When arriving in Argentina at the end of July, shortly before the semester started, we immediately felt comfortable in the country’s capital Buenos Aires. Through many immigrants coming from Europe who settled down in this place in the 19th century a high European influence is noticeable. While strolling through the streets of Buenos Aires it may remind you of Barcelona, Paris or when having dinner in the beautiful district Palermo Soho you have a flashback of being in London.
The variety of different styles the city has to offer is breath taking. Buenos Aires counts an estimated population of 2,891,000 citizens in 2016 and is the second largest city in South America, which results in quiet huge distances if one wants to move. I am from Berlin and comparing the public transport to BA is not really possible. There are only four different subway lines, running until 10pm but several busses being available all of the time. However, the prices for cabs are very low, which gives you a safe possibility of travelling.
Universidad Austral in Buenos Aires is one of the best universities in Latin America having three different campuses in the districts Pilar, Rosario and Recolta. All Macromedia students do attend their classes in Recoleta which is considered to be the safest area in the city. The first time you are standing in front of the building you would rather consider the use of the word castle than university, since it is very different comparing to the campuses we know. However, the classes will never count more than 30 students and the schedule comprises five classes including Spanish lessons each week. The classes usually take three hours. Only having three days of uni gives the students the opportunity to travel during the free time and enjoy the time in Buenos Aires. The professors are all very experienced and do require homework each week, which is manageable since they will count for your final grade. So we will not have an exam week as in Germany; assignments, the homeworks, participation in class and midterm tests will put together the grade. This means the students will always have to work a little bit, but will not experience the busy post exam stress we are used to at home which is great!
I am living with three friends in Recolta, ten minutes away from the campus, which I would consider to be the perfect place to live while spending the semester abroad in Argentina. Most of the students live in apartments with other internationals having an amazing time. We are always spending time in big groups exploring all the restaurants, hidden cafés and are of course enjoying the nightlife. Most of the best bars being similar to the ones I know from Kreuzberg or Friedrichshain are located in Palermo as well as the clubs. Before coming here, you should definitely listen to some Latin American songs, because they will always be played at some point which is a lot of fun. If you are not into charts or Spanish music, you can also find some good clubs playing Hip Hop or Techno. Besides from that there are several DJs and famous artists coming as well, there is always something happening in Buenos Aires. After a long night out on a Saturday you would probably spend the next day in San Telmo on one of the biggest flea markets I’ve ever seen. Close to this place is a huge park with palms being similar to Mauerpark in Berlin on Sundays. Live music, food stands offering dishes from every country in Latin America, fresh juices, and a lot of young people create an amazing atmosphere.
Now I would like to come to the nicest part – traveling in South America. After two weeks my friends and I did a five-day trip to the Iguazú Falls, which is the most stunning natural phenomena I have ever seen. You can visit the waterfalls from Brazil and Argentina, which I would definitely recommend. The only thing you have to be aware of is that the Argentinians are not as punctual and organized as we know it from home, so if the bus is supposed to come at 3pm it is not unusual if you leave at 6pm. But when being in good company everything can be fun and it is always worth the experience.
Next week we will fly to Rio de Janeiro for ten days to enjoy some cocktails on the beach and explore the city. Moreover, we have planned to see the Glaciar Perito Moreno in the south of Argentina and since we are supposed to finish university on November 18th we have a lot of time to travel afterwards. The next weeks we will figure out where to go next…