Fall 2014, Issue II
The students had settled in and hunkered down for midterms, so it was time to shake things up a bit with a trip away from the city!
TILCARA, JUJUY, SEPT 18-21, OCT 1-5, 2014
In late September and early October, the students spent 4 days and 3 nights in Tilcara, Jujuy Province, at an altitude of 2,400 meters, immersing themselves in the past and present of the Andean world and discovering a culture completely distinct from that of Buenos Aires.
Jujuy Province is located in the north of the country, where Argentina borders both Bolivia and Chile. Within the town of Tilcara, one can encounter the Quebrada de Humahuaca, a dry and narrow mountain valley representative of southern Andean valleys. It has an extraordinary set of routes, which serve as the most important physical link between the Andean highlands and the large plains of southeastern South America.
The Quebrada de Humahuaca, which was recently declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, conserves its natural environment; boasts hundreds of archaeological and architectural sites; and, has a culture that maintains its unique traditional customs.
The Past and Present of the Andean World is a seminar developed in conjunction with the Tilcara Interdisciplinary Institute under the umbrella of the University of Buenos Aires. Accompanied by anthropologists and archaeologists from UBA, the students visited different archeological sites and historic towns, where they were given onsite lectures. The seminar was a great opportunity to learn about the history of the Andean world and the lifestyles of the inhabitants.
The first locale we visited after arrival was the Pucará de Tilcara, one of the most important archaeological sites in the Quebrada de Humahuaca. Students learned about the reconstruction of the town, the lifestyles of its residents, construction methods and ceremonial rituals.
As the days progressed, the students traveled to higher altitudes. The visit to the Pucará was followed by the historic city of Humahuaca. Humahuaca is characterized by its charming colonial architecture and is located at an altitude of 2,800 meters. There, the students learned about the Spanish influence in the area and past artistic movements.
The final day of activities included an excursion to Salinas Grandes and Purmamarca. At one point, the students reached 4,000 meters of height (approximately 13,000 feet)! Salinas Grandes was a vast lake that, over the years, has become an endless sea of salt, providing for an excellent backdrop to take breathtaking photos.
On their return to the city, the students stopped by the picturesque village of Purmamarca, known for its Cerro de los Siete Colores.
After one last dinner in Tilcara, the students departed for Buenos Aires!
WORKSHOP WITH MARAÑA GESTUAL
Maraña Gestual is an Argentinean teaching artist who works with ordinary objects to create extraordinary works of art. She paid a visit to our Oral Production and Comprehension class to conduct a workshop and help the students make art of their own. Maraña’s pieces are often puns and plays on words, such as her work entitled “La Bandita Elastica [The Elastic Band],” which features three musicians sculpted using elastic bands. In the workshop, the students made statuettes that played on words, flexing their Spanish muscles as well as their creativity.
We gather to meet and practice Spanish every Wed at 7.30 pm in a bar in Recoleta. Through different games and a relaxed environment, we chat during an hour and a half, in Spanish and in English. Also we organize dinner, going out and tournaments to keep in touch and practice language in a relaxed way. So if you like talking and doing social activities with locals, this is your group.
Recently, we went to the famous cafe El Gato Negro with students in the Oral Spanish 1 class to enjoy the best coffees, teas, and medialunas in Buenos Aires. The cafe has a very inviting atmosphere, and we felt like we were transported to the beginning of the 20th century. We read the paper like real porteños and we even spoke with the owner - a real privilege! What a lovely afternoon!
CINEMA CLASS INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR, OCT 8
Every semester, the Argentine Cinema course has the opportunity to interview an Argentine director. In previous semesters, we have hosted Mauro Andrizzi, Juan Villegas, Federico León, Diego Lerman and Alejo Moguillansky, among others. This term, we were paid a visit by Hernán Rosselli, director of the film Mauro (2014), his directorial debut, which won the Jury Prize at the Latin American Sundance Festival, the Festival de Cine Independiente de Buenos Aires (BAFICI). With him, we not only spoke about his film, but also about the current state of Argentine Cinema, and specifically about the movement that changed the medium more than fifteen years ago, New Argentine Cinema.
SHAKESPEARE'S RICHARD III, OCT 19
We took the students to the Shakespeare Theatre here in Buenos Aires to see Richard III. The theatre itself is a mobile tent-like structure made in the style of traditional Shakespearean theatres, and we sat on the grass in front of the stage to watch the actors perform.
CYCLING IN THE CITY, OCT 21
The Spanish Oral Performance Class took a ride around the city, guided by a local who told us stories, jokes, and anecdotes about the different sites. Riding around San Telmo, Puerto Madero and the Ecological Reserve on tour bikes was a new, fun way to see the city, and it was a beautiful day for a ride. It was an academic as well as an athletic exercise, to be sure!