Hey everyone, thanks for checking out my first post of the new year! Happy 2018! I know it’s been a hot minute since I posted, but when I returned back to America, classes immediately started and life got crazy. Now that the semester kicked off, I’m more in a routine and I want to tell you more about my trip!
I went to Argentina and Chile on a two week immersion trip with thirty five sophomore students, two staff members, and one faculty member. These two weeks were the most exciting and challenging weeks of my entire life. We started our trip from Logan Airport in Boston and flew to Houston and then Argentina. I chose to go to Latin American countries because I felt like I would never choose to go there on my own, I knew a decent amount of Spanish (more on this to come!!!!) and I wanted to learn more about the businesses and culture and I was not disappointed! Although expensive, this trip would be my only trip to go abroad in college as I will not be spending a semester abroad.
For the first week we stayed in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This city was absolutely breathtaking and incredible. It reminded me of New York City with a very grid like structure, although it was much cleaner and felt safer. We stayed at a 5 star hotel, Melia, which was stunning and located in a great neighborhood! Our days consisted of visiting different businesses such as an Agribusiness, EY, a dairy farm, and River Plate which was a soccer stadium. It was really awesome hearing different perspectives on business for each of the different industries and to see the differences from America. One major difference as a whole was the dress code. Every business we attended was business casual, even more casual than America!
Half of our trip was for business but my favorite half was the fun part of the trip. We had an amazing time getting to do some of the most popular cultural activities like attending a gaucho show, seeing a Tango Show, volunteering at an orphanage and Kayaking on the Delta de Tigre. I even rode a horse which I absolutely would do again!
I’m so glad we got to experience a little bit of everything on this trip. Every single day was a new and welcoming experience. We had half a day to completely get lost in the city and test our Spanish skills. Going on this trip I was incredibly excited to test out my Spanish, but I soon realized, I was not as fluent as I thought and it was incredibly hard for me to respond back to people in Spanish! At first I had a great time trying to pull Spanish words from my senior year college level Spanish class- but then I started to realize I couldn’t recall many things! This led to some difficult conversations especially in taxi’s and Uber’s!
Another really fun part of the trip we had the opportunity to experience was the nightlife and culture in Argentina. To Argentinians going “out” doesn’t start until 1am and the clubs and bars do not become popular until 2-3am! In America this is just not the case. As the grandma I am, I was not expecting this at all! We did have our fun seeing what the local culture was like and experiencing the nightlife like a true Argentinian attending a traditional “discoteca” one night (which ended up being one of my favorite nights!) While our nights were spent out with friends, days were spent roaming the streets of Argentina tasting the local cuisine, much of which is influenced by Italian immigrants, and shopping for gifts for family and friends. This ended up being one of my favorite purchases on the trip, this romper came from a local boutique!
After our week in Argentina we got on a quick flight to Chile and Chile was very different than Argentina. Once we landed we immediately got off the bus and started driving through the mountains. I’ve never seen anything like these mountains before! Although we landed in Santiago, we drove straight to Valparaiso! We stayed at a Best Western here for two nights. Here we had the chance to go see a Graffiti tour, tour of the local port, and have some amazing views of the colored houses and neighborhoods.
One of my favorites parts of this trip was our time at the Veramonte Vineyard. Although the drinking age is 21 in America, it was 18 in Chile and Argentina, so we had the chance to tour a winery and try three wines made at the Vineyard. (This also turned into a photo-op for most of us!) It was really cool to experience this part of the culture because wine is one of Chile’s biggest exports. Learning about the different businesses with site visits was very helpful to receive the full experience.
Our visit to Chile had a lot less business visits than in Argentina. The site visits in Argentina included: a soccer stadium and a chamber of commerce. Luckily, we also had a lot more fun in Chile! My favorite parts included going to the Los Dominicos Handicraft Village. Here we had a very traditional meal and had the opportunity to shop the local products. I bought five pairs of earrings, a few pens, and two scarves this day, most of which made amazing presents.
On Tuesday we drove up to the Andes Mountains and went to Cascada de las Animas. Here we white water rafted and zip lined through the mountains. White water rafting with my new friends and a tour guide was truly an amazing experience. There were times where I just would look up and think I could stay here forever! I’ve never considered myself to be a mountains girl, but damn when the mountains look like this my mind was changed! Sitting in the boat you feel incredibly small and thankful to be surrounded by such beautiful scenery and amazing people. This was a feeling I will absolutely never forget. That’s me in the front left of the picture! I had the biggest smile on my face the entire time!
I won’t lie to you, being abroad for two weeks with the same people was amazing, but absolutely exhausting. I loved making new friends and connecting with the staff members, but there’s also something I love about familiarity and comfort. After two weeks I was ready to go home. I’m the biggest homebody in the world and this experience pushed me outside my comfort level so many times. This trip was the type I would classify as “once in a lifetime” and I am so grateful to my university for allowing me to make so many connections and for the chance to expand my world. The friends I’ve made and the memories I’ll have will be forever special.