Friday, March 16, 2012

Lindsay Ryan - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Spring 2012

Greetings Elmhurst College students from Argentina!  I’ve been living in Buenos Aires now for about three weeks.  It was a definite shock to leave winter in Chicago and arrive in 90 degree weather in Argentina but I am officially adjusted to the temperature here and loving it.  I have not started classes yet but I will in the next week or so when the Argentine students return from their summer vacations.  In the meantime, I’ve had lots of time to explore Buenos Aires.  It is such a beautiful city!  It took me a while to figure out public transportation and I still don’t fully understand the bus system but it turns out that most porteños (Buenos Aires locals) don’t even understand it.  I still cannot believe how packed the buses and subways can get here.   It is on a completely different level than the public transportation in Chicago.  If you are by any means claustrophobic, Buenos Aires is probably not the best place to be.  However, the city has so much to offer and I’m just starting to discover it all.  Not too far away from my apartment are these gorgeous botanical gardens that are filled with families on the weekends.  Of course tango is incredibly important here so I had to check out a milonga (tango club).  I took a tango lesson with some friends from my program and it turns out that for me at least it’s going to take a lot of lessons to not feel like an elephant trying to tango.  Scratch that—I think an elephant would probably do a better job than me.  I also had the opportunity to go to Colonia, Uruguay for a long weekend.  It is a wonderful little colonial city on the river. 
It’s also been an adjustment to eating dinner at 10pm every night.  Once I got used to it I actually like eating later in the night.   I live with a host mom who is wonderful and extremely patient with my Spanish abilities, but it is definitely difficult to function in a different language all day.  However, I’m taking it as a good sign that people on the street come up to me and ask for directions quite frequently.  Unfortunately I rarely know where to direct them.  But for some reason I always feel compelled to give them directions anyway.  So I’ll have to work on that so I’m not sending people into random parts of Buenos Aires.  I am really embracing not looking like a lost puppy in a big city anymore and can’t wait to feel like an actual porteño. 


Blogger Angela Koch said...

Buenos Aires would be a beautiful place to study! How does their culture differ ours? I've been lucky to have traveled many places and I love learning the similarities and differences between the US and other countries! I find it fascinating. Did you experience any culture shock ? Were they hard to accept or excited to experience something new?!

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hola Lindsay,

I absolutely love Argentina...and I haven't even been there! I had an Argentinian Spanish-language professor, and he shared so much about the culture and the ways it differs from that of the United States. I know that the city-life is very active during the late (or early...depending on your perspective) hours of the night (or early morning)...was this quite a cultural shock for you? How was adjusting to this difference? Or perhaps, I have been misinformed and this does not happen too much in Buenos Aires...



3:21 PM  
Anonymous Karina B said...

Hola Lindsay, como estas?
I was wandering through some of these different blogs then came upon yours and I got very excited because you are studying in the continent that I will be visiting in the summer! I also was wondering the same thing as Angela: did you experience any culture shock? I will be going to Chile, and I have a feeling that I won't have such a hard "shock" due to the fact that I am Mexican and there are some similarities between the culture, but I can be wrong. Do you have any suggestions about how to pick classes or ways to get involved? What are you doing to truly immerse yourself in the culture? I hope to hear back from you. Keep enjoying your time!

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You're right Buenos Aires is a beautiful place to study in. I absolutely love it here so far. In terms of culture shock I really did not have much. Of course, there are definite differences between the 2 cultures but what was harder for me to adjust to was city life. Buenos Aires is such a huge city!! Sometimes I have to go to a park to just get away from all the people, noises, and crazy drivers. But mostly it's been exciting to experience city life in Buenos Aires! Good Luck with your future travels!


3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You have not been misinformed. You are absolutely right about the night life here. It was definitely an adjustment to eat dinner at 9 or 10 at night. On the weekends people don't start going out until 11 or 12 at night and then stay out until like 7am, drink their mate (a super popular caffeinated tea drink) in the mornings and go on their way. I have not yet perfected this way of life because I like my sleep! It's kind of awesome to see the streets as busy at 2am on the weekends as they are at rush hour on the weekdays. Thanks for the question and good luck with your travels!

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm sure Chile will be absolutely amazing! You probably won't have too much culture shock but if you do I recommend bringing along a favorite book or movie to just take your mind off everything for a while. I am living with a host family so that helps a lot with being immersed in the culture. I am also taking clases along side argentine students. Most of my classes are political science or history classes and that has been difficult because I don't have the same background knowledge as the local students do. However, it has been a great opportunity for me to make local friends and ask them questions about some of the things I don't understand in class. I hope I answered some of your questions. Have fun in Chile this summer!

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Ryszard D. said...

Was it an intense musical culture shock when you arrived there or did you know what to expect in terms of the types of music they listen to?

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...


What are two tips you would share in selecting classes abroad?

2:35 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

There are a lot of fun things to do in BA but there are also some political issuea going on that are intereting to learn about. Madres de Plaza de Mayo, for instance. Thursday afternoons at 3:30, the mothers of the disappeared still march every week inthe plaza. After their march, which lasts thirty minutes, the madres gather in front of the Casa Rosada for a short speech. It’s worth staying and listening. I heard about it from a neighbour in the Buenos Aires rent. I´m glad I was told!

8:03 AM  
Blogger Nicole R. said...

Your trip sounds great! Aside from the weather and late meals, what other culture shocks did you encounter?

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Douglas Vrchota said...

It sounds like you are having a great time in Buenos Aires! I wont take up too much of your time but I will soon be an international student, but what tips could you give me for selecting classes in another country? Other than that, enjoy your trip!

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hola Lindsay!
Como es Argentina? I hope it finds you well! I just wanted to know if you have had any overwhelming experiences of culture shock since you have been in Buenos Aires. If so, what was it like?
Nicholette, CPP250

4:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That seems like an amazing trip for you. How much spanish did you know when you first went to Argentina? Did you take classes in spanish or english?

4:27 PM  

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