Foreign & Local in BsAs

Idil Tanrisever
June 21, 2018

One of the goals I had for my study abroad experience was to immerse myself in the culture. That isn’t as easy as it sounds. I was taking most of my classes at the IES Abroad Center, with other IES Abroad students, and our group was actually a really cool group. So, it isn’t easy to branch out and make friends outside the program without feeling a little FOMO. But I pushed myself to meet locals and people outside my program, and I am so happy I did! Now, I have friends I speak Spanish to, I know the right way to drink AND prepare mate, I know some more slangs and I get to go to asados (like barbeque but much better)!

So, if you are a one like me, here are some ways to immerse yourself in the city you are studying abroad:

1. Do community service or an internship: Taking part in a local organization, you don’t only learn more about the country you are in, but you also get to meet locals or other people who you have things in common with. Working towards the same goal is the easiest way to form friendships. Take advantage of it!

2. Work: Obviously on a student visa, you can’t have a real job. But who wants a real job while studying abroad anyway? When I was checking out the Buenos Aires Craigslist page (Craigslist is not sketchy here), I came across jobs such as English-speaking nanny or staff at Bar Crawl. They obviously are a few-hours-a-week jobs and you, again, get to meet people! On the even brighter side, you are making some pocket money, so it’s two birds with one stone.

3. Participate in walks and demonstrations that you care about (only if they are safe!!): Demonstrations in different countries are totally different experiences and have very different atmospsheres. Therefore, participating in a demonstration or a walk that is important to you is a cool experience even if you don't live there long-term. Just showing support is still very important. This way, you become a part of a community that is passionate about the same cause as you are. 

4. Sway away from the mass plans once in a while: People in your program will make plans together. Whenever they want to do something, they will put it in the group chat looking for company and that’s great, because you get to hop on the ride if you want to and sometimes you find out about things you didn’t know were happening! But once in a while, sway away from those mass plans, and go to a ‘Wine and Spanish’ event, or go to that Milonga you read reviews about online. Maybe next time, you’ll be making plans with the cutie you met at the Milonga ;)

5. Don’t be afraid: Don’t be afraid! DON’T BE AFRAID!!! To be independent and to be by yourself. If you want to go somewhere, go there! Don’t be discouraged because everyone else is going to that other place. Remember, this is your experience and you should be the one deciding for yourself!

Good luck and get ready for a great ride!

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Idil Tanrisever

<p>Hello hello! I am Idil and I am a junior at Lafayette College studying Economics and Anthropology &amp; Sociology. I am from Istanbul, Turkey and I am studying abroad in Buenos Aires this semester. I am an adventurous person who loves trying new things and meeting new people. I love spending time with locals and learning more about a city from their perspective. I cannot wait to take on this experience and bring you all with me!</p>

Home University:
Lafayette College
Istanbul, Turkey
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