Mosaic / Special Topics / Study Abroad / November 16, 2011

For some, studying abroad means going home

The Knox Buenos Aires program is an opportunity of a lifetime that allowed me to learn a lot more about my country of origin. The multiple trips taken around Argentina, the courses at the university and meeting old and new friends gave me a deeper understanding of Argentina.
As a native porteño, usually referred to a Buenos Aires resident, I never left the province of Buenos Aires until this program. Knox sponsored several travels that can be truly crossed off a bucket list. The trips included the biggest waterfall in the world, Cataratas de Iguazu (shorter in height next to Niagara but bigger since it contains 250 waterfalls all around), Calafate where we did mini-trekking in one of the biggest glaciers in the world (Perito Moreno) and partook in a hiking trail to see a remarkable mountain called Fitz Roy and last but not least to “The End of the World” — Ushuaia where an Alaskan born highway ends with an approximate 17,900 mileage. All of these places are priceless and breathtaking.
As a student, traveling was not the only thing that we did in the program. I had the chance to take some very interesting classes at the Universidad de Palermo. I took two courses in journalism and two in political science that allowed me to appreciate both majors. For example, I took a radio class where I was able to conduct a weekly show and play my favorite country songs on live radio along with my banjo.
But I was also able to strengthen old relationships and make some new ones. For starters, I got to live with a host mom, Celina, who cooked fabulous food and who made me appreciate talks during our meals. Yes, sometimes we would watch her favorite political shows, which I didn’t mind, but for the most part she was very interested in how my day went. That made meals a lot more enjoyable.
I also had several opportunities to hang out with my brother and old friends. I can definitely say that relationships were strengthened and I know that I will miss my brother dearly.
Being a native Argentine gave me a particular view in the Knox group. I felt responsible to make people enjoy Argentina as much as possible. However, I then realized that that was not the reason why I signed up for the Knox Buenos Aires program. Each had to have their own Buenos Aires experience, so trying to help them only hindered their experience.
I decided later in the program that I was just like any Knox student who was trying to enjoy Argentina. In fact, I was just like them. I speak fluent Spanish, and being native gives you a different kind of knowledge, but I was an American student going to places that natives don’t get a chance to go, and I was living a life very different than a native’s.
In the last weeks, I was definitely longing for the States. I love Argentina’s food (especially the parrillas, which are the equivalent of barbeque although, in my opinion, much better), her horizons, traditions, wine and people but I longed for the exact same things in America (except for the wine, which is also much better in Argentina).
Being far away from home pushes you to learn things that no college course can offer, but at the end it’s hard to leave your home. I am a porteño, but the program made me realize that I’m definitely a gringo American. And that’s ok because everyone changes. No one stays the same.

Alex Uzarowicz
Alex Uzarowicz has been a weekly conservative political columnist for The Knox Student for three years. He also writes for The College Conservative. Alex will graduate in June 2013 with a degree in political science, after which he will head abroad to begin his Peace Corps service.

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