It’s not goodbye, it’s a see ya later

It’s been two weeks since I got back from Argentina. I sometimes forget that I don’t need to constantly speak Spanish. Driving felt weird as well since I was constantly walking to get to places while abroad instead of driving. Whenever I have driven around since returning home, I have been more cautious, especially on the highway. I kept worrying if I was driving in the center and not merging into the other lanes correctly. I still remember what the highway was like in Argentina. The memory haunts me from driving. I kind of miss walking around to get places. Everything was so conveniently located since most places were all close to each other.  As soon as I got back to the U.S, I ate my favorite food every day until my stomach could burst. I gained some weight as well. I was kind of disappointed by how much I gained.

I can’t really tell if I experienced any culture shock since I got back or if I am currently experiencing it. My daily routine has definitely changed. My eating habits have been changed as well. Argentina was experiencing winter at that time and didn’t have many fruits and vegetables available for purchase. Host families will not buy a lot of vegetables and fruit due to the high cost of seasonal produce. Luckily I was able to receive plenty of nutritious food from my host mom. She was a nutritionist. Her food was amazing and was better than the food that I found outside the home. I have been making adjustments and changes throughout my return. I definitely think that I have learned a lot from my study abroad experience. For example, I think I improved in listening to Spanish. I wished that I was able to study abroad longer and improve my skills more. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to go study abroad and travel by myself. I wouldn’t have done it without the support from my family and friends. There were many difficult and happy times throughout my study abroad trip as I was able to explore a new country and eat different types of food. If I had an opportunity to do this again, I definitely would. Hopefully, later in the future, I will be able to visit Argentina again and explore more cities and landmarks. My journey of studying abroad ends here but I will cherish these memories until I die. There are not many people who have the opportunity to study abroad and therefore I am thankful for this opportunity and hope others have an opportunity like I did.

Julie Jeong is currently a freshman at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Chemistry, Entrepreneurship, and Spanish. Julie will spend the summer with the UMKC Spanish Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She plans to attend UMKC’s Dental School after her undergraduate study. She plans to use Spanish in her career as a future dentist who strives to help patients and eliminate miscommunications.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Packed: You Sure You Didn’t Leave Anything Behind?

My room is a mess. My clothes are sprawled out across every surface, luggage laying open and half full on the floor, and I’m pretty sure my toothbrush is laying on my nightstand… wait, did I pack my toothbrush already? Yeah, I should probably get that back out; I’m not leaving for four more days, and brushing my teeth this week is definitely in my best interest.

Am I going crazy? Maybe. I can tell you one thing for certain: I don’t want to leave anything behind. I’ve made checklists on top of checklists to make sure I don’t forget anything, but I can still guarantee you I am going to leave a few things behind; not necessarily because I forget them but because I’m leaving. In a few days, I am leaving my home, and I’m not coming back… for six weeks. Wow. That just hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’m going to be gone for 42 days, and I’m leaving a lot behind: my family, my friends, and life as I know it. I wish I could shove them all into my suitcase and take them with me, but I just can’t. It’s going to be really hard leaving all the comforts of home behind, but that’s what adventure is all about right? Getting out of your comfort zone?

I didn’t sign up to go to Argentina because I wanted to experience the same things I do back home. I’m traveling halfway across the world! I want to be a part of something completely new. I want to see the vibrant landscapes, smell the crisp ocean breeze, taste the exquisite food, hear the hustle and bustle of the city, and feel beneath my feet ground I have not yet tread on.

Studying abroad is all about getting out there and being a part of something new. It’s not about what you’re bringing with you, or even what you left behind (No, forgetting that extra pair of socks is not going to make or break your study abroad experience). Studying abroad is a time to embrace uncertainty and seek out the unknown.

So, go on and forget, I tell myself! Whatever it is, you don’t need it where you’re going. Ditch that checklist and zip up your suitcase because it’s time to go. Tell your family you love them and your friends goodbye; It’s time to see the world.

(Below: pictures of me saying goodbye to my family)

Sam Nelson is a junior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City majoring in Psychology and Economics with a minor in Spanish. Sam will study abroad with the UMKC Spanish Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina during Summer of 2018 with hopes of improving his Spanish language skills. He is a member of Pride Alliance and several other student organizations. After Sam completes his degree at UMKC, he plans to attend graduate school and earn his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

The Barrios of Buenos Aires & Getting used to Buttons

I have been in Argentina for just over a week and I completed my first class today. That’s right we got here a whole week before classes! What have we been doing you ask? We have taken the time to visit different barrios (neighborhoods) of Buenos Aires and let me tell you they are Beautiful!! Buenos Aires is a large city in Argentina and since it is so large it is broken up into many different provinces and neighborhoods. We have gone to the famous “La Boca”, the beautiful “Recoleta,” the historical “San Telmo,” the classic “Palermo,” and the riverside of Puerto Madero. Also, there has been a few bars and clubs on the free weekends and there will be many more visits. By the way, here in Buenos Aires when you go to a club you party until 7 in the morning!! Absolutely crazy, but there is truly no experience like it. I didn’t make it to 7, only 5:30 but I had totally loved it. My experience in Buenos Aires within the week has already given my so much information and insight into the Spanish language and more than that I am truly loving my life here, I cannot believe the first week has already flown by. I found myself already being conditioned to think and speak in Spanish which is something else I find fascinating! Whenever I’m speaking with family back in the states or simply thinking to myself the Spanish equation to the English word I want to get out seems to pop into my head. A few things I am getting used to here is that everything is a push button or stored in a bag! In order to flush the toilet, there is either a button way on top of the toilet against the wall or on the side of the toilet. The lights in my homestay are buttons rather than switches and milk is stored in a bag. A BAG!!