Today we visited the University of Austral, which was about an hour drive from where we are staying in Recoleta, Buenos Aires. We had three hour-long lectures at the University about different aspects of the University and its hospital. Our first presenter talked about the differences between a private and public colleges in Argentina and how as a private university, they have to compete with the University of Buenos Aires. This is a major difference between the University of Pittsburgh, as it is a state-related university and is therefore a public-private hybrid system. As a private University of Austral has to raise funds through students’ stipends and donations as they hope to achieve their goals of expansion, whereas their public counterparts in Argentina are free. However, it is harder for them to get donations as donations are not tax-deductible. As of right now they have a teaching hospital focused on medicine, a business school, an engineering school and a separate Undergrad building. They are working on constructing university housing for its students and expanding the campus. The university also has less students than the University of Pittsburgh, but this is understandable as Austral is a private institution. Pitt has 18,000 students whereas Austral had about 6,000; their alumni breakdown was also very different as the majority of students graduating had just completed their post-graduate degree.
During our lunch break we had the opportunity to walk around their campus and experience their warm fall weather. It was interesting to see their campus as it was a very different vibe from Pitt’s urban campus; they had a lot of greenspace and their trees were just changing colors. Since it was warm out it was nice to see people sitting outside and just hanging out. After a long winter at Pitt, it was definitely refreshing to see people hanging out in the warm weather. Their architecture was also different from Pitt as I felt that it was slightly more modern compared to Pitt’s older buildings seemingly have a more European influence. After visiting the university, we finally had the chance to see the city on the bus tour after and I am looking forward to actually getting a chance to walk around and explore this week.