We kicked off the semester with an asado, the Argentine cookout often for special occasions. Our local friend kindly hosted us and braved the heat to grill the food. We enjoyed rounds of different meat, potatoes, and our miscellaneous potluck. I brought churros and was fascinated to watch how they are injected with dulce de leche. Other contributions made me feel right at home, namely Lay’s chips and Oreos.

The first week of classes was an experience. I navigated addresses to find the academic buildings around the city and then classroom numbers to arrive where I needed to be. I sat alongside Argentine students as well as other international students from France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, and the UK. The professors have distinct dialects, and teaching styles vary from PowerPoint to concept map to freestyle.

Lastly, we ended Friday at the Lollapalooza music festival. We got dressed up and traveled about an hour outside of the city to the province. Along with thousands of other people from all over the world we saw artists like Tove Lo, Rosalía, and Drake. The Argentine flags and collective singing of the World Cup anthem “Muchachos” made it so special.

A Week in Buenos Aires

It seems like all of the change is finally catching up to me as I have been feeling a little under the weather. Luckily it has been a relaxing academic week for me, just preparing for enrollment. Although, we have taken advantage of the free time.

On Sunday, I attended the same church for the fourth time now and was amazed yet again. Monday was an errand day, organizing notes and attending an interview for class. Tuesday we explored el Barrio Chino (ChinaTown), which is about five blocks long, and enjoyed some long-awaited Asian food. Wednesday we did some shopping and went to the movie theater for the first time, a great experience and a lot like the one at home.

Thursday and Friday I went on solo adventures, returning to La Boca and spending time in the beautiful Jardín Japonés (Japanese garden). Later we joined over one thousand international students for a welcome party. Lastly, on Saturday we wandered around the San Telmo fair where people sell their handcrafted work. It has been a much-needed week.


I have so much to catch you up on! The last few weeks have been bittersweet as we closed out the pre-semester intensive Spanish program. We visited el Cementerio de la Recoleta, a beautiful cemetery that houses the mausoleums of notable people. We also experienced the opposite, La Boca, a neighborhood known for its colorful houses in El Caminito that breathes fútbol and tango. Speaking of, we celebrated the completion of the program with a fun Argentine tango class.       

On the other hand, this past week was full of exams, presentations, and essays. We were encouraged to transition back into school mode and prepare for the first week of the semester. I am in the process of interviewing with academic advisors and selecting classes to test and hopefully enroll in. Luckily there is a lot of overlap with other students from this month’s cohort. We have all grown quite close, in fact, we recently had a lovely picnic in la Reserva Ecológica with our Argentine friends. 

The rest of the international students, over one hundred, just arrived and we feel like locals in comparison. I am still loving the city and learning new things every day. This week has been hot and humid, hovering in the 90’s. I tried choripán and guiso for the first time, a sandwich with chorizo and a type of stew. Moreover, I am very excited that my family and I’s cards finally arrived at their respective destinations after about three weeks.

Nature and Chocolate

The outings continue with el Zanjón de Granados restored architecture, Museo Evita and Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA). After a busy week we were rewarded with a long weekend for Carnaval. Thanks to Holy Cross we enjoyed a change of scenery in Bariloche, a beautiful town in the Patagonia region. We were responsible for packing our bags, boarding the airplane for the two hour flight, and the rest was taken care of by our sweet guide. 

On our first full day we toured Circuito Chico, including the city, forest, lake, and Andes Mountains. We took a chairlift to the top of the Cerro Campanario mountain to take in the breathtaking view. The next day we took a boat to Isla Victoria and Bosque de Arrayanes. The water was crystal clear and the seagulls hovered over the boat happily accepting crackers from anyone that offered. The cool southern air, ranging from fifty to sixty degrees, was perfectly refreshing. 

Bariloche is known for its chocolate, especially from the shops Rapanui and Mamushka, and I can attest that it is delicious. We returned to the city this morning, with chocolate for our new friends, and it feels good to be back. I have been resting, doing errands, and preparing for another academic week, this one only three days.

The City and the Countryside

Welcome to week two! My schedule is definitely picking up and I am enjoying every moment of it. The organized excursions have begun amidst the one-hundred-degree heat wave which has led to much bonding in our small cohort. The majority of us come from the states with a few from Canada and Ireland. In addition, I have spent time with some lovely Argentine students from the local university.

