A Pre-Departure Post

Well, I can finally (finally!) say I’m two weeks away from going abroad.  It’s certainly been a long winter vacation—to say the least—but I’ve genuinely enjoyed the time spent relaxing, occasionally babysitting, and relaxing some more.  I realized that even though I’m on such an extended break, this is also the longest I’ve been at home since starting college, and I infinitely appreciate living with my family again.  Obviously I cannot wait to head down to Argentina, but leaving home—not for Cornell, but for another country—will definitely be a big adjustment, at least at first.  However, breaking from my comfort zone is a challenge I’m eagerly anticipating, and I’m hoping that before long Argentina will begin to feel like home, too.

As I hit this two-week pre-departure status, it comes at a time where I’m approaching another milestone—my 21st birthday.  I’ve been joking that my childhood is officially ending on the 14th (Valentines Day, for all you star-crossed lovers), as I become legal in America.  And while I’m not one to make a huge commotion over my birthday (it’s easy not to, as Hallmark does all the work for me), turning 21 just before departing has left me with a few things to consider before I go.

Last weekend, I went to Harvard to visit a few friends (shout-out to Eliza and Zeke).  Something that struck me during my time in Boston was how the social scene at this particular school noticeably differed from how I perceive the social life at Cornell.  The distinctions were not enormous—finals clubs rule the scene instead of frats—but the experience definitely diverged from what I’m accustomed to.  And that got me thinking—if the “going-out” scene changes so perceptibly from college to college within the U.S., I can only imagine that the social scene in Buenos Aires has its own individual flavor.

On a really basic level, I know the timetable will take some getting used to, as Argentineans generally go/stay out later than Americans.  Other than that, however, I really have no idea what life is like for Argentineans in their twenties.  The cultural immersion I’m searching for this semester is not just about mastering a language or eating a certain cuisine (though it of course includes those factors), but also involves genuinely falling into place with the nuances that dictate how people my age in Argentina live.  Thus, I’ll let you readers know in advance that I absolutely plan on making Argentinean amigos who can show me what being a 21 year old in Buenos Aires is all about!

About Olivia

Hola! My name is Olivia and I’ll be spending the spring semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m an English major, Spanish minor (but potentially major, depending on how the semester abroad goes) in the College of Arts and Sciences. Outside of academics, I’m a member of the club tennis team, the co-chair of Colleges Against Cancer, and a sports writer for the Daily Sun. I’m a really active person who loves the outdoors, which is why South America is the perfect place for me; Patagonia and Machu Picchu are just two of the many places I hope to explore. I’ll be living in a homestay, and even though it won’t always be easy, eight years of studying Spanish will definitely help me get by. And although I have a terrible sense of direction, I’m genuinely looking forward to all the places I’ll discover while lost in Buenos Aires. Of course, I’m also ready for the steak, wine, partidos de fútbol, and potential tennis sports star sightings (Juan Martín del Potro, here I come). I can’t wait to share my experiences with all of you!
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