The Argentina program focused on the early modern world, Buenos Aires. The study abroad trip emphasized the importance of Argentina during the Spanish empire and its impact on the world today. Some places visited included La Recoleta Cemetery, The MALBA Museum, and La Boca soccer field. Before going on this study abroad, the only thing I knew about Buenos Aires, Argentina was that it was the Paris of South America. I have been to many places in the world, including another South American country (Brazil). My main goal for this trip was to compare Buenos Aires, Argentina to the United States, and Brazil since that was an OSU study abroad program I was involved in too.
As soon as I arrived and off the plane I was looking around to make comparisons (as I would do for any new destination). I do this because I know my views are limited and when going to a new place I’m eager to expand my perception of the world. The first thing I realized was that the people really looked European without any mixture. Being from the United States, I think there is an image in my head as to what Latin America looks like and this was different. When I arrived in Brazil everybody seemed mixed and if their dominate phenotype was European you could still tell there was an ancestor who wasn’t European. In the United States there is also a lot of mixing and diversity.
I had a better understanding of what I was seeing in Argentina once we had our morning classes. I learned that there were a not a lot of slaves, and due to a lot of European immigrants the country adopted their ways culture. In Brazil there were a lot of slaves due to sugar cane. There was also a culture of mixing in Brazil unlike Argentina and United States. Another thing I learned from class was that the United States and Argentina had similar scenarios when it came to getting independence. In Argentina there were different provinces and viceroyalties that had their own identities like how the United States had different states with their own identity. For both countries, there was unification when it came to independence. Even after independence both countries had people who feared a centralized national government. As history goes on there is less similarity because in Argentina there was a lot more political violence and military coup d’états. Even during the trip in Buenos Aires there was a lot of protesting going on due to their elections. When seeing this I realized that many countries today still have problems creating a long-lasting system that works for the benefit of all.
One of the cultures I saw copied a lot in Argentina was Italian culture (especially when we went out to eat). One of the restaurants we went to had the menu in Italian. Even in the architecture you can see it came from a European background. In my opinion the United States and Brazil have more of an identity than Argentina because we from the United States do not look back to Europe but look forward in what we can do as Americans. I think Brazil is the same and there is a proud sense of being Brazilian and no need to look back to the Portuguese. In Argentina there is more pride in claiming your ethnicity than nationality. I would conclude that the main reason for this is because there still has not been a long period of political peace.
I feel that this experience was valuable to my life because I got the opportunity to learn more about a different culture that I was ignorant of before. I believe that traveling is one of the best forms of education and with many people being closed minded, I now want others to have the same opportunity. I also think this is valuable in my life because I’m fluent in Spanish, and with me being a finance major I now know I can take my skills outside the US.