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

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.

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VIDEO: Iguazú Falls

Time September 19th, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Argentina, LGBTQ Correspondents | No Comments by

Some general advice for those who wish to go:

  1. It’s a lot more expensive than you would think! Accounting for park admissions, overpriced food (buy at the food stores!) and transportation to/from the airport (as of September 2016 there are only taxis and no shuttles even though every guidebook said there were…), you should bring 1000 pesos at minimum.
  2. As you’ll see in the video there are these cute looking animals called coatis freely roaming around. You’ll also notice a shot of a sign warning about them- these things are savage and they have no shame about it. They’ll casually walk up when you’re not expecting it and snatch the food from your hand or on your tray like whatever. Message me if you want to hear about the time my friends and I were attacked by one.
  3. The falls occupy land in both Argentina and Brazil. We were lucky: because of the Rio Olympics this year we didn’t need to have Brazilian visas while visiting since the requirement is still waved until the end of September. Normally though, you do need a visa when you’re crossing the border.
  4. Which side is better you may ask?…I’d have to go with the Argentine side. The Brazilian side is still very cool, there’s just less to see, so if you’re pressed for time you should stick with the Argentine side.

 

And now without further ado, I present the incredible, magnificent, Iguazú Falls.

 

 

 

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El Garganta del Diablo (pt. 1 of 3 of my musings on Iguazu)

Time April 15th, 2014 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Again, I’m about to begin one of my post with my seemingly obligatory “sorry this blog is late blah blah blah” remarks, but this blog is especially late, and I really am sorry that I took so long between updates (this is directed to the approximately 4 of you that actually read my blog regularly).  Anyway, this week;s reason for tardiness is that not only have my classes have amped up quite a bit, but my folks (2 of my ~4 regular readers) have come to Argentina and I’ve spent a lot of time during the last few days with them.  We’ve gone out to lovely dinners in Palermo and with my host family

 It’s been so wonderful to have them here, and having them around definitely makes me remember both how much I miss them and how grateful I am to have been raised by them.  I went out the other night with my parents and some of my awesome new Buenos Aires friends, and I was described as, “the average of my mom and my dad.”  Whatever that means, I’m lucky to have any part of them at all.

But sappiness aside, what having my parents around really means is ADVENTURE!  My family loves to take crazy trips together, for this trip the plan was to spend some quality time in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, Iguazu Falls.  This place is like nowhere else I’ve ever been, and it makes my creative juices start to pump nonstop.  So, in light of the falls, for the next few posts, I’m going to eschew my typical stream-of-consciousness blog style, and instead present to you “Writings from Iguazu”, where I’ll post a new poem or bit of prose (or “Poem-like Creation”) from each day that I am here.  Sound like fun?  Good!  Here’s day one: “El Garganta del Diablo”.

(Author’s note: Due to the necessary approval process of my employers, these blogs will likely not be published exactly on the day that they were written, so I’m sorry about the incongruence.  Just for completeness’ sake, I was in Iguazu from the 12th to the 15th of April.)

(Author’s note 2: I know I promised y’all Uruguay, and I assure that Uruguay will be my next post following my artistic stab into recounting my experience in Iguazu)

El Garganta del Diablo:

There is nothing quite like the feeling when you stand over the throat of the devil.  The wind is his voice, rushing past you, through you, tugging at your hat as well as your heart and gently imploring you to, “come just a biiiit closer”.  The water is his blood.  It rushes and roar around you, their power both inspires you to live fully and terrifies you of about the possibilities that such a life would entail.  The falls themselves are his body.  I could spend two lifetimes staring at it, my eyes exploring every nook and cranny, perplexed by the constant rhythm and motion.

The throat is a place of abrupt change.  It is a step of a staircase of a giant.  It is flat ground that abruptly becomes a sheer face, and it is the river above plummets suddenly to a torrential pool below.  It is the wind that howls, the edges the beckon, the vistas that capture.  Yet despite its name, the throat of the devil is a place sent from heaven.  Because from within the pool of chaos there forever blooms a rainbow.

Also, for all who are curious, this is the Garganta del Diablo (sorry I can’t post my own pics; my camera ran out of battery and I left my charger in Buenos Aires.  D’oh!)

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rainbows, monografías, and winter in July

Time June 27th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Sunday, June 24 

So I know it’s been like years since I’ve written anything, but that’s obviously because I’ve been doing everything!  haha Or at least that’s what I’ll say my excuse is for now.  But yep, I’m still abroad!! Still in classes!  It’s like I go to high school in the northeast or something when they don’t graduate until nearly July.  poor kids.  (in AR, we were free in May, but the majority of Tulane kids thought I was crazy when I told them that bc they’re all from up north)

Realtalk though, I have done a lot of awesome stuff over the past howeverlongit’sbeen and I’ll give y’all a little taste of that with some pictures and videos below!

