July 20, 2018
Wow. I can’t believe that my semester abroad is already over! I had such an amazing time in Buenos Aires, and I will definitely be advocating for other students from UR to choose to study abroad in Argentina–or at least in South America. My semester was so different than what I expected it to be, but in the best way possible. I am truly going to miss my host family, my new friends from all over the world, and the city itself.
I learned an incredible amount about Argentine culture. I also came to realize that every single country and the provinces within them in South America are so unique and different. Before actually living there, I had sort of grouped all of the countries together under one big category. However, they are truly so distinct and are proud to tell you about how their nation differs from others. Once, two of my friends started playfully arguing about whether Argentine or Venezuelan empanadas were better. It turns out they are made in a completely different way and filled with different meat! This is just another example of something that I would never have expected to be so distinct in every individual country.
Before I left, I wrote that one of my goals was to improve my Spanish-speaking skills, and I think I definitely succeeded. I am not fully fluent yet, but I can certainly understand people speaking very well, and can come up with a coherent response in Spanish. I credit this to my host mom, who only ever spoke to me in Spanish!
Another one of my goals was to play a lot of soccer while I was down there. I am very happy with how much I was able to play, and I am so thankful for all the friends that I made through Buenos Aires Futbol Amigos. Above is a photo of a few of my friends and I after a tournament! I had an amazing experience that I will never forget!
June 25, 2018
Things have been getting kind of crazy here since finals are coming up! This week I wanted to write about my amazing trip to the provinces of Salta and Jujuy, Argentina. I went with four of my good friends that I met here in Buenos Aires at the Universidad Católica Argentina.
First we traveled to the cities of Humahuaca and Tilcara, which were absolutely incredible. The mountains were breathtaking.
Next, we went to Purmamarca, and to the Salinas Grandes, or salt flats, which went on as far as the eye could see. We learned that the government harvests the salt to sell! I had never seen anything like it in my life. We thought our car looked cool against the barren landscape.
Last, we went to the city of Cafayate, which is kind of off the beaten path. None of our friends had been there before, so we weren’t sure exactly what to expect but we ended up having such a great time. The bodegas weren’t all open since it is the low season in terms of tourism, but the ones that we found were so cute and nice. I think this is my favorite city I’ve been to in Argentina outside of Buenos Aires. I can’t tell you how calm and relaxing it was! Also, the people we met were so nice and friendly.
The whole trip was an incredible experience, but the highlight was definitely the hike that we went on in Cafayate. Our guide took us all the way to the top of steep mountain, where we could see the whole city below us. On our way up we saw five different waterfalls, and a whole herd of wild mountain goats!
Now that I’m back in BA, I really have to hit the books this week so that I’m ready for finals!
Chau for now!
May 27, 2018
Hello!!! This week, my awesome host fam brought me to watch a professional soccer game of one of the “big five” clubs of Argentine futbol. RACING! Racing Club plays in the top division of the Argentina league system.
Here’s what their logo looks like. I didn’t have a jersey of theirs when I attended the match, but I made sure to wear light blue and white. Everyone there was completely dressed in Racing gear. It was amazing!
I loved seeing how all the different neighborhoods and areas of greater Buenos Aires made signs and banners with their neighborhood names. Other banners had phrases on them such as “Racing, I love you so much it hurts.” Everyone sang and jumped throughout the whole game. It was such a different culture than that of soccer games in the US.
Also this past weekend, I played in a co-ed soccer tournament with the soccer organization that I joined here, Buenos Aires Futbol Amigos! It was an insanely fun tournament. Each team played about 6 games, 15 minutes each. I was super tired by the end!
When my team got eliminated, the team that beat us asked me to join their team to play in the championship since one of their girls got injured! The matches were really competitive but friendly afterwards which I appreciated.
See you next week!
May 18, 2018
So I have officially been here for a full three months. It is crazy to think that I only have two months left in Argentina! The time has really flown by. Apologies for the two travel posts in a row, but my friends and I are trying to see everything before we leave!
This past weekend, my two friends and I went to Mendoza, Argentina! It was such a nice break from the recently rainy Buenos Aires; we had warm sunny days the whole time we were there! I really loved walking around and exploring the city, as well as doing the little excursions we had planned.
The first place we went in Mendoza was the Reserva Natural Divisadero Largo which was a mini nature reserve with a bunch of cool hikes. It was only a 15min taxi ride outside of the city!
We chose to hike the longest trail which took us about an hour but gave us such amazing views. Many of the mountains surrounding us were a deep red color, it reminded me of Arizona in the US.
Another activity we did while we were there was biking around to each of the bodegas in an area called Maipu. The little bodegas were adorable and had huge vineyards. The views while we were biking were incredible, since we could see the Andes mountains along the horizon throughout the whole ride.
Our last activity while in Mendoza was horseback riding! We went to a little estancia at the foot of the Andes and rode horses and had dinner with the owners as well as a bunch of other travelers!
My horse was named Gringa, which I thought was fitting!! She loved running, which stressed me out a bit since I was holding my camera and trying to take pictures while riding.
Chau for now!
May 6, 2018
I think this last week has been one of the best of my study abroad experience. Last weekend, I took a trip to Santiago, Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, Chile. It was the first time I had really gone somewhere completely solo, but it wasn’t too bad because I was able to visit two of my friends from my hometown that are currently living in Chile. I had such an incredible trip!
The first place I went was Valparaiso, and this was the view of the sunset from my hostel! It was amazing, I physically couldn’t stop taking photos. I was lucky to be able to find a free walking tour while I was there, so I was really able to explore and get to know the city.
