I have now completed a full semester abroad which included an intensive Spanish class (that I did not need but needed the credits) and a course with locals which was not necessary as I stayed an extra month JUST for that one final I am completely ready to return to the states.
I still believe that my identity and how I was raised has allowed me to form unique bonds with others with similar backgrounds as me. During my study abroad I made more “foreigner” friends from other Latin American countries than “American” ones. I was always at an advantage when it came to communicating with others in Spanish, by the end of my time here I began to understand and use Argentine slang. Again when it came to my identity in Argentina for some I was considered Mexican because of where my parents are from and to others I was American due to where I was born. To drunk people I was Australian. Every person has their own definition of what identity is to them, therefore, it was very complicated for me to explain where I am from and why I know Spanish so well.
During my time in Buenos Aires, I discovered Hillsong church, an amazing church with beautiful life lessons to be learned. One Saturday the pastor talked about obstacles in life that seem never-ending. Challenges in life are simply a process, a process that one learns and grows from. Challenges make us stronger, this study abroad experience has been an unexpected challenge for me, not academically but socially and emotionally. As someone who tends to focus on the negative, Hillsong has taught me that we limit ourselves what we do in life due to obstacles that can easily be overcome.
As a first-generation low-income student I was forced to accept certain challenges while being surrounded by students who may have a lot more experience and financial support. Challenges such as not being able to travel as much as I would have liked. But for those intimate trips I did take, I spent a great time with some great people who’s friendships I valued the most.
I would be lying if I said that I haven’t been excited to leave since day one. As I sit in this airport about to embark on my 16-hour travel, I am ecstatic on the next chapter in my life. Believe it or not, this has been a great experience. I had the most amazing loving host mom who taught me so much about the history of Argentina and welcomed me as part of her family. The last 6 months have been full of moments both small and big, both intimate and majestic and I couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity.