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10 posts from November 2012

11/29/2012

Buenos Aires offers a lot much! Explore the city. Discover the Culture.

Get in touch with local culture and grasp the Argentine way of life.The main challenge is to develop perception skills by observing urban surroundings and cultural practices. Exploring the city aims to increase the ability to understand and interpret local cultural features.

This group excursion takes place on Sundays to Mataderos which is an interesting alternative to the other Sunday fairs in the city. Located on the south-west edge of Capital Federal, Mataderos offers a less touristy atmosphere and the possibility to discover interesting aspects of the local culture.

Carolina Alba Merlo

 

Claire Mauro

As a dancer, I love learning about another culture based on their traditional dances. At the Feria de Mataderos the main square is filled with live music and dancing of traditional gaucho dances. These dances are very different from tango and are danced in a manner similar to the Spanish habanera, which is a choreographed “contradanza” where the partners only touch with their hands. As the music continued, more couples joined in, each with their own aesthetic and interpretation of the dance moves and yet they were all pretty much doing the same moves. It gave a very strong feeling of community.

This is very different from tango, which is more centered on the partnership. I would love to go back and ask one of the couples to teach me how to dance it since it looks so fun! 

Claire Mauro -  Elon University

Lily Siegal

At the Feria de Mataderos, there was a seemingly never-ending hodgepodge of delicious traditional foods, quality leather goods, elaborate handmade jewelry, and so on. Past the rows of delicious and artisanal goods, there were still more wonders to be seen including the traditional gaucho game of “la carrera de la sortija” and a small dog standing on a horse’s back. However, out of all these intriguing sights, my favorite was perhaps the traditional dance that some of the people attending the fair broke into while a band played music. As the dancers whirled, twirled, and paused in place all at once to first snap their fingers, then clap their hands, whoever was not dancing crowded closer to watch. Everyone gathered around seemed to be having as much fun as the dancers themselves. What left the most lasting impression on me, though, was just the amount of joy that both dancers and onlookers got out of this simple pleasure and the feeling of community that circulated around them.  

Lily Siegal - Elon University

Helen Wright
The Museo Criollo de los Corrales contained a great collection of traditionally gaucho artifacts and gave newcomers to the Feria de Mataderos a better idea of what they would be seeing in the fair and an understanding of where many of the traditional aspects of the fair derive from. Additionally, there was traditional dancing in the streets and a gaucho game on horseback called “sortija” where they have try to take off a hanging ring of ribbon with a stick while galloping towards it on their horses.   It was great to see a very traditionally gaucho fair because within the city we usually don’t have exposure to this perspective.

Helen Wright - Elon University

I told the lady working at the stand that they had the best empanadas that I had tried since my arrival to Argentina and she was very flattered and talked to me for a minute about where I was from and what I was doing in Argentina and overall it was a wonderful experience.  The market had a lot of things that you don’t see usually in Buenos Aires and again it was great to put a distance between yourself and the big city.  Mataderos is an amazing place and I’ll definitely be boarding the 55 again soon to return.

Aaron Kondrasuk - University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

Liam Miller

The Mataderos festival was one of the most interesting things I have done in Argentina thus far. I felt like I was a world away from Palermo, where I live, yet I only had to travel 45 minutes from my house on bus to arrive at what seemed like a festival from a rural province of the country. What I found especially interesting was the crafts at this fair. I have been to many different fairs in Buenos Aires – in San Telmo and Plaza Serrano – and these fairs have many of the same things. I began to think all the fairs had the exact same products. This was far from what I was presented with at Mataderos. 

Liam Miller - Villanova University

This feria is different because there is all kinds of music and dancing, attributed to the "gaucho" lifestyle which has a rich history in Argentina. A "gaucho" is somewhat similar to a cowboy, yet distinct. There were many people dancing along to the music, waving what appeared to be ribbons or handkerchiefs above their heads while dancing, similar to how the gauchos would dance with their wives in the past. Clearly Buenos Aires is known for the Tango, but here was something completely different. What really interested me about this was how both the man and woman were dancing with kids that appeared to be no older than 12, kids that had learned the dance. To me, this shows how the gaucho culture and history has passed down through the ages, it symbolizes the teaching of tradition and history to kids, passing down the torch so to speak. This was fascinating to me, because it showed me how they want this culture to survive and what it means to them, all in a simple dance. Just one of the few things I've learn to love about this city.

