Day 2 at Austral

To start off the day we visited the University of Austral Pilar Campus, which is about an hour outside of Buenos Aires. This campus was a lot smaller than what I had originally expected it to be. It consisted of about 5-10 buildings, a large open green-space, a gym, and most surprisingly chapels. These small chapels located around campus are something that varies greatly from what is seen at the University of Pittsburgh. Although the University of Astral is not specifically a Christian University, the school is sponsored by Christian churches which allow for the influence on campus. As we entered the Teaching Hospital, I noticed a Starbucks which was something that clearly resembled our American influence on the culture in Argentina. Also, the classroom we used was very similar to the style of classroom at the University of Pittsburgh. Not only this but the lecture style was also very similar to lectures I experienced this past year at the university. To me the largest difference was the general size of the student body and their presence on campus. The University of Austral Pilar has a student body of approximately 6,000 undergraduate students whereas Pitt has triple the amount at 18,000. This was obvious on campus as we walked around seeing as there was not a strong presence of students. After the lectures I was excited to get to explore the campus. The first thing I noticed was the lack of parking for the students. Although, we do not have extensive parking on Pitt’s campus, we also have residence halls which differs from Austral. In result I had imagined that most students would drive which was the case, but they were forced to park on the sides of the roads.

After thinking about these differences, I think they stem from the problem of public and private university competition in Argentina. In Argentina the public universities are free to all students and there are no test requirements. This makes it extremely hard for a private university such as the University of Austral to entice students to utilize their school over a public university. Overall, today was an informative day and confirmed a lot of the information that we had learned previously in our pre-departure classes.

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