by
on May 27, 2019 on 5/27/19 from ,

My New Home Away from Home

First impressions

My first week in Buenos Aires has been, to say the least, amazing! The food is incredible, the people are welcoming, and the city itself is mesmerizing. In the weeks leading up to my departure, I grew increasingly more excited, but also nervous. This is my first time outside of the United States and the farthest I’ve been from my family and friends. Nevertheless, I hoped that this experience would introduce me to the vastness and diversity of the world and its inhabitants. 

Indeed, my experience thus far has been wonderful. I’ve only been here for one week, but it feels like much longer. Buenos Aires has a way of making you feel at home. The city ignites a sense of belonging and contentment. It’s filled with millions of people all around the globe and others who are native to this incredible city.

Night Skyline from Rooftop in Retiro, Buenos Aires.

transition to life in the city

On my first day, I quickly had to learn how to navigate using public transportation and also by foot. After a couple of days, I familiarized myself with the layout of the streets and routes of the buses (or “colectivos”). Although it seems like a small accomplishment, it feels like a big step toward a greater sense of independence.

I also made friends immediately with many of the other students in my program, and even some natives! We’ve spend a lot of time together exploring and taking in all that the city has to offer. I’m grateful that I’ve established a support system here, instead of relying only on my friends and family back home.

Perhaps the most important part of my support system is my host mother, Ines. I’m thankful for the opportunity to live and interact daily with a native Argentine. My conversations with Ines are meaningful, natural, and eye-opening. Not only do I get to practice Spanish, but I also learn about her own life experience and the cultural norms and traditions of Argentina. 

Truly, my transition to life in Buenos Aires has been much smoother and more enjoyable than I anticipated. 

Jardin Botanico in Palermo, Buenos Aires

it’s okay to make mistakes – confidence is key!

In addition, I am much more confident in my ability to speak Spanish. Before coming to Buenos Aires, I was timid when speaking Spanish with native speakers, despite learning Spanish since elementary school. As soon as I arrived in Argentina, I had to employ the skills I’ve worked on for years. I really surprised myself with how much I know and how well I’m able to communicate effectively with others.

Even so, my Spanish is not perfect and it’s humbling to speak with native speakers. In the United States, I became embarrassed if I made a mistake or if I didn’t know a certain word or phrase. But now that I speak Spanish daily, I am more comfortable with the language. 

While I used to be ashamed to make a mistake or ask for help, I now view this as an opportunity to learn and expand my vocabulary. There is nothing wrong with asking someone to repeat or explain what they said. Likewise, it is important to be open to corrections from others. Nobody is going to judge or think less of you for trying to improve your skills! 

Overall, Buenos Aires has exceeded my expectations. I cannot wait to continue getting to know my new home away from home!