Jon Swiftney - Hope College

11/28/2012

Interview with musician Miguel Cantilo

This month, we had the honor of hosting Miguel Cantilo, a veritable Argentine rock legend, in the FLACSO auditorium for an interview and chat. In addition to talking about his life, inspiration, and music answering each and every one of of our questions he performed two of his classic songs, "¿Dónde va la gente cuando llueve?", and "Adonde quiera que voy". Although extremely famous, he was amicable and approachable, and his passion for his music was as clear in his spoken voice as it was in his singing voice. It was a truly wonderful opportunity.  

Hannah Moore - Scripps College

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11/27/2012

Thanksgiving Day: family dinner

Ingles
During the night of the 22nd of November we celebrated the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with the students, their host families and the resident staff. In accordance to the spirit of this celebration, we invited all of them to share a potluck dinner, whose objective was to bring for dinner a “special” dish for the event. Therefore, traditional American meals and preparations merged in the main table with the typical Argentine cuisine, as a result of the genuine exchange experience of cooking together. Additionally, we provided what is considered the guest of honor in this American tradition -the roasted turkey!- along with delicious desserts for the end of the night. 

This was the first time the study center offered this kind of dinner for the students, and we could say it was an outstanding experience. Even though some students were not be able to attend (due to holyday trips or because they just decided to share a more intimate celebration with their families and friends), some others invited their American family (who were visiting them for the occasion). Thus, everybody who was part of the festivity had the opportunity not only to share amazing dishes from two different countries, but also to depart and exchange in a relaxed environment. Moreover, this group dinner allowed all of us to learn about the different customs around the celebration, and how every family enjoys being part of this.  

Finally, we want to share with you some snapshots of this fantastic night. We hope you’ll enjoy them!

  Collage

To see more pics > Click HERE

11/20/2012

Eleven different views of Buenos Aires

User_size_104351Buenos Aires' neighborhoods by Miguel Rep, Argentinian artist

 

Plaza Francia

Suddenly, there is a break in the chain of buildings. In the middle of blocks overflowing with marble, brick, and stone, Plaza Francia offers trees, grass and light. The space holds many booths for the artisan fair, but the tents trace humble trails instead of dominating the natural space. Life saturates the site; instead of a demonstration of wealth, this place is dedicated to celebrating existence. Vendors shout, children laugh, men with dreadlocks play their drums. For the first time since arriving in Buenos Aires, I feel like I belong instead of being a spectator.

Carly Goodkin - Claremont McKenna College

 

Almagro

Once I arrived, paid the fee, and climbed the candlelit stairs, I found myself in a world completely different from the one outside. Beneath its outer layer, a veneer of theatrical posters featuring passionate women and somber men dancing to a music that only they could hear, the ancient wooden walls showed through. From the top of the staircase, I could see numerous hallways and doors, some closed but others open to show rooms occupied only by storage boxes and empty chairs—all discarded at some point during the long history of the building. Indeed, the story of La Catedral began more than 200 years ago. I learned later that the building was originally a grain silo and subsequently, with the inevitable changes in the character and needs of the city, a dairy and meat storage facility, as Almagro was characterized by its roles in these industries during the nineteenth century. Indeed, the design of La Catedral hails from the decade 1880, and this historic and artistic heritage has been recuperated and reclaimed in recent years. However, that which caught my attention most was the tango music emanating from a source to my right, resonating with a sound that could only pertain to music played within a cavernous space. When I passed through the entrance, the room that received me was as marvelous as it was enormous, with a ceiling high and shadowed as if it had always been a cathedral. A cathedral laced with mystery and spirituality, with vestiges of each stratum of its history present in the sacred ambiance. An immense heart adorned the wall furthest from the door as the focal point of the space. By the contrast between the shadows and lights of the vaulted ceiling, the excess of the enormous heart and daring works of art created from recycled materials on the walls, I could see, in addition to contemporary environmentalism, echoes of Baroque artistic influences from Europe. Although reinvented and reclaimed, this historic space does not hide its industrial background and colonial architecture—but rather glorifies them concurrently with the contemporary, thus achieving cultural syncretism.

