What have I been doing ?!
My very homesick roommate tells me that there are only 40 days left until we go home. She has a countdown and the most exciting part of her day is watching her Google countdown. She has very strong feelings about Buenos Aires; by this I mean that she does not want like any part of her study abroad experience except for her favorite Argentine dish called Milangnesa which is beef lightly breaded and baked…and Argentine staple.
My days here are a lot less consumed with academics and resume building than at Cornell. For this I am grateful, I think it is easy to be consumed with achievement that we forget exactly what we gain from all our hard work besides high GPA and a golden resume. Being here has definitely reminded me that there is a world and a life greater than myself that supplementing my studies with real world experience is equally if not more important than what I achieve in the classroom.
On Wednesdays and Mondays I intern at a non-profit organization called Conciencia. The goal of this organization is to encourage civic participation, provide avenues for alternative dispute resolution, improve community relations and increase democratic activity in Buenos Aires. My responsibilities in this organization is to assist the director with translations, prepare for conferences, communicate with other non-governmental organizations domestically and internationally, and to work on agency programs to realize their missions and goals. It is definitely a rewarding experience and specifically linked to my interests in international relations and community service.
Another aspect of my internship that I enjoy is very simply taking the subway to it. I found it very gratifying to be able to ask for directions in Spanish and be able to find my way around the city. Now, I take the trip without thinking and I feel like a real citizen of the city. It always surprises me how crowded the train is. People are literally millimeters apart from each other on the train. In New York City people would wait for the next train but here people sigh and then scooch their way onto the train. Only when there is absolutely no space do the portenos wait for the next train. On the crowded train people are still polite and happy despite the extremely uncomfortable situation. They smile at you and when you attempt to move through the mass of people they ask you very sweetly if you will be getting off at the next stop so that you can work together to exit the train.
I take a yoga class here and out of all the yoga classes that I have taken (and I have taken many) it is my favorite. Although, yoga is intended to be a relaxing non stressful practice, I feel that in the States it is still another way of competing with one another and it is more about being able to do some of the more complicated positions than it is about relaxation and spiritual awareness. There is definitely a more communal vibe in the Argentine class and you feel like everyone who is practicing together is working on a common goal.
Living in a dorm in a foreign country definitely been an interesting experience. The students, who are from all over Latin America are very eager to get to know everyone else in the door and learn about whom you are and where you are from. Although, I am not sure if this is specific to my dorm or is a characteristic of Latin American student residences, but I find it very welcoming.
One weekend I went to Spanglish. Spanglish is an organization where native Spanish and English speakers converse with one another in both Spanish and English. The format of Spanglish is very much like Speed Dating but the purpose of Spanglish is to improve your Spanish or English and not necessarily to find your significant other, however I have heard it has happened. I was extremely surprised about how exhausting speaking five minutes in Spanish and then five minutes in English for two hours could be! Bilingual individuals must have a lot of stamina and energy.
Bilingualness. In the dorm and in the city those who know English will often switch between Spanish and English mid-way through a conversation or even a sentence. This occurs for several reasons, everyone wants to practice their foreign language, some ideas are better expressed in either Spanish or English, or they very easily pick up on my American accent. Either way I find it very enjoyable and I definitely have learned more about the Spanish language from engaging in this style of communication.