Melany Castro is a Political Science and International Relations major at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio. Melany was lucky enough to travel to South America and study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
How and why did you choose this site for your study abroad experience?
When deciding where to study abroad, I needed a location that matched my interests. Argentina is a Latin American country that is experiencing a great deal of political and economic change every day. That was what mainly drew me to Argentina. The value of studying the Spanish language in a Spanish speaking country also attracted me. Overall, the striking political, social, and cultural contrasts with the U.S. are what really attracted me to come study in the fast-paced and fascinating city of Buenos Aires.
What type of accommodation did you have? Did you like it?
I lived in a residencia within the heart of Palermo— a beautiful and very active place to live in Buenos Aires. I loved it. I lived with two girls who were native to and came from different provinces in Argentina. Not only did they teach me a great deal about the Spanish language, but they also provided me with a wealth of insight into the true Argentine culture. Not to mention, they also became really great friends. There were so many different people from every corner of the earth coming and going from the residencia throughout my whole stay. I have also heard great things about homestays for people who are considering those as well. Home stays allow you to develop wonderful relationships with your host moms and families. Both are great options and I wholeheartedly loved my choice as I made so many friends and learned so much being in a place with so many different people each with their own unique story.
If you could go back and do one day over again, which would it be?
There was a day when I went with my really good friends and we just walked around and explored the city for a day. It would be really cool to be back with such great friends all at the same time and in the same place again.
What are some things you didn’t pack that you wish you had?
My running shoes and vitamins — bring as much medicine and vitamins as you can, load up on vitamin C you’re going to want to have that I promise.
Any advice for future students?
My greatest advice would be to leave any and all ethnocentric attitudes at home. It makes it so much easier to learn about and love a country for all that it is when you aren’t distracted by how different it is from your own country. There are going to be so many things you’re not used to and so many things you cannot do while you’re abroad. You’ll be a minority…an outsider but that is one of the greatest parts of studying abroad— you learn how to live and you become pretty damn good at it.
Curious to know more about Melany and her international indulgence? You can reach her and other alumni by visiting www.cisabroad.com/alumni