Hannah Moore - Scripps College

 

San Telmo

When I vsited San Telmo one of the first sundays here in Buenos Aires, I thought it was very distinct than the other neighborhoods I have visited. The European influence is more evident in the streets and buildings, characterized by the mansions and the brick-styled roads. In between the attractions that one can visit in this neighborhood like the bars, restaurants and museums, there are some antique churches - like the church of San Pedro Telmo- antique and design stores, and an artisan street fair that is called The Fair of San Telmo that takes place in the main plaza, Plaza Dorrego on Defense street every Sunday. Although there is a lot of tourism, everyone there is very nice and the sensation that San Telmo had was the most tranquil of all the other neighborhoods I have visited.

Tova Feinberg - Allegheny College

 

There are many restaurants, bars, clothing stores and antiques shops and of course the San Telmo market. The bars are fashionable and there are different types. The shops are eclectic, the clothes in general are a little strange, there are shops that sell a mix of things from pillows to CDs. The market feels very old, there are stands for food and meet and fresh vegetables, but the majority are antique stands of all things, such as posters, furniture, clothes, lamps, and much more. Some of the shops feel like I traveled through time to the 1960s or 1970s and in general are dark and dusty. Some days there are street fairs in the streets with touristy things like mate cups, paintings, trinkets, and jewelry. Probably Sunday is the best day to go because it’s when there is the biggest street fair in the street Defensa. I like when there are the big fairs because there are more people therefore more energy, even if more of the people are tourists its more fun.

Simone Fukuda - Wellesley College

 

Calle Corrientes


Corrientes is alive. It breathes. It has a heart that beats frenetically. With the song "we no speak americano" by Yolanda be cool, you have the perfect soundtrack for this beautiful mess. Its mix of antiquated, Italian lyrics sprinkled in with a distinctly modern beat like the lunfardo that jumps from the mouths of all those walking down this street.

I stroll down Corrientes again. I've made this journey dozens of times but something about it feels new. I breath, like the street, and I walk, my steps keeping time with the rhythms of Yolanda be cool running through my mind. Three steps, bumping into someone, a mumbled "Excuse me." And for just one moment, I see the sun peeking through the skyscrapers.

 Lauren Siverly - Occidental College

 

Belgrano

 Each day, I walked the streets of Belgrano without knowing the history of its existence. Surely, I realized the difference between the quality of my neighborhood and that of others. However, beyond the reason of social class, I didn't know the reason as to why the neighborhood functions as it does. Of course I appreciated the quality of life that this neighborhood has to offer. Belgrano has the ability to function as its own independent city.

Rasheed Richards - Vanderbilt University

 

La Boca

We didn't know where to get off. We had arrived in bus to the neighborhood where nearly a century ago immigrants had first entered Buenos Aires. The 152 entered a warehouse, stopped, and spit us out onto the street. The first sensation of being lost disappeared when we were captured by the detailed murals and sculptures of impressive quality on walls that were otherwise mediocre. We had entered La Boca.

It is the opening to a past enriched by the history of its occupants. An opening to the true history of Buenos Aires, of its radical change due to the massive wave of immigration at the beginning of the 20th century. There was, and still is, a constant process of mastication in the formation of the people. Now it is a mixture of tourists, the foreigners fascinated and entertained by the colors of the houses, with argentine natives, exploring and investigating their own identity.

Katherine Spiegel - Georgetown University

 

Parque Lezama

On day, a while back, instead of going straight into my apartment after crossing Avenida Belgrano, I kept walking throughout San Telmo, in order to get a better sense of the neighborhood. After one block, nothing more, the suits and the high-heeled shoes begin to disappear. The streets, generally, are empty, but I see three or four old men that bring to mind Borges, and a few happy families.

I take a turn to the right in Estados Unidos, which is a stone street. I don't walk on the sidewalk, but in the street--why shouldn't I walk in the street where there are no cars? I take a left and I am now a little lost, which is what I wanted. After a few minutes (actually, a lot of minutes) lost in thought, and a few (many) arbitrary lefts and rights, I realize that I am approaching Parque Lezama, designed by Charles Thays, and that I should go back to my house.

