As my time in Buenos Aires, Argentina comes to an end, I reflected on a few things I would have advised myself to do if I were to restart my study abroad experience.
- Bring more U.S. dollars: This is the most important tip I would suggest by far. Due to how the economy is managed by the government, there is an official exchange rate that is much worse than a rate you can get anywhere in the city. However, when you take money out of a bank, you get a much worse rate.
These were pesos I received after exchanging US dollars. When you exchange cash for cash, you can get much more bang for your buck.
- Take more Spanish classes: In Buenos Aires, I took two English courses and three Spanish courses. There were options for me to take Spanish courses that would count for upper division Business requirements, and I chose to take them in English. In the Spanish courses, they understand that it isn’t your first language and focus more on the content you know than the Spanish you can speak. Some professors are limited on what they can cover in English courses.
- Bring clothes and electronics: Due to high import taxes on foreign goods, clothes and electronics are much more expensive in Argentina than they are in the US.
- Bring a good-quality jacket: I would recommend a neutral-colored, water-resistant jacket with a hood that could be used for everyday purposes, as well as camping. At times, I suffered because I didn’t have a great jacket.
- Branch out: One of the few regrets I have of my semester was that I didn’t get to know many people that weren’t from the US. I made some great friends in the residencia that I lived in, but most of the time I hung out with people from the US.
- Challenge your Spanish-speaking ability: It took me a while to try to talk more with people in the residencia in Spanish, but once I did, my ability improved tremendously. However, I still wished I had pushed this more and spent more time speaking the language than I did.
- Don’t bring many formal clothes: I brought three or so sets of formal clothes, not knowing if I might need them for going out or for school. I only dressed up once, making them a waste for bringing in a limited space in suitcases.
- Abandon your shorts: This was tough for me to do, as I almost exclusively wear shorts in San Diego. However, you instantly look like a foreigner in them which I didn’t like much.
This was taken in the salt flats (salinas grandes) of Salta, one of the places I traveled to.
- Travel: The beauty of Argentina, and surrounding countries, such as Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile, is that there are so many different landscapes worth seeing. Many of the most popular can be taken on large, double-decker buses that provide meals en-route. To see what I mean regarding different landscapes, look at my Facebook! I have an album for Patagonia specifically and the rest of photos taken in Argentina.
In Iguazu, where one of many exceptional photos with the Argentine flag were taken.
- Exercise: Of the people I talked to on this subject, everyone gained a few pounds. Very few of my friends were exercising while in Buenos Aires. Couple that with carb-heavy foods and going out, and gaining weight is bound to happen.
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