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The Study Abroad Experience: Part 3

Updated on November 1, 2015

Study Abroad Journal Title Page

The Study Abroad Experience

The study abroad experience can be the best or worst experience that you will ever experience in your life. There will be nothing like this experience. Most of you will be around 19-21 years old with a fresh passport. You may or may not have traveled internationally before, but more than likely, that international travel consisted of a chaperon of some sort. The study abroad experience is completely different. There will be tears, smiles, and a bunch of homesickness. But you will make friends for a lifetime, travel partners, language skills, and a new found respect for the world.

This blog will consist of a few entries in each blog post, all in chronological order.

These journal entries occurred for the Spring 2009 semester with IES: Buenos Aires. I studied through Wofford College. Tip to studying abroad: Make sure your credits are all transferable! Luckily, Wofford College accepted all of the credits through my program that I had chosen, IES.

Study Abroad Journal Entries from March 1, 2009 to June 27, 2009

My journal follows my travels from March 1, 2009 to June 27, 2009. This may seem years ago, but emotions never change when you leave the country as a wide-eyed 20 year old in a country where you don’t speak the language.

Places I visited in this Journal:

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Iguazu Fall (Puerto Iguazu), Argentina
  • Mendoza, Argentina
  • Tigre, Argentina
  • Colonia, Uruguay
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Valparaiso, Chile
  • Vina del Mar, Chile
  • Bariloche, Argentina

These journal entries occurred for the Spring 2009 semester with IES: Buenos Aires. I studied through Wofford College. Tip to studying abroad: Make sure your credits are all transferable! Luckily, Wofford College accepted all of the credits through my program that I had chosen, IES.

Welcome to Colonia, Uruguay

The Lamps of Colonia, Uruguay

Journal Entry 5: April 4, 2009 “Uruguay” ( A trip to Colonia, Uruguay)

What a trip! This place was a relaxing getaway from the hustle of the city. We were going to travel to Montevideo, but we decided to stay in Colonia. Though there was not a beach there, we managed to have the time of our lives. By we, I mean my friend I made through IES Jill, she is from New Jersey and went to Penn State. First off, in order to get to Uruguay, we needed tickets. We went to Ferrylineas. We were planning the trip only two days before leaving, so we had very little choice in the seats on the boat. So we ended up with tourist class there on a fast boat, which was only an hour trip. We then go first class tickets back on a fast boat. The total for our tickets was about $85 US round trip each.

We then got a hostel reservation. In Colonia, we stay at El Viajero! This place was so nice for $11 USD a night. You could never stay for this anywhere in the United States of America. They offered breakfast and clean sheets and private bathrooms.

The money in Uruguay is Uraguayo pesos. They are so inflated that the ATMs give you $1000 bill pesos. For every $1 USD was $24 Uruguayos. It was very interesting trying to understand the currency in my head.

So, having gambling in my blood, I was able to sniff out a casino in Uruguay. I had so much fun. Sat down, put in about $8 USD and cashed out about $250 USD! That’s right, Colonia = a lucky streak for Ashley!

Day 2 in Uruguay ended up being a photoshoot. We walked the historic district which was full of places to take amazing photos. Jill and I ended up with photos of each other that looked as if a professional took them. We climbed a lighthouse, which made both of our legs shake afterwards. My legs hurt for two days straight because of all of the walking we did. We never once took a bus or cab in Colonia. We walked everywhere, considering there is only one main road in the entire city.

While in the city, I proved again I am the world’s biggest klutz. I fell down two different set of stairs. One set in the restaurant we at lunch on the first day, and at the hostel on the second day.

Tickets from Iguazu, Argentina

Parques Nacionales
Parques Nacionales
Lunar Walk Iguazu, Argentina Tickets
Lunar Walk Iguazu, Argentina Tickets

Iguazu, Argentina Hostel

Tropical Paradise
Tropical Paradise
Hostel that was $11 USD, just make sure you have cash if you choose to stay here!
Hostel that was $11 USD, just make sure you have cash if you choose to stay here!

Journal Entry 6: April 17, 2009 “Iguazu, Argentina (Los Cataratas)”

I am writing on the bus right now on my way to Puerto Iguazu. It is 19:38 and 19 degrees Celsius outside. The road is severely bumpy, and I don’t have drink to take medicine to keep me from getting sick. Jill is sitting to my left listening to her iPod. I am being as American as I possibly can be and I am listening to Toby Keith “How do you like me now” on my iPod! The sun is setting in Buenos Aires as the bus drives further into the north. We will not arrive at our destination until tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. I am freezing, but I better enjoy it now because it is almost 99 degrees Fahrenheit in the waterfalls area of Iguazu. Ahh! I cannot wait to end the bus trip already!

An 18 hour bus ride, honestly does not seem that bad once you do it! We ended up arriving at the destination.

Day 1: So, we arrive in Puerto Iguazu at 12:30 on April 18, 2009. The temperature has jumped to 98 degrees Fahrenheit. We get off the bus, only to see the bus we need to take “El Practico” about to Leave. PANIC! Jill and I do not know the bus schedule, so we think it may be the last one leaving for a while. So, we go to run across the bus terminal, only to hear a wild policeman blowing a wistle, and waving his arms, yelling something in Spanish. Come to find out, we had to walk all the way around our butts to get to our elbows. Needless to say the bus left without us, but we prevailed and found out buses come every half hour. The wait was worth the $5 peso trip vs. a $30 peso cab ride. We’re students, saving money is a necessity.

Next, we arrived at the hostel. We arrive to a beautiful hostel with a pool that overflows the sides. A poolside bar accompanies the already tropical getaway feel. We walk in and are greeted as we go to sign in. PROBLEM! Seems that booking trips for two people is easy until you get to the hostel only to find out that you’re separated, and each person must share a room with three strangers! Oh, and share a bathroom with eight strangers! Apart from that problem, I get to my room only to find everyone else has already checked in. So, I get a top bunk. Ok, after bad experiences of high beds and dislocated shoulders in my dorm, the last place I want to be is high in the air in a hostel 5,000 miles away from my regular hospital.

Well, once I got over the shock of the possibility I would have to sleep on the floor, because of my inability to successfully climb a ladder, we went off in search of:

  1. An ATM- we were not aware of all the deposits one must put down in order to stay at our chosen hostel.
  2. Tickets to the Lunar Walk inside Iguazu. Out of absolute luck, we arrived during the week of the full moon. This means the park opens at night or a $130 peso charge. This includes dinner and since most of the wildlife is nocturnal, we will get to see even more species living in the jungle. This meant monkeys flying above us, and flowers that only bloom at night.
  3. The great adventure tickets were $150 pesos each. We get to go through the jungle, off trail, in 4x4 jeeps. Then we go through the rapids to get to the speedboat that takes us through the devil’s throat waterfall!

This place is rather expensive, but the pictures will last a life time. We are calling it an early night because tomorrow will be a long day full of adventures waiting to happen in the park of Iguazu.

Colonia, Uruguay and Iguazu Falls, Argentina

show route and directions
A markerIguazu -
Iguazú, Misiónes, Argentina
get directions

B markerColonia, Uruguay -
Colonia, Uruguay
get directions

Iguazu Falls (Per BBC)

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