Student experiences Argentinean lifestyle

Rose Conry

This past summer senior Anne Huber spent two months in Argentina; even though warmly welcomed by her host family and her new classmates, she still struggled to adapt to several aspects of life there. She lived with a family outside of La Plata, the capital of the Buenos Aires province and attended a nearby school called Belgrano.

On her first day of classes, Huber felt overwhelmed as she tried to understand her classmates. “Within five minutes, the entire class gathered around me and started asking me questions in Spanish,” said Huber.

Although the Argentine accent and the speaking speed of the native speakers made understanding her classmates and host family an even more daunting task, with time Huber first began to understand others and then to express her own thoughts in Spanish. “Near the end of my stay, I could generally say what I wanted to say,” said Huber.

Upon returning home, she found it difficult to return to speaking English. “I’d say things in English using Spanish phrasing. The day after I got back, I told my mom, ‘I don’t have no hunger,”‘ said Huber.

Besides the language, Huber found many other differences between Argentina and the United States. In Argentina, Huber attended a very liberal school. “The bells were only suggestions, ” said Huber. They rang just to remind students to begin to think about getting to class soon. Her classmates smoked in the bathrooms; she even witnessed a student smoking in a classroom before the teacher arrived.
Outside of school, Huber also encountered several relaxed standards. “Everything in the U.S. has rules. Speed limits and littering laws are strictly enforced. In Argentina, rules are like guidelines or suggestions,” said Huber. Because of Argentina’s casual enforcement of laws, Huber noticed that several of her friends often did not throw away candy wrappers or other trash.
In Argentina, Huber followed a different schedule than her daily routine at home. School began at 7:30 and ended at one; students returned to their homes to eat lunch. Huber ate dinner at 11 o’clock at night with her host family.
During the day, Huber and her friends drank mate, a loose leaf South American tea popular throughout Argentina. “We’d go to parks and houses to drink mate. It was common for people to walk around with thermoses to keep the water for their tea warm,” said Huber. She choose to bring back several bags of the tea leaves to remind her of her summer and share with friends at home.