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

A Great Camping Trip

Time January 5th, 2015 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

We don’t actually know exactly where we went, but it was west of the city of Lima, and probably still in the province of Lima.  We got it in our heads that the place was called “Huarochiri”, but I’m almost positive that’s not true.  One of my friends (Koby) had met a part-time adventure guide that invited us along with him, his brother, and his brother’s friend as they went for a weekend trip to climb mountains, repel down waterfalls, and hike around a bit.  We subsisted almost entirely on crackers for the weekend.

After a four hour drive out to wherever it was that we went, and a good amount of searching around, we eventually found a place to make camp in a small grassy area above a dusty soccer field next to a corn field near the mountain we planned to climb the next day.   We pitched our tents and built a fire.  The campfire that night was a great time.  Four of the five people there knew how to play guitar and sing and we just passed the guitar around the circle taking turns singing the song of our choice; the guitar made it around the circle at least four times before we finally decided to go to bed after a long day.

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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!)


Habia una vez en los Andes…

Time October 15th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | 1 Comment by

(Once upon a time in the Andes…)


This entry is long overdue, because a) this is still one of my favorite things I’ve done in Argentina so far and b) it happened waaay back in August. Oops. But it’s alright—that just means I’ve been having too much fun to pause and write about it.


Today I’ll be talking about:

I. Manzano Historico de Tunuyan
II. The moral of the story
III. Musica de la semana
IV. Previous posts
V. Upcoming posts
VI. A special bonus video



I. Manzano Historico de Tunuyan


Our first long weekend in Mendoza, my friends and I had a panic trying to figure out what to do with ourselves. Jose finally recommended that we visit Manzano Historico, because there was going to be some sort of celebration for San Martin there.


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San Martin-related activities!


Last minute emailing and calling… STRESSMESS. Two tips on that front: 1) Plan ahead, plan ahead, plan ahead! 2) Don’t be surprised if no one picks up when you call during siesta. Derp derp.


We finally rented a cabin here for $1500 pesos for 4 people for 2 nights = about $40 USD/person for the entire stay.


(For anyone wanting to make a trip up, you might like to know that you can fit up to 7 or 8 people in one of those cabins. We also went during the off-season—it’s cheaper in the summer.)


I’d say we got out money’s worth.


The most obviously cool thing we did was climb a waterfall called the Chorro de la Vieja, a hike guided by the owner of our cabin.

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Although there was no snow in town, there was definitely some up in the Andes. I couldn’t believe it was still summer in the US! In the summer apparently you can hike further up, past the waterfall. I smell a return trip in our near future!


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The views of the Andes were incredible. Dazzling every time. No matter what you do, the photos just do not do them justice.

the view from the cabin window


However, as cool as our waterfall adventure was, I think my favorite parts were just hanging around in the cabin. (Which is good, because we were all getting sick that weekend and didn’t have the energy to do too much adventuring.)


We did a lot of cooking, partly to save money and partly because we really, really, really wanted salad. We made stir fry one night, spaghetti another.


Our friend Lisa also taught us how to make chapatti, African fry bread, which she learned how to do in Kenya.



Possibly the best decision we made over the weekend was to pull the mattresses off the bed frames and put them all together on the floor so we could sleep in a pile.


The cuddle puddle


We were super warm and toasty.


Our adventures ended with meeting a new “friend” on the bus, the most attractive Argentine we’ve seen yet. He was enchanted by Lisa’s big blue eyes and ended up giving her a folklore dance lesson in the bus terminal. Hilarity ensued.

Bad photo, sorry–you’ll just have to take my word for it.


Ultimately, it wasn’t a weekend about traveling to anyplace in particular or doing anything in particular. It was about us. It was about spending time together. This was the weekend that really solidified our friendship. I feel like I’ve known these three girls my entire life, and I have no idea how I’ve survived 20 years without them! They were there the first time I was drunk and when I got my first kiss, and there are still countless adventures ahead of us. Argentina is a big & confusing country, and you never know what’s going to come at you next; but I know that no matter what these girls will be there to support and share the laughs. That right there has been the best part of my study abroad so far.



Here’s a little video about some of our shenanigans.



II.  The moral of the story


1: You don’t have to spend a lot of money or travel super far away to have fun adventures on study abroad. Tunuyan is very close to Mendoza and our trip was very tranquil overall, but it was still definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had so far. What matters is who you go with.


2: Don’t buy box wine. Just don’t. If you’re going to spend the money, spend it on the good stuff.


III. Musica de la semana



Ojos de cielo por Abel Pintos
Check out the letras (lyrics) here because it’s a beautiful song.


I’d also like to share this song with you, even though it’s not in Spanish, because I think it exemplifies the spirit of study abroad.

Here’s hoping you’re all laying the past and fears about the future to rest and being joyful about the present, wherever you are.


IV. Previous posts


1. Antes de que me voy (Before I Leave) 

2.  Host Families and Fun with Public Transportation 

3. “Are You the Girl with the Blog?” 

4. Playing Tourists in Buenos Aires 

5. Looking Good, Mendoza! 

6. A Detailed Guide on All Things Micro 

7. Trip to Las Termas 

8. Daily life if Mendoza 


V. Upcoming posts


-Road trip to San Juan

-Spring break in Chile

-Reunion in Neuquen

-Trabajo voluntario

-Life of a student

-Trip to Cordoba

-The Argentina/Uruguay soccer game


VI. A special bonus video


Shenanigans continued. (Embedded below.)


We ARE planning on making this a full-length movie, mostly as a record for ourselves. Each moment here has been so beautiful, and I don’t want to let it slip away. I don’t know whether we’ll decide to let it be publicly on the internet, but if we do I’ll post it here for sure as an example of a real experience studying abroad with IFSA.

Because study abroad is about LIFE.



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.


One Last Mexican Adventure

Time December 23rd, 2010 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by


More ancient ruins, and a waterfall!

Time November 8th, 2010 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by