Our time at Buenos Aires has concluded last night when we boarded to head back to the United States. The past two weeks have been filled with such unique experiences that have made me grow so much as a student and a traveler. I also learned a lot about myself through this program, both my strengths and weaknesses. Though every day was not glorious, there are so many highlights throughout this trip that truly made it an extraordinary time.
One of the highlights for me was spending time with locals and meeting new people. They were all very kind and very passionate about everything they do. I really loved visiting the community centers, especially the one we got to volunteer at. That day made the trip more meaningful and powerful. The kids were all enthusiastic and energetic regardless of their poverty state. Even though there was a language barrier, communication was very easy through gestures and facial expressions. The smiles on their faces are unforgettable and were so rewarding. Through our interactions with locals and seeing numerous areas in different financial states, I have gained a new perspective of life and of society in general. In the community centers, everyone had a passion for what they were working towards regardless of the quality of the infrastructure or the lack of materials. They were all genuinely working there to help the people and better themselves whether it was physical, mental, social, or emotional health. Not just the health centers, but the lecturers all had passion for what they were talking about and their work. It was truly inspiring to meet all of these people and to remind myself to do what I love and have a passion for.
Culturally, I had to take time getting used to the food, the currency, and the daily routine. I was not used to having two-hour lunches or dinner at 8 or 9 pm. I really enjoyed La Boca and the ranch visit because we were able to see most of Argentina’s traditions all in one day. The best cultural experience was learning how to tango. It was a very fun and an active break from lectures and site visits. Altogether, I really loved the tourism visits as well as enjoying and fully experiencing the day-to-day life of an Argentinian.
Academically, I do not think I have learned so much in just two weeks. I really loved the blog prompts that enabled me to think about what I just learned that day. This was my second time studying abroad, but I really loved how this trip made me open my mind more and enabled me to be able to absorb so much. I was never the person to be comfortable asking questions or presenting in front of people. But with this trip, I was genuinely engaged and curious that I found myself asking questions in front of groups and growing out of the shell that I once had.
I mentioned I loved spending time and meeting locals, but truly, I enjoyed the people who were on this trip the most. Everyone was so kind, hardworking, fun, and extremely intelligent. I loved working with such a talented group of people. They have made me see and think about concepts from different perspectives that I have never had. These two weeks would have been completely different if it was not for this group. I am truly grateful.
Finally, I want to thank Brad and Grant for creating this amazing trip, and I want to give my gratitude to Mrs. Haller from the Henry E. Haller Jr. Chair Honors Scholarship for funding me to this trip. Without it, I would not have had this wonderful opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and see myself grow. Thank you so much for your donation.