My memories from the Spanish Immersion Program in Argentina have already started mixing together. The feelings and experiences that made the trip so memorable, as well as the recollections of people that made me laugh, made me think, and allowed me to learn in different ways remain distinct. They are something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I remember sitting with my friend Megan at an ice cream store in Sopelsa, about 2 weeks after I arrived and thinking about how, for me, the Argentina program represented not only a language, but, also, the creation of a network of people that I can learn from, without feeling the slightest insecurity about them coming from different places. I found out, with the help of the Spanish teacher, my lovely host family, and my friends that went to Argentina with me, that the purpose of speaking another language is to show people that speak it that you care about them and what they have to say. The effort of learning a language in itself is enough to break almost any cultural barrier and encourage people to open up to you in the way that all humans feel is most comfortable, through speaking, laughing, crying, and being understood by each other.
Although I went to Argentina to improve my Spanish, I look back now and I realize that I ended up enjoying the trip not solely because of the Spanish that I learned, but, also, because of the ways I was able to implement the language in, improve my understanding of the culture, and connect with the people that surrounded me. I would frequently speak with my host sister Camila about her life, about her hopes for the future, and her family and friends, just as I do at home every day with my sister, Camille. Gaining the capacity to appreciate fully an entire new world of people is what I am most grateful for from the Argentina trip. It is still unclear to me whether I learned more from our similarities or our differences, as both formed the Argentina that I experienced and made it richer and fuller and altogether more satisfying.
Overall, the Spanish Immersion Trip to Argentina was extraordinarily beneficial and instructive to me as a student and as a person. I am very grateful to Profesora Nadaner for the enthusiasm and vigor with which she infused each of our moments in South America, to Kayleigh, Ben, Victoria, and Megan for struggling and going through it with me.