.

Highland Shepherd

Picture 1 of 16

One of our first stops on our way up to Skye was to a working sheepdog farm. We were able to watch the shepherd's border collies wrangle the sheep at the sound of a whistle or a simple command.

Share

Road Trip (more UK travels)

Time May 26th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Scotland | No Comments by

My flatmates and I decided to take a little road trip to the northern part of England and Wales! We all really wanted to go to Wales and the only way to do that would be by renting a car and driving down. My flatmate, Julia, graciously offered to drive! She also let us stay at her aunt and uncle’s house! It was such a great opportunity so I couldn’t say no! I really love road trips and I was so happy to be going on one with my friends! We started our 3 hour journey from Glasgow! The drive really wasn’t terrible at all and to our surprise there wasn’t many cars on the road the whole drive. Of course a lot less people live in these areas than most places in the states! After our long trip we made it down to England. The house we stayed in was very quaint and it was along the shore about 10 minutes from Blackpool! We had a lovely home cooked meal and no meal is left without drinks. Without even realizing it I had a whole bottle of prosecco to myself! Luckily, it was over about 6 hours so I felt fine!

The next day we ventured to Liverpool in order to see the Beatles museum! Getting there was easy but parking in Liverpool was atrocious! We drove around the same street several times before we were able to find a parking lot! After the whole parking fiasco we walked up to the street to get to the museum and there was some type of train parade! We had no idea what we just walked into! It wasn’t too hard to navigate through the crowd but it was still strange! We saw a ferris wheel and decided that we wanted to go on it! The top was such a wonderful view of the city! We could really take in all that is Liverpool. Once we got back down to the ground it was time for the Beatles museum! The museum was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced. It was one of my favorite things I’ve done this entire semester! It wasn’t set up like a normal museum. It was as if you were walking through their lives. It didn’t contain that many artifacts rather it contained storytelling and recreations of the actual pubs they played in. The audio tour provided most of the information. This is something that I would highly suggest for anybody who goes to the UK! I could really go on and on about the museum but you’ll just have to visit for yourself!  beatlesstory Don’t want to show too much so this is just the entrance! Read More »

Share

Mendoza, a city of culture

Time May 25th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Argentina | No Comments by

One thing I was looking forward to during study abroad aside from a new academic environment, was getting to know and even getting involved in the community. Mendoza may be a smaller city, but cultural events are not only important, but varied, frequent and often free or of little charge. Several areas in the city are known for screening movies weekly, often for free. You can find older and modern movies and movies from Argentina, the US and many other countries (of course with subtitles). Live plays happen all the time too so if you’re Spanish is good enough to follow them (mine is not) they are also a cool thing to check out. There are not only formal concerts like celebrations of classic rock and Argentina’s take on jazz and the blues as well as classical music events, but you can often happen upon informal mini concerts in the parks and plazas. Some even involve dancing. Personally, I really enjoy going to events that involve dancing. Not boliche-type dancing (I can’t dance at all) that happens late into the night at clubs, a young person’s typical pastime here, but actually watching the small dancing events put together by the city or other groups. Sure you’ll see much more tango in Buenos Aires, even in the streets, but I have been lucky enough to attend events involving the tango, mamba, samba, milonga and baile folklorico (which is more traditional). They all have different histories, dress and meanings and derive from around South America, but I can saying that I’ve been impressed by all that I’ve seen. Last week there was even an event in the one of the largest theatres in the city where you could watch a world famous traveling dance troupe. Tickets were only about $3.50 USD plus a donation of milk powder to the local food bank. Of course I was too late and the tickets sold out, but this just speaks to one of the great opportunities I’ve seen in the past few days. There’s a lot to discover if you look for it and luckily IFSA sends you updates of upcoming events too! As much as I like to watch dancing, I refuse to actually learn it it seems. However, if you are interested, not only can you take dancing classes at a local institute and possibly get some credits for it, depending on your university, but there are free dancing classes at the park too (as well as low-cost painting, photography, and other skill classes). Mendoza is a city that truly celebrates culture and has a wealth of events for those interested!

Share