"My name is Michelle Medina. My major is Agricultural Education with a Spanish Studies minor. And I studied abroad in Argentina, Buenos Aires.
I always wanted to go to a Spanish speaking country because that's what my minor is. I wanted a program that would have a lot of support and so that's why I did the Learning Abroad Center program. Because I knew that there would be people there and that all my credits would transfer and it wouldn't be a problem.
I did a homestay with my mom Maria. And we were in an apartment and it was her and I in an apartment with three bedrooms. I'm from Forest Lake and I live on a hobby farm and so we have twenty acres. But it was definitely a bit hard to adjust to living in an apartment. Learning the boundaries and kind of trying to make it my home but also trying to respect my host mom.
The home in Argentina is for the family it's not for friends. It's kind of cool that they invite students to their home when it's really just for the family. I think that I really learned more of the culture and I definitely picked up on so much more of the language because she only spoke Spanish. And so I couldn't refer back to English.
She also had a different kind of dialect and so I picked that up more so than other people did. It really helped because I took a colloquial Spanish class and so they taught us the verbs, the different verbs that mean certain things and the Lunfardo, or the slang they use there.
Academics, it's hard to say they were harder or easier, because it was just different. The first, biggest difference was that our classes were three hour blocks. And so it was a little bit harder sitting for an hour and a half, then having a break, then having to come back for another hour and a half. But it was also nice because you went to class one time a week and then you were done until the next week.
I really liked the class sizes. My art class was the biggest one with 25 or so. My Spanish classes were six or seven of us. And so you really did get a personal experience and you really got to talk to the professor and learn stuff.
The teachers were also all very good. I enjoyed all my professors. The program director, Bea, she's just always there to offer a shoulder, to explain cultural things to us, to explain what buses to take, where to go, where you should go for dinner, what phrases to say, what phrases not to say.
It has really changed my focus to more of an international focus. But I've also just increased my interest in Latino culture as well. I started salsa dancing here. I go out with people and I speak Spanish with them.
I was so nervous to go abroad because I didn't think I could handle being gone that long or by myself or speaking the language. And I feel like I challenged myself beyond what I ever thought I could. And then I came out an even better person, more rounded. I learned so much and want to learn even more."
Check out the Learning Abroad Center's Language & Culture in Buenos Aires program.