Home - Admission & Financial Aid - Apply - Scholars Programs - Benton Scholars - Benton Scholars News
Benton Scholars News

Latest Posts

Leading 18 first-year students for 18 days in a far-away land.

By Nicole Simpson on July 2, 2013


Enough said. Some people thought I was crazy taking 18 students to Argentina on my own for 18 days. I have to admit – I had a few moments of anxiety prior to the trip. But it was all for naught. This group of students was amazing. After being back in the U.S. for almost 3 weeks, I think back on the trip and remember so many rewarding moments: the utter enthusiasm the students had day in and day out about all of our activities, their attempts at using Spanish to facilitate conversations, the interesting questions they would pose to people we met and to each other, the fascination they had with the dual exchange rate system, their deep appreciation for Argentine culture, their willingness to try almost anything, their excitement when getting absolutely drenched on a boat ride under Iguazu Falls, the camaraderie the students had with each other and with me; the list goes on and on.

Here is what I hope this trip does for them… I hope I have helped them open their eyes to the vast world around them. I hope that they are motivated to learn a new language and/or continue to master a foreign language. I hope they realize that the time they spend learning about a destination ahead of time will pay-off during their travels so that they have a deeper understanding of what they experience. I hope that they continue to represent themselves and their culture as responsibly as they did during our trip. I hope this trip has planted a seed for them, so that they may accomplish unbelievable things all over the world…

I would like to thank all of the people around the world (literally) who helped make our Benton Scholars trip to Argentina extra special. Thank you so much for providing me with insight and support in preparations for our trip. Our trip was truly amazing, and much of that was due to the great advice and support I received from so many people.

I have to say that I have one of the best jobs in the world – to be able to lead a group of smart and motivated students to a destination that is unfamiliar, yet beautiful in so many ways and know that I have contributed to their intellectual and personal growth in a very real way…. all while being deeply appreciated and respected. Wow. Would I do it all over again? Absolutely.

Argentina – enough said

By Tobias Lescht '16 on June 29, 2013

Our trip to Argentina was fantastic. Everyone had a great time, wonderful experiences, and was opened up to vibrant and rich culture. There was enough drama to make the trip interesting, yet it did not ruin it. I had been a little reserved about going to Argentina because I had some misconceptions about the country and thought I would be vilified for being a British Citizen. Pleasantly, this was not the case. I joked with locals about the Falklands (the trip did not change my mind on the name) and was never openly discriminated against by the young people of Buenos Aires. It made me realize that the young people really do not care about some silly rocks in the South Atlantic, but are far more interested in their own future and prospect. They want jobs and opportunities, not penguins.

While Buenos Aires was culturally fascinating, and northern Argentina beautiful, Iguazu Falls was the highlight of the trip. The picture explains it all…




The Benton Scholars program gave Greg, Adam, and myself the opportunity to go to Rio De Janeiro, a truly fascinating city. We loved it there and had many fantastic experiences. From the favelas to the beaches of Rio and amazing Argentina, Thank you Colgate and Dan Benton

My time in Argentina

By dvasquez on June 25, 2013

When I first heard that we would be traveling to Argentina, I did not know what we would be experiencing.  I had never been to South America before, so all of my expectations were based off of Mexico, and more specifically the shantytowns of Ensenada.  As such, what I witnessed in Argentina completely caught me off guard.  Between cities such as Buenos Aires and villages like Tilcara, Argentina has an incredible dichotomy of lifestyles and cultures, all of which were new and exciting to me.  Food, housing, commodities, and people all varied drastically depending on where we were in the country, but they all had certain distinctly Argentinian values deeply ingrained.

The first place in Argentina that we witnessed was Buenos Aires, a bustling metropolitan city.  Ever moving and ever exciting, there was always something to do and new people to meet.  One distinct feature of Buenos Aires was their scheduling.  Life in Buenos Aires did not stop when the sun went down, and we all soon adapted to the B.A. way of life.  This opened up a host of new and exciting ways to experience the city, from bars to dance joints to jazz clubs.  As long as you were awake, there was always something to do.  That said, our daylight hours were by no means dull.  Just as we learned about the people of Argentina by night, we learned of the history of Argentina by day, visiting museums, examining street art, and listening to lectures to form a more holistic picture of Buenos Aires’ culture and background.

