Once you get to Buenos Aires, the CAPA Center at Universidad Austral will become your home away from home. Let CAPA alum Ben Gunduz pass on some knowledge on how you can plan your time for classes, internship, breaks, and commutes each day!
The CAPA Center at Universidad Austral can become your home away from home in Buenos Aires. It is home to the CAPA staff and Resident Director, and is where your classes will be held. Furthermore, it serves as a meeting point for excursions and group activities, which is convenient because it is centrally located and easy to access for all students. In this piece, I will share some of my experiences regarding the CAPA Center and how I utilized it in my time there.
Here is what the University looks like. This is the main portion of the building, but it also has a modern portion in the back with some classrooms. There is also a library, computer lab, lunch area, and a rooftop deck. The classrooms were comfortable and well equipped, and the staff was always really friendly and accommodating!
Since I did an internship, I only had classes three days a week. On Mondays, I would go to my internship in the mornings, and at around 1:00pm, I would take the bus over to the university. It is located in close proximity to two major subway stations and many bus lines. The buses were my best way of getting there, as well as most places in the city. My International Economics class began at 2:15pm, and I was free for the evening by 5:30pm. Tuesdays were working days, so I didn’t stop by the CAPA Center. Wednesdays, however, were class days. I would take the bus over in the mornings; if I left by 9:20am, I would have plenty of time to get to my International Economics class at 10:00am, even after stopping for breakfast and coffee. After that class, I would go to my Global Internship Workshop, and be done with classes by 3:45pm. Thursday was another working day, but on Fridays, I would head over to the CAPA Center around 1:30pm for my economics class, and would be free for the weekends no later than 5:30pm. Commutes to and from class were no longer than 20 minutes by bus, which is fast, cheap, and efficient.
Universidad Austral is on a major avenue in Buenos Aires, with close proximity to the General San Martin subway station and several bus lines. The one pictured is the 101 line, but I always took either the 39 or 152. The bus lines are privately owned and operated with government subsidies, so they compete with each other, which incentivizes them to work efficiently.
I was the only Northeastern University student in Buenos Aires at the time, but that gave me a great chance to make some friends from other parts of the country, and all over the world (one of my classmates lived in Zambia!). My classes had about 5 people in them, so it was a tight-knit environment with a lot of discussion, which I felt was conducive to a good learning environment. I am still in touch with several of my classmates and my economics professor. Furthermore, while I had economics three times a week, it went by so fast because it was such a small class that we always often had group discussions and the professor included information on topics that we were interested in; it’s not so hard to please 5 students, but pleasing 50+ people in a lecture is much harder! Additionally, we always got a break in that class which was a great time to get a coffee or go for a quick walk. My Global Internship Workshop class ran once a week, and offered a chance to learn from everyone’s collective experiences on their internships and make cross-cultural connections.
The break during my economics class and between classes was a great chance to unwind, chat with friends, or get enough caffeine to power through the rest of the day! If coffee isn’t your thing, you can take a walk and enjoy the scenery near the school. Below is a picture of a park just a few minutes away from Austral on foot!
Naturally, when you are studying abroad, you don’t want to spend hours on end doing homework. Luckily, the CAPA courses offered a good balance of class time and homework that also allowed for time to explore the city and spend time with friends. The way that my schedule worked out, I was able to get most of my homework and studying done Friday mornings before my economics class.
Here are some key tips:
1. Take advantage of the breaks to try something new, visit the CAPA staff, or get some work out of the way!
2. Figure out the best commute early; the less time you spend commuting, the more time you will have to enjoy the city!
3. Be productive during the mornings and afternoons, so the evenings and nights are all yours. This is much easier at Austral than at your home university!
Ben Gunduz is an alumnus of the summer 2019 CAPA Buenos Aires program, where he shared his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. He is currently an International Business major at Northeastern University.