I have delayed writing closure for my entire trip abroad for quite some time now. I don’t think I can summarize my four-month trip into one post, but overall, I could not have asked for a better experience. From the cafes to kioscos, high tea in Recoleta to getting ripped off by taxis, Teatro Colon to toe infections, the stark contrasts of the city of Buenos Aires have opened my eyes in more ways than I could have imagined.
*Suggestion: Insert a more leading sentence. As it stands, it sounds a little like you are thankful that the country mistrusts and despises their govt. Try something a little more descript like: [I am thankful for my semester abroad because it gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in an entirely different culture. I witnessed a country that genuinely despises and mistrusts their government, where women walk around in fur coats in 50 degree weather, where at any hour of the night the city is alive and the party goes on, where I could pick up an international package and witness a riot all in the same block, and where five star hotels mask the slated tin shacks of the slums of the city.
The juxtaposition of life in the metropolitan city life and the Latin American villas is what made living in Buenos Aires so fascinating. I don’t think I will ever find a place like it again. There is a pace, culture, and vibrancy to the city that I came to truly appreciate. It is weird to think that I found comfort in such a huge city, but also assuring to know that I do not have a fear of being out on my own in the real world post-college/graduation.
Being in the comfort of my home has been nice, albeit bizarre (wc suggestion- you used “weird” earlier). When friends asked me how the entire experience was, I often found myself simply listing all my complaints: my host family, the food, and the dangers of living in a big city. I reread some of my personal blog posts and realized that I shouldn’t be negative over something that was such a fantastic and wonderful experience. I didn’t let myself think about it all, simply because in a strange way I still felt like I would have to be going back. Like this was some weird vacation where I’ll have to be flying back into Ezeiza (Argentina’s international airport) in a couple weeks.
Now that summer has passed by and I have allowed myself time to look back and reminisce about everything that has transpired, I am more comfortable with knowing that my time abroad is over. I made some wonderful friends and discovered an independence for myself that I don’t think I could have found anywhere else. It’s no secret that I have anxiety over logistics and traveling, and this trip has instilled a confidence in me for planning and venturing places by myself. I went from looking forward to boliches every weekend to spending my final days on architecture walks and park hunts, from pride in walking home alone to pride in planning an entire spring break, from anxiety over the subway to street smarts in the big city.
I am grateful for everything that I have learned from this experience- from the people, the culture, the language, and Buenos Aires/Argentina itself. Some quick lows would be my host family’s abundance of yelling and drama along with the initial culture shock, but my highs (and there are many more) consisted of hiking through patagonia, trekking on a glacier, tasting the Iguazu waterfalls, biting into Argentine steak, and living confidently on my own in a foreign city.
Gracias y chau, Buenos Aires. You’ve done me well.