Everything changed when we left Buenos Aires for the country side.  Outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina is populated by a myriad of different cultures and peoples.  In Iguazu, not only did we see the Iguazu Waterfalls (which could merit their own piece entirely), but we also had the opportunity to visit an indigenous village  inhabited by the Guarani tribe.  In meeting these people, we were able to come face to face with a culture straddling the line between indigenous life and the modern world.  The Guarani, as one might expect from a tribe of people living in the rainforest, gather all their materials from the forest,  and yet have turned away from the traditional hunting methods due to ecological concerns.  Instead, they have now embraced tourism as a way to supplement their way of life, and have begun sending their children to modern schools and universities.  As such, being there was an experience unlike any other.

Another unforgettable  place was Tilcara, a small village in the arid Jujuy region where people live a more rural lifestyle, raising llamas and selling handmade goods as a living.  There, we were able to experience things that were truly breathtaking, from walking llamas in the middle of town to visiting ruins up in the barren hills.  All of these activities were of course given a more whimsical feel by the dozens of dogs that our group attracted on a daily basis.  Believe me, a group of 18 or so tourists parading through town followed by a mob of dogs is truly a sight to see (p.s. we’ll miss you wishbone).

Is it Really Over?

By Katrina Bennett '16 on June 22, 2013

Since receiving my acceptance letter to Colgate, and finding out I was chosen as a Benton Scholar during my senior year of high school, I had been so excited for my Benton trip to Argentina! Now, after being back in the US for a couple of weeks, I still can not believe that this much anticipated trip is over! However, it far exceeded any of the expectations I had, and I am so thankful to Colgate for giving me the opportunity!

I found in amazing that during my almost three week stay in Argentina I was able to experience a huge metropolitan city, visit one of the seven wonders of the world in an almost rainforest- like region, and stay in a tiny but beautiful little mountain village, all while staying in the same country. I saw and did so many things in Argentina that I never expected to do, such as riding horses into the sunset on a ranch, seeing a wild crocodile, and so much more. Doing things like this in a country I never expected to visit has empowered me to want to travel to more places around the globe that may not exactly be the top tourist locations. After my experiences in Argentina, I truly believe that wherever I go I can find something different and amazing that I will can learn from and will remember for a while to come!

The Post South America/Bored at Home Blog Post

By Adam Basciano '16 on June 20, 2013

It has been more than a week since my return from South America, and nearly two weeks since the conclusion of the Benton Scholars excursion and conquering of Argentina. I was fortunate to be able to extend my time on the continent by spending an additional four days in Brazil with two other adventurous Bentons.

Looking back, I can say I have no regrets about our time in Argentina. I can say I tango’d in the streets of the tango’s birthplace in La Boca, or that I also danced, or tried to dance, a traditional Argentine dance in front of a crowd of fifty or so Argentine elders.

Tango on the street

Read more

Amazing Sandwiches and a Cable Car. Oh a mummy too!

By Tobias Lescht '16 on June 7, 2013
View of Salta from our cable car

View of Salta from our cable car

Our last day in the Northern Argentina was relaxing and pleasant. After having breakfast in the hotel we loaded on to a minibus for a tour of the city. Our first stop was the 9th of July plaza in the centre of town, where we visited the Salta Cathedral (below) and got in trouble with the security guards for taking photos of the ornately decorated interior.

The face of a mummyAfter a short meander in the plaza, we moved on to the High Altitude Archaeological Museum. Housed in the Museum are three mummified children who were sacrificed by the Incas. Recently discovered, the mummies are in eerily realistic condition, having been frozen 20,000 ft high on the top of an Andean mountain.

After departing the museum we drove up San Bernardo Hill and were welcomed by an view only to be rivaled by those from Rio De Janeiro’s sugar loafs. We did not drive down, but instead, took the cable car down. Greg was frightened of this incredible journey, but did very well and yes he actually survived.

For lunch we went to a food cart and got the most incredible sandwiches with egg, milenesa or steak, and any combination of condiments that you could think of. Our last stop was for ice cream and then we left for the airport.

