Valarie Gold is a student at the University of North Texas and an ISA Video Correspondent. Valarie just returned home from studying abroad with ISA in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here is Valarie’s 2nd video installment, titled First Impressions:
Posts from the ‘Buenos Aires’ Category
The crooked streets, tricky street signs, and sometimes complex forms of public transportation make it easy to get lost in Buenos Aires, especially for a clueless 20-year old from the Midwest. However, while getting lost is simple, deciding to stay lost is often more difficult.
After six years of Spanish classes and months of preparation, the real countdown has finally begun. Two short weeks from now I will board the plane and begin the phase of my college career that they say will change my life forever. In a matter of days, I will be propelled from my comfortable and somewhat predictable existence, to a life in which I’m in a foreign land, alone, scared and stricken with language barriers. Yet, the excitement still outweighs the nerves and the fears. Read more
As my study abroad experience in Buenos Aires comes to a close, I look back on the past five and a half months and can pick out ten great things that changed my perspective of Buenos Aires and my experience living and learning abroad as a whole.
- Language Exchanges (Intercambios): To get more practice with my spoken Spanish I attended a couple different intercambios. I went to these with the hope of speaking with locals or whoever else decided to show up, but every time I left with a new contact or friend in the city. Being the huge city that it is, it is difficult to meet people. Through Mundo Lingo and the intercambios arranged through ISA, I met friends that I will keep in touch with after I leave.
- Tour of the ‘Casa Rosada’: Its free and was very interesting to see the building I see on the news everyday.
Merendar. Over the past four months not only has this word woven itself into my vocabulary, but also changed my lifestyle and allowed me to get to know one of my best friends. Merendar is a verb similar to comer (to eat), almorzar (to eat lunch) or desayudar (to eat breakfast), as it describes a meal or time for eating. To understand the beauty of the Argentine meriendas I first must explain the structure of meals here. Read more
I’m heading into the last leg of my trip down here in the Paris of South America and, believe it or not, I have run into spurts of homesickness now and again. Although I keep plenty busy in my temporary home of Argentina, I still find it hard not to miss the comfort of the U.S. Luckily, I have found a few great ways to go about turning my longing for Columbus, OH around after being here for three months. The answer to that is very simple. Read more
Falling in love can be exhausting, but the past 60 hours have been absolutely amazing. I first became enamored with Patagonia when visiting the beautiful views, breathtaking mountains and stunning lakes of Bariloche and San Martín de los Andes in the Andes mountain range back in July. Now the pairs of penguins, the baby whales and the ocean airs have truly taken over my heart. Patagonia is vast and unique.
Patagonia consists of the southern most part of the Americas, located in Chile and Argentina, approximately 25% and 75% respectively. It extends from the Pacific coast across the cordillera (mountain range) to the Atlantic coast and all the way down to Tierra de Fuego. With lakes, rivers, arid plains and beaches Patagonia is rich in varied landscapes.
Day One: Penguins and Tea
Punto Tombo, where the penguins come to nest every year, was not what I expected. Upon disembarking from the shuttle, which ferried us from the informative visitor’s center to little peninsula, we were greeted with sunshine and sea air. It was not March of the Penguins — no snow and no huge mass of penguins. Instead the black and white heads of these funny little birds poked out from beneath the desert shrubs, blinking in the light. The penguins lay in the sun as if tanning on the beach. Penguins mate for life; therefore we mostly saw pairs cuddled up in dugout nests or grooming each other.
As we moved towards the water on the designated paths the penguins became more and more frequent. On the beach they lept into the waves, tumbling about in the surf until they let the waves carry them back to the beach. Oh the life of a penguin!
To contrast with our morning of natural beauty we headed to the nearby town of Gaiman for tea, tortas and education on the influence of whales. At Casa Gales de Té we took a typical afternoon tea of sandwiches, at least 10 different cakes, delicious marmalades, sweet bread, tea and good conversation. I tried everything (I had to in order to truly soak myself in the culture, right?!). The traditional ‘torta gales,’ a gingerbread/molasses-like cake with raisins, was quite tasty, but my favorite was a mocha cake made of layered chocolate and mocha cream.
Day 2: Bones and Whales
We visited the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio en Trelew the next morning to marvel at the dinosaurs that roamed Patagonia in prehistoric times. Many dinosaur bones have been found across Patagonia, some species unique to the area. We touched an enormous femur, stretched our necks to see the heads of some skeletons, wondered at the car-sized space between the legs of others and discussed the origin of the universe. There is nothing like ancient bones to get you thinking about eternity, life and purpose.
We next headed to Punto Pirámides the only populated pueblo (town) on the Península Valdés. Once out into the gulf we began to see the whales. At first the only sign of their existence were the puffs of spray as they came up to breathe. You have to be patient; whales are not showy. However, the wait ‘vale la pena’ (is worth it!). Suddenly three whales surfaced right next to the bow, their huge heads covered with barnacles just poking above the water. Although only a small part of their body showed above the surface, it was enormous!
After this group of gorgeous creatures, we also saw a mother with her pure white baby. Although born as an albino, this baby, which is 9 meters long at birth, will slowly change to the dark blue-gray of the other whales. Only a small percentage are born white; therefore we were very lucky to see this little (or huge) guy gliding along with its mother.
Although a totally different experience from my first in Patagonia, this rapid tour of Chubut, Argentina had me hooked once more. I could see myself living in Patagonia and, if not, I will certainly visit again.
I’ve been in Buenos Aires for over 2 months now, but I’m still unsure how to explain this massive city. Much like the distinct ‘provincias’ of Argentina, Buenos Aires has unique ‘barrios’ or neighborhoods. To understand this huge labyrinth of streets, plazas and parks one must explore all of the different areas. However, with a city this big it would take pages to describe everything! Below I have outlined some of the highlights that I’ve seen so far! Read more
Yesterday I celebrated the 3-month anniversary of my arrival in Argentina. 3 months?! It seems like just yesterday that I muddled my way through introductions to my host family and ate empanadas for the first time, yet at the same time the way I’ve grown accustomed to the life here attests that much time has passed. All the things that seemed so foreign and gawking-worth have now become part of my everyday life. Looking back on those first weeks, I’ve compiled a few commonplace rarities of Buenos Aires.