Where did you go? When?
Buenos Aires, Argentina during Summer 2012
Why did you pick the program and location?
I chose IFSA-Butler's program to Argentina because of the full immersion it would provide to the Spanish language and Argentinean culture. I have always been intrigued by Latin and South American culture which is why I chose this location versus Spain. This program was six weeks and very affordable in cost, while providing many additional free excursions. In addition, the courses that were offered were able to transfer to classes that I needed at UND for my Spanish degree.
Would you recommend this location to another student and why?
I would recommend this program to any Spanish student! The program was incredibly organized and provided an awesome learning experience. The IFSA directors were always very assessable to help with any issues that arose. In addition, Argentina provided a different perspective to the Spanish speaking culture than you normally learn about in school.
What was your most memorable experience/day/moment?
At the end of our program we had a week to travel the country. I had the opportunity to take a bus trip with a group of friends up to the Argentina-Brazil border to experience the Iguazu waterfalls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. We spent two amazing days in the National Park walking the trails and viewing miles of waterfalls crashing into a large canyon!! It was incredible to have the opportunity to travel and see another part of the country after five rigorous coursework.
What was the worst experience/day?
The worst experience was getting lost trying to meet a group of friends from the program. I decided that I should give myself 45 to 60 minutes to get to the meeting place because using public transportation always caused me stress. Even after my host mom explained to me the location of the bus stop, I walked in circles trying to find the small numbers on the light posts that showed the designated bus stops. I found where I needed to wait and I could see the bus coming. As I signaled the bus to stop it zoomed past me....completely full. This was quite upsetting as I now only had 30 minutes to meet my friends. Eventually, I got on the bus incredibly stressed out and this only increased as it weaved right and left while I tried to follow the poorly labeled streets. Finally, I knew I had to get off because I missed my stop but wasn't that far away. Thankfully, I purchased a pay as you go phone and after wandering up and down the block I was able to call my friend sobbing and with both of us looking at a map we were able to finally meet.
What are the benefits of studying abroad?
The benefits of studying abroad were innumerable! I grew in ways that I was never expecting. My Spanish language skills improved incredibly! I lived with a host family and neither of my host parents knew English. This was good because I was forced to use my Spanish all the time. Being placed in these types of situations, I had to learn new words and specific regional vocabulary. Even if my Spanish language skills hadn't improved, I would still be grateful that I studied abroad in Argentina because I came back to the United States with an expanded world view. I learned and came to understand some of the diversity of about different groups of people. My experiences studying abroad make me think differently about working with people and learn how to better approach situations with a positive attitude.
What advice would you give to somebody considering studying abroad?
The experience you will walk away from studying abroad is greater than the financial resources it requires!! There is an incredible variety of programs that can fit within anyone's needs. In addition, there are plenty of scholarships you can apply for to help with the costs of study abroad.