Why did you choose this program?
I had been wanting to spend a summer abroad in Argentina since I took a trip there as a small child, but was uncertain how to achieve this goal. A friend of mine raved and bragged to me about his summer with the Sol Abroad program so I decided to check them out. I read through all the descriptions and reviews I could find online and searched for other programs as well. Of all the programs I looked at, Sol Abroad really appealed to me. They have a well-organized website with all the information I needed including testimonials from students, detailed descriptions of many excursions and activities, and specific information about staying in Buenos Aires.
Once I decided to go, Sol Abroad assisted me throughout my planning process and my trip. Prior to arriving, they wrote to me and provided a schedule. When I arrived in Buenos Aires, the program director met me at the airport (where everyone in the airport stopped to watch the World Cup) and took me to where I would be staying.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Sol Abroad provided everything I wanted in a study abroad program. Sol Abroad is the perfect balance between improving Spanish language through coursework while exploring the city and learning about Argentine culture.
I lived with a host mom who gave us meals and a lot of friendly conversation. Our director gave us maps, taught us how to get to our school, and gave us metro (subte) cards. We were given a lot of independence, which I thought was one of the best parts of the trip, but if we ever felt uncomfortable or needed assistance, our directors were very close.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
One piece of advice I would give is to be curious. The most important thing on these immersion programs is to see and try new things, including meeting new people. Curiosity will enable you to discover the unique culture of Argentina and make your trip an extraordinary experience. Begin your trip with a positive, open mind and be willing to explore new experiences.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
The typical weekday starts with a few hours in Spanish class every morning. After class, there is a group lunch, planned activities, and plenty of free time to explore the city. The group activities like mate club, tango lessons and cooking are all wonderful and enriching.
On the weekends, we went on excursions and day trips to La Boca, El Tigre, and Uruguay. I felt that none of my time was wasted and that I learned something new about Argentina on every excursion.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was not being able to communicate with my host mom. I doubted my Spanish speaking skills when I first arrived in Argentina. I had never been asked to participate in impromptu conversations in another language. I had a tough time communicating on the first day, but I quickly began to speak with more confidence and my Spanish really improved.
What was the most memorable part of your trip?
The most memorable part of traveling to Argentina was the unique culture and the connections I made. Everyday I experienced and learned about Argentine culture by living in it. In addition, I made great connections with the people in my group and the people I interacted with that I will always remember.