The Catholic University of America

Katie Alberico - Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

Top Five Reasons to Select the Program

  1. Not your typical study abroad - This isn't Europe, but it is a once in a lifetime experience.
  2. Immersion into Argentine Culture and Spanish Language. You can't escape speaking spanish no matter what level you are at.
  3. IES Program is great and the Advisors and Professors are so nice. The staff are willing to help the students with everything. They brought us to get our cellphones together, and they would even make recommendations on restaurants.
  4. Great food - With all the influence from Italy and Spain they have some amazing dishes here. You can also find almost any type of food here ranging from shawarma to empanadas.
  5. Always something to do. Buenos Aires is a city that never sleeps. You can peruse museums during the day, enjoy mate in the park on a nice sunny day, and at night dabble in Tango at a local Milonga, or attend a lunar party at the Planetarium on a full moon. You just can't be bored in this city, there is no excuse.

 

What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Went

  • Bring peanut butter, or any other American guilty pleasures you have. Peanut butter does not exist here along with a lot of other American treats, but don't get me wrong they have good food just not peanut butter.
  • If you like to read, bring your own books. Books in English are hard to find, and very expensive.
  • Time difference from CUA is only 1 hour or 2 depending on day light savings (which they don't practice here) is not much, but their timing for everything is different. Lunch occurs around 2 in the afternoon here, and dinner is normally around 9 or 10 at night.
  • You don't shake hands here! It is customary to kiss someone on the cheek when meeting them for the first time, old friends, host parents, everyone! It is not considered weird at all, men engage in this as well. It is just part of the culture.
  • It may not be as expensive as Europe at the moment, but it does have a problem with inflation. Prices have risen on certain items since I entered the country. Food is generally cheap, but clothing here is expensive and cheap. Sorry there is not good shopping here.

 

A Funny Story or Situation

"The Accent"

I was told before I came that Argentine's have an interesting accent. Keyword interesting. After being here I can understand it, but there are still a lot of things I don't understand. For example, in the parks on nice days there are many street vendors selling choripan, hamburgers, and my personal favorite ice cream. Ice cream in spanish is helado, but these men walking through the park selling these cold treats have an accent all in their own. I remember sitting in the park with friends when we heard a very gruff voice yelling what sounded nothing like helado, It sounded more like loud grunting, not helado. Every time I see these men I cant help but to laugh.

 

An Embarrassing Situation

"I'm full" are common words to here in the States, but down here its insulting, so watch out. I learned this at my first home stay dinner, needless to say it was awkward. My host mother had prepared this amazing meal for my housemate and myself, it was quite delicious, but at the end she asked if we wanted more and we replied that we were full. She quickly responded saying that was not appropriate to say. I hadn't been there 24 hours and I had offended my host mother! She told us that "estoy bien" or I'm fine is sufficient. Lets just say I haven't told anyone I'm full in awhile.

 

The Teacher From Whom I Learned the Most

Professor Jorege Monteleon was by far my favorite teacher, and taught my favorite class, 20th Century Argentine Poetry. This class itself was not a lot of work, and he was able to engage the whole class in something that most times would not interest a class of 20 year olds. The reason he is such a great teacher is because he has such a great appreciation for Argentine poetry, and poetry in general. It is one thing to teach students about a famous poet, but it is completely different when the professor has worked with some of the famous poets you study in class. For example, he was able to work with Jorge Luis Borges for a short period of time before his death, and in past years he was able to bring in Diana Bellessi. The way he views poetry and life is so enthusiastic that you can't help but enjoy it as well in his presence.

 

Housing

Homestay, Homestay, Homestay! Not everyone gets an amazing homestay at first, there are a few bad apples, but it is very easy to change. I luckily got placed with an adorable older woman, who was formerly a chef! She only spoke spanish to my housemate and I, and was always willing to help us improve our spanish. We could always go to her with questions about school, culture, or even to call us a taxi. She truly was my "mother" abroad, and I couldn't imagine my time abroad without having a madre like her.

 

Student Profile:

MajorInternational Business

Hometown: Haddonfield, NJ

Program: Buenos Aires - IES Abroad

Term Abroad: Spring 2012

Contact Katie