Adventures in Argentina - While Abroad!
Today, my mom texted me about seeing me next week, and it is beyond crazy to think I am approaching my fourth full week in Argentina! To recap, I am studying abroad with AIFS in Argentina in their Medical Spanish Immersion program for the Summer 2023 term. This program includes 5 packed weeks of medical shadowing and Medical Spanish classes in the heart of Buenos Aires. As I think about the information and skills I have learned and the incredible people I have met through this experience, I am so grateful for the privilege of studying abroad this summer.
When I first touched down in Buenos Aires almost 4 weeks ago, I was definitely shocked by how quickly I had to learn to have an ear for the rapid-pace Spanish that Argentinians use. Navigating through customs, the airport, and transportation while getting accustomed to hearing and seeing Spanish everywhere was challenging. Buenos Aires has many modes of transportation available for use to get around the city, so figuring out how the collectivo (bus) and Supte (subway) routes and systems worked took some getting used to. However, the same SUBE card can be used to access the buses, trains, and subways here; therefore, this organized system is very clear once I gained some experience in navigating it!
My favorite thing about Buenos Aires is the constant excitement throughout the entire city. There is always something going on; meanwhile, the people here are always very enthusiastic and lively. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being a part of a huge city, and I have loved having a little taste of what it's like to live in one! I will definitely miss spending every afternoon at a coffee shop with my AIFS friends and practicing my Spanish every night during dinner with my host family.
Pertaining to academics, the length of the classes in Argentina is a little bit different than my other college classes in the States. However, this makes sense with having to fit so much information into only 5 weeks. My MEDSPAN 556 class is 4 hours long, and my MEDSPAN 555 class is about 2 hours long. We do get a 15-minute break in the middle of each class, so we are able to regroup for a moment every day. In my classes here, I learn about the healthcare system (universal) in Argentina while gaining first-hand experience by shadowing in a private hospital. Meanwhile, I also learn medical grammar and vocabulary that I have also been able to utilize in my conversations and experiences in the private hospital. We basically are going places nonstop from 8am-5pm Monday through Thursday; however, all of the pre-medical students and I love how structured this has made our days here.
The excursions have been some of my favorite memories on this trip. Thus far, we have taken trips to Colonia, Uruguay, Iguazú Falls, Argentina, and Don Silvano. To cap off my weekends in Argentina, I will be going to Mendoza, Argentina with a group of my friends here to ride horses around the Andes, paraglide, and tour the incredible city. It is such a privilege to be in a country where the American dollar holds a lot of value because this has made traveling throughout Argentina every weekend both affordable and feasible.
Overall, the locals in Argentina are some of the nicest people I have met. Locals that we encounter are almost immediately able to tell that my friends and I are American; however, they are so gracious in teaching us Spanish words, phrases, and slang during our interactions! The privilege to live and learn Spanish every moment of the past 4 weeks has been truly amazing, and my confidence in my Spanish-speaking abilities has only grown. It's truly been incredible to learn so much in such a short time!
As I partially dread my return to the States, I feel forever grateful and indebted to a country that welcomed me into its arms so quickly and graciously. I am so grateful that I trusted myself enough to push myself to live abroad for 5 weeks, and I will forever cherish my time and experiences living abroad. This opportunity has been nothing short of amazing, and I am entirely grateful for my family, friends, and the staff at both the University of Alabama and AIFS who all made this experience possible.