At times, I prefer the parks in Palermo, but the truth is that I should appreciate Parque Lezama more. Only ten blocks from my house, it's a good way to escape from the center of the city and enter into a more open space with some fresh air. Also, I'm thinking now, I hate those lakes in Palermo.There's something much more natural about this park in the stomach of San Telmo.

Michael Migiel-Schwartz - Wesleyan University

 

Flores

While I was walking down Yerbal, a quiet street located one block above Rivadavia, I saw a school called "Escuela Museo de Bellas Artes General Urquiza" (Museum School of Fine Arts of General Urquiza). It seemed interesting to me this fusion of museum and school because I had never seen a combination quite like this before. I wanted to find out more about the institution. I didn't go inside the school but I could see through the windows many paintings and sculptures. Some children were waiting in the school's stairway, waiting for their parents to pick them up and take them home.

Kathleen McDonnell - Fordham University

 

Palermo

Each neighborhood in Buenos Aires is like its own city. They are all very different and have their own characteristics (...)

Palermo can be divided into many smaller "neighborhoods". These are Alto Palermo and Villa Freud- Alto Palermo is more or less the center of Palermo and Villa Freud is famous for all of the psychiatrists that live there; Palermo Viejo is the oldest part of Palermo, has been heavily influenced by Spanish and Eastern European culture, and is known for housing Jorge Luis Borges and Che Guevara; Palermo Soho is close to Plaza Serrano and is popular with the younger crowd and tourists for all of its restaurants, bars, stores, cafes, and markets; Palermo Hollywood has many people from tv shows and radio programs; Palermo Chico and Barrio Parque are more exclusive and have more residential areas than the other parts.

Abigail Harrison - Georgetown University

 

Las Haras de Trujui. Moreno

We began the hard work, building the foundation of the house. When we took a break, we chatted with the family and played with the kids. I noticed that our family and their neighbors spent a lot of time outside of their shelters, sitting or working in their yards. It seemed to me that the people in this village spent equal amounts of time within their houses as outside. Some neighbors came over to ask us about our construction project and how they could apply for their own.

I spent those days in another world, helping a family that had to fight for basic necessities while working with a team of people who had a strong desire to support those who live in poverty. My gratitude grew tremendously for the things in life that often seem commonplace, but in reality, millions of people live without these resources: a safe house, clean water, and nutritious food. My experience in Las Haras de Trujui revealed that still, there are people living in extreme hardship, and in order to break this cycle, we have to dedicate more time, effort, and resources. This neighborhood shaped and broadened my perspective about the reality of what it means to live in poverty, and furthermore, it inspired me to learn more about what I can do to contribute to solving this problem.

Christina Snider - Vanderbilt University

Interview with film director Mauro Andrizzi

In the Seminar each semester, a new director visits us who has revolutionized Argentine cinema from the end of the 90s to the present, the New Argentine Cinema. This time, we had the pleasure of speaking with Mauro Andrizzi, the director of Mono (2007), Iraqi Short Films (2008), En el futuro (2010), Accidentes Gloriosos (2011), all films that have toured, with much success, the international festival circuit.

After an introductory talk with the professor Hernán Sassi, the students asked him questions and the director, in an unhurried and didactic tone, explained at great length, among other themes, the creative modes, the financing and production of each of his projects, the New Argentine Cinema, and his new film, which will give a new turn to his career.

In students’ words…

 After seeing both Iraqi Short Films and Accidentes gloriosas, I had no idea how I should prepare myself to meet with director Mauro Andrizzi. The two films were so different from each other that one part of me expected to meet an eccentric, a genius artist, while the other part expected to meet a serious political critic looking at the American students with reproachful eyes. The man who entered our classroom was, however, very different. Silly, intelligent and pleasant, Mauro Andrizzi challenged all of my preconceived notions of what a director should be and, through his profound words, gave me a new perspective on how I could reexamine everything we had learned so far in the course.

I believe that perhaps the most interesting thing that Mr. Andrizzi said was about the New Argentine Cinema movement. When someone asked him what he thought about this modern movement does that is so distinct from the past, Andrizzi said, surprisingly, “Yo no creo que sea nuevo” (“I don’t believe that it’s new.”). To elaborate, he explained that every decade has its own innovations and novelties, but what he believes is that which makes this era of such honorable mention is not only the fact that directors employ a completely different type of performance – that is to say they mainly use non-professional actors – but also, despite this tendency, the majority of their films are very, very good. With a smile and a little optimism in his voice, he predicted that in the next two or three years cinema would be even more popular.

