Consumed by final papers, projects, and exams, it has been difficult to find time to fully digest the reality that my final days in Buenos Aires are here. Somehow, an entire four months has managed to pass and it has felt like a matter of a few short days. I feel like I have written in every previous blog post my awe and amazement as how much time has passed—first month, six weeks, etc.—but I did not really imagine the ending of the semester. I mean, I knew it would happen (or is happening) but it feels a little like a daze. It feels like I will be getting on a flight on Saturday and then be returning in a few weeks, picking up my life here. Because that’s what I’ve created here—a life. I feel a sense of peace and comfort in the city that I couldn’t imagine at the beginning of the semester and to be quite honest, I’m not ready to give that up because I feel like I’m settled in. However, with the end of the semester, there comes a lot of reflection.
I kept hearing at that studying abroad “changes” you. I heard it at the orientation for the Buenos Aires program before I had left the States the orientation at IES Abroad once I arrived in Buenos Aires, and at random points during the semester. However, I don’t think study abroad has really changed me but instead has highlighted and strengthened my capabilities and values that I hold true. Before coming to Buenos Aires, I considered myself an independent person, one that was easy-going, and someone that loved to learn about the world. I think these statements are not only still true but have been solidified as values that I hold near to myself. A better phrase for study abroad is that it reveals certain truths. You learn a lot about yourself—how you handle being in a foreign place, how you spend your time, how you deal with stress and anxiety. While you may have an idea about all these things, certain situations shed a certain light that make these qualities more easily discernable. However, I do have to say my Spanish has changed for the better.
As I head back the U.S., I want to give myself some goals:
- Practice my Spanish! I know, I feel like I’m bemoaning this point but I really am proud of myself with how far my language skills have come and I don’t want to regress again. I know there are apps and online programs that can help me keep my vocabulary sharp but there’s nothing like speaking with an actual human being. So, I guess my goal is actually to practice my Spanish with someone.
- Get out and enjoy the day. I do not think there was a single day that passed this semester in which I stayed inside all day. Rain or shine, I would get up and go somewhere—this was partly due to my desire to use my time here wisely and my lack of wifi at home.
- Read more! I have been reading for pleasure for the first time in a long time. I forgot how much I enjoy getting lost in a book and shutting off all screens and distractions.
- Remember to take a step back. I have to credit my roommate Hanna with this one because she truly is great at enjoying life in the moment and has inspired me to do the same.
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<p>Come one, come all on this adventure of a lifetime! I'm Elizabeth, known to many as Liz and Avocado by some. Originally from Northern California, I am currently studying Communication Studies and American Culture at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. I've decided to take my education beyond the bounds of the United States and head to Buenos Aires, Argentina!! Follow me along this journey as I navigate a new country and try to remember Spanish!</p>