Majors: Psychology and Spanish
Minor: Latin American Studies
Abroad Program: IFSA Butler
Where: Buenos Aires, Argentina
When: Fall 2012
Favorite Course: Social Problems of South America
Highlight: Playing rugby with Las Pumas de DAOM
Best Excursion: Hiking Machu Picchu!
Favorite Dish: Asado – any kind of it
Describe your most memorable experience while abroad.
My most memorable experience abroad happened on my way to Machu Picchu. A friend and I had decided to do the hike together, and we ended up on separate flights from Buenos Aires through Lima and on to Cuzco. He made it from Lima to Cuzco without any problems, but my flight hit bad weather and we had to turn around. My airline company was kind enough to reschedule the flight for the next day; however, this meant that I found myself stuck in Lima for 24 hours without any idea what to do. In the end, although it was pretty crazy, it was a great experience and a great story.
What did you learn to love about the culture(s)?
I loved the late dinner time and relaxed restaurant atmosphere. Be it whether I was eating with my host mom or out with friends, we were free to sit and talk for hours on end without pressure to leave. The value on interactions and conversations was something I came to love and appreciate.
How was the experience of studying the language in the classroom (in high school or in college) prior to studying abroad different from the experience of studying the language in and outside of the classroom once you were abroad?
My experiences with Spanish in Argentina and Spanish in the classroom were completely different. At home, I had to motivate myself to study verbs, vocabulary, and grammar rules in order to pass an exam; in Argentina, I had to study the language in order to effectively communicate with people. I was much more driven to advance my Spanish than I had ever been previously, and as a result, my language skills developed greatly.