This past week has been somewhat of a blur which includes, but is not limited to shadowing at the hospital, going to class, walking through a market at San Telmo (it spanned for about fifteen blocks of pure street vendors), buying various souvenirs, visiting the cemetery at Recoleta, taking tango classes, seeing la Boca and the stadium, eating at Siga la Vaca (was a meat buffet) located in Puerto Madero, visiting Teatro Colon, and going to Plaza de Mayo and seeing the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires which is a magnificent sight to behold.
One main thing I’ll delve into was shadowing at the hospital. It’s harder for me to describe what exactly I’ve seen in all the tours we’ve had, but telling y’all about a few experiences in the hospital is a bit easier. The hospital visit was a crazy experience in and of itself, but totally worth it. This Medical Spanish class has been revolutionary, and forced me to refine my Spanish and the knowledge I have of it. Here in Argentina, the patients want you to learn and are more willing to let you observe them. I’ve seen multiple surgeries already, including a laparoscopy, and a hysterectomy. The surgeons are incredibly precise and to hear medical terms being used live is so exciting. This experience is not for the feint of heart. but a great experience for those that can stomach it…. We interact with the doctors, ask them questions, they answer our questions, we take personal notes, digest the information, observe more patients, see examinations, and then other days we see surgeries and learn a bunch of medical terms I never knew existed! This opportunity was very exciting to me, and the main key point for anyone interested in studying abroad is to find a program with your passion in it. That is what Argentina had for me, specifically Buenos Aires.
Most of what Buenos Aires has to offer, may not be lavish, but it’s the people that make it feel like a million bucks! It’s the culture and traditions that make this place so enriching. Buenos Aires is eating empanadas everyday, seeing milanesa on every menu, soccer, richness of culture, mate, different cuts of meat, dance, and passion!
At first glance I thought a study abroad along this Western Hemisphere would be time wasted. I had always wanted to venture eastern Europe as most people do for their study abroad and thought that I would most benefit from doing a study abroad their as well. Since my parents are from Mexian descent I was fortunate enough to have learned Spanish as a child. Therefore, I assumed that I was going to waste my education on studying abroad here in Argentina, but boy, was I wrong!
Growing up in New Mexico I was exposed and introduced to many Spanish speakers, and I always felt very comfortable communicating in Spanish with them. But when it came to understanding technical terms and medical jargon, my tongue and brain fell a little short in that area. Argentina has pushed me both mentally and physically to always be in pursuit of knowledge in order to make me more proficient in my native tongue, and to not overlook the wisdom of what others can offer me, be it as minute as I may initially believe.
If you’re reading this blog for a sense of enlightenment, take my words to heart. I don’t mean this in a patronistic sense, but now that I’ve had this experience and can reflect on my past, it allows me to be pensive and offer a young sage better advice that I did not have access to. If you’re a person that may have had the privilege of growing up bilingual, don’t overlook a place that you may already know about. I’m so glad I stuck out with my choice of coming to Argentina and learning more about Latin American culture. Even though I may have known a lot about Mexican culture, various parts of Latin America offer very different cultures and that’s the beauty of everything.
This experience also made me very independent. Both Raul and Beatriz would show us students a place and how to ride the subway and the bus system. After about two times of showing us, they would expect us to know the areas and how to get from place to place by ourselves. Initially this was scary because it was us taking on the Argentinian world. It was a lot of fun getting lost and having to find your way through the city. Thank god my parents and I paid for service abroad because it would have been a whole different story if I would’ve had to track down wifi and then find my way through maps. Shout out to my mom for enforcing Spanish in the house, as that helped me to connect with the locals more easily! I mildly struggled to understand some of their conjugations and their accents, but overall it really pushed me to comprehend more Latin accents. In this way, it helps me in the long run as I continue to embark on my professional trajectory. That’s why I chose this program. When choosing a study abroad program first and foremost consider that you’re doing a program in order to study.
At my university, it was a very popular choice to study in Europe, and because of this there was a lot of pressure to have the experiences all of my friends were having. I had one friend who told me that I shouldn’t consider what others were doing, but to consider what would best help me in the future. I agree that all programs are beneficial to one’s future (if used properly), but it should be enriching your professionalism. Even though I had gone to Mexico various times, I never had a true experience by myself in another country. It was always my cousins showing me around the city, or my parents taking me to different places via car. Here in Buenos Aires, we didn’t have that luxury and were properly immersed in the culture by having to navigate ourselves on foot and planning most of our own things that we wanted to do as extra planning. Last main point of advice is to enjoy every little thing, and enjoy life. Viva la VIDA!