Poodles and Platforms: First Impressions of Buenos Aires

Kienna Kulzer is a student at the Western Washington University and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A colorful street corner in my neighborhood Palermo.

It’s been a mere four days since I left my friends and family behind on the West Coast and arrived here in Buenos Aires, Argentina. So far, our time here has been full of orientations, meeting new people, and exploring the city (and, of course, getting lost quite a few times). There’s only so much you can understand about a new city after a few days, but I’ve been spending my time trying to take in every detail and notice as much as I can about this place I’ll call home for the next four months. Here are some of the main things I’ve noticed so far.

  1. If you want to be trendy in Buenos Aires, you’ll need platform shoes and a small white poodle. Seriously, both of these things are everywhere you go around here. Porteños are very fashionable and put together, and also apparently big dog lovers. After getting lost many, many times in our neighborhood, my roommate and I tried to develop a system of remembering our way around. At first we tried to navigate back to our new apartment based on specific landmarks or moments we remembered. For example, “Two blocks past the Plaza Italia station, then turn right at the corner where we saw that cute little white dog.” Unfortunately, this system hasn’t lasted very long because now every street corner in our neighborhood has become a corner where we’ve seen a little white dog.
  2. Most people will be patient if you´re a Spanish learner. In other places I’ve traveled, locals would usually recognize my American accent and immediately switch to English when talking to me. I’ve only taken a year of college Spanish, so I am definitely still a beginner and know less than most of the other students in my program. Still, I use my Spanish as much as I can, and most Argentines I’ve spoken to have been patient with my often incorrect grammar and have even helped me when I couldn’t remember exactly how to say something. Even though it can be intimidating and the fast-pace can take some getting used to, it’s definitely the best way to learn.
  3. The city never sleeps. Here, it is normal to not have dinner until 9 or 10 pm, and that is when the night actually begins. The street below our apartment is a constant buzz of cars, people talking and laughing, dogs barking, and music playing, usually all through the night. I already know that four months won´t be nearly enough time for all of the activities I want to do while I’m here. Whether it’s tango classes in the park, exploring the many shops and tucked away places downtown, or searching for the best empanadas in Palermo, there is no shortage of things to do.

Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits. 

3 thoughts

  1. Sounds like you’re off to a great start! Great that you’re speaking so much Spanish. Hope you have time to take a tango lesson while you’re there. Enjoy yourself!

  2. I did this program back in 2005! One of the best times in my life. If you see people your age drinking mate at the park, ask if you can join. They’ll probably say yes and you’ll have a memorable experience .

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