Even though Andrizzi only talked about the New Cinema for a few minutes, his intuition has allowed me to arrive at the following conclusions: in the first place, the difference between this new era of cinematography and that of the past is rooted, perhaps most basically, in the intention. Whereas in the 60s and 70s each move was made with a clear political intention (whether that be to unify the country or justify some type of bad bureaucracy), current films are made more for aesthetics, rather than politics – a fact that manifests itself in Andrizzi’s statement that, “en las películas que hice hasta ahora, pensé muy poco en la audiencia” (“In the movies that I’ve made so far, I’ve thought very little about the audience”).

In conclusion, this interview was very useful because not only did it confirm what we had already learned, but also added, through a series of personal anecdotes, more detailed information about the New Argentine Cinema.

Guy Mentel – Georgetown University

 

First, I want to note that I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet and listen to Mauro Andrizzi. He seemed like a very interesting man and a director with an admirable creativity and pure motivation. I’d like to comment on some things that are not necessarily linked, and then I’m going to format this post into vignettes.

One thing that surprised me a lot was the fact that Andrizzi, before making films, did not have a great interest or ideological point of view about the war in Iraq. He said that he found the videos for the film by chance, and then he decided to make a movie only because he recognized the possibility of combining them to create a good film. For me, the movie Iraqi Short Films is so ideologically powerful and strong, and takes such a polemical perspective, I had assumed that the director had a specific interest in the conflict and in the politics of the United States in the Middle East. It seems strange to me that Andrizzi did not express a very strong opinion about the conflict, but made such a strong and powerful movie.

Andrizzi’s creative process interests me a lot. For example, his process of looking for rare news articles and converting them into fiction is very interesting to me. It seems like Andrizzi likes to play with the intersection of cinema and other media (like the news or literature) and also with the intersection of fiction and nonfiction. I believe that it’s because Andrizzi doesn’t have a problem making less orthodox combinations and that his films are so interesting and less conventional.

It seemed very admirable to me that Andrizzi made his movies for himself and not to appeal to the public, make money or please the industry. The more he talked about the importance of funds in the cinematography world, the more it seemed like Andrizzi, sincerely, was not preoccupied with the reception of his movies or his own gain, only with artistic expression and his contribution to the field. I believe that this, today, when almost everything is made with capitalist or vain motives, is very rare. In a field so dominated and dependent on money, I believe hat Andrizzi is on of the few.

Molly Weinstein – Tufts University

 

Before the interview with Mauro Andrizzi, I didn’t have any specific expectations; I had never spoken with a film director before. I was happy to find that the discussion was very informal and relaxed. Sometimes, when an interview only has direct questions, you can’t learn about those small.

 What interested me the most was listening to Andrizzi describe his creative process, from an idea’s conception to the actual filming. It’s much more flexible and fluid than what I previously thought. I always imagined that the process would be much more structured, with the director following a preconceived vision and making small changes. But after listening to Andrizzi, I realized how critical the director’s role is throughout the filming, before, during, and afterward.

An example of his unique creative process that interested me was the fact that Andrizzi doesn’t look to do the same things; it seems to me that he waits for the moment inspiration arrives to start a new project. With each film that he’s made, it was like the idea found him. For example, with Iraqi Short Films, Andrizzi decided to make a movie after fining those videos on the internet. Furthermore, with his second film, Andrizzi admitted that his own relationship influenced the film’s idea’s conception.

Another “fluid” aspect of his creative process is the ease with which Andrizzi makes changes to his films. For example, when we asked him why he decided to use a single narrator, he told us because Cristina Banegas accepted the role, and she seemed the perfect narrator for all the stories, not because the directors previously had a concrete idea.

I like how available directors seem, that they would go to talk to a film class. The artistic population here is very impressive.

