Don’t cry for me Argentina. I will be back. | Steven Dyer Shares How IBUS in Argentina Changed His Life
The question I get on a daily basis is: “Where are you from?” Upon arriving in late July, I admired that Porteños acknowledged so quickly and were interested in where I had come from. I did not even have to open my mouth to attempt a word in Spanish before they knew I was not from here. Now, after four and a half months, when I am asked that same question I am almost offended. I don’t feel different, but the question brings me back to the reality that no matter how good my accent is, how many kisses I give, or how many empañadas I eat, I am actually not a Porteño and in a matter of days I’m going to be leaving.
Looking back, I vividly remember entering the Ezeiza airport and noticing the unorganized and chaotic Argentine culture. It feels like last week I was going through orientation, being taught the culture norms and how to do operate in the city, like using the bus system or the Argentine Peso. Today, after living in Buenos Aires and traveling to four cities around the country I have truly experienced it all. From the glaciers of Patagonia to the Iguazu falls, to Mendoza wine country by the Andes Mountains, I have seen the natural and pristine beauty that this amazing country has to offer. Couple that with a unique and cultural city, known as the “Paris of South America”, and you have a pretty spectacular semester.
This program is unlike any other study abroad program. As a transfer student, I had limited options because I still had many credit requirements and wouldn’t be able to take a lot of electives; I needed a semester that would be academically equivalent to a normal GW semester. Additionally, I didn’t have any advanced language education. This program allowed me to take GW classes taught by a mix of GW and Argentine professors at a local university. Our classes were basically the same as they would be at GW and all of our core grades transferred. Being able to take Spanish was not only extremely useful, but also an additional perk to the program – I can now speak Spanish well! The program consisted of thirteen GWSB students, and after four months I can honestly say I have twelve new friends that I have shared new findings, cultural struggles, and overall crazy experiences. They were a huge part of my experience and I would not trade sharing my experience with them for anything.
Two people I am really going to miss are my host parents, Enrique and Rosa. I was so incredibly blessed to be placed with two of the most amazing people I have ever met and now consider them my real family. Without them, this experience would not have been the same. They cooked me amazing meals, taught me Spanish, helped me understand the city, and took care of me when I was sick. I also learned life lessons from them like, “Money isn’t happiness.” “Money can buy you a trip to Cancun, but then the trip is over.” “In order to be happy you need faith and a set of values to guide you through life.”
This being my first time outside of the U.S., I had no idea what I was going to expect. I had no idea how I would react to the cultural differences, being away from home for so long, or how I was going to communicate in Spanish. While there were definitely bumps in the road, I really surprised myself on how well I handled this huge change. Not only did I learn about international business and how to do business in Argentina, but I also learned about myself and what I am capable of doing. Lauren Beilin, the GW Resident Director in Buenos Aires, told us before we left that study abroad was not going to change our lives but that we needed to change our lives while studying abroad. After my semester here in Buenos Aires, I am confident I changed my life studying abroad and I thank GWSB, the Office of Study Abroad, and my supportive parents for making this possible.
Don’t cry for me Argentina. I will be back.
Steven Dyer is a Junior in GWSB pursuing a BBA with a dual concentration in International Business and Business Economics & Public Policy. To read more about the IBUS in Argentina program, click here.