After coming back from my year in Mendoza, Argentina, I found it really hard to put my experience together in just a few sentences. Still today, when people ask me: How was your year abroad? I find it really hard to answer without rambling on. It’s impossible to sum up 13 months in just a few sentences. I wanted to use this reflection project to try and reconcile this problem I had encountered during my re-entry process.
The photo collage I constructed is a collection of fragmented memories. I tried to include pictures of everything that composed my daily life in Mendoza. There are pictures of my host mom’s cacti collection, and the Andes on the way to the airport. I have a view of my favorite street, and also meat cooking at an asado, a typical Argentine barbecue. I wanted to mix all different aspects of my life–the social, academic, familiar, and even the most mundane. I also thought a lot about color–the Argentine flag is light blue with a yellow sun in the middle, so the collage has a similar color scheme, with the yellow pictures in the center and the rays different shades of blue. The process itself was illuminating–I got to see all different parts of my life and experience come together in a physical, tangible way. I still sometimes struggle with answering the ‘How was Argentina?’ question, but after creating and reflecting on this project, I understand it is impossible but also okay that I can’t convey everything to the people I’ve returned to in the U.S
Lara Del Piano is a student at Kenyon College and studied abroad with IFSA on the Mendoza Universities Program in 2012.