The GoGlobal Blog

Summer in South America

Summer in South America

I have now been in Buenos Aires for almost two weeks – Thankfully this program started late, giving me a little over a month and a half at home – and even though I know Chicago has had quite a few warm days since I’ve been gone, I can’t help but miss the cold. I spent over half of 2016 in Southeast Asia, battling 90 and 100-degree weather, and I don’t think I quite prepared for the heat that is Buenos Aires in the summer.

Besides adjusting to constantly sweating again, I have been having a pretty good time. I found that because I am only gone for 3 months this time, as opposed to 7, I was much better prepared for the goodbyes, the airport shenanigans and all the “where are you from?”, “what major are you?” questions that are unavoidable when interacting with a new group for the first time.

Having had a long list of negative experiences with Loyola’s Vietnam Center, I made the decision (back on September 10th if that gives any indication of how early on I noticed major issues with the program) to finish my degree utilizing as many outside programs as possible. After some searching, I stumbled across this IES Multi-Location Program entitled “Emerging Economies” that would allow me to split my time between Argentina, Peru, and Chile. The program did not require me to have any knowledge of Spanish (though I knew it was something I wanted to practice and improve in), and it focused on economics (which I haven’t taken in 5 years), but ultimately it appeared that this program would provide me the challenge, immersion and passionate staff that my last experience lacked.

Things have not always been smooth sailing, however, as nothing ever is. I find this to be one of the joys of traveling, though. I made my second of three flights just as they were closing the gates after having my Mom’s homemade cookies confiscated, both of my perfectly packed packs completely unpacked by TSA and the usual discrepancy of not having a visa, but I arrived safely in Buenos Aires only an hour later than expected.

I arrived at my host mother’s apartment to learn that she speaks very little English (no problem, more practice for me!), and that she is a wonderful cook and talented painter. She is an extremely generous person and made me feel at home immediately. My room – basic, but larger than expected – has no fan or air conditioner. After the first few nights, I finally realized that my window opens (I promise, I really am this close to getting my college degree). This discovery allowed me to sleep more soundly for a few nights, until it ultimately led to a bat finding its way in. If you were wondering, waking up to a bat flying at your head in the middle of the night is not the most pleasant experience. Looks like the window will stay closed from now on, and I will stay drenched in sweat. I learned last year that it at least builds character?

Last weekend all IES student studying in Buenos Aires took a weekend trip to an estancia to enjoy an asado (essentially a BBQ) where I tried cow intestine for the first – and only – time. This weekend, we have a few extra days due to Carnival, so a few friends and I are taking a ferry over to Montevideo, Uruguay. I am looking forward to exploring another city (and a new country) for a few days before returning to my studies and I am excited for the coming months and to experience a unique program design.

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