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Student Profiles

A nine-hour hike to Laguna de Los Tres at Mt. Fiz Roy in El Chalten, Patagonia, Argentina

Overseas Study Program

Buenos Aires,  Argentina

I think it’s important to travel, but also make sure you are spending some or most of your weekends in your own city so you really get to know it.”

Cayla Ebert

Majors: Spanish, Sociology, Criminal Justice

Term abroad: Fall 2014

Why did you choose this program? I wanted to go to South America to get a very different experience than my own in the U.S. and the Buenos Aires program offered the most courses and was the longest.

Describe your favorite class(es) abroad. My favorite classes were Cuestiones Culturales, which was basically like a cultural history class, and Justicia Como Actor Politico, a public law class I took at la UBA which focused on the Argentine Judicial system. I really enjoyed both especially because I could apply the knowledge to everyday life when I was there and use it to better understand my environment.

What was the housing like on your study abroad program? I lived with a young argentine couple in their two story apartment. They were both very young and career oriented which was great because we had a lot in common. Daniela, my "host mom", and I got to be extremely close. We lived in Palermo, which was the more young and exciting neighborhood, which was really close to all the great restaurants, shopping, and bars.

What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? My main advice would be to live with a host family! I also think it’s important to travel, but also make sure you are spending some or most of your weekends in your own city so you really get to know it.

What’s your best memory from your time abroad? Probably just my relationship with my host mom in general. We would always have fun together and do crazy things. Like one night, we both really wanted ice cream and the ice cream place was having a sale so we left super quickly and ran down the street without coats on and bought two kilos of ice cream just for ourselves and then watched movies while we ate it.

What was your biggest surprise about the location, culture or other aspects of your program? I was very shocked with how big Buenos Aires really was. You could literally go to a different area everyday and not have seen the whole city. The meal schedule was also very surprising as they eat dinner at 10:30 at night!

Describe your experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock. Initially I did have a little bit of a hard time transitioning to the city and culture, but especially understanding the dialect. Once I understood my way around more and understood the accent things were much better and the little things that had bothered me in the beginning no longer bothered me. As for when I returned home, I did experience reverse culture shock. I originally felt very bored with the English language and still wanted to speak Spanish all the time. I also felt disconnected from my friends and school which caused me to be a little depressed. It is hard to balance talking and thinking about your experience and getting back into "real life". There were so many things that I was used to before I left that have now changed that were hard to adjust to initially.

“If I could do it over, I would…” take a course at UCA, the private university, as the people who took classes there made many more local argentine friends.

What do you know now that you didn’t know before you went abroad? I know more about global politics and economics and now want to pursue a career in international law.

What do you wish someone had told you before you left? That scheduling classes is really complicated but it all works out in the end.

What was your greatest challenge? My greatest challenge was being open minded all the time in order to absorb the most I could while I was there. The experience also challenged me to be more laid back and go with the flow.

Discuss: “Going abroad vs. staying on campus.” I learned so much more in the 5 months I was abroad in terms of the Spanish language than I have in the 6 semesters of Spanish classes I took before I went. It is so much easier to learn and immerse yourself in the language and culture when you are not able to fall back into your comfort zone.

What fact about your host country do you think people would be surprised to learn? Argentina was ruled by a cruel dictatorship in the 70's and 80's, which is so recent!

How did you find scholarships for study abroad? I saw them on the study abroad website/application and the program offered scholarships based on your application, there was no separate application.

Would you recommend other students pursue any specific scholarship opportunities? The Hutton Honors study abroad grants were easy to apply for and they had many to give out.