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Bienvenidos a Buenos Aires

by Olivia Lopez

Looking back, I cannot believe I have already been here for a month. Honestly time is flying by. There is so much change and as a person who doesn’t deal well with change, it was really hard to adjust to at first. However, now I look at myself and am surprised at how far I’ve come.

Upon arriving, there was just so much to take it. The city is huge and beautiful. Coming from a smaller city in Rochester, New York, it’s all new to me. We arrived at my host family’s house which is so beautiful and so unique, it wasn’t anything I was expecting. They are housing other students here as well and now there are up to seven exchange students living in this house. We each have our own bedroom and it’s separated from our parents and their house. Outside our bedrooms, there is a staircase that leads up to the second floor (for meal times) and then the roof! The roof is great for sitting out in the sun and doing homework or sharing some maté (a beverage and cultural custom of Argentina). I immediately fell in love with this house and the originality. After a few days of exploring the city, I realized how lost I was in it all. Not being confident in the language of a country is very intimidating. It makes simple tasks of even buying a quick bite to eat seem stressful. However, now I am four weeks in these “challenges” have turned back into simple tasks.

With the Spanish intensive course, I have learned to force myself out of my comfort zone and take chances. It’s amazing what you can do when you try. Day by day, not only my Spanish, but my confidence has improved as I am figuring out this city and the ins and outs of it all. The language barrier is definitely the biggest challenge for me. There are so many times where I feel discouraged and frustrated. When this happens, it’s easy for me to get down on myself and let it affect my whole day. But I’ve learned a few tricks since I’ve been here. I’ve trained myself to start looking at things in a more positive way. Instead of seeing the language as a barrier, I look at it as a challenge. I see how many challenges I can overcome in one day. Instead of avoiding something because I don’t know how to ask for help, I make myself address it anyways and look for ways around the words I don’t know. When it’s over I feel so much better about my Spanish skills and myself. My confidence is building daily and it makes it easier to go out and be courageous in this intimidating and yet extremely welcoming city.

Although it is pretty evident to the locals that I am a tourist, they still welcome me into this city with warm regards. That’s what I love most about this country: Everywhere I go, Porteños are eager to help me practice my Spanish and eager to find out why I’m here, where I live, and what I like about the city. They always ask if I have any questions and love to explain their culture and customs to me. I learn so much and I just love how excited people are about their own country. Coming from the United States where everybody has something to complain about, it’s very refreshing and encouraging to come to a place where people are so in love with their country- they will convince anyone to stay. I know I’m only four weeks in, but these Porteños have already convinced me; I never want leave!

Below are pictures of my home stay and the neighborhood!

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