Study Abroad Adventures

This past spring, I studied abroad in Argentina through SIT’s Argentina: Social Movements and Human Rights Programs. It’s difficult to condense an entire semester into a few paragraphs, but I’ll try. To begin with, I was so nervous before I left. I dreaded getting on the plane because I was unsure of my Spanish skills and my ability to fit in. However, by the end of the trip, I found myself wishing I could have spent more time there.

The program didn’t immediately throw us into Buenos Aires. Instead, we went to a ranch outside of the city for a few days to get to know the other people in the program and get our bearings. We started forming friendships, practiced our Spanish, and learned how to stay safe in the city. When we finally went to Buenos Aires and met our host families, I felt better about navigating a foreign city. It wasn’t all smooth sailing – I froze up when I met my host mom for the first time and I got lost on the way to the building where we took Spanish classes-but I eventually became very comfortable taking public transportation by myself and carrying on conversations with my host mom and her family in Spanish. The initial challenges helped me realize how resilient I can be. The program itself was incredible.

Throughout the program, we had the opportunity to learn more about Argentina’s history as well as current social movements attempting to address social issues like the treatment of indigenous people. We had guest lecturers almost every week, including Nobel Peace Prize Winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. In addition to seminars, we also took field trips to visit with these organizations. We took two extended trips-one to Patagonia where we visited with an indigenous community and organizations fighting for indigenous rights and another to the north of the country where we met with organizations fighting against police violence and against domestic violence. The scenery in both places was gorgeous and it was so helpful to understand different perspectives on social issues.

At the end of the program, we each conducted a month-long research project. I choose to research a community radio involved in the fight against police violence, and I’m now turning that research into a senior thesis project.

By the time closing week rolled around, I was reluctant to leave. I had made good friends and had such amazing experiences that it was hard to leave that all behind. I haven’t really left it all behind though, since I still communicate with my host mom and people in the program. I’ll carry the memories I made in Buenos Aires around with me forever. I would highly recommend studying abroad if you get the opportunity.