The epitome of mixed emotions
As of right now, I’m both ready and not ready to leave Argentina. I have had an unforgettable experience, but I also miss my life back home, and all the people in it. For this entry I decided to make a list of the things I’ll miss most and least about Rosario and study abroad in general.
What I won’t miss:
- The cold
It’s unfortunate that my program took place during winter, because I’m quite friolento (sensitive to the cold), and I am more than ready to return to a nice Oregon summer. I’m sure after a few days in 90-degree weather, though, I’ll wish I was back here. Who knows, maybe someday I can return to Argentina when it’s winter in the U.S. and get two summers in a row.
Here in Rosario, drivers rather than pedestrians have the right-of-way, which means you have to be extra careful every time you’re out walking around. There are traffic lights at some intersections, but some don’t even have stop signs, so cars come within inches (I should really say centimeters, since they use the metric system) of hitting each other. So not only is there the constant stress of being hit yourself, but of witnessing a car crash.
- Sports talk
Soccer (and to a lesser degree other sports) is inescapable in Argentina. It’s what plays on the TVs in bars, it’s what friends argue over, and what taxi drivers ask you about. Having never played or even been interested in sports myself, I’ve had to be honest and tell people I know nothing about soccer. I guess it’s better that way, because I have no chance of being rejected based on what teams or players I support.
- Having no free time
This one relates to any study abroad program. On top of my regular classes, we’ve had mandatory gatherings, tours and excursions within our group. Additionally, I have had to make time to find souvenirs for people back home, go to the gym, study, write these blog entries and much more. There is always something to do here. I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the summer relaxed and without too many obligations.
What I will miss:
- The food
Ironically, food was one of the things I worried most about before my trip, because I’m a picky eater on top of being vegetarian. However, my host mom turned out to be vegetarian as well, and every restaurant I’ve gone to has had meatless options. In fact, I have even tried some new dishes here and will miss the variety once I’m back home.
- Speaking only Spanish
Becoming more fluent in Spanish was one of my main reasons for coming here. Unfortunately, just as I feel I am gaining that fluency, it’s already time to leave. I have loved being surrounded by Argentine Spanish day and night, and being forced to use it in so many different contexts. I hope that I can find ways to continue practicing it back home, whether it’s with customers at work, friends who speak it, or total strangers.
- Being able to walk everywhere
The city of Rosario is extremely walkable. If something is too far, you can always take a taxi or the bus, but I would say most people don’t drive very often. Not only is it good exercise, but it’s so convenient to be able to walk almost everywhere you need to go. There are sights to see on every block. I’ll definitely miss walking to school every day in the fresh (albeit cold) air.
- Never knowing what the day will hold
I think this is something that comes with any study abroad experience. When you’re in a new place, everything–even walking down the street–seems exciting, whereas in your hometown the same activity might be mundane. As I mentioned in a previous entry, my schedule has been completely different here than it was in Oregon, and I haven’t stopped seeing new sights, visiting new places and meeting new people the whole time I’ve been here. I’m sure eventually I would get used to Rosario just like I’m used to my neighborhood in Oregon, but five weeks certainly wasn’t enough for that to happen.