I leave for Buenos Aires in exactly seventeen days. Not to say that sleeping in until noon and watching hours of “Say Yes to the Dress” and “How I Met Your Mother” every day hasn’t been enjoyable, but the two months between school and study abroad have been excruciatingly long. In retrospect, I wish I had planned a pre-study abroad trip to Argentina, Peru, Chile, or Uruguay to explore and site see. Right now, Argentina is in the heart of summer. This means steady 80-90 degree weather and the perfect opportunity for hiking, backpacking, beaches, and travel in South America. Did I mention that today is a high of 30 degrees with rain and snow showers? Lets be honest, Netflix, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter can only keep a person sane for so long.
As I count down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until I leave, things are definitely gettin’ real. I just found out who my host mom was and where exactly in Buenos Aires I would be living. I’ve spent more time in the last week talking on the phone with doctors, credit card companies, banks, landlords and pharmacies than my own parents. By the time I can scratch off three items from my “to do” list, four more items have been added on. It’s been a whirlwind lately, lemmetellya! It has become a little overwhelming and I most definitely still have a few butterflies here and there about certain things but in all honesty, I feel like that one notorious Go-cart that defaults at the beginning of every race while everyone else is on their way, twisting and turning around the track. The friends that I know who are studying abroad have already left and are well on their way into their own exciting adventures. And where am I? Answer: my couch watching “Cash Cab”.
There is at least one thing I have realized with all of my free time, however: my study abroad experience is going to be exactly what I make it and is happening regardless of whether or not I am full of positive energy or nervous energy, so at this point, I might as well enjoy the ride! Not only is my time spent in Argentina a minute amount of time compared to the entirety of my life, but also not once have I heard of someone returning from studying abroad without incredible stories and the burning desire to get back on a plane the next day to revisit. Carpe Diem, right?
After figuring out which barrio I would be living in, my interest was sparked. I spent a long afternoon at Barnes and Noble and on Google Maps doing as much research as possible – food, churches, history, holidays, neighborhoods, bars, you name it! Alongside my two fifty-pound suitcases and carry-on, I now have an extensive list of must-see places throughout Argentina and in Uruguay as well. This process of preparation has actually been a lot more soothing than one would think. With the image of my host mom and her apartment in my mind, a little background history of Argentina and Buenos Aires, a better understanding of the different barrios, and some idea of where major monuments, cemeteries, and restaurants are – I’m surprised at how much better I feel! My best advice to anyone studying abroad: do your research. Know your city, know your country. It’s amazing what the slightest amount of enlightenment can do to your greatest fears.