Excuse the absence but it’s the weekend in Buenos Aires and that means lots of fun and not a lot of blogging time.
Thursday was a really fun day. First we had academic orientation. I could go on quite the rant about how frustrating Penn’s abroad structure is but I’ll spare you. Suffice it to say that for many people on this program (at very prestigious universities), this semester is pass fail. As long as they get above a C, they pass and nothing goes towards their overall GPA. Not the case for us. In addition, IFSA, the program I’m on, has these fabulous concentrations that include things like classes with famous Argentine authors that I’ve read in class, internships with NGOs in Buenos Aires, and academic writing workshops in Spanish. Penn students can’t really do any of them because we don’t get credit for internships and we need to have four classes to transfer. Also, of the 4 schools that we can choose to take classes at, IFSA assigns credit values that range from 3-6 based on the difficulty of the class/time required. However, they all transfer to Penn in the same way. It’s pretty frustrating and limiting but at least there are a bunch of us. It’s interesting how well Penn hides how sucky their policies are before you arrive. I didn’t know about the different credit number thing or how cool the concentrations are. Next week we have individual meetings with our academic advisors so hopefully I’ll figure things out. I also want to take classes at 2 schools but it looks like i may have to add a third to get the credits.
After that whole mess, Mario gave us a crash course in Argentine history which rocked. Then I grabbed a quick lunch (also they have salad with mayo dressing here. It is so gross I had to throw it out and get something else. Why why why) and went home to change for dinner and a show. We went to see Fuerza Bruta, a show that’s kind of like Cirque Du Soleil in Recoleta (right next to the cemetery). It was a group of about 30 and then we had a dinner at a local restaurant with Mario, all covered by the program. The dinner was people from a few neighborhoods that are close by and it was really nice to eat with a big group instead of just with our host families. We met Mario’s partner who owns the house in Uruguay where we go for Thanksgiving and he was great. After that we went to a happy hour that USAL, one of the universities we can take classes at, put together for exchange students. Happy hours end at 11 here. Digest that for a sec. We went to one more place and then I shared a cab home with someone. My neighborhood is close to Palermo, where all the clubs are so cabs have been around 20 pesos.
On friday we had another scary academic orientation which was all about how to use the USAL web portal. Also how to use their schedules and how to register for classes. All things that are not simple. Anyway, we had some time to get lunch and someone knew a foodcourt that had salad! Yay vegetables! The food here is not at all spicy and it’s winter so most fruit is out of season (the stores just have apples, oranges, and sometimes bananas and they’re not the best). Then we had a tour of the Recoleta cemetery which has pretty much every famous Argentine buried there. Evita’s grave is covered with flowers and there’s a guy who stands there all day playing a recording of her speeches. Intense. There were people from all political factions; one person is buried across from the person who killed him. Afterwards, I took the bus home with some people from the hood and then took the pre salir nap before dinner.
The going out schedule is this:
9:30-10 pm: Eat dinner
10-12 am: nap (also can do this before)
12-2 or later: Bars (last night we were at a bar at 3 am and it could have been the US at 8 pm. People just drinking, grabbing snacks, talking)
3-7 (apparently, I did not stay out till 7): Hit the club! Then you’re supposed to go home and eat breakfast (which some argentine mothers leave out for their children who live at home until they’re married) and sleep until at least 1, but sometimes 3. Then repeat.
IT’S CRAZY!!!!! like I don’t understand how people here function on so little sleep for so long.
So last night we went out until a little after 5 (amateur right here) and it was lots of fun, just so different that the US. I slept till about 1 today and then ate breakfast and found a local gym. I just got a day pass cause there are a few on the block I want to try but it was nice to work out. I also reloaded my phone at a kiosk and I’m off to meet a friend at a bookstore soon. Then we’re going to get dinner and who knows where the night will take us.
I’ve been walking around my neighborhood a lot more since we’ve been ending orientation earlier and there are so many cute coffeeshops! I even found one that had hummus on the menu and my plan for tomorrow is to occupy one with that course catalog and figure some stuff out!