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Two weeks left of classes before exams start and here I am wondering where the semester has gone. Unlike most of my international friends rushing to do last minute activities before returning home, I’m happy I have another semester left in this busy, beautiful city.

Mendoza

Julia standing in the monument of horses on rock, which is on Glory Hill

Andes Army Monument atop Glory Hill in Mendoza

For Easter weekend, I met up with fellow BIBers Veronica, Natalee, Jabir and Austin for a jam-packed week of activities in Mendoza, Argentina. Famous for its Malbec wine, we spent a day biking around to vineyards and olive groves, tasting a variety of Argentine wines. We hopped on and off the pink city tour bus to visit the famous Glory Hill and Andes Army Monument in San Martin Park. We hiked along the fault lines and went horseback riding through the site of the old Mendoza River, stopping for an authentic Asado (BBQ). It was a trip filled with wine and good company. What more could you ask for?

Uruguay

Julia jumping on the beach barefoot in montevideo

The beach in Montevideo

Uruguay is only a ferry ride away from Buenos Aires so I had to visit another country, if only to add another stamp to my passport. I left on a Friday morning with Natalee, Veronica and Austin by ferry to Colonia, and then by bus to the country’s capital, Montevideo. Although Saturday was rainy, we didn’t let the weather stop us from exploring the old city and walking along the water where men were out fishing. Sunday was much better with perfect weather for spending the morning along one of Uruguay’s beautiful beaches.

Buenos Aires

Since Buenos Aires is a big city, there are always festivals, markets and museums to visit. The Masticar Food Festival has expensive restaurants and food shops from the city gather in one location to offer samples to visitors. There are markets in every neighbourhood in Bueno Aires, but my favourite is in Tigre. After taking the train to Tigre, you disembark near an amusement park and casino. The market is located a short walk away along the river edge and has everything you could possible want including mate sets, fresh pastries, clothing, children’s toys, leather products, purses, meats, and cheeses.

a selfie of Julia holding her food at the masticar food festival

Masticar Food Festival

Tango shows are a popular activity for tourists in Argentina and I highly recommend the show at Tango Porteno. Friday afternoons are best spent, in my opinion, watching the horse races in Palermo. Teatro Colon is the famous opera house in Buenos Aires, renowned for its impeccable acoustics. During the tour I learned about the architecture of the building and the history in its construction. Although there are a ton of activities to do in the city, sometimes it’s good to enjoy quieter activities like a picnic lunch and mate in one of the city’s many parks. These are only a few of the things I recommended doing if you find yourself in Buenos Aires.

School

I’m sure you would rather read about all the awesome experiences and travelling I do, but school is still a very real part of being on exchange. My school, the Universidad de San Andres, places you in a Spanish class based on your level of proficiency.  The Spanish in the Rio del Plata region has some very distinct qualities such as saying “vos” instead of “tu” and this class is super helpful for learning these differences. I am also taking a community development class where we spend over half our class time in a poorer community designing and implementing projects with local organizations. It is a perfect class to learn about socio-economic problems in Argentina and visit a neighbourhood you would otherwise not have the opportunity to witness. I am also taking a course called Non-Market Strategies (which I highly recommend) and Human Resources Management.

Although the first half of my exchange is quickly coming to an end, I can’t wait to see what the second half has in store for me. If there is anything specific you would like me to write about, please let me know in the comments below!

Monday, June 15, 2015 in , ,
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