February 19, 2017
“Los primeros sentimientos son siempre lo más natural.”
“First feelings are always the most natural.” Louis XIV
It’s been one week since I’ve been in Córdoba, Argentina and I feel as though I have been adjusting well. Ever since orientation began last Monday, I’ve come up with a good system similar to what I have back in the states. My host mom wanted to drive my roommate and I to the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba on our first day, which is only about five minutes from the house by car. Upon arrival, I stepped out of the car on that warm morning and took in the scenery of the university. Although it’s the oldest university in Argentina, certain areas of the institution have been remodeled and is now rich in architecture. For example, “el Patio de las Palmares”, located in the heart of the university was recently renovated and inaugurated. I observed from the very first day of orientation that many students come to this area to do homework, eat and chat. Hopefully, when classes are in full swing in March, I will be able to converse with other Argentine students.
At the moment, since I’m in the intensive study of Spanish during this time of orientation, I’m taking classes with students from the United States. In class, Spanish is spoken, but outside of class, they speak English. I have to admit, this disappoints me a bit because, what’s the point of going to a foreign country to learn a language and culture if you continue to speak your native language to your peers? The only times I want to speak English is when I talk to family and friends back home and when my roommate and I want to clarify something that’s being spoken. I came to Argentina being able to communicate effectively in the Spanish language but I desire to enhance my skills even further.
Despite the fact that the university is right around the corner from my host residence, I have already been able to get a glimpse of various other parts of the city. During this first week, me, along with other students in the program took a city tour through Nueva Cordoba, which is short walking distance from the university. I was in awe at the architecture of the various churches and the beauty of the parks. I was trying to take as many pictures as I could but at the same time, I had to be aware of any prowlers in the streets who are known for snatching phones from foreigners. I have to admit though, that while I was walking through the city, I couldn’t help but to observe that people here drive like Mario Karts! The streets have stop signs and traffic lights, but many drivers fail to follow them so pedestrians have to be extra careful.
Seeing that I haven’t been in this bustling city for very long, I’m still considering myself to be in the Honeymoon Phase of culture shock. Every single day, when I walk to the university, I can’t help but to soak in all that I am observing in this new environment. I love hearing the sounds of Argentine music playing during the day in the streets and falling asleep to the smell of late night asado (popular meal that consists of various types of meat) barbeques at night. Culture shock is different for everyone and although I don’t know how long I will be in this first phase, I’m enjoying every moment of this experience thus far.