The Ultimate Guide to Study Breaks

Jessica Duska
November 23, 2017

It's finals week and you know what that means: no sleep, unhealthy habits, stress, and papers... except I'm in Argentina and we play by different rules here. As the week before finals came to an end and we had to start thinking about shacking up in a café and hiding out to write papers and pour over notes, I took an alternate route. Instead of spending my last week in my books I spent it taking study breaks; doing things I hadn't, embarking on stupid adventures, and getting in my usual laughs. Don't get me wrong, it is importanat to study for your finals and turn in your papers, but work smarter not harder and get your stuff done because I made a list of activities that are more fun than studying and you won't be able to resist ;)

1. Try crossing 9 de Julio in one shot!

9 de Julio is the widest avenue in the world (yup, you heard that right) and it is right here in Buenos Aires! (In reality it is three streets all smushed together in one but "widest avenue in the world" sounded cooler so the city took on this title). The ~huge~ street is named 9 de Julio after the ~huge~ day in Argentine history, independence day. Despite its somewhat misleading name, 9 de Julio is really dang wide - as wide as a city block - and crossing it in one try is re-difícil (Argentines put re- before anything that means "really")! If you are looking to kill some time outside definitely try and make it across before the light turns green again and you get killed by the crazy Buenos Aires traffic. I tried the other day and unfortunately failed but I have a feeling it will happen before I leave ;) Pro tip: go at night when there is less traffic or RUN

2. Go on a four hour adventure for food!

We had been talking about getting Indian food for months and we had passed Delhi Masala at least three times so on Sunday morning when I was starving and didn't want to work on my essay any more I suggested we adventure for food ;) While I limited our group adventure to two hours in my mind, of course it ended up taking longer.... of course. Even though this picture of vegetable samosas looks less than appealing the food was ~muy rica~ (or we were super hungry) but either way it definitely worth the three hour trek to San Telmo. And then we we were already at the feria so we couldn't not stroll through one more time... the "two-hour lunch" ended up being a 5-hour adventure but a little rest never killed nobody and neither did a big rest :P

Dylan pointing out we are "boludos" at the San Telmo feria - the term means the equivolent of butt head (it isn't a nice word normally) but friends say "che boludo" to each other in an endearing way all the time here!

3. Warm a park bench :)

The parks in BA are everywhere... which lucky for us means more dogs ;) A couple of us avoided work and sat at a bench outside the Congreso building one late afternoon. We drank mate, chatted about our lives, and totally lost track of time watching the dogs poop as they walked by us and laughing as people struggled with the bike rack. As finals rolled around the weather started to get more and more beautiful - perfect timing - so I highly recommend just sitting yourself down on a bench until you get bored :)

4. Get ~jazzy~

Buenos Aires has a new festival almost every weekend, you just have to check their Tourism page that actually has a lot of free stuff and is kept relatively up to date. This weekend happened to be the BA Jazz Festival and throughout the weekend there were jazz musicians in a variety of venues. After meeting up in the wrong spot and then walking a sketchy path under the highway (we second guessed this route more than once) we came across this :) This little stage was set up outside the Usina del Arte (very cool, lit up venue that I had been trying to go to so this worked out perfectly)! We sat in the grass, we boogied, and we enjoyed jazz among crowds of old people and dancers that were way better than us ;) 

5. Plan a fieldtrip

Las Violetas: historic café and the reason I've gained 30 pounds in Argentina :P

There are two especially great things about studying with IES Abroad in Buenos Aires. Number 1, the staff appreciates food as much as we do. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have been given alfajores (bomb cookies) or chocolate and once I figured out I could ask for them too it became dangerous for my health. Number 2, they really admire independence in their students and honestly don't give a heck about being a formal institution. This is all to say that instead of studying, my Spanish class and I planned a field trip to Las Violetas. Not only did we get free food (two of these massive platters you see above) courtesy of IES Abroad but we got to practice our Spanish in the famous spot where the Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo used to meet!

6. Taste a little Mexico in Argentina

What better way to avoid your studies than to study something else... art! Instead of pouring over our looming exams even more, we took an adventure to MALBA to check out the new Mexican Art exhibit. We got to see Frida in full form, Rivera (her husband at one point in case you didn't know), and give our brains a rest. We also had a chance encounter with the family of one of the students in our program. While he hadn't met them yet, we used our deductive reasoning (and the fact that they were wearing bright yellow shirts that said Colorado and looked exactly like our friend) to stalk them and take pictures so we could send them to him. Que divertido! (How fun!)

Here is a little game I like to call find the Gus' brothers (P.S. they have bright yellow shirts on ;))

7. Hop on that Vitamin D

As I mentioned above, the seasons are backwards here in the southern hemisphere. What does this mean? While all your friends and family are freezing their butts off at home the days in BA are only getting sunnier and more ~linda~ as they say here. The sun is out, the wind is fresh, and the trees are blossoming so get your bootie outside to enjoy it! Falling out of shape is understandable but is not an excuse to not to take a nice walk on Libertador. Walk yourself towards El Museo Decorativo and have an expensive yet incredible lunch on their patio. Not only will you relax and treat your tummy but you will also have sufficient vitamin D intake for the week ;)

This specific patio was on Dylan's bucket list for months and we finally checked it off ;) Peep: amazing food

This is going to be the last finals week for a while that I stop in a park just to sit and journal or spend two hours creeping through a museum without a care in the world. Study abroad has a special way of making even the most high-strung, goal-oriented people take a deep breath and enjoy. 

So take a deep breath and enjoy... this is the first time you've ever enjoyed finals week and you don't want to miss it.