Eagerly-Not-Yet-Packed: My Pre-departure Thoughts

Isabel Rameker square headshot
Isabel Rameker
August 19, 2022
Buenos Aires plaza de mayor flag

It feels a bit surreal that I’ll be in Buenos Aires in less than a month. I’ve been so caught up in the paperwork of it all—sending in my visa application, buying plane tickets, making sure I have all of my forms filled out—that leaving has felt like a distant goal until recently. I got a call this morning from the Argentine consulate about my visa, and the man on the other end of the phone launched into a series of questions in Spanish almost immediately after I picked up. A few questions in, he asked what I knew about Argentina. I was quiet for a minute as I realized that in the midst of all my other preparations, I hadn’t actually done that much research on the country itself. I’ve heard a lot of generalities like, “You’ll love the culture!” and “There’s so much good music!” I know a few surface-level things: Tango. Immigration. Evita. But I have almost no idea what life in Buenos Aires will be like. This level of uncertainty kind of works for me; I like going into things without a lot of expectations because I want to let the experience be whatever it is instead of trying to impose a bunch of ideas of what it should be. But I also want to make the most out of my time abroad, and so I’ve been thinking about what I want to get out of this semester. Here are a few: 


  1. Spanish. This is pretty self explanatory, but language immersion was one of the biggest reasons I chose my program and I want to hold myself to that. I can see it being easy to slip into English with other study abroad students but I want to practice Spanish as often as possible instead of defaulting to English. 
  2. Community. I’m excited to get to know my IES Abroad cohort and other international students, but I also want to take advantage of opportunities to get involved in the BA community and experience Argentine culture from a more local perspective. 
  3. Stay big on saying yes. Yes to diverse experiences, challenging opportunities, and new friends. Yes to learning everything I can about myself and my new home. 
  4. Take time to reflect. I’m so eager to experience everything that Argentina has to offer, and I want to prioritize reflecting on my experiences throughout the semester so that I can really take advantage of my time. I usually reflect best through writing, so carving out space for that in my everyday life will be important. 


I’m excited for these goals to morph and expand as the semester goes on. I think I’m equal parts eager and terrified to be on my way so soon, but for now I’m focused on my ever-expanding to-do list and savoring my last few weeks of summer at home. 

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Isabel Rameker

I'm a junior sociology and anthropology major at Carleton College in Minnesota. I'm also a prospective Spanish minor and I'm both excited and nervous to dive into a semester of Spanish immersion in Argentina. Although I go to school in a small town, I love cities and am endlessly fascinated by their different cultures and dynamics, so I'm especially excited to be living in Buenos Aires this fall. At school, I play club frisbee and write for my college's news site, and in my free time, I love to lounge with a good book, cook meals with my housemates, and enjoy the outdoors.

Home University:
Carleton College
Madison, Wisconsin
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