7 things to ponder before you study abroad in B.A.

Jessica Duska
July 26, 2017

Well my bag is packed and I’m ready to travel (although in full disclosure I’ve been packed for a week and trying really hard to live on three pairs of shorts because if I unpack anything the odds of me forgetting to put it back in my bag are high. So a more appropriate thing to say would be I leave tomorrow or I’ve hit one day left on my countdown to studying abroad in Buenos Aires)!!

This is my suitcase.










Looks tiny, doesn’t it… well apparently it’s three pounds overweight already. Just so you know, even if you pack beautifully and efficiently, the airport people don’t care. Three pounds is three pounds and they will make you destroy your beautiful folding so maybe just only pack 50 pounds in the first place.

I’m pretty sure it looks tiny because I stood on an elevated surface to take it, but I also took this picture of my pup while standing on the same elevated surface and no one is complaining about that.

So here I am, one full day left in the states and I thought instead of embarking on a crazy, last day adventure I would wake up super early and write a list of all the insights I have gathered on Buenos Aires/study abroad (whether they be true or not) and share them with you, whoever you are... So here is everything you need to know about study abroad and Buenos Aires before you embark:

  1. No one wears shorts. (This really got me). Everyone in Argentina is way more fashionable than Americans and apparently fashion these days means pants. Against all odds, I packed shorts anyways. A wise girl once said you are going to look like a tourist whether you avoid shorts or not so if you like letting your legs breathe every once in awhile, just be that tourist that admits to being a tourist and pack your shorts.

  2. Get comfortable spending time alone. One person said his most valuable piece of advice was to take a weekend trip alone. I don’t think he ever actually went on one, so maybe that was his biggest regret instead of his most valuable piece of advice. Either way, there is something to be said for taking things in in solitude. You can do whatever you want; see whatever you want to see, eat whatever you want to eat, and you can take pictures and share them later if you are inclined. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but give it a shot. No one will know you so if you are worried about the judgment of eating alone, you never have to see those people again.

  3. South America is big. Argentina is also big. You probably think I’m joking but I had the expectation that I would be taking weekend trips to other South American countries and after some actual research I’m realizing that that might not be the case. It is not Europe.  Not only can foreigners (that’s us) not travel on planes without hefty fees, but without planes a ride to a “near town” consists of a 14-hour bus ride. I’ll keep you posted on my travel excursions that may or may not consist of visits to the neighborhoods of B.A.

  4. Journaling is not for the weak. As the person writing this blog post, you likely think I am biased towards journaling. And don’t get me wrong, I get the laughs and puzzled looks just like any other person that journals. But this advice is purely from a former-study abroad perspective. One person told me the most valuable thing she brought was a journal. If that seems like a stretch to you, I don’t blame you, but she never used to do it before and now she journals like its going out of style so if you’re looking to start, now is the time. It is always a great laugh to come across your thoughts from a journal you wrote in your past life. I just found my diary from my 8th birthday and it was a trip.

  5. Go north! Apparently northern Argentina is extremely rural, which means two things for our purposes: 1. It has beautiful sights to marvel at, still within the country limits, and 2. It is dirt cheap to do anything because there is way less commercial traffic/tourism.

  6. Don’t be a kind-of person. People are always saying things like, I really want to finish the Harry Potter series or I want to take an acting class, and then they never do it. I’m infamous for this, I let all these ideas fester in my head and then never do anything about them. Next time you have an idea, just go do it. Don’t wait a minute. Don’t wait any more than 12 seconds. Say to yourself, I want to go to a soccer game with friends, and then don’t wait to ask them at school. Start a group chat and buy the tickets so you have to go. You know you won’t regret it. Study abroad seems like the time to do everything you want to because you know when you get home you’ll feel obligated to fulfill actual responsibilities. So just go do things. Like right away.

  7. B.A. has free walking tours every day of the week. And I mean every day.  Who knew? My mom always says nothing is free… so maybe there is a catch, but https://turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar/en/recorrido/free-guided-walking-tours says that there are explorations of different parts of B.A. at 11am every day of the week, and I trust everything on the world wide web. This seems random but I hope you take advantage of this discovery, I surely will.

Thanks for reading! I hope you think of these random thoughts on your travels and are glad you read this compilation of advice that I borrowed from others :)