Monday, April 21, 2014

Ashleigh Huffman’s Study Abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina in May of 2013

 Although many know me as an English major, I am also an International Studies major. As would be expected, part of the requirements are to study abroad. In my junior year I felt the pressure to make a decision as to when and where I would be going.  I was in a pre-advising appointment when my advisor, Ms. Mathews, told me about the trip that would change my life. She and Dr. Kamenish had just put in a proposal for the second year of the Buenos Aires: Capital of Culture program. She showed me the brochure and slideshow from the year before and I was hooked.
 This trip proved to be more wonderful than what she described in her spiel that day. This trip counted as a spring course and nearly fulfilled all of my requirements for International Studies with just a two week trip. This cut costs for me considerably and made it possible for me to have a great experience abroad without making my parents hate me too much. Buenos Aires lived up to its nickname, “Paris of the Western Hemisphere.” The city is brimming with rich culture and beautiful people. We toured the city over two weeks, visiting several museums, eating in countless beautiful cafes, and seeing the most amazing cemetery in the entire world, the Recoleta cemetery. As morbid as that sounds, it turned out to be my favorite part of the trip! It hosts over 6,000 tombs, all of which are nothing like the simple headstones or mausoleums I have seen in the United States. Our tour allowed us to get a glimpse into the lives of some of the individuals and learn about the history of the nation in the process. The pictures really don’t do it justice!


There were only four of us on this trip so we were able to do a great deal of things as a group. Tango lessons were a blast! The instructors made what could be an awkward experience so much fun. We were able to visit any English major’s dream, El Ateneo. This is an old theatre that has been converted to a bookstore. We used this as a meeting place to discuss our project on Ernesto Sabato’s novel The Tunnel, which we adapted into a graphic novel together. That experience really allowed us to delve into the book and pick it apart, one of the things English majors love the most! We also spent some time reading literary works of Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar as well as the art of Xul Solar.

Overall, this experience abroad changed my entire outlook on not only Argentine culture but my own cultural experience as an American. Seeing the differences between the two allowed for me to grow as a person and better understand life outside the bubble I came from in small town North Carolina. It also forced me to use my shaky Spanish skills, which I am forever grateful for. This particular program is going on again this spring and I know that those students will have the time of their lives! I could go on for days about this experience and if anyone wants to hear more about it, feel free to contact me. Anyone interested in being a part of the program in the future can also contact Dr. Kamenish or Ms. Mathews. I know they would be excited to speak with you!


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