Adela Smehlik is a student at University of Pittsburgh and an ISA Featured Blogger. Adela is currently studying abroad with ISA in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Well, I made it. After months of preparing, some panicking and excitement, I left for Buenos Aires and made it. And it’s incredible. It is everything that I wanted in a city and more; it’s beautiful, the people are extremely friendly, the food is amazing (I seriously haven’t stopped eating) and the weather is pretty perfect too.
I came to Buenos Aires with the assumption that I would somewhat fit in looks wise. I heard from numerous people, “Buenos Aires has a very German population.” “There are plenty people that are tall.” “Blonde hair is something you will see sometimes!”
All right people, which country were you talking about? As hard as I try to assimilate myself into the everyday population, it’s been very difficult to fit in. People will automatically speak English with me, or German for that matter, when I really just want them to speak Spanish! That’s why I’m here after all.
But despite this, the people of Buenos Aires are great! The minute I break into a smile and start to speak Spanish, they switch back into their native language.
This brings me to a challenge that I wasn’t expecting: castellano. Castellano is the type of Spanish that is spoken in Argentina, and let me tell you, it’s a Spanish that I’ve never heard before. The accent is incredibly different, with people pronouncing the Spanish double-l and the letter y with a ‘sh’ sound. Also, Argentines speak so fast that sometimes it is very hard for me to pick up on what they are asking me or telling me do. So I do what everyone in a situation like this does, smile and nod and secretly think to myself, “What in the heck are they saying??”
Challenges and all, this experience is terrific; it’s exactly what I wanted. I wanted to study abroad to feel slightly uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone. What’s the fun of studying in a country where you feel right at home? I’ve only been in Buenos Aires for about three weeks, but already I feel myself growing as an individual.
Heck, if I can understand Castellano, I can do anything.