My study abroad experience took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The focus of the trip was on the history of Buenos Aires as a port city and the influence the capital of Argentina has today. By visiting different parts of the city, museums and landmarks, I learned the importance of Buenos Aires in a historical, cultural and economic way.
By completing this study abroad STEP project, I learned a lot about myself. I didn’t experience a lot of cultural shock when I arrived, but I think that has to do with my open mind. The entire experience further emphasized my belief on how important it is to have an open mind. Just because something is “different” doesn’t mean that it is better or worse. This was an important concept to remember when adjusting to the culture. Being open minded allows me to further learn about myself. Due to this trip, I was able to find an inner passion for traveling. Emerging in Buenos Aires inspired me to plan more trips and see as much of the world as possible. It taught me the importance of taking advantage of the presented opportunity and truly embrace every moment.
Additionally, the world seems like a smaller place due to this experience. I used to say I wanted to travel the world, but that sounded so impossible until I took a step forward in achieving it. Being on the Southern hemisphere for the first time really made me realize that anything is possible and to believe in myself and my dreams. Buenos Aires is also a city full of passions, and the city taught me to further develop my passions.
One event that made me realize the importance of taking advantages of presented opportunities is attending a Fútbol game in Buenos Aires. While talking to Guido, a worker at the front desk at the hotel, about soccer he mentioned an upcoming game with only two tickets left. My friend and I decided to get the tickets without knowing anything about the game or transportation. Buying those tickets ended up being extremely rewarding because I got to experience a REAL Fútbol game in a country where Fútbol is everything. The game made me realize that how one small decision, to say ‘yes’ to a new experience, allowed me to have an incredible memory.
Buenos Aires is passionate about Fútbol. Many porteños (Buenos Aires natives) told us that in Argentina Fútbol and politics are the most talked about subjects, and that some family members even stop talking to each other due to opposing Fútbol views. After the Fútbol game I attended, a group of us went to dinner while still wearing our River Plate jerseys. Little did we know, River Plate’s biggest rival team, Boca, was playing a game at the time. The rivalry between River Plate and Boca is extremely intense and gets violent sometimes. The Boca game was on the TV as we walked into the restaurant for dinner, and the restaurant was full of Boca fans. As my friend and I walked in the restaurant wearing the rival’s jerseys, there was a lot of angry stares. The waiters sat us away from everyone in the restaurant and cursed at us under their breath. Something as simple as wearing a rival’s jersey provoked a lot of passion and emotion. What I took from this is that if you ever have a passion, you have to be fully committed to it and always give it your all.
The reason I see the world as a smaller place now is not only because I simply went to the other hemisphere. My senior year of high school I went to Las Vegas for a business convention and made a friend named Shen. Shen lived in Hawaii and after Las Vegas, we never anticipated on seeing each other. Flash forward to the summer after my second year in college, I am studying abroad in Buenos Aires, and so is Shen! Our plans of meeting up failed, but one day while walking near the Congress building, I saw Shen walking on the street. Buenos Aires is a very large city and the odds of me running into the one person I know in the city was bizarre and showed me just how small the universe is and how anything truly is possible.
The STEP Program allowed me to take a step forward in my journey of exploring the world. Going to this trip really sparked an interest within me and made me realize that our time is limited on this Earth and that we should do everything to make every moment count. As for my future plans, I’m looking into other study abroad opportunity in order to see more the world. Academically, studying in a Spanish speaking country made me appreciate the language and has shown me the importance of getting a minor in Spanish.