Cara Overholser visits a feria, or artisanal flea market, in the San Telmo neighborhood of Buenos Aires where artisans hawk their wares.
Overseas Study Program
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cara’s majors: Spanish and Political Science
Term abroad: Academic Year 2005-2006
Reason you chose this program: I wanted to go to a Spanish speaking country that was off the beaten path.
Favorite classes: Argentine Foreign Policy and Brazilian Dance
Describe the housing situation: I did a homestay and I felt like part of the family by the time I left. I still talk to my host mom about three times a month and I miss her like crazy!
Greatest challenge: Colectivos, the bus system in Buenos Aires. I got lost three times before I finally swallowed my pride and asked, with my gringa accent, for directions.
Biggest surprise: Argentine food is not spicy, at all! Argentines have a low tolerance for spice. Also, they have these all-day barbeques called asados, where family and friends gather to eat meat and drink fantastic Argentine wine. By the end of the asado you feel like you ate an entire cow!
Best memory: Going to the Obelisco in the center of Buenos Aires after Argentina won a World Cup game against Mexico. There were people beating on drums, dancing and singing, and climbing up on the traffic lights! The police just watched as we had a fiesta in the street.
Advice to future study abroad participants: Put yourself out there so that you can meet the local people. Join clubs, services organizations, sports teams, and dance classes. They are a great way to met peers and learn Spanish. Also, plan trips to surrounding countries and learn to tango.
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: Catcalls. When I arrived in Buenos Aires I had a hard time learning how to deal with all the piropos women get on the street. Then I experienced reverse culture shock when I came back to the States and not one man yelled a compliment when I walked down the street. Sometimes, I still think that I must be having a bad hair day!
Facts about Argentina that you think people would be surprised to learn: Rock and roll is more popular than salsa, merengue, and tango.