Buuut the reason I’m finally getting around to writing this old thing again is obviously because I have other more important things to be writing.  So of course, I choose to write about my life rather than my 12-page human rights paper (monografía).  The paper’s chugaluggin along, but it’s definitely been a struggle to remember what it’s like to do homework, other than reading and writing papers with a 2-pg limit.

Which brings me to one of the most bizarre things about studying abroad in a different hemisphere–it’s WINTER here!! Which means while all of my friends at home are running around in bathing suits and sundresses and not in class, I’m here bundling up, still in my boots, and taking finals.  Hilarious sidenote: one of my friends from home, who will remain unnamed to prevent embarrassment, messaged me that she was jealous that I was going to come back so tan.  I had to remind her that I’m a little bit further down on the map, so the 30-40 degree weather hasn’t been so conducive to loungin in my bikini. 😉  But even though I should have expected it, well I did expect it, it’s still weird to actually live in the opposite season during this time of year.  However, the weather lately has been gorgeous and in like the 50s-60s so it’s perfect for explorin’ and doing fun things.  Thank god I have so much free time to do just that…oh wait, just kidding :( haha but my time is coming! I just hope it’s still as pretty when I’m free to enjoy it!

That’s one sad thing about not having done much throughout the semester–everything is piled on at the end of the semester, which happens to obviously coincide with the last two-three weeks before we all go back home.  So, I CANNOT wait until this coming Thursday at 7pm, which is when I will officially be donezo with the semester.  Right now, though, it seems like years away because I still have papers, presentations, and exams between now and then.  I’m so excited to be able to do fun things and just enjoy my last few days in the city.

One of my good friends here turned 21 Friday, which is sadly not at all a big deal here.  haha But at least we made it as big of a deal as we could.  Saturday night, I brought her over some goodies and a couple of bottles of champagne for our mini-celebration.  I wish we had videoed us trying to open the bottle…First, she struggled with it because obviously she should pop it for her birthday.  But she wasn’t having much luck, so I wisely took my teeth to the plastic pull-tab.  I thought I might lose an eye, but I was very careful and only pulled on it with my teeth until I could get it with my hand.  haha and I still have both of my eyes.  So then I handed it back to her right before the plastic strip was completely off so she could pop it…as she pulled it hard and carefully aimed away from both of our faces, the strip came off clean, but no pop! so anti-climactic! so theeenn, I took another shot at it and realized it had little slots to push it off, so I handed it back to her to make the final effort and get the POP!  Of course, it wasn’t budging, so I took another shot at it and it slowly started easing out.  I was wiggling it up and out slowly but surely and was ready for it to just slide off unexcitingly, when it finally decided to shoot out like a bullet, luckily at the ceiling and not at my face.  Obviously we both screamed at the top of our lungs like we’d been shot and then died laughing at how ridiculous we felt.  It did actually terrify me though! hahahaha and luckily her host mom wasn’t home and no neighbors came to ask if anyone had died.  So we enjoyed the bottle of champagne and then went for a late dinner (11pm) which is pretty normal here for Saturdays.  I found a 30% off deal for El Estanciero, which is a parilla–steak/grill restaurant, over in a semi-swanky part of the city.  So we ate amazing steaks and drank a delicious red wine that we had never tried before and talked about how weird it will be to go home.

I’m ready for it to feel like reverse culture-shock when I get back to the US.  Like, hearing so much English is just going to be weird.  I heard these guys saying some kind of rude stuff in English the other day on the bus, and I almost died laughing when an Argentine told them to shut the **** up (in English) and be more mindful of what they say in public.  Obviously, when I do speak in English, I’m aware that there are a lot of people here that might understand me, but when I get back to the States, it’s just going to be bizarre knowing that everyone understands me.  Also, it’s going to be harder to tune people out.  hahaha Like, in Spanish, if I want to listen to what people are saying, I can, but it’s a lot easier to just focus on my reading on the bus/in a park and not listen to everyone around me.  In the US, everyone’s louder and harder to tune out.  :)  It’s little things like this that I think will really take me by surprise the first few weeks when I get back.  Which is why I’ll be writing at least one more blog post (maybe more!) about those strange little/giant changes.

In the mean time, enjoy my pictures from barrio chino (chinatown) and Iguazú!

 

super market in barrio chino (chinatown), BsAs, Argentina

Cataratas del Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina

Cataratas del Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina

Las Cataratas del Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina

Puerto Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina

Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

so I bought it for the pretty packaging, but they turned out to be somethingsweet-covered peanuts. glad I’m not allergic!
barrio chino, Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

super market in barrio chino: so much fresh seafood!

Cataratas del Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina

 

 

 

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Drum Circle at La Garganta del Diablo at Iguazú Falls

Time March 2nd, 2011 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

At the beginning of February, I went to the world famous Cataratas del Iguazú for two days. La Garganta del Diablo (The Devil’s Throat) is the largest single waterfall in the park, and while standing next to it and getting soaked, there was a group of guys playing drums!

I have a couple more videos to post from Iguazú, but they require some editing, so they’ll come at a later date. However, if you want to read about my experience at Iguazú and see all the photos I took, you can do so at my personal blog.

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