Holland ’16

Just a few weeks ago we were lucky to get a holiday weekend long enough to squeeze in a side-trip to Bariloche, Argentina. Bariloche is a part of the southern-most Patagonia province and is located along the Andes mountains near Chile. It is oftentimes compared to the Swiss Alps, and has an interesting history as an escape zone for Nazis. It is a local rumor that Hitler faked his suicide and fled to Bariloche to live among the mountains. It doesn’t seem fair that Nazis were able to live in such a beautiful area!


During our trip, we enjoyed the outdoors with biking, kayaking, and hiking. It was so nice to get away from the big city for a few days!


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Part of what I love most about studying abroad in Argentina is the diversity of opportunities we have while we are here. We live in a huge city with new and exciting things to do every day of the week. Buenos Aires is a melting pot of so many European and Latin American cultures that we get to experience a little bit of everything. Here are a few photos from my experiences from the last few weeks!

As a part of my month long intensive Spanish course, we went to a traditional Estancia which is essentially a ranch with livestock and gauchos. Here I got to ride a horse for my first time! (I know, and I’m from Texas)


One of the trips included with the Holy Cross study abroad program is a 5 day excursion to Iguazu Falls. We took a 15 hour bus ride there from Buenos Aires and it actually was pretty comfortable! The bus was nothing like what we have in the states. The seats were similar to what you might find flying 1st class. The falls were absolutely amazing, and although I’ve never been to Niagara falls, I find it hard to believe there could be a more grand or beautiful waterfall in the world. There were plenty of wildlife and creatures as well!


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Another trip included in my intensive Spanish was to La Boca, a neighborhood in Buenos Aires that is known for its bright colors and the tango. Many immigrants first arrived here has it is the “mouth” or Boca  of the port. Here, the tango developed and was initially a very scandalous dance.


I can’t even believe that I’ve been in Argentina for almost 3 weeks now! We have been so busy here that time has flown by so quickly. Here’s a quick look at my daily schedule:

10:00am- Wake up/Do homework. My breakfast usually consists of toast and jam. Argentina loves their jam. Apple, peach and orange jams are very popular.

1:30-3:30pm Spanish Grammar Course

3:30-3:45pm Break! We run across the street to buy coffee and delicious empanadas for only 80 cents each! Empanadas are a type of pastry that is usually filled with beef, chicken, vegetables or ham & cheese.

3:45-5:45pm A rotation of either Spanish conversation, Spanish culture or Spanish literature. Most of the Spanish culture classes are in the form of a field trip and really gives us a chance to see a lot of important parts of the city (for free!)

9:00pm Dinner time. This varies from household to household, but dinner in Argentina is usually held around 8pm to around 11pm. You’ll see restaurants filled with people and families with small children running around outside at 11pm, you’d never know its so late!

11:00-12:00pm This is when Argentines start heading out to the bar on weekends. It’s pretty late for American standards!

2:00am-4:00am Around 2am or sometimes later, Argentines start to transition from bars to Boliches (night clubs). You’ll find that if you try to go to a nightclub around 12am, they’re usually not even open yet.

6:00-7:00am The night ends. Public transportation reopens and you return from your night out. I can’t believe they are able to make it out so late! I need my 8 hours of sleep, I don’t think I could ever fully adjust to the Argentine daily schedule.

I absolutely cannot believe that it has almost been one week here in Argentina. I’m really starting to settle in to my new home abroad and have started my first few days of classes here. Everything about my first week in Argentina has been absolutely fantastic. Except that I have the worst luck in the world.

Not only did a manage to contract food poisoning on Day 2, but I also managed to have one of the most embarrassing moments of my life yesterday.

After having a fantastic dinner with other Holy Cross students and our amazing program director Nicolas, it was time for me to walk back home to my host mother’s house a few blocks away. When I enter into the lobby of the building, I noticed that the elevator was not working and the usual doorman that sits in the lobby was not there. Unfortunately, I did not know any other way to enter my host mom’s condo aside from the elevator. Frantically pressing the elevator button, nothing happened. After about 5 minutes of waiting, I asked someone where the stairs were and decided to take them up to the condo. The way my host mom’s building is set up ,the elevator sends you directly to your front door, and the stairs send you to a back door into the kitchen. Happy that I thought of another way to get in, I go up a flight of stairs, knock, and try to enter. But my keys don’t work! Suddenly, I realize that I was on the wrong floor. I had forgotten that in Argentina, the lobby is Floor 0 and that the 2nd floor is actually two flights up. Within seconds the door swings open and a man runs at me yelling and accusing me of trying to break and enter. He even called security telling them of what happened. After explaining to him my mistake in nervous, broken Spanish and many “lo sientos”, the man finally cooled down a bit. I will never make that mistake again.

Then, today, I had my third and hopefully last bad luck experience of the week. During our break in class, I decided to get coffee from a nearby cafe with the other students. As we are walking back to class, I manage to spill it all over the cafe table and onto the floor. Wonderful.

But I promise my experience this first week has not been an overall negative one! I just hope that I’ve paid my dues now, and that the rest of the semester will be smooth sailing. Below are some photos to prove that Buenos Aires is truly one of the best cities in the world.

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After finishing up my last day of work yesterday, it has really started to hit me that in just about a week and a half I will be flying off to Buenos Aires, Argentina for six whole months!

I am beyond excited, but can’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed by what is in store for me in the next few weeks. I’ll be living in a new country with a completely different culture and experiencing new cuisine, music and day-to-day life. After having studied Spanish for the past 4 semesters, I cannot wait to apply my knowledge of the language in my classes, in my home-stay and all around the city.

I still have a lot of preparing to do back home in Texas, but I will be sure to keep everyone updated as my arrival date quickly approaches!