I may not have explicitly stated all my goals for the trip, but with everyone home, I think I’m finally ready to expound on the experience a little bit more. Obviously Spanish fluency was the main goal, and though not quite achieved, I’ve certainly improved; I admit to having the same problem as Alexa when it comes to forgetting some words in English (or just feeling that the most appropriate word is the Spanish one!), but everyone loves Spanglish!
I will also admit to the fact that I didn’t think the experience would really change me all that much… the past 3 weeks back in the States have shown me that I was wrong and I’ve noticed the little differences that Argentina produced in me. First, my patience has increased tenfold. In Argentina, the pace is just slower, that’s a given; you don’t expect a waitress to refill your water (unfortunately!) or check on you 5 times, and so I’ve found myself to be much more relaxed when things don’t happen quickly or efficiently.
My self-confidence has also gone up slightly. I didn’t actually notice this until reading Alexa’s description, but it’s so true. Personally, I attribute it mostly to living with lots of wonderful friends that were filled with positive reinforcement on an almost daily basis!
In addition, I just feel like a slightly more positive person. I was quite cynical and sarcastic – though I had my bubbly moments – but it has definitely been toned down in the 6 months since beginning the study abroad journey. This may be a result of increased patience and self-confidence, but more than that I think it’s the experiences that I had in Argentina and continue to carry with me. Random things that I stumble across will remind me of moments in Buenos Aires that just make me smile or laugh.
After first arriving at home, I definitely didn’t realize how much my time in Argentina had affected me. Three weeks later, and I think I have a better grasp. I wouldn’t have traded this experience for the world, and it, more than anything, has grounded me and helped to prepare me as I enter my 20’s and the second half of my college career.
And though I’m missing Argentina, there are some things that I’m enjoying about being back: