Sunday, March 16, 2014


This story starts out as most fairytales do: Girl has a dream, girl does everything in her power to accomplish it. As many of you may or may not know, I was raised out in the Dominican Republic, Santiago to be specific. I grew up watching and learning from the best TV shows in the world: Argentinian ones. Naturally, since I was a kid I have always wanted to visit the land that, without knowing it, taught me so much. Fast forward a couple years, back to living in the States and attending college now in New York City (The City College of New York). One day I find myself casually passing by the most random office in my school that had quite literally a billilion and one flyers posted outside of it. One in specific caught my eye as it read "Why spend your winter in New York when you can enjoy the summer in Buenos Aires? Study Abroad this winter session in Argentina". My first thoughts were something along the lines of "really, a study abroad program in a CUNY school? impressive" and then it hit me, Argentina! My life long dream combined with studying abroad?! this was sent from above!! This revelation took place late November of 2012 and unfortunately it was way too short notice for me to gather the funds on time, but from that day on I was convinced I would board that plane some day. So now fast forward a little more to fall of 2013, working in a better company with better earnings, passing by the same office and seeing the same flyer, it had to happen. The next day I ran to my manager's office and asked her if this was a possibility for me, as soon as I had the go I started saving. Time literally flew by and before I knew it I was yelling "Happy New Year!" in an ever-so-fun party with my family, along with my new bffs: the butterflies in my stomach that wouldn't leave me alone as I knew the day had finally arrived, the night of January 1st I was boarding that plane to my biggest dream yet. I had given myself some time to pack in advance because I know myself by now (worst over-packer known to man kind) so the day of the flight I only had to revise my luggage and make sure I wasn't forgetting anything vital like my toothbrush (which has happened before!!) since I was leaving my house for a whole entire month! After saying my goodbyes and finally making my way through the security line, I sit down near the terminal and that's when it really hits me, this was really happening. Thank the lord for overnight flights, because 11 hours of sitting down (window seat) anxiously waiting to land wouldn't have been the best time ever per say. But thanks to the fact that the previous night was New Year's Eve and I literally did not sleep one bit I was knocked out cold 30 minutes into the flight! We finally landed 11 hours later and the adventures began. The customs and bag pick up process was pretty speedy however there was this ridiculous line to exchange money, which I unfortunately needed to hop on a cab to my new home for the month! I get to my host home, greet my roommates that I had met in the orientation meeting in NY, and meet my host mom Ana and begin to let everything in! This trip was very different for me in the sense that I didn't plan for it the way I've done all my life. I'm the type of traveler that researches absolutely everything before heading out to my destination. I have to know the spots I need to see, the transportation to get there, the food I will eat and where I will eat it from (everyday), etc. But this time I decided to do things a little different, I thought hey, new year, why not? So I researched only the essentials prior to departure and allowed the country to absorb me and teach me what I needed to learn from it while I was there, and boy was I in for a treat! Another new thing for me regarding this trip was that I did not know a single person that would be studying abroad with me prior to the pre-departure meeting, and even then I didn't get to meet everyone. Most of us met abroad and it was incredible to me what a close group we became in such a short period of time. I'm talking hilarious bar stories and endless laughter on the first night! Writing about this now makes me miss them and our time abroad more than ever. By the third week we had our little routine set up already. Wake up, head to class by bus or walking (depending how strong the heat was that day), pop into the Starbucks that was conveniently located near the entrance of our school/mall/Borges cultural center (talk about multitasking), meet up in the computer lab before class to talk about the previous night's events, head to class, post silly things on our Facebook group, head out to lunch around calle Florida or in the food court of our school if we were in the mood for a "healthy option", go to class numero dos, fight with every fiber in our bodies to stay awake as we most likely did not get a full night sleep (not even close) the previous night, go out and explore the city a bit or if we just could't hang go home and take a nap, have dinner with our host families and get ready for what was always a promising night, then get up the next day and do it all over again. That was the long version, the short version is this: IT WAS BLISS. We laughed, we met new people, we went to the same three bars endless times, we took a cab to the next neighborhood over if we just couldn't do it anymore, we learned, we lived the life of a beach bum (did I mention that a group of us crossed over to Punta del Este, Uruguay for a weekend?) we experienced, we traveled, we heard the word "cambio" more than anyone ever should in their lifetime, we saw, we danced (or tried, tango is way harder than it looks), we ate, we enjoyed, we sweated (picture high 90s in a city...not cute), we were sleep deprived but most importantly we did this all together in a wonderful thing called study abroad. My best advice to anyone who has the opportunity of studying abroad is do it. There are very few things in life that compare to the experience of studying abroad. If there's even a slight chance, take it! Trust me, you will not regret it!


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