Ask me where I've been: Argentina
Why study abroad?
I have wanted to study abroad forever! Although I’ve travelled quite a bit by myself and with my family, my experiences never left me in one place for long enough to truly understand the culture of a specific place. I also wanted to immerse myself in a city where I would be able to explore an environment that has a lot going on.
Why did you choose Argentina?
I wanted to go somewhere where Spanish was spoken, but I had already been to Europe, so Spain wasn’t on my radar for very long. I also liked that the program had a public health focus, since there is no public health major at any Claremont schools.
What courses did you enroll in while abroad?
I took Epidemiology and Social Determinants of Health; Argentine Health Systems, Policy and Programs; Spanish for Health Sciences; Public Health Research Methods and Ethics and I conducted an independent study project about diabetic patient treatment adherence in public hospitals and clinics in the city of Buenos Aires.
What was your living situation?
I lived with a homestay family which was about 20 minutes walking from the main school building. I got along REALLY WELL with my homestay family who were very supportive, interesting and loving. I ate breakfast and dinner at home and had great conversations with my homestay mom, brother and sister.
What did you do for fun?
I loved exploring the city. It is HUGE. I also made some friends who live in Buenos Aires and we opened a pop-up style “puerta cerrada” restaurant that is actually still up and running a year and a half after I left! I was the sous chef! We cooked elaborate dinners for groups of strangers in people’s homes and even once in a commercial kitchen!
Highlights of the program:
I absolutely loved my homestay family and the freedom that I had during my ISP (Independent Study Project). I also really loved how many trips we took as part of our class—we went to Mendoza and Tucuman to learn about sexual education and maternal and infant health.
The most challenging aspects of your experience:
I was way too confident that I would fit right in and frustrated when I didn’t! Argentines have very close social groups that often form when they are young, so it’s sort of hard to “infiltrate” social circles as an outsider. I didn’t make as many Argentine friends as I had hoped, but I still managed to get close with a few!
Final comments or suggestions for future participants:
Don’t miss Patagonia! I went for 10 days after my program ended and hiked with a friend. It was totally breathtaking! Make sure you go in “summer” though (which is winter in California). I went after the end of fall semester, but consider going to Argentina early to hit up Patagonia if you are going for the spring semester. And try to go to a fútbol game! AND EAT THE EMPANADAS.