Blogging in B.A. – My IntroductionBuenos Aires, Fall 2010

Last Spring, when I applied for this particular IES program in Buenos Aires, there were a number of factors that led to my decision. First and foremost, I wanted to learn Spanish. Four years of Spanish courses in high school and two semesters in college left me with about as much proficiency as a Latin American 3-year-old. It was important to me that I studied abroad somewhere that I would be fully immersed in the language, and forced to practice it on a daily basis, as opposed to doing enough to pass a course. Second, I wanted to travel to South America. Most of my friends at my university go to Europe if they choose to study abroad, and I wanted to have a different experience. There were also the pressures of my life as a student in D.C. that I needed a break from: working two jobs, classes, and my obligations to different organizations on campus.

But after living here for almost a month, I realize that there was one obscure yet pervasive force that motivated my decision: ignorance. I’ll admit it, my perception of this city (and country for that matter) beforehand was completely off-target from what I see and experience from day to day here. I ultimately chose this location because I expected something totally different…initially. And I know that I am not alone. When the average American thinks about South America, they undoubtedly have a blanket perception of the continent – demographics, weather, food, and culture in general. While I did conduct research on my own beforehand, part of me still allowed these overriding generalizations to cloud my perspective to the point that I really didn’t believe what I was reading in my own research! I remember telling myself, ‘I bet it’s not really like that,’ or ‘it’s South America, there has to be _____ or ______’.  Call it the journalistic impulse in me, but I was bound and determined to find out for myself. And thanks to this blogging opportunity granted to me by IES, you will be finding out along with me!

In addition to documenting my experiences within the IES program specifically, I will also try to shed some light on misconceptions and rumors about this city that I can address firsthand; in particular, culture and environment. I hope you’ll enjoy!

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