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Talking Up Argentina

by Jen Wagman Monday, March 5, 2018

With the first full week of March, I have started my language class again, which brings me to a common fear many people have about studying abroad in Argentina: Spanish. The language requirement was one of the reasons I was attracted to my new home, but I also know it is a deterrent for most.

Stall with colorful bottles
This is a stall at the San Telmo Fair held every Sunday in the city, which doubles as a great place to practice Spanish and dive into the Argentine culture.

The truth is studying abroad in Argentina is not for everyone. However, you can say the same thing about studying abroad in general or even college for that matter, it’s not for everyone!

One thing I can guarantee though, it will be the best decision you have ever made. Everyone's story in this city takes a different path, but none of them are a negative experience. In fact, two of my dear friends are Business Badgers who called Buenos Aires home before I did.

The language barrier can be very real, but it can also bring you to discover so much more than you would find in any other destination.

Not everyone instantly becomes fluent studying abroad, nor should that be the goal. Instead, the lessons you learn by putting yourself out there and throwing yourself into a different culture make it truly worthwhile.

 A crowd in front of a museum with faces on the glass front
This an event I went to last semester held at a museum that recognized the survivors who “disappeared” during the Argentine dictatorship of ‘76. Here, the survivors walked us through a museum honoring the time period and the former building where they were tortured.

When I first arrived, I had a kink in my neck and ended up being pulled out of class and walked to the doctor. Healthcare is scary in English, change the language to something else and throw in a weird situation and things seem a whole lot worse. Luckily,  after a quick consultation with a doctor and some medication, I was told that I would be good as new in a few days time…or at least that’s my understanding of the situation. Regardless, I survived. I am happy and healthy (and have been for the last seven months).

The lesson I learned from this experience is how to share. I learned early on here to speak up when I was uncomfortable, and generally, to speak when I can, no matter how broken it came out because at the end of the day study abroad is only as incredible as you make it.

We all have bad days and good days, but everyday is a new lesson learned. My Spanish has improved tenfold --it even impresses seven-year-olds these days, but I am more thankful for the memories I am making, the culture I am discovering and the people I am meeting that will forever change me.

Jen sitting on the bank of a lake wrapped in a blanket as the sun rises
This was taken in Villa La Angostura, Patagonia, Argentina at sunrise where I learned once again how incredible this world is and how thankful I am for this experience.