Nilusha Jayasinghe is a student at University of Maryland, Baltimore County and an ISA Featured Blogger. Nilusha is currently studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina on the ISA Summer 2 program.
Time definitely wound down quickly in Buenos Aires, and it has already been about a week since I’ve been back in the States. It was definitely weird waking up last Saturday knowing that at that time on Sunday, I’ll be back in America. With much sadness and a little bit of excitement, I packed my things, met up with the rest of the ISA students, and headed to the airport. When I got on that flight to Newark, NJ and heard English spoken in American accents all around me, I definitely knew I was about to be back home. Hearing those accents was really what made me more excited to see all of my family and friends back at home.
Looking back on my trip, I am happy to say that I think I lived it to the fullest and had some of the best, most memorable, and most unique experiences that I could have had abroad. I made the best of friends with some people in my program as well as locals with whom I hope to stay in contact for a long time. When my friends saw my pictures, especially the one of me feeding a lion some milk at the Lujan Zoo, they were in awe at my experiences in Argentina. I thought that my summer in New York City in 2010 was my best summer ever, but this summer in Buenos Aires definitely tops that one off. Who else can say they went paragliding over the Andes, pet and fed wild animals, and went to giant waterfalls at the border of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, all in 2 months? I don’t think many.
Speaking of the waterfalls, my last excursion that I promised to fill you in on was my trip to Iguazu falls! I heard from the summer session I kids that the view and the entire experience is life-changing, and boy were they right. I have been to many places around the world and have seen some pretty cool stuff, but the Iguazu Falls were one of the most, if not THE most absolutely breathtaking places I’ve been to. I had never seen something so powerful and beautiful, all just a part of nature’s work. Not only did we go to the waterfalls, but we visited an indigenous Guarani village, a mate plantation, and also had a delicious asado near the mate plantation to top off our trip. After learning about the benefits of mate and learning how to drink it the traditional way, it has become my new addiction that I prefer over tea and coffee any day now.
I have experienced reverse culture shock many times in my life, so it was not bad at all when I returned to the United States. The best parts of my return has to be seeing my friends and family, seeing the looks on their faces when they saw the presents I got them from Argentina, and the warm weather (although it’s very, very hot over here in Virginia Beach where I live). I really hope to preserve the immense amount of Spanish language skills that I gained while abroad by watching Spanish shows on TV, communicating a lot more with my Spanish speaking friends, and joining organizations in school that facilitate Spanish communication. I honestly had no idea how much Id really learn only in these past couple of months until I found myself cracking jokes with the locals, talking politics with my host mom, and giving locals directions. It seems to me like my goal of really immersing myself in the culture and language paid off, and the last thing I want to do is forget all that I have learned. Studying abroad has really been a life-changing experience, and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to pursue it.
My blogging experience has also added my time abroad, allowing me to think and reflect. I will end my thoughts with this post, and thank you guys for reading!