At this point of the program, we all have about a month left. It has flown by quicker than we could have imagined. We remember when we first got here and felt so overwhelmed with all of the new surroundings. There was so much to take in at once and it felt like time was going to drag on. We can now say that time is flying by. We have come into contact with so many new things: different foods, beautiful landscapes, ways of living, weird experiences, and wonderful new friends. It is an experience to last a lifetime and we are so grateful that we made the decision to come. It will have a great impact on us as people.
If you ever decide to study abroad, one thing we encourage you to do is to fill your time with new activities and travel to surrounding areas as much as possible. We have been spending a lot of time in the classroom, and while we do learn a lot during class, the experiences we’ve had with people outside of the classroom have proven to be the most important. When we travel, we get to know different areas of the country while having great interactions with the locals of the area. We learn about their everyday lives, typical things of the area, and we are forced to utilize our language skills, all while seeing the beautiful landscapes of the country.
While in Argentina, we have all had the opportunity to travel. Some places we have been to are El Chalten (hiking capital of the world), El Calafate, Mendoza, Cariló, and Iguazú Falls. Many of us are still planning on visiting Salta, another city in Argentina. Although it may seem like traveling so much requires a lot of money, it is very easy to travel conservatively. We bought bus tickets off of a website used by locals to save money, stayed in hostels, cooked for ourselves instead of eating out, and did a lot of activities in each of the areas that were free and didn’t require tour guides. By doing these things, it was easier to work within our budget.
Two of our favorite places we have visited up to this point are El Chalten and Iguazú Falls. There was a group of five of us that went to El Chalten. While we were there, we spent four days hiking through the Andes Mountains. We wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. Over the course of four days, we hiked over 60 miles, and it was worth every second. We all reached points when we thought we couldn’t continue, but we stayed motivated by thinking about what lied at the end of the trail as well as our ham sandwich for lunch 🙂 All of our effort payed off because the views were like nothing else we will ever get to experience again.
During our time in El Chalten, we met so many people from different parts of the world at our hostels. We had great conversations with them and learned a lot about norms of their culture as well. While we were hanging out at the hostel, we decided that there were at least nine different languages known in the room, but everyone was doing their best to communicate with each other using Spanish. Staying in hostels is definitely a great way to immerse oneself in different cultures.
Most recently, the entire study abroad group took an extended weekend to visit Iguazú Falls in northern Argentina on the border of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. This trip was one of the trips included with the program. Although it was about a 20 hour bus ride, everyone really enjoyed their time there. Once we arrived, we were taken to our hotel located directly in the middle of the jungle. On the first day, many of us participated in zip lining, trekking, and repelling down the side of a cliff next to a waterfall. Day two was spent viewing Iguazú Falls all day long. Iguazú has been named one of the natural wonders of the world consisting of 275 waterfalls over about two miles.
It’s safe to say that we have all enjoyed our time in Argentina tremendously. We have all been fortunate enough to have been able to experience this opportunity. Traveling around the country has been one of the most rewarding parts of our study abroad experience. As we all have less than a month left, we are trying to make the most of our experience here in Argentina.