Claire 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 wakes up to a different morning experience in Buenos Aires and gets to know her new campus and fellow classmates during orientation.
Though I've woken up to the incredible knowledge that I'm in Buenos Aires every morning for the past nine days, this morning was different. This morning I woke up and wasn't quite sure where I was, until I sat up and remembered that yesterday afternoon I moved from my host family from high school's home across the city to live closer to the university I'll be attending starting next week. This morning orientation started.
A sign of my campus location!
For me, this morning looked like café con leche with pan tostado covered in dulce de leche, and a sweet hour of quiet time to read a devotional. After two months at home and then this past week with my Argentine family, it felt strange to be alone in the morning. Mornings in my house are a time to sit and be together, to enjoy coffee on the couch, to discuss our plans for the day. It felt kind of lonely to sit alone. But as I made café con leche, trying hard to make it taste as good as it does when my host mom makes it, I could see other city dwellers going about their own morning routines from the big windows in the kitchen. We were all going about our morning separately, and alone, but that window made it feel not lonely, after all.
The day started pretty quick after that quiet hour. I embarked to find the CAPA Center at Universidad Austral, and maybe felt a little too proud of myself too early, because by the time I made it to the street my university is on, I walked too far and had to circle back and ended up being late. Let's just pretend that fist pump when I arrived to Calle Cerrito before I spent 20 minutes wandering it confusedly never happened…
The Austral campus at Pilar where we had orientación today.
Orientation went by pretty fast today. Marlena, the program director, is fantastic, and made even the most mundane information entertaining. It was neat to meet other students and to get to hear what brought them to Buenos Aires. After our initial orientation sessions, we took a short tour of the building. We're in the Buenos Aires campus of Austral, which is connected to a school of engineering. There are some cool common areas where we can wait between classes or eat lunch, and a beautiful lobby area and library. It's truly a beautiful location. And right outside the door is the widest street in the world—Avenida 9 de Julio. We're definitely in the heart of the city, with so many amazing places around us. Pretty incredible.
After our building tour, we walked through the city a bit until we made it to the Club de la Milanesa, a hip restaurant specializing in, as you probably already guessed, milanesa. They have all kinds of different types, from traditional to caprese to gluten free. I chose fugazette, which was basically milanesa covered in onions and mozzarella cheese. When I was getting ready to leave to come to Argentina, I discovered fugazette is an Argentine pizza specialty, so I made it for my family and loved it. It was just as good with milanesa! Lunch was a great chance to really get to know some of the other students better.
A sunset from my walk around Recoleta.
After lunch we all went our separate ways. After a delightful merienda with some dear old friends, now I'm at the National Library with another student who lives with me. He's been here for a month already so I was thankful for the chance to walk somewhere without having to ponder how to arrive! This library is amazing; I definitely envision myself spending some good time here this semester. That is, as long as they don't kick me out for practically squealing when I got an email that I have a date for my interview at the most perfect internship placement. I'm excited for so many things about this semester, but especially excited for this internship. I think it will be absolutely beautiful to get to give back in some way to this city that has already given me so much, to be able to use my Spanish in a more functional setting, and to be able to learn what it looks like to work in Argentina.
Thanks again for following along!
Claire's journey continues every Monday so stay tuned.