For the high schoolers that have committed to Pitt, I would highly recommend partaking in Plus3 Argentina next summer. This trip has given me such such a vast variety of experiences so far. From the site visits throughout the week to learn about the healthcare industry within Argentina to the cultural activities inside and outside of the city, I feel like I have gotten to learn so much about Argentina and its culture. I definitely would not be able to get this full experience without this program, and today was a prime example of that.

Today was another day for our group to experience part of the Argentinian culture firsthand. As opposed to yesterday’s trip to a local town in Buenos Aires, today we ventured out into the rural region of Argentina, about an hour away from where we are staying.

We visited a place called Estancia Don Silvano, which is a ranch that gives you an experience of the Gauchos, who are the “cowboys” of Argentina.  The Gauchos come from the mix between Native Americans within Argentina and the Spanish conquerors that immigrated here, and you can see both of their cultures comprised within the outfits the Gauchos wear.

To start off our day at the ranch, we were greeted with a breakfast of empanadas, and I think they might have been the best ones that I have had the entire trip up to this point. Following that, we got to explore the ranch for awhile before our lunch was served. In that time, we were introduced to all the buildings around the ranch, including horse stables that they turned into lodging for guests who wanted to stay the night there.  There were also many different animals on the ranch, some of which I was very surprised to see in this environment, such as peacocks, a flamingo and a parrot. And I also realized that there are so many different species of chickens that I did not know about. To conclude our exploring, we rode on a horse-drawn carriage around the ranch in order to get a view of all of the land surrounding it.

After this, everyone came to the huge dining hall in the middle of the ranch for lunch. The lunch started out with appetizers, followed by asado, which is Argentinian barbecue.  The meat was all cooked in a big pit that they had behind the dining hall. While we were eating, there were people performing on stage. A couple danced many of the traditional dances of Argentina, and a man sang popular songs from all the countries that were represented by the people in the dining hall. It was impressive to me, because I can’t even sing well in English, let alone a foreign language. Following the performances, the dancers came back out and taught people in the crowd some of the traditional dances, including the basic steps to Tango, which was one of my favorite parts of the day for sure.

Lastly, we watched a Gaucho performance by three of the Gauchos on the ranch. They did many things on the horses including racing and doing difficult tricks. In addition, they showed us some of the traditional hunting techniques that were used back in the beginning of the Gaucho era. At the very end of the day, we were given food once again, and I was able to try mate for the first time, which is a traditional herbal drink of Argentina.

Also, since it happens to be Mother’s Day today and I am not home to share it with my own mother, I wanted to take a moment to thank her for everything she has done for me and wish her a happy Mother’s Day. Thinking of you here in Argentina, I love you!

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