The start of a new journey always begins with a feeling of apprehension and doubt and, I must say, I wasn’t an exception to the rule. The night before leaving I was already starting to think that a month would be pretty long! How little did I know that this experience was going to change me and make me evolve in ways I wouldn’t have thought of.
After a 17hr flight, I was tired but relieved to finally arrive in Buenos Aires. On my way to the hotel, I found myself dumbstruck by the beauty of the city. Buenos Aires by night is impressive, all the monuments and old edifices were enlightened which gave them a majestic appearance and, with the circulation being surprisingly calm, it seemed that time had stopped. The excitement had replaced the nervousness and I was fully ready for the journey.
The first week I could meet my classmates, our teacher and start the intensive Spanish classes at UCA. I was happy to meet people with the same passion for travel and motivation to learn Spanish. I was also able to make my first steps in the city and immerse myself in the Latin culture. Everything was new and I loved it, I felt alive and was eager to learn more about my surroundings.
As the weeks progressed, so did my understanding of Buenos Aires. People had a different way of apprehending life and its situations, and I tried to adapt myself to this new way of life. I was really proud of the progress we all made in learning Spanish, the hard work was paying off and we were starting to be able to express ourselves and listen to native speakers. Visiting the emblematic places of the city and learning about the person who shaped it was fascinating.
Sooner than expected, the journey came to an end as I enjoyed my last week in Argentina. I was able to learn about myself and others, open my mind to a new culture and make long lasting friendship. This experience made me gain confidence, develop my empathy and shape my future as a global citizen.
I have always loved South America and have wanted to travel to Argentina specifically for a very long time. I am also passionate about social justice and human rights, in fact these are the things that motivated me to start studying law after working in fashion design for a few years. So when I saw that I could spend three whole weeks in Buenos Aries learning about human rights I was sold!
When I arrived in Buenos Aires it was just 1am on a Saturday morning and as my taxi drove through the city to the hostel the first thing I noticed was how alive the city was. Groups of friends were out for dinner, cafes, bars and restaurants were all open and the streets were crowded with people. I already loved it.
The program itself did not disappoint, we had extremely inspiring lecturers and the course content was so interesting. I felt naive for not knowing Argentina’s complex political history, including the last military dictatorship they had, in which 30 000 people were kidnapped and murdered. It was so inspiring to hear about the work of NGOs and Government human rights organisations and the work they have been doing for decades and continue to do now to prevent future human rights violations and try to repair the damage done in the late 70s – early 80s.
At first I was a bit nervous about going on the trip alone, especially as a postgraduate student. I was worried I would have a hard time making friends and be much older than everyone. However I was happy to be so wrong about that! I made great friends quickly and together we immersed ourselves in everything Buenos Aires had to offer. Every minute that we weren’t studying we were making the most of our time in the city. Buenos Aires is filled with so many amazing art galleries, it also has great cafes and boutiques filled with locally made clothes and home wares. The food is diverse and the nightlife is wild.
Another MASSIVE highlight of the program was travelling to Iguazu Falls, I feel like I could post a thousand photos and still not do it justice. The scale of the waterfalls was overwhelming. It honestly was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.
First impressions aren’t always accurate, but after three weeks in Buenos Aires I stand by mine. The city is so alive. The people, nightlife, history, food, and everything else – this is my favourite thing about my new favourite city. And I already can’t wait to go back.