Julia Pasquale – Indiana University

 

It was interesting to see how Mauro Andrizzi talked about his influences. He said that he was a cinephile when he was a kid, and mentioned some directors that influenced him specifically. However, he also said that critics and journalists sometimes mention other movies as influences, which he hadn’t thought of. It shows how influences can be unconscious, and how the viewer can link the film to influences beyond the director’s intentions. His description of his process of writing Accidentes Gloriosos was also interesting. With inspirations in real news stories, the stories seem more profound to me now, and less random. If anyone is interested, the story that I think inspired him can be found here.

Someone asked him why he used the same narrator for all the stories. One reason that he described was to break peoples’ expectations. The majority of narrators are men, and the woman’s voice is something remarkable in the movie. When I saw the movie, I noticed the voice of the narrator. My interpretation was that she was linked to the stories, and also made them more universal. For example, in the story of the best blowjob (?), her voice is very notable because in the normalized conception of gender, we assume that women do not have penises. Because of this, it seems that she is not narrating her own story, but the story of someone else. However, the emotion in her voice during the narration seems very personal. Because of this, my interpretation was that this story had something beyond the literal. There was something universal and human in the story that I don’t know if I would have noted without the use of a female narrator.

Erica Meadow – Reed College

 

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Internships in the National Congress

Since I started working for the CIEE Study Center in Buenos Aires, I couldn't stop wondering about our role as young people in society. Do we only have to study? Or work? Or both? Are we expected to get involved with the community? After all these years as a SL coordinator, I'm now aware of the importance of youth participation within different institutions and how their fresh view can become a plus.

As part of a very proud CIEE Staff, I'm happy to present this volunteering experience in which three of our students have become research assistants at the National Senate. This is a great opportunity to thank senator Daniel Filmus personally and his team of advisors, specially Diego Filmus who coordinates the group of CIEE students, since all of them have made this experience possible.

Juan Tollo - Service Learning Coordinator

 

" This has been a really amazing and interesting opportunity that I never thought I would get through coming on the CIEE-Buenos Aires program. Not only have I gotten to learn about a current important political topic in Argentina to which I was clueless before (the reform of the Civil Code, on which we are helping to do comporative research), but I'm actually getting to do some work to play a small role in said reform, as well as to meet personally with an Argentinian senator (which I believe is the highest ranking elected official I've ever met).

But this is what I would like to stress most to any prospective students interested in the CIEE program who might read this, or for anyone at all interested: The internship program strikes me, as many aspects of CIEE have, as incredibly honest and respectable in its purposes. That is, while yes we are doing research that I am sure is important and will be used, in some way shape or form--heck, maybe a variety of ways, shapes, and forms--, to help inform Senator Filmus and his staff. But this is, as more forms of work I think should be, a true simbiotic relationship, and CIEE has made that clear all along; that is, the internship is as much to benefit us, as a learning experience, as an opportunity to make use of our spanish in a different setting, as a way to learn about a slightly different political system, as it is about Senator Filmus and his staff gaining some benefit from our ability to read English or, in the case of one more talented student, French laws, and do comparative analyses. There was something very nice about Senator Filmus saying a paraphrased version of just that, that this was not just about them, but it was about us. I didn't figure it out until I started thinking about what I most wanted to get across in this blog post.

The CIEE staff has consistently given me the impression that they are genuinely interested in how we students are doing, not only with our spanish, but also emotionally, spiritually, mentally, etc. This internship has only further showed me that it is an organization with wonderful people working towards respectable goals. I'm happy I was chosen to do some really interesting research that is helping broaden my understanding of comparative politics and the contemporary political debate in Argentina. I'm happier I'm doing it with nice, interesting, and respectful people."

Michael Migiel-Schwartz - Wesleyan University


"Working with the Senator's office has been interesting in a number of ways! The opportunity to study pressing local policies and partake in the efforts to reform the civil code is invaluable to me as a Politics student. Not only am I learning about Argentine politics, but also about how the Argentine Civil Code compares with the French Civil Code. It's great that I get to practice my translation articles from translating text from French to Spanish. I've also enjoyed sharing and comparing findings with the other students who are researching laws in Australia and Canada. I am so glad that we have such a great team led by the very supportive Diego Filmus and Juan Tollo. In addition to doing comparative research to adoption, assisted fertilization, and surrogacy, we might have the opportunity to attend one of the public debates held in the different provinces prior to the vote on the reform. I think that would give us a chance to understand the importance of policymaking firsthand. I'm excited for the development and outcome of our project especially in the context of a very important vote on the reform of the Civil Code this December."

