We began as 16 strangers, but by the end of our time in Buenos Aires, Argentina, we had formed a unique bond. Five thousand miles away from Greensburg, a group of 15 Seton Hill students and Dr. Faszer-McMahon discovered a new culture together. An average weekday consisted of three sessions of Spanish class at our partner school in the heart of the city, then a group activity together in the afternoon. We walked the colorful cobblestone streets of La Boca, stood under the roaring falls of Iguazú and celebrated Día de la Patria (Argentina’s Independence Day) in the Argentine countryside. We traveled the Río de la Plata by boat, rode horses through an Uruguayan wine vineyard and watched the sun set over the historic quarter of Colonia.
"We traveled the Río de la Plata by boat, rode horses through an Uruguayan wine vineyard and watched the sun set over the historic quarter of Colonia."
Our Spanish skills improved each day by haggling in the San Telmo market, navigating the subte (subway) and colectivos (buses) and talking with our homestay families and classmates from all over the world. We investigated Argentine art forms by attending tango shows, trying our hand at fileteado and even taking a tango class ourselves! We learned about Argentine history through touring the somber ESMA detention center, the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires) and Recoleta Cemetery where former First Lady Eva Perón is buried. We marched with Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo (The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo) in front of the Casa Rosado (The Pink House) presidential palace to show our solidarity and engage civically. We shared maté, meals, apprehension and the adventure of exploring a new country together. We stepped outside of our comfort zone to adapt, learn and grow. Our paths will now differ, diverging in different directions, but we will always be connected through Buenos Aires.
Photo above: Our group with the fileteado instructor and our completed paintings. Fileteado is a colorful type of stylized painting that has been a part of the culture of the porteños (inhabitants of Buenos Aires) since the early twentieth century.