Our Student of the Month in July is Ian Mitnick. He kindly told us about his experience in Buenos Aires through e-mail. Read on to find out more:
Tell us a little about yourself
I am going into my senior year at Northeastern University in Boston, I will be graduating with a degree in Political Science and International Affairs with a minor in sociology in May, I am from Belchertown, Massachusetts and just finished a 6 month internship in Bosnia-Herzegovina before coming to Argentina.
Which course did you take at BridgeArgentina and why did you decide to take this course?
I took advanced Spanish with Maximo. It was 4 hours of Spanish every day for 3 weeks. This class was perfect because it had been a long time since I took a Spanish class and I needed a refresher with some of the grammatical aspects of the language. The class was great because although we learned a lot of the fundamental parts of the language, our professor made it enjoyable by engaging us in interesting political/humorous conversations.
Why did you decide to come to Argentina?
I was interested in coming to Argentina because I had taken many years of Spanish in high school and college and I had previously done a study-abroad program in Chile, so I was eager to return to Latin America. Additionally, I learned a lot about the Desaparecidos and so I was interested to come to Buenos Aires and hear about the subject first hand.
What do you like/dislike about Buenos Aires?
I absolutely love Buenos Aires. The empanadas, the choripan, the mate, and the vino are all exceptional. It is also great to live in a city (unlike Boston) where the poliches and bars are open all night. The people are surprisingly helpful and friendly, even if you aren’t a great Spanish speaker. I really can’t think of anything that I particularly disliked about Buenos Aires…except for the weather.
Where did you stay (host family, hostel…) and how was the experience? Was it different than what you expected?
I stayed with a host mother who was excellent!! She treated me and my roommates like her children and was very welcoming, helpful, and accommodating with everything! She was also a great cook..which made our stay here rather enjoyable. The experience was better than what I expected…unfortunately we lived very far away from Bridge, but her greatness was worth the commute.
Do you feel that your level of Spanish has improved? How was the experience of being immersed in the language?
My level of Spanish has greatly improved since coming to Argentina. Especially living with a host mom who only speaks Spanish, I was forced to speak only in Spanish and I think this made my experience here much more fulfilling. Being immersed in the language was a great experience, on other study abroad programs it can be easy to avoid speaking the native language, but with this program and my host mom, it was impossible.
What are some tips that you’d give to other people coming to Buenos Aires?
Make sure you go to a Tango show and the Hip Hop Culture Club! Also La Bombenera Stadium is definitely a must see! Also make sure you try as much of the asado and food from the parrillas as possible. You can’t come to Buenos Aires and not drink the Quilmes.