Angela Chu - 2013 Program Participant

Angela in Front of the Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires.
Angela in front of the Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires.

Why made ISA stand out over other study abroad programs?

I chose to go with ISA over other programs because of the price and programs offered initially.  It wasn't until I was abroad and on my excursions, at my homestay, and experiencing the 24/7 ISA staff support when they took me to the hospital in the middle of the night, that I realized the true value of what I paid.

Every weekend on excursions we stayed at five-star hotels, and the study abroad even included another plane ticket to the Iguazu Falls! Meeting students from other programs made me appreciate ISA even more when we compared what came with our programs, and I realized that ISA already came with famous attractions that others had to find and pay for themselves when they were abroad.

You’re from Ohio Northern University - what would you say to other Ohio Northern students who are considering studying abroad in Buenos Aires?

First, I would tell ONU students that it's really not impossible to study abroad and graduate on time. Most of the excuses I hear are that students' majors are rigorous and structured so that no classes abroad can substitute their curriculum, or they have summer internships that they can't miss. I'm a Pharmacy and Spanish double major, and because I planned to study abroad, I did all of my internships early and am still projected to graduate on time. The college wants students to go abroad and is very flexible in moving classes around so that you can go!  You just have to set your mind and heart on it and plan ahead.

To study abroad in Buenos Aires, specifically - I say DO IT!  I never cry and I was very close to tears when we loaded the bus to go to the airport on the last day of the program.  One of our friends who was staying a second session even woke up extra early and physically ran tens of blocks to hug us before we pulled away.  Buenos Aires is the Paris of the South and nothing about it is "Americanized", so you get a true abroad experience.  It's a beautiful city and I literally saw something different everyday after school when we would go out - there's never a dull moment!

What was it like living and studying abroad in Buenos Aires?

Buenos Aires has its own culture full of art, history, rich foods, and an exciting nightlife.  I've traveled the world before studying abroad, but traveling and living abroad are two very different things.  After a couple of weeks, you forget you're a foreigner because you get immersed into Argentine culture. I chased buses and went grocery shopping just like everyone else.  There's so much to see and do in Buenos Aires because the capital is so huge that you'll always be kept busy. You can find exactly what you like to do - museums, tango classes, artisan markets, delicious food sampling, parks, plays, the list is endless.  I remember standing in the middle of the city, looking up at the bright lights, and listening to the sounds of people chattering as taxis went by in the middle of a starry night, and immediately falling in love with the city.

What were your Spanish classes like?

I took intermediate Spanish at the University of Belgrano, and all of the intensive level classes are great for brushing up and practicing your Spanish.  My professor was down-to-earth, hip, and hilarious!  She made going to class for hours every day bearable because it was discussion-based and tailored to what we wanted to talk about.  The only complaint we had were the stairs to get to class - killer.

How has study abroad changed you upon returning home?

Studying abroad has made me appreciate the United States ten times more than when I left.  For all of the problems we have, there are other countries that are far worse.  We usually think of world hunger or extreme poverty when we compare the US to others, but the little things like being able to vote, going to school, openly sharing ideas, even wearing your backpack on your back instead of guarding it with your life when you walk down the street, are things we don't appreciate.  For all of our differences, the fact that we rally as a nation when in international competition is admirable and makes me proud to live in the US.  You don't appreciate what you have until it's gone and you're dropped off in another continent and can't just drive home. You grow intellectually and spiritually as a person.  Studying abroad tests what you believe in and makes you a more independent person.