By Ben Sweeney, de CLEMSON UNIVERSITY
When I decided to study abroad in Córdoba, I had a mixture of emotions leading up to my departure, similar emotions to the ones I had right before my first day at Ripon College. I was especially nervous because I was the first student in the history of my school to study abroad in South America. Needless to say, I went into this experience blind, and in some respects, feeling more alone and independent than I ever had before.
The interesting aspect is that although Córdoba is not a tourist hotspot, I could not be happier with my decision to study here because of how friendly the people are. More than anything, the people quickly helped me adapt to the Argentine lifestyle. As hard as I try, I can not recall an unpleasant encounter with a cordobés.
Some of my best memories are from the friendly encounters I have had with complete strangers, most notably in taxis, or remis, as they are called in Argentina. In one particular late night ride, a taxi driver told me that the taxi drivers are like psychologists in many respects; people often openly discuss their problems, their emotions, and their feelings with them. Although the typical cordobés only rides in a taxi for perhaps 15 minutes, and will never see that taxi driver again, those 15 minutes usually make for a very memorable conversation.
As much as I love the food, the music and the lifestyle in Argentina, it is the people I meet, whether they be friends or strangers, that have truly made the difference in my study abroad. The nervousness and uncertainty of feeling alone in a country I knew very little about quickly evaporated as I rapidly started to enjoy every aspect of Córdoba’s lifestyle. While Buenos Aires has its spectacular sights, Mendoza its wine tasting, and Patagonia its beautiful national parks, every tourist city in Argentina lacks what Córdoba has-the friendliness of the typical cordobés.
To say that I have enjoyed this experience would certainly be an understatement- I soon learned that I was not ready to go home in December when there was so much more to explore in Argentina. I arrived in July and will stay until June, staying in Argentina almost an entire calendar year. Many often ask me “¿Extrañas?”, asking me “Do you miss home?”, and although at times I, as almost anyone would, miss my family from time to time, I don`t feel as if I am in a different country. Còrdoba has in many ways become a second home, and given this amazing opportunity I knew that if I didn`t study here as long as possible I would always regret it. I came into Còrdoba not knowing anything about the city, and the people welcomed me with open arms. I will reluctantly leave at the end of June and say goodbye to many lifelong friends, having learned not only a different language but a different view of the world, a view that has taught me many lessons that will last a lifetime.