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What to Expect When You Study Abroad: Part 1

Updated on November 8, 2015

The Actual Argentina Study Abroad Journal

The Title Page to a Study Abroad Journal from IES: Buenos AIres
The Title Page to a Study Abroad Journal from IES: Buenos AIres

What Happens in 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.

The Journal Begins

Argentina Conversion Rates
Argentina Conversion Rates

Journal Entries: 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

Bus Tickets and Class Schedules When Studying Abroad

Pictures of Faded Bus Tickets from Argentina Bus 59 to downtown Buenos Aires
Pictures of Faded Bus Tickets from Argentina Bus 59 to downtown Buenos Aires

Journal Entry: March 16, 2009 “Dream, Dream, Dream” (Life Studying Abroad)

Life abroad. This is the most thrilling time of my life. It is insane. I do not know if I am coming or going. I am fighting a language barrier that is absolutely hard. I always thought Spanish was an easy language. So far I have gone to Eva Peron’s grange. It is in the Recoleta cemetery which is the view from my room. When you go into the cemetery you are walking into a maze of sorts. In order to find Peron’s grave you must go to the left after all of the cats and then right. Then you turn left again when you see a grave with a ton of flowers on it. The grave is under “Familla Duarte” which is Peron’s maiden name.

Her grave is hidden because after the fall of Juan Peron’s dictatorship. The people were so infuriated that they wanted to desecrate her grave site.

Ok, so far, I’ve learned how to get around the city of Buenos Aires (two weeks of learning). In order to take a bus one must greet the “chaufer” with “hola” and then “una pes diez, por favor.” Then one puts the monedas in the machine where a “boleta” or ticket is printed out. Then in order to get off of the bus, one must press the bell button to signal the driver that you have a stop approaching. For instance, I took the “59” bus to get from “Puedyrredon to Santa Fe y Carlos Peligrinni. I always knew my stop because I passed the Obelisk.

Dreams while Studying Abroad

A Study Abroad experience is Thrilling and Insane
A Study Abroad experience is Thrilling and Insane

Plane Ticket Stub from ATL to EZE

Plane Ticket Stub from Atlanta, Georgia to Buenos Aires, Argentina
Plane Ticket Stub from Atlanta, Georgia to Buenos Aires, Argentina

Journal Entry 2: March 24, 2009 “Classes” (Study Abroad Classes through IES)

Life is strange from day to day, in a country where language is a barrier. I have signed up for classes and my daily schedule looks like the following:

Monday: Spanish 100 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Latin America in a Globalizing World 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Latin American Neoliberalism 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday: Spanish 100 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday: Spanish 100 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Latin America in a Globalizing World 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Latin American Neoliberalism 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Thursday: Spanish 100 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


So far classes have been a mixture of information and frustration. My Spanish class is what makes me so upset all of the time. I did not think I was going to be thrown into a beginning Spanish class that was completely taught in Spanish. On top of this, they expect me to write papers and I have no even learned how to conjugate the simplest of verbs. Thank goodness for Spanish to English dictionaries.

I was extremely surprised to see how they do books here in Buenos Aires. Apparently, there are no copyright laws here, or they are not enforced. Instead of buying a bunch of books, students (including myself) have to go to a specified copy place and buy copies of the books required for classes this is a highly frustrating process. Instead of going once to buy your copies, the copy place is normally out of your book and you have to come back consecutive days until they have finally gotten around to making your copies, all the while you are getting further and further behind in your readings and homework for class. This may be a cheaper and more efficient way to distribute books. But it posed a very annoying problem for the students.

Apart from these complaints it has not been that bad of an academic process. Signing up for classes was fairly simple, and class times were definitely not as early as they could have been. While being down here I have missed one thing the most, SOUTHERN FOOD. Oh how I miss eating terribly unhealthy food dripping grease and knowing it was full of flavor, spice, and variety. It is true, Argentine Beef is the best I have ever had, but the problem is that is all I eat. Each meal consists of a meat and starch. Do not expect vegetables here. AAHH… to be home to collards, green beans, and fried chicken.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Argentina Side of Iguazu Falls, Brazil is seen in the distance
Argentina Side of Iguazu Falls, Brazil is seen in the distance

Everywhere I traveled in South America

Carlos Pelligrini:
Av. Carlos Pellegrini, Luján, Buenos Aires, Argentina

get directions

Mendoza, Capital Department, Mendoza Province, Argentina

get directions

San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina

get directions

Iguazú, Misiónes, Argentina

get directions

Vina Del Mar:
Viña del Mar, Viña del Mar, Valparaiso, Chile

get directions

Santiago, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile

get directions

Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Valparaiso, Chile

get directions

Colonia, Uruguay:
Colonia, Uruguay

get directions


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