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Thoughts on the Trip to Argentina

By Anastassia Bougakova '16 on May 18, 2013

I’m very excited to travel to Argentina with the Benton Scholars in two days. This will be my first foray into South America, and I look forward to experiencing as much Argentine culture as I can in the 18 days that we will be there. It’s difficult to pick an aspect of the trip that I’m most excited about. I am definitely very interested in looking at Argentine culture from a historical perspective, in light of the country’s political upheavals and the tragedy of the Dirty War. Having learned about some of Argentine’s history in the Making of Latin America class last semester, I’m interested to see how that history has shaped modern-day Argentina.

I would also love to explore Buenos Aires and see how city life there compares to that of New York City (my home town). There are certainly many perks to living in a city: the vibrant culture, fascinating people, patchwork of different neighborhoods, etc. But there are also some downsides, such as the many hours a day that one must spend in crammed public transportation. I’m curious to see how my experience of New York will compare to Buenos Aires, which is one of the largest and most populated cities in South America. I am particularly interested in Buenos Aires’s many neighborhoods and the cultural, social, and economic differences between them.

I understand that a working knowledge of Spanish would be quite beneficial in getting a more complete experience of Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, the last time I took a Spanish class was in 7th grade. Consequently, my vocabulary doesn’t extend far beyond the basic pleasantries. Somehow, I’m still holding out some hope that my knowledge of French will help me in understanding Spanish, even though I logically realize how erroneous that notion is. So, I’ve tried to remember the simple Spanish one-liners I used when I visited Spain last year. I wish I was proficient enough in the language to notice the differences between the Argentine and European dialects, but alas, I’ll have to stick to memorizing the basics.

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