The next place I went was Viña del Mar, where one of my friends have been living since August. It was such a beautiful city, and I couldn’t believe how beautiful the beaches were there.
I was so lucky to have a friend that was able to show me around Viña. One of my favorite parts was when I went to watch the sunset on the beach. While the sun was going down, we came across a guy selling chocolate covered strawberries on a stick on the pier where we were sitting. They were so delicious!
Another great part of my trip was the few days I spent in Santiago. My friend and I went on a hike called Cerro Manquehue where, at the top, you can look out over all of Santiago. I had never seen anything like it!
It was such a great opportunity to be able to compare two Latin American countries that are so close to each other yet are still so different. Chileans use so much slang and speak so quickly, I could barely understand their Spanish! I really enjoyed discussing with my friends the differences in culture between Chile and Argentina. I feel like many times in the US we group all the nations in Latin America into one category, but they are truly so distinct. My trip to Chile really gave me some perspective and definitely broadened my worldview.
See you next week!
April 25, 2018
Hola from BA! Since we loved our tango lesson a few weeks back, this week my friend and I decided to take a salsa/bachata dance class. It was being offered for just $1 for international students! Honestly, neither of us are the most coordinated dancers, but we had so much fun trying out the dances and laughing with the other international students.
Every weekend there are little fairs (ferias) around the city selling gifts, souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, and practically anything else you can think of! My friends and I spent a lot of time walking around this one in Palermo, and I loved the little paper cranes that this person had hanging throughout her stand. The funniest thing I saw being sold were tshirts for small dogs! I was so tempted to buy one to bring home for my dog.
After walking around the feria for a while, we wandered around Palermo a bit, taking in all the beautiful sights. I feel like Palermo is known for its street art and giant walls covered in all sorts of painting and graffiti. Here was one wall that we thought was really cool.
Also this week, I came across a juice bar/açaí bowl place called Be Juice. The bowl I ordered was absolutely amazing and I pretty much inhaled it. I think I had really been craving a meal like this since I eat this type of food so often back home! Be Juice was the closest thing I could find to RVA’s Ginger Juice, one of my all time favorite restaurants.
Chau for now!
April 18, 2018
Wow. What an beautiful week it has been in Buenos Aires! The weather was absolutely perfect; around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny with a nice breeze every day.
This week, I went to a food truck festival in Palermo, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in BA. There were all different kinds of food, from argentine comida parrilla, to middle eastern cuisine, to trendy mediterranean and even Vegan trucks! I was so overwhelmed, I wanted to try everything.
The festival included live music, which was super cool. The lady singing had a great voice, and the band was doing covers of a lot of old American music (the Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc.). The crowd was loving it, clapping and singing along to the songs they knew. I always think it’s so funny to listen to Argentines sing the words to American music in their accents.
This weekend, I went roller blading in the rose gardens in BA. It was incredible, I’m definitely going to be coming back during my time here. People can rent roller blades or bikes for only around $150 argentine pesos an hour ($7.50 USD), which is plenty of time to blade around. My friends and I went right around sunset, so the gardens were absolutely beautiful.
Lastly, I wanted to show my typical BA breakfast. Most people here drink coffee, tea, or orange juice and have toast or a croissant with jelly, cream, or dulce de leche for breakfast. I’m not a huge toast person, but since it’s the custom here I’ve been adapting. Usually in the morning I make myself either toast with peanut butter and banana, or avocado toast!
Chau for now!
April 9, 2018
Hola from BA! I’ve had to get a lot of homework done this week since I accidentally didn’t get any work done during the long Easter break. It seems like the more time I have to complete assignments, the less productive I am!
So, I’ve taken this opportunity to explore the different cafes and coffee shops around the city and find the best places to do some school work as well as enjoy a coffee. I forgot the name of this one, but it is located in the San Telmo neighborhood, and I loved how it had two levels of seating!
The Lobo Cafe is definitely my favorite cafe to study/get a snack/grab a coffee in Puerto Madero. This is in the same neighborhood as my University, UCA, so I am somewhat of a frequent flyer.
This was a new place I tried today in Recoleta near my host mom’s apartment. It’s called La Casa de Gretha, and it has the best pastries I think I’ve ever had. Even better, when you order a coffee it comes out with free mini cookies! The tables are super cute, they have dried leaves and flowers in all of them.
Well this isn’t a cafe, but I wanted to feature my favorite ice cream spot, Rapanui, and its adorable back patio. Their dulce de leche helado is seriously addicting!
Chauuuu for now!
April 2, 2018
Felices Pascuas from BA! This weekend was extra long because we had Thursday, Friday, and Monday off of classes. I was so surprised because at UR we don’t have any sort of break for Easter. I was hoping to run errands this weekend, but I felt like I couldn’t get anything done since so many businesses were closed for the holiday!
It seemed like everywhere I went this weekend places were selling conejos de chocolate (chocolate bunnies) such and chocolate eggs such as these!
This year, I was my own Easter Bunny! Here were some chocolate treats I bought myself from my favorite chocolate/ice cream place Rapanui. The chocolate eggs were filled with m&m’s and smaller chocolate eggs which I thought was amazing.
Families filled the parks this holiday weekend. I saw so many parents relaxing on picnic blankets while kids ran around with a soccer ball or played with their dogs. Even though we’re a few weeks into fall, the warm weather makes it still feel like summer.
Earlier this week, my friend and I went to an exchange student celebration! It included a ton of different activities such as bubble soccer, slacklining, soccer tennis, live music, and a polo match to watch! We had a great time meeting a bunch of other exchange students from all over the world.
Ciao for now!