The Spirit of Mate

Alesha Garand
July 22, 2019

The Spirit of Mate

Mate is one of the cultural traditions of Argentina that I love the most. Mate is a traditional drink, kind of similar to both tea and coffee. It has a really strong herbal taste; and although I am not the biggest fan of the taste, I love the culture that goes along with it. When you drink mate, there is one person who serves the mate and passes it out to the rest of the group. One person drinks, passes the cup back, and it gets refilled for the next person. There is a sense of community tied to the sharing of mate. Drinking from the same cup creates a bond. Throughout Buenos Aires you can see people sharing/drinking mate; on university campuses, parks, cafes, and even while working. Most commonly during this trip, I have shared mate with my classmates at the University of Buenos Aires. Throughout class and class field trips (so even on the bus) we drink mate together. While drinking mate with my new friends, I appreciate the sense of community and togetherness.

The same feeling of community that is present in the tradition of sharing mate is present in Buenos Aires spirit as a whole. The greeting here, even when you do not know the person well, is a quick hug with a kiss near the cheek. This quick greeting creates a form of intimacy and connection. There is a feeling here that we are all connected to each other; I do not feel this same connection in the United States. There is often a feeling of “every man for himself” in the United States, but here there is a stronger sense of community so integral that it presents itself in the everyday greeting. This is something that I am really going to miss when I return to the United States.

I leave next week. I cannot believe that time has moved so quickly. There are many adventures and experiences that I do not want to leave behind, but I do want to return to the United States. When traveling abroad, it is so important to delve as deep as you can into the tradition and everyday life of a culture; but after delving so deep, it can be difficult to resurface. The friends that I have made here will stay in my memory, as they were a key reason for the adventures I have had. If you ever travel and/or study abroad, making friends with locals and other travelers is crucial. While I could have explored the city on my own, I would never have run in a rainstorm in Tigre or found a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with social tango. Amongst students at the University of Buenos Aires, IES Abroad participants, and language partners, I have formed unforgettable relationships.

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Alesha Garand

<p>I am an elementary education student; with a Spanish minor, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) endorsement, and leadership certificate. My passions focus on exploring new cultures. Recently I explored Philippian culture through Tinikling (a form of dance) and Spanish through reading various Latin American authors. I also enjoy expressing myself through art, particularly painting. My mission is to become a dual language education teacher (with Spanish and English) so that I can spread a love and appreciation for culture and language to my future students.</p>

2019 Summer 1, 2019 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Portland
Newberg, OR
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