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Volunteering Abroad in Buenos Aires

May 30, 2016 8:30:00 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

CAPAStudyAbroad_BuenosAires_Spring2016_Tommy_Sullivan.jpgTommy Sullivan is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A broadcasting and Spanish major Western Kentucky University, he is studying abroad in Buenos Aires this semester.

In this week's post, Tommy talks about his experience volunteering abroad in Buenos Aires.

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And now, I will pick up where my last blog left off:

Learning Through Volunteering

There's just two students in this class: Raven and me.

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Dr. Pagano, who is CAPA's Resident Director in Buenos Aires, is the teacher for this class. The semester has been a bit crazy—we've had to change buildings for all our classes a few times—so we've only been able to meet with Dr. P about every other week. That's not a problem, though, because the bulk of the work for the class is outside the classroom.

I write for an English-language news website and Raven volunteers at a charity. She helps prepare medicine to distribute to people in need, prepare and serve meals for the elderly and raise money for her organization. The website I volunteer at is called The Bubble. It focuses its coverage on Argentina and the region, writing everything in a way that's laid back and easily understood. Each story for The Bubble gives the back story and focuses on explaining the news, which can be hard to come by in the Argentine media.

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Writing at The Bubble has expanded my interest in journalism and improved my writing, researching, reporting and Spanish skills. I come to the office three times a week and usually write about one article per day. I usually have to look up a lot of information about the topic and cite multiple sources to help give the big picture. It’s so much fun to learn a little bit more about Argentina every day I come in. Plus, my Spanish skills have improved, because all of my sources are usually in Spanish.

My editors have helped me to learn about journalism and writing, of course, but as US citizens who live abroad they may have taught me even more. This trip has helped me to begin to decide whether or not I want to start a career and a life abroad, a question I'm sure I will spend some time evaluating. While I don't have an answer to that question yet, I've learned from their experiences a little bit more of what it's like, and I know I can always reach out to them.

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One of my favorite things about The Bubble is that the company is so collaborative. We share a huge space with a bigger Argentine media company, and within that space we have two tables. One fits six people; the other fits ten or so. That creates a dynamic in which we can easily ask our editors questions, talk about our weekend plans, debate the best way to translate something, explain an aspect of the culture of our home countries and do so many other things. That may sound distracting, but we definitely get a lot of work done.

I think the best thing about the way the office is set up is that I’ve made so many friends, mostly from the US, England and Argentina. I spend time with them outside of The Bubble and have gotten to know a couple of them really well.

Thanks Tommy!

Tommy's journey continues every Monday so stay tuned.

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Topics: Buenos Aires, Argentina, Official Bloggers and Vloggers, Volunteering Abroad