After a month in Patagonia, our UM group headed back to the big city: Buenos Aires. As someone who has never lived in a city of more than a few hundred thousand people, moving to Buenos Aires for two months was a daunting change, especially considering we would be living with a family who spoke little to no English. Luckily, my roommate and I were placed in a house with a kind and inviting house mom, Cecilia, and her two daughters, Clari (19) and Maria (17). While the older sister insisted we go out with her almost every evening with her to see everything that Buenos Aires nightlife has to offer, Maria was more of a homebody who taught us to cook her favorite Argentine dishes and helped us with our homework for the University of Belgrano. They created a perfect mix of activities and down time, and both were incredibly concerned with helping us have the best time in their city.
At the University of Belgrano, we took culture, art, and literature classes from professors who spoke almost no English. While at first this seemed like a negative aspect, it turned out to be one of the best experiences we could have had! I think everyone in the group impressed themselves by learning to take notes and follow along in hour and half classes which were entirely in Spanish! While living among millions of people first seemed daunting, my confidence was boosted through the roof, and I feel more strongly than ever that I could travel to just about any country and learn my way around, with or without language barriers.
Living in the city does have its downsides. After eight weeks constantly surrounded by people rushing to their next location, I realized that I probably am not built to live in such a populated area, but I feel so lucky to have had the chance to experience life in Buenos Aires. We saw some of our favorite bands, watched impressive tango dancers, ate the best food I’ve ever had, and visited museums with art by Frida Kahlo and Antonio Berni. I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything, but I learned a lot about myself and my likes and dislikes and preferences for a good quality of life. I missed the mountains, the small-town feel, and bike-friendly city. With that knowledge about what works for me and work doesn’t, I think I will be able to choose my next move/job more wisely because I’ve had these experiences.