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Rooing Up in the Andes Mountains!

I am entirely convinced that studying with a group of diverse students is the most unique, enriching, and rewarding way to travel. I have been amazed by the way that thirteen students from different educational backgrounds can mold an intensive Spanish program into an experience that explores and promotes their interests. Gabby comes to mind immediately. Her passion for geology is astounding. As we explored the mountainous terrain of Salta, she was enamored with nearly every rock and was quick to answer any questions that we had about them. Aside from our geologist-in-traini13880280_1247664738586111_201000524992541758_nng, Sophie and Imran were quick to offer any medical advice relating to twisted ankles or open wounds; Sally was impassioned by the rights of Argentine citizens and the perception of American citizens; Ally fell in love with each and every piece of art that she came across; and all of the upper-level Spanish students were quick to interpret or translate when asked. These unique perspectives and skillsets allowed us to see new parts of Argentina that we would have never experienced if we would have traveled alone. This group dynamic was fundamental in drawing attention to the diversity that Argentina is home to. The country is one of a kind, and I could not have asked for a better group to have shared this experience with.

Happy 200th Birthday, Argentina!

Full of friends, family, and fireworks, Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate in the United States. That being said, I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be in the country this year on 4th of July. Thankfully, a few of us still managed to celebrate the U.S.’s birthday from over 5000 miles away with… McDonald’s (we justified it as cultural immersion because the Coke and chicken taste a little different!). But this wasn’t the only Independence Day we’d be celebrating while in Argentina.IMG_0670

Every year on July 9th, Argentina celebrates the day it declared independence from Spain in 1816. This year was particularly special because it marked Argentina’s 200th year of independence! There were a number of events going on around the city to celebrate. In the area surrounding the Plaza de Mayo, food stands offering dishes from across the world stretched for blocks. The street was blocked off for the large crowd to purchase food, listen to music, and watch a battle reenactment. The city seemed to be painted in the blue and white colors of Argentina’s flag.

This was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about Argentina’s history and witness the pride that Argentine citizens have for their country. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to celebrate the United States’ 300th year of independence!

Happy 200th Birthday, Argentina!

Full of friends, family, and fireworks, Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate in the United States. That being said, I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be in the country this year on 4th of July. Thankfully, a few of us still managed to celebrate the U.S.’s birthday from over 5000 miles away with… McDonald’s (we justified it as cultural immersion because the Coke and chicken taste a little different!). But this wasn’t the only Independence Day we’d be  IMG_0670celebrating while in Argentina.

 

Every year on July 9th, Argentina celebrates the day it declared independence from Spain in 1816. This year was particularly special because it marked Argentina’s 200th year of independence! There were a number of events going on around the city to celebrate. In the area surrounding the Plaza de Mayo, food stands offering dishes from across the world stretched for blocks. The street was blocked off for the large crowd to purchase food, listen to music, and watch a battle reenactment. The city seemed to be painted in the blue and white colors of Argentina’s flag.

 

This was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about Argentina’s history and witness the pride that Argentine citizens have for their country. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to celebrate the United States’ 300th year of independence!

Argenti-merican Politics

On the plane from Dallas to Buenos Aires, Argentina, I spent hours playing through my first meeting with my host mom, Marcela. Expecting a simple “Hola, ¿Cómo estás?” I found myself surprised when Marcela asked in Spanish, “What are your thoughts on the American presidential race?”

This was, of course, not the first topic we discussed, but the issue managed to be brought up on the short taxi ride between la Universidad de Belgrano and our apartment. Prior to beginning an in-depth study of Argentina’s past, present, and future through a UMKC class, I had no grasp on the country’s political system. This made me that much more surprised when Marcela began asking questions regarding American politics; she was very interested in my thoughts on Donald Trump’s platform, President Obama’s stances, and the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. If I would not have known otherwise, I would have thought I was speaking to another American!

American politics have become integrated into Argentine culture. The candidates are on the evening news, discussed over dinner, and researched online. American political actions are of so much interest to those outside of the United States because they will likely make an international impact. As an American citizen, my political opinions are unique and interest Argentines (and trust me, they’re not afraid to ask about them!). This has encouraged me to stay more up to date than ever on the presidential race.

U.S. political coverage is not restricted by American borders. It is ingrained in Argentine culture, just as it is ingrained in American culture. By studying in Argentina, I have realized that maintaining a healthy international image is foundational when selecting a candidate to be president. Don’t forget—the world will be watching on election day!