After an amazing two weeks in a gorgeous country, we are all back home. I am so grateful for such an incredible experience where I learned so much, experienced so much and met so many different people. It’s hard for me to pinpoint one thing as my favorite part as there were so many places I absolutely loved visiting. Waking up in Recoleta and making my daily coffee run in such a cool city is something I will surely miss when driving to Dunkin or Starbucks for the rest of the summer. Even outside of the city, I loved visiting places like Tigre where we got to see how a place so different from what we are used to functions. Everyone was so incredibly friendly where we were, and I was able to get by with the very minimal Spanish that I knew. I think that talking to people whether it be on site visits, cultural visits or during our free time was one of the major highlights for me during this experience. Being able to have a side conversation with one of the nurses giving me specifics about what a baby was going through or asking a kid at the community center how their schools work and about their favorite subjects and various other conversations such as these helped me learned a lot about Argentinian society. I learned that being open to conversation and being spontaneous can be extremely rewarding, especially in a place like this where so many people come together with such unique experiences. When I look back on the trip some of the people I met and some of the conversations stand out to me the most. A random Australian man once overheard my friends and I speaking in English at a restaurant and with kind intentions, interrupted our conversation to tell us how he came here to become a Tango dancer and gave us recommendations for places to go. During our mixer at Austral, one of the girls in my group told me a great deal about her life, the places where she has visited and even offered to bring me with her to a support group she runs for people in the impoverished parts of Buenos Aires. It is incredible to be able to connect with people so different from you and share stories and experiences; this was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip. Conversations such as this one helped me with learning and understanding the healthcare system, and also many other aspects of society and life in Argentina. It is extremely inspiring and heartwarming to see how people come together, share their passions, and give back to their community. One thing that stood out to me most about various cultural aspects of Argentina were its similarities to India. As someone who has visited and spent a lot of time in India, I was quickly able to see that the healthcare system is almost identical to Argentina along with meal times and siestas. While thinking about how different Argentina’s system is in comparison to the United States, it was even more surprising to see how similar it was to India. While “putting things in perspective” may sound rather cliché, recognizing these similarities made me consider how different people are globally and made me excited to hopefully continue to travel throughout my life.
Ultimately, this was such a memorable experience. Meeting the children, people and learning about their culture and heritage was incredibly rewarding and something I will cherish. I loved being able to walk through and experience Buenos Aires and its diverse neighborhoods, especially Palermo and La Boca. I had such a great time with our group as well and am so grateful to have experienced Argentina with them. Thank you so much Brad and Grant, and Austral and CAPA for putting such an amazing trip together!