Rita Kerbaj - Mount Holyoke College


"For the past few weeks I have been working with two other CIEE students as research assistants for Senator Daniel Filmus, who represents Buenos Aires and the Fronte Para La Victoria party in el Senado de la Nación Argentina. We have been working on proposed changes to the Argentine Civil Code, which is undergoing a revamping process in order to better reflect modern society and the challenges faced it presents, and which will culminate with a vote on the changes in mid-December. Our project encompasses three topics: adoption, assisted reproduction, and surrogacy. Each week we are given specific sections from the Argentine Code, and our task is to familiarize ourselves with the topic in our respective countries (in my case, Canada), find laws in that country that parallel those in the Argentine Code, and then to compare and contrast them with those from the Argentine Code. The ultimate goal is to provide the Senator and his team with an understanding of the nature of the debate surrounding these three topics in Canada, France, and Australia, and then to suggest changes to existing (or the creation of non-existing) laws in Argentina based off of our analysis. The work is at once interesting, challenging, occasionally tedious, sometimes very stimulating, but always rewarding at the completion of each section!"

Sumner Becker - Brown University

11/08/2012

"Football match: San Lorenzo vs. Quilmes" by Lily Siegal, Elon University

On Saturday the 27th of October, 21 other students and I, accompanied by the coordinators Juan and Leandro and the coordinator of the soccer interest group Martin, were lucky enough to have the chance to go watch a soccer game between San Lorenzo and Quilmes.  We met up in the bus terminal of the 132 bus and from there walked a couple blocks to the San Lorenzo’s stadium, which is in Flores. There is a movement that wants the stadium to go back to the neighborhood of Boedo and before the game, we saw kids holding signs with the words “To Go Back to Boedo, Yes to the Lay of Historical Restitution” which received strong applause from many of the spectators. Without a doubt, it was an excellent game, a very exciting game to watch, which ended in the final score of a two to two tie. For me, one of the best parts of the experience of going to an Argentine soccer game was the atmosphere – during the entire game, the fans in the popular section were on foot, jumping, singing, playing drums, and screaming. It appeared to be a sea of blue and red (the team colors of San Lorenzo) and their unflagging energy was impressive! Another thing I loved about the game was the feeling of unity between fans of the same team, a feeling of community between people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds, from the father with two toddlers to the more elderly people. Going to the game was such a fun experience that now I would love to go to another one!

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11/07/2012

“Northern Chronicles” Contest

Crónicas norteñas - The winner

GINGER MOODY – Gordon College

What called my attention the most was the chance to meet natives at the “ferias” or the artisan fairs in Tilcara.  I was able to talk with several individuals there and ask them about what they make, and/or what they sell.  One person I spoke with was selling handmade jewelry and I was able to purchase a pair of earrings made from the needles of a cactus!  Another native was selling music by local bands in Tilcara.  He explained all the music that he thought I would like, according to what I told him that I was looking for and he never tried to sell me something I did not want.  He allowed me to listen to a variety of CDs on his stereo before I proceeded to purchase three of them.  The people were very down to earth and genuine in Jujuy.

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The trip allowed me to see a part of Argentina that is unlike Buenos Aires.  The people, the food, the scenery, and the language that is used in Jujuy is completely distinct from that in Buenos Aires, yet both places are part of Argentina, so it helped me understand how diverse is this country.

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Another highlight of the trip to Tilcara, Jujuy, Argentina was the empanadas that my friends and I shared one night.  We ordered them as take out and got some made with beef, chicken, and a new kind that had Quinoa and cheese together.  We all agreed that these were definitely the best empanadas that we had ever tried.  They were divine, and they did not cost too much!

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It was also a real treat to experience “Las Salinas,” or the Salt Flats, in Jujuy.  They were incredible and it was amazing that we were so high up in the mountains and close to the sun.  We had to take a couple precautions before driving up to these salt flats.  First we all shared coca tea, which helped us to adjust to the high altitude.  Then we had to lather on the sunscreen, especially those of us like me, who have very light Irish skin.  I was happy that I did not get any burns all weekend!  My friends and I were able to take some great photos while at the Salt Flats.  The view of the mountains above the salt flats was panoramic and beautiful.  This was overall a great experience.

