Margot Neveux - 2015 Program Participant
What made you decide to apply for an international program?
As an international comparative studies major, it made a lot of sense for me to study abroad internationally. Also, as I am already an international student studying abroad in the United States, you can imagine that I love travelling, and that study abroad was therefore yet another opportunity for me to do so.
Why did you chose IES Abroad in particular?
A few years ago, I had had the opportunity to volunteer in Argentina for one month, and, needless to say, I was fascinated by that country. My one desire was to go back. IES Abroad - Buenos Aires was the perfect opportunity for me to do so!
What was your favorite part about Buenos Aires?
What I loved about Buenos Aires is that, while it is a big city, you can always escape and find some parts of nature simply by going for a walk in the Japanese Gardens or for a run in the Bosques de Palermo. Buenos Aires is such an eclectic city, and it's almost as if you can believe you are in a different country when walking from one neighborhood to another.
What made IES Abroad in Buenos Aires unique?
I think the thing that I liked the most about IES Abroad was the fact that all the courses we took were accompanied by various field trips, which not only enhanced, but also reinforced, our knowledge of the culture of Argentina. We were pushed to see beyond the traditional classroom, and step outside of our comfort zone.
How supportive was the local IES Abroad staff during your time in Buenos Aires?
The local staff was very helpful, always reaching out to you when they thought you might need their help.
Puente de la Mujer in Puerto Madero
Was it difficult to communicate with locals?
When you leave Buenos Aires it is rare to encounter people who speak proper English, but you will not have that issue in Buenos Aires. No matter what your level of Spanish is, locals are always very patient and happy to help you out!
What was your typical day like?
Every morning, I would walk to class, crossing through a little park that was filled with dog-walkers. I would then have between one and three classes a day, some of which were even accompanied by mate drinking! Because of the small size of the classrooms, we truly created a space in which everyone was comfortable to participate, speak, and voice their opinion.
After class, a group of us would usually go sit at one of the many cafes that Buenos Aires has to offer at every street corner. Whether it was to study or just to catch up on our various weekend trips, we would sit in cafes for hours. Afterwards, I would usually go to the gym that was only a 10 minute walk away from my house. As is common in South American, we would have dinner between 9 and 9:30 p.m., a time during which we would catch up with our host family and share our day.
What did you enjoy doing on your free time?
I loved traveling. One of the amazing things about Argentina is that traveling was very easy: if you decided the night before that you wanted to take an impromptu trip to another province of Argentina, would could just go buy a bus ticket and find a hostel very easily. It taught me to be more relaxed and "live in the moment," something that I had not really done before.
Tell us about your accommodation in Argentina. What did you like most about it?
I lived in a host family, which was great for linguistic immersion. Indeed, at home, we would only speak Spanish which truly enhanced my speaking abilities. Furthermore, I created a bond with my host family, who would take me out to museums, restaurants, and shows. I really feel like I developed a bond with them, and know that I will see them again some time in the near future.
What surprised you most about Buenos Aires?
I think what surprised me the most is that while it is a big city, in some ways, it doesn’t feel like one. Its large avenues and parks add a bit of nature to the urban city.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before studying abroad in Argentina?
I wish that someone had told me that Argentina is an amazing country, and that one semester would not be enough for me to discover all of it. I left with the anxiousness to go back as soon as possible, and now even consider living there after I graduate from college.
Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to Buenos Aires?
Do not overpack!! You only need so much clothes, and while people look nice when they go out, it remains fairly “casual.”
How has your experience in Buenos Aires changed you?
I think that now that I am home, I look at things in a different way. I have learned that when I am a little more relaxed, I do just as well, if not better, than when I am stressed out. I have learned that it is okay to take a break sometimes. I have learned that not planning everything to the last single detail is sometimes a good thing. But most importantly, I have learned that I love South American culture, and that I want to live there in the future.
Feeding a Llama in Salta!
Would you recommend IES Abroad to other students?
Yes, I definitely would! It was a perfect combination of both in and out of classroom experiences.
If you could study abroad again, where would you go?
I wouldn’t change for anything my experience abroad in Buenos Aires. However, if I could select another destination, I think I would pick Santiago, Chile. I had the opportunity to go there for a little bit after IES Abroad - Buenos Aires ended and it was an amazing city, and looked like it would be ideal for study abroad!