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First Generation Abroad

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Is it Possible?

It had always been a dream of mine to study abroad every since my older brother did so in Beijing. I was obviously stressed out about how I could possibly afford it. I searched my college’s financial assistance websites and applied for all the scholarships I could find. I also, applied for school aid. I am very afraid of getting in debt so taking out a loan was the last thing I wanted to do.

I was fortunate enough to receive three scholarships and a grant to fund my study abroad experience. Believe me when I tell you that it is possible. You can afford to study abroad. Fill out all those scholarships. Talk to a financial aid counselor about grants. I know it can be challenging but it is worth it in the end when you are exploring a new culture without worrying about finances.

First Impressions

When I arrived to Buenos Aires (BA), I immediately fell in love. The city is amazing. I grew up in suburbia and moved to downtown Austin but none of that prepared me for BA. There are people everywhere. The streets are always filled. There are cafes on every block. Public transportation is great. Although I struggled to make friends the first few days, I finally decided to reach out to someone in my program by inviting her to the Rosedal de Palermo with me. We instantly bonded. Anytime that I want to go out and explore the city’s numerous sights, I send her a message and she always comes along. I suggest that you try to reach out to someone because you never know, that person might just become your best friend!

What to Do

There is a plethora of activities to do in Buenos Aires. You can always find something to do very easily and public transportation makes every destination accessible. Want to explore nature? Rosedal de Palermo is breathtaking and like no other park I have been to. La Reserva Ecologica is also a beautiful place by Puerto Madero where you can hike and get away from the city. Do you enjoy museums? Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo costs 25 pesos to get in. This was the home of a prestigious Argentine family and is the most elegant mansion in BA. Museo de Bellas Artes offers three floors of pristine art for free. MALBA is a Latin American museum that is very close by to the previous two and costs 60 pesos with your student ID. They even have a Frida Kahlo piece!

Each neighborhood also offers their very own cultural center that has beautiful art pieces. If it’s soccer season, I definitely recommend attending a game! I will never forget experiencing the Argentina versus Haiti friendly at Bombonera stadium. American soccer does not compare to what I witnessed and felt. Puerto Madero offers numerous restaurants, Kirschner cultural center, la casa rosada, plaza de Mayo, and beautiful views of the city. Recoleta Cemetery is a must! I know it sounds kind of creepy but I promise you that you will learn so much about Argentine history while also left in awe by the glamorous mausoleums. These are only a few suggestions. There is so much more. Do not be afraid to go out. Find a friend and enjoy BA!

Kelly Rivas is a psychology major at the University of Texas at Austin and studied abroad on the IFSA Summer in Buenos Aires program in 2018.