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11/06/2012

Cultural Correspondent: “Women Run” by Allison Yates, Indiana University

 

Corresponsal semana uno

 

On Sunday, October 28, my friend Sarah Hartzheim and I ran the McDonald’s 5k “Women run” at 9:00am. This annual race takes place in various cities through Latin America to raise money for the Ronald McDonald house. This race takes place in Buenos Aires every year during the spring. Sarah, myself, and almost 8,000 other women met in Palermo for the opportunity to share our support for this charity.  It was a perfect day, with lots of sun and full of good spirits. When we arrived, we were a little lost, but later we found the huge group of women (unavoidable because we were all wearing the same shirt!) that encouraged us to run without stopping. For five kilometers, we enjoyed both the nature and different personalities that were with us during the race. What I liked the most was the energy filled environment and the passion that they dedicated towards our goal. When reached each kilometer, all of the participants went crazy and started to scream and sing. I heard a lot of inspiring shouts such as “LET’S GO GIRLS!” “WE ONLY HAVE A BIT LEFT!”

We kept running, and halfway through the race, when we were thirsty, men in black McDonald’s shirts appeared to refresh us with bottles of cold water. Despite the sun and the heat, we were able to complete our race in a decent time. When we reached the finish line, everyone cheered for us. It was a great experience, and I am so grateful to have been able to participate.

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11/05/2012

Journalism & Coffee

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Having a coffee in a bar, while reading the newspaper or chatting with friends, is a porteño custom that we wanted to experience in the Post-Advanced Spanish I: Oral Production and Comprehension Workshop II. Because of this, we chose one of the more renowned bars in the city, the Café de los Angelitos, on the corner of Rivadavia Ave. and Rincón St.

Some of the city’s bars are considered remarkable for having been the scene of significant cultural events or that, by their antiquity, architecture or local relevance, from an official part of the porteño cultural heritage. Surely, if you have been to BA you all must know some of the bars in this video.

The experience in the first person. Some reflections on this activity:

“I loved the encounter at the Café de los Angelitos. Both the place and the company were good experiences. It’s great to have the opportunity to look through the newspapers and talk with friends about what is happening now in the city in which you live. There isn’t a better way of spending the class time than eating pie, drinking coffee and talking with good people.”

Allison Yates - Indiana University

“The class of journalism and coffee was my favorite part of the whole semester. Never before had I went to converse in Spanish for three hours in a café. While I always liked our classes, the atmosphere of sitting with friends and talking in a more casual manner is something different, very fun. I love the los Angelitos bar. It has a beautiful and classic style. I feel good just seated inside. It was a more cultural class than any of the other classes I’ve taken. Not only did we practice the language, but we had the opportunity to see the daily life of other porteños. It was crucial to have our professor as well, to explain some of the customs to us and teach us a lot of new words and phrases. We also read some newspapers and then shared them. It was fascinating to see the difference in the presentation of the same news stories in each one. Overall, it was an excellent class!”

Amelia Kao - Georgetown University

“I think it was a great idea to have class in one of the notable bars in the city. I felt that the inside was relaxed and there was a much more conversational feeling than in the classroom. Sometimes, in class I feel like I can’t do it well, because of the stress associated with the academic world. In the Café de los Angelitos, the conversation was much easier and I didn’t have any problems talking. For me, this environment is better to learn in, I feel less pressure to be perfect.”

Kate LeFebvre - University of Colorado at Boulder

“The activity, Journalism and Coffee, for the Production and Oral Comprehension II class, was one the most fun and interesting activities of my time in Buenos Aires. We went to the famous Café de los Angelitos, which has live tango shows in addition to food and drinks. During the three hours we were there, we saw the dancers arriving before the show. We ordered a coffee and a tea and a ton of pie and read different newspapers. I read Página 12 and La Nación. We talked about the high schools taken in the city, the vote for foreigners, those who are 16 years old, the policies of [President Cristina] Kirchner (we are six women!), we couldn’t stop talking about Shakira, who’s pregnant. I love the Journalism and Café class. As for me, I love Prensa y Café, and I think we can continue this in the future.”

Jenn Pollock - Georgetown University

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