First, we toured la Casa Rosada, or the Pink House, where the president works. Then we went to el Teatro Colón, one of the theaters with the best acoustics in the world. The art and architecture of these buildings is incredible, the balconies, sculptures, paintings, windows, and lights. Most recently, we spent the day in el campo or the countryside at la Estancia Don Silvano. I rode a horse for the first time, ate asado, watched dance and gaucho shows, and of course swam in the pool.

On a more regular basis, we have been attending class and doing homework in cafes and plazas. I am easing into drinking coffee which helps with the late nights and continuing to enjoy empanadas, pasta, churros, and ice cream. My host mom has introduced me to homemade milanesa and tarta. I am taking advantage of walking around the city and starting to learn my way around. So far, I love it here.

Love at First Sight

My first five days in Argentina have flown by and I am settling in quite well. When I arrived my schedule was essentially a blank slate due to the red-eye flight and two hour time change. I quickly adapted to the five or six o’clock merienda and late nine o’clock dinner, consisting of many empanadas and alfajores. People go dancing around one in the morning until the latest six. Argentines kiss one another on the cheek in greeting and when sayingoodbye and cars have the right away which makes crossing the street difficult.

I am still adjusting to the military time and metric system, primarily celsius and kilometers, and pesos. The best exchange rate at the moment is 1 US dollar to about 365 pesos. The weather has been in the high eighties to nineties. It is absolutely beautiful here, Argentina flags, palm trees, buses, pigeons, and all.

We have stumbled across some of the monumental sights, although we are trying not to get ahead of ourselves as the university organizes these trips for us throughout the first month. As far as school, we are enrolled in an intensive month-long Spanish course until the regular semester begins in March. We have been busy with orientation, meetings, and rotating two hour grammar, conversation, literature, and art and culture classes. In addition, we are learning Argentine words and with all the practice I already feel more comfortable speaking the language.

Here’s to the Unimaginable

It is now the eve of our departure and as promised, here are some of the brighter details of packing. I am in the process of meticulously organizing my first very own luggage set including a checked bag, carry-on, and backpack. You would be amazed how much you can fit in a large suitcase, although it may measure more than half my size. I have recently discovered that the best way to go about packing is packing cubes. Inside are rolled clothes that cover three seasons, mostly electronic school supplies, and travel essentials like toiletries and outlet adapters.

I have been diving into alternative preparation amidst my newfound procrastination. I am brushing up on my Spanish after being somewhat out of practice for a month and a half. Furthermore, I have turned my Argentina research into an exciting vision board. I even got a head start and tried some delicious local empanadas. What I have gathered is that there is no amount of preparation that compares to experiencing something for yourself.

With that being said, there has been plenty of time to relax which has consisted of a lot of reading. Yesterday was the last Sunday at my home church and I am reminded that with these temporary goodbyes come so many new beginnings. Someone recently told me that this experience is going to change me in unimaginable ways, so here’s to the unimaginable. Things are about to get a whole lot more interesting. ¡Nos vemos en Argentina!

I am ready for you, Argentina

¡Hola! Or should I say, ¡Che! We are just about two weeks away from the beginning of this adventure, life in Buenos Aires. Everyone prepares for these big changes differently, while some throw up their hands and leave it to the universe, others make color-coordinated spreadsheets. While I typically would resort to the latter, I find myself somewhere in the middle. I think I am already starting to adopt the laid-back Argentine approach, and I honestly feel relieved.

I have been in contact with the university abroad, but I don’t have a course schedule yet as the enrollment process is a contrast to what we are used to. Students research the courses they are interested in, attend various lectures for a two-week trial period, and then meet with the professors to commit. Moreover, I have recently met my host mom virtually and she is amazing! I am curating a gift for her that reminds me of home, including a Holy Cross postcard featuring a painting of campus, a dish towel with the Boston skyline, and some Asian goodies.

At this point the bulk of the preparation is done so these last few weeks I am soaking in moments with family and friends. Of course, I also have to pack, more on that next week. With respect to what I am most looking forward to, I would say being immersed in the language. I love catching a glimpse of the Spanish-speaking world through media and I can’t wait until it is my reality. As I have never left the country before much less on my own, I am eager to experience everything, even the fourteen-hour flight.