How Language and Food Can Make You Feel At Home

Apr 16, 2018 10:30:00 AM / by Irene Kanthan

CAPA_Claire Shrader_Buenos Aires_Headshot.jpgClaire Shrader is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Pre-Occupational Therapy major at Mississippi College, she is studying abroad in Buenos Aires this semester.

In this week's post, Claire mentions how hearing the language you're familiar with can make you feel at home and explores an American-inspired cafe in Buenos Aires.


I think I chose the wrong bus the other day, because it dropped me off about two blocks away from the subte whereas last week it left me about three feet away. That kind of thing happens to me every time I get too confident in my city navigating skills, just to keep me humble.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Buenos Aires_Spring2018_From Claire Shrader - Cool Wall near Palermo!A wall filled with enthusiasm about soccer.

As I walked, I heard the sharp, crisp sounds of the language I grew up with, so different from the warm, musical flow of castellano (Spanish). I half turned around, then kept walking. But something completely outside of my control compelled me: “Are y’all from the United States?” The tall, dark-headed woman in flowy pants laughed as she answered, “England, actually, and South Africa.” I laughed too, “It’s so rare to hear English in the streets I couldn’t help myself!”

Kelly, Daniel, and I talked for the next block, and then I kissed them both in the Argentine way as they headed toward Subte H and I to D. “Enjoy Buenos Aires!” I called after them. “Lovely to meet you, be well!” Kelly replied, in a markedly South African way.

It made me giddy. Not that I never speak English here, but the truth is that I’m so used to spending the majority of my days in Spanish, and especially in my commute, that it made me giddy.

It made me giddy in the way hearing Spanish randomly makes me giddy in the States.

It’s an interesting thing to note the ways we seek out language where we feel at home.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Buenos Aires_Spring2018_From Claire Shrader - Sheikob's BagelsVisiting Sheikob's Bagels after a friend recommended it.

To be honest, I haven’t really searched out “American/English” things here. Four months just feels so short, and I’ve wanted to soak in every moment of authentic Argentina as possible before I head back to the United States. That being said, sometimes it feels really good to talk with a friend on Facetime back home and not have to think twice about the words that come out of my mouth, and I have to admit that one day I caved completely and walked about 30 minutes out of my way, chasing the McDonald’s sign I could barely see in the distance as if it was a lighthouse calling all estadounidenses back home (here we don’t call ourselves Americans, because the Argentines around us are Americans, too, ya know).

CAPAStudyAbroad_Buenos Aires_Spring2018_From Claire Shrader - Inside Sheikob's BagelsInside Sheikob's Bagels.

Last week one of my new friends in the tango class I started going to weekly recommended that I try out a restaurant called Sheikob’s Bagels. Started by a New Yorker who studied abroad here his junior year and found Buenos Aires to be a city he couldn’t leave, and bagels the one food he couldn’t live without, he combined both passions.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Buenos Aires_Spring2018_From Claire Shrader - My friend Sophie, a fellow CAPA studentMeet Sophie, my friend and also a CAPA classmate.

I went today with two of my friends who are also studying abroad here, and for a few hours it so much felt like we were back home—a small table crammed with laptops and coffee and screens that tried to stay on whatever assignment was due, but that wandered off to Pinterest and Whatsapp too fast, too. And bagels. Oh my goodness, the bagels.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Buenos Aires_Spring2018_From Claire Shrader - Food from Sheikob's BagelsOh, the bagels.

Needless to say, if you’re ever in Buenos Aires, add bagels to the list of must-eat foods, because these aren’t just to die for because we’re deprived. They’re literally incredible. I’ll be seeing you, Sheikob's.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Buenos Aires_Spring2018_From Claire Shrader - Putting the Study in Study Abroad
Putting the "study" in "study abroad."

Though my two blocks of an English-language bubble within a Spanish-driven world the other day was a mezcla (mix) of the Claire who’s been in Buenos Aires for two months and the Claire who’s on a first name basis with every employee in the Mexican restaurant in small town Mississippi, I still leaned in for the Argentine kiss without even hesitating, as if I’ve been doing it my whole life.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Buenos Aires_Spring2018_From Claire Shrader - Tasting Food from Sheikob's BagelsClaire + Bagels = :)

I guess this city is leaving its mark, no matter the words coming out of my lips.

Thanks Claire!

Claire's journey continues every Monday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Buenos Aires Program

Topics: Buenos Aires, Argentina, Food Abroad