Salta Cathedral

Salta Cathedral

Adios Tilcara, Hello Salta

By Gregory Brea '16 on June 5, 2013

June 5th, 2013

Today we left Tilcara behind, but before doing so we visited a winery and a llama farm. The winery was quite a trek from where we were, but by the third day of being in Tilcara we had all adjusted to the long distances required to travel from location to location. The woman in charge of the winery gave us a tour of the fields and then took us inside the small building where the wine is produced. She explained that every year there was a small festival that took place where hundreds of people from the village would come and volunteer to help her with the entirety of the process. It was an event that many look forward to because it was a time where everyone was reunited for a common cause and for their help they were rewarded with wine, food, and fun. After tasting the wine, we were taken to the llama farm to interact and walk around the village with the llamas. The owners of the llamas explained that they do not sell their wool because it does not bring in as big of a profit as people expect, especially in the warmer climate that they live in therefore they have them more for tourists. This was our last stop in Tilcara before driving several hours to Salta. We got situated in the new city and decided to attend a show that was recommended to us. It was composed of singing and dancing with no fear of bringing the crowd into the show. Against our wills, Adam and I were forced onto the stage and had to dance with a partner who knew what they were doing whereas we did not, but it was a fun experience nonetheless. The show was geared for an older crowd, something we did not know coming in, but it was entertaining and a fun event to attend as a complete group for the final time on this amazing trip.

Mountains, Dogs, and all that Good Stuff

By Gregory Brea '16 on June 3, 2013

June 3rd, 2013

For our first full day in Tilcara, a little village which is about four hours away from Salta, we hiked to La Garganta del Diablo. The hike was really cool at the beginning as the sun had not been able to reach over the mountains surrounding us at around 9 in the morning. The trip to our final destination in the mountains was splattered with an array of colorful hills, rocks and people as well. The Garganta del Diablo was a small waterfall hidden within the confines of the mountain which was absolutely beautiful, especially since most of the running water sources in Tilcara were dried up. On our trip back to the village, the temperature and dryness of the air had intensified greatly illustrating the drastic range in climate during a 24-hour period here in Tilcara. After a long day of excursions we all had a chance to explore the little village in which we were staying in. There was a market in the central plaza with natives selling their home-made goods such as carpets, sweaters, bags, and other items designed with typical patterns found in northern Argentina. Something that has been constantly occurring throughout the trip are the packs of dogs wandering the streets that end up following us because we are such a large group. Whether its because we provide them with a little attention or because they believe that we’ll give them of some sort of food, our little dog army never wavered.

The Yellow Mountains seen on our trek to the Garganta del Diablo

The Yellow Mountains as seen on our trek to the Garganta del Diablo

Adventure to Iguazu Falls!

By Katrina Bennett '16 on June 1, 2013

Yesterday we arrived in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina to visit the beautiful and famous Iguazu Falls. The weather yesterday was absolutely picture perfect but when we woke up today for our visit to the National Park housing the falls, the weather was nothing short of downpours and thunderstorms. We were all unsure how a full day outside in this weather would work and as soon as we got to the park we realized that it would involve being absolutely soaked and possibly wearing an overpriced plastic poncho for the entire day. However, as soon as we took the train through the park and hikes to our first view over the top of the falls, we no longer cared about the rain as the view was BREATH TAKING. For the rest of the day we hiked to various viewing points of the falls and were able to get very up close and personal with a crocodile and also a very friendly family of jungle raccoons. When we finally reached the shore of the falls, we put on our life jackets, his awy our valuables and piled into a speed boat. The boat took us right through two of the HUGE rushing falls and to say that we got soaked is the biggest understatement I can imagine. I think I can speak for everyone in saying that today was one of the best days of the trip so far, and once we get back the entirety of Facebook will be able to see why with all the millions of waterfall pictures we all took. I don’t think I have ever been wetter for an entire day before but I also don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite as amazing as the Iguaza Falls.

Experiencing culture and Argentine microfinance

By Katrina Bennett '16 on May 30, 2013

For our last day in the big city, we spent it doing a lot of little interesting things! We started off the day visiting an Argentine micro finance organization called Cordial Negocios. The meeting was extremely enlightening and allowed us to greatly expand on our knowledge on how micro finance works in Argentina. We learned that the particular company we were learning about has about 7,000 clients that they lend money to and these loans are often not large and are only several thousands pesos. Where these loans goes is also monitored by the company. In addition, we learned that this year, for the first time since the start of this micro financing, in 2001, the company is making a profit this year. It was very interesting to hear stories of individuals who had received the loans, many of them being former immigrants, and how successful these individuals and their family members were able to become after the small loans. For the remainder of the day, after this interesting meeting we enjoyed our last bits of the great culture and richness of Buenos Aires. To work on the video project that we are creating, a couple of us ventured to the University of Buenos Aires Law School and interviewed students. Among other interesting things, we found that the law students here are extremely political and think that having a free education system for university is crucial. Finally, we ventured to the Malba, to see all of the beautiful Latin American art. I am sad to leave Buenos Aires and our time in the city really has flown by, but I can’t WAIT to get to Iguazu tomorrow!!