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Livin’ La Vida Argentina

 UB is set in the neighborhood of Belgrano in
Buenos Aires. This area of the city is filled with
quaint cafes and beautiful parks among the
university and apartment buildings.

For a night owl like myself, getting up for a 10:00AM class is somewhat of a struggle no matter what country I reside in. On a typical morning, my alarm sounds at 8:00AM and after I press snooze four or five times before I begrudgingly stumble into my bathroom to coax my hair into something presentable for the day. After a quick breakfast of coffee and anything I can smother with dulce de leche, I catch a bus and I am on my way to my university. Minus a few details (AKA walking alongside pigeons and dodging taxis), my mornings in the States and the mornings I have had so far in Buenos Aires have been fairly similar.
 The stunning view of Buenos Aires from the 11th floor cafeteria of the university.

I am a part of the Intensive Spanish Language program at the University of Belgrano (UB). When I walk into my classroom there is always a faint stench of mate (an Argentine remedy for the sleep deprived) and new friends to greet with a kiss on the cheek. After our professor finishes her cigarette and coffee on the patio of the University, we begin class with updates on our time in Argentina. The fact that our professor is genuinely interested in our lives is one of my favorite parts about going to school here. Our conversations have ranged from the different clubs around town, to tango shows, to the Argentine government.
 University of Belgrano students love to hang out at school with friends to study, catch up, and drink mate.

The rest of the class time we spend on the actual curriculum. For the intermediate class that I am a part of, we are focusing on grammatical tenses of the Spanish language, including present, past, future, conditional, and subjunctive. Our professor will explain the context of a verb tense, how to conjugate the verbs, and explain any irregularities in the verb tense. It is helpful that the class is entirely in Spanish because I am able to learn how I can apply what I have heard in class to conversations outside the classroom. There are many opportunities throughout the time we are in class to practice reading, writing, and speaking through discussions and exercises in the workbook.

Since we only have one class for three hours a day, the workload in the Intensive Language Program is not unbearable. In fact, compared to the workload of an average college student in the United States, it does not seem intensive at all. That is where self-discipline comes in. If I were to just do my homework every night, I would have 20 minutes of work to do. However, I spend at least two hours every night looking over my notes, doing Spanish exercises online, and studying vocab. This study schedule, along with my everyday conversations living in the city, has already improved my language skills. I would want to stress to anyone that is interested in applying to this program that you will get out of this program what you put into it.

While I do only spend 15 hours a week at my university, the city of Buenos Aires has surely become my classroom. Every bus ride is an opportunity to practice listening, every trip to the grocery store is an opportunity to learn new vocabulary, and every weekend is an opportunity to experience more of the culture of the beautiful country of Argentina. Stay tuned to continue to hear about my learning experiences!

Maggie Luehrs is the Fall 2014 CEA MOJO in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is currently a junior at Colorado State University.

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