Today marks my fourth full day in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although I have spent an entire semester abroad, traveling to a handful of European countries, this experience thus far doesn’t even compare.
To start, let’s talk culture shock. Because of the language barrier and difference in my living situation, the culture shock here has been bigger than I’ve experienced before. Not even in a bad way though. I’ve had such an amazing time these past few days discovering a new culture, and already feel that I have learned so much!
Living with a host family has already been such a different experience. The first day, it was a lot to take in. Upon arriving to Buenos Aires at 7:00 am, I had to wait in the airport for 5 hours for the rest of the students and then we had a 1 hour bus ride into the city.
All of the host parents met us at the University, by which point I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and needed a shower. I quickly learned that my host parents barely spoke English, and my brain was not functioning enough to start thinking and speaking completely in Spanish. I pushed through, especially when they brought out the empanadas for lunch- yumm.
I am lucky to have an amazing set of host parents to live with. Both are in their 60s and have been hosting students for over 15 years. I think living in this type of situation will give me that extra bit of culture immersion that I didn’t get living at Harlaxton, where I was constantly surrounded by American students last year (not that I’d ever bash on my castle).
My host parents are so sweet and excited to help me learn, and I have loved the time I’ve spent with them at dinner each night these past few days. Chatting, learning lots, and trying new Argentinian foods!
As far as the language, I have felt good these past few days but still have some adjusting to do. My first morning of classes, I stopped by a coffee shop for breakfast. I spoke one sentence of Spanish to the man at the counter and he asked if I was from the US. One sentence! So that was discouraging, lol.
Even simple things like getting a coffee or going to the grocery store have already pushed me out of my comfort zone, but at the same time, I am so excited about it. Even though I felt pretty confident in my Spanish coming in to this summer, I am already having to adjust to the different type of Spanish used here, as well as the accent and speed at which fluent speakers talk.
I am excited to reflect back and see how I grow throughout the next few weeks!