- Bella P. (Student)
Studying Abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina - Pepperdine University
Updated: Nov 8, 2022
Galloping on a horse through fields, flying under waterfalls, and eating huge slices of decadent cakes were some of the amazing things that I had the opportunity to do this past summer. As a student who recently changed my major during my junior year, it was still important for me to finish my GE required classes to hopefully graduate on time. Thankfully at Pepperdine University, various international study abroad programs were within my grasp. Studying abroad not only emerged me into a new culture or furthered my academic career, but I also met some of my closest friends.
Here are some highlights, general information, and tips on my study abroad trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina!
In this particular program, instead of living in a dorm or on campus, students were assigned to different local families (approved by the University) where they would reside for the whole trip. This was an amazing experience because it felt like we could really get to know the culture by seeing and living like a local Argentine. Additionally, some families spoke limited English, so it allowed us to really tune into our Spanish tongue and mind. By the end of the trip, I was no longer just trying to translate, but I was thinking in Spanish. Perfect for continued learning in another language.
Buenos Aires, Argentina is a metropolitan city. Everything was so densely packed that there could be three cafes on one block. Our main method of transportation was walking or taking the subway (or what we called the Subte). It was so easy to follow Google Maps and read the subway lines. Even though I love driving, this changed my mind on what my favorite method of transportation is. In addition to the subte, we also used the train if we wanted to visit a neighboring city. Definitely seek out different modes of transportation that the people use. It builds interaction skills and immerses yourself in the culture.
Buenos Aires is formally known as the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires or CABA (Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires). Within CABA are different barrios full of various attractions. In San Nicolas, you will find one of the widest avenues, a total of 14 lanes. It is so large that you have to take two crosswalks to get to the other side. There were various attractions from the Teatro Colon opera house to exploring the nightlife at Palermo. I walked the cobblestone street around colorful La Boca, famous for buildings full of bright yellows, reds, blues, greens, taking in the tango dancers, and the aroma of the best choripan sandwiches. The list of neighborhoods and attractions keep going. Make a point to walk around and seek out what the locals do, you will find delights and treasures not frequented as a tourist.
Educational Field Trips (EFTs)
One aspect of Pepperdine’s study abroad programs are their Educational Field Trips (EFT). It is a time where the students take a break from their studies and travel to another destination and learn more about the world around them. For the summer abroad program, we went up to Northern Argentina to visit Iguazu Falls. This was probably my favorite place of all of Argentina. To get to the attraction site of the falls, we crossed metal bridges across the body of water before eventually seeing white mist in the sky. Over the safety bars are huge cataracts falling into what is known as the Garganta del Diablo (the Devil’s Throat). The site was peaceful and stunning yet terrifying at the same time. To our right were the forests of Argentina and to the left were the jungles of Brazil. And in front of us, a serene view of the falls surrounded by wildlife and warmed by the setting sun. Towards the top, a double rainbow wrapped around the falls. It was so peaceful, until the boat’s speed was not slowing down as we headed straight for the falls. In a split second, there came cheers with cries of laughter and shock. Clothes were drenched and hair soaked. The captains chucked as they circled their fingers in the air, indicating that we were about to go under. Again. And again. We probably went under 5 times, freezing, laughing, and imprinting an experience we would all remember with joy.
If you’re thinking about studying abroad, I highly recommend doing so. You will have adventures, experience a different culture, and develop friendships with your peers and the locals you meet. All while you’re receiving class credit. 😉