Study Abroad Realities: You’re Going to be Nervous

Today’s blog post comes to us from Skidmore College student & #APIabroad blogger Hagar Sivan! She’s studying abroad with us in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the fall 2019 semester.

Hagar Sivan in London

Over the last couple of months, I have been proudly and excitedly bashing about my plan to study abroad in Argentina.

 I’ve been revising my Spanish, reading Argentine news, and watching Argentine TV shows and films on Netflix in an attempt to pick up Argentine slang. However now, a week away from my start date, nerves and anxiousness are starting to creep alongside my excitement and anticipation. Will I understand what’s going on? Will I make friends? How different will my classes in an Argentine university be from my American classes? What will living in a big city be like? Will I get along with my host family?

I am no foreigner to studying and living abroad. I was born in Israel and moved with my family to Zimbabwe at a young age, then moved alone to the United States for my undergraduate studies. I am used to being far away from my family and living independently. However, I know that Buenos Aires will be a different experience to anything I have encountered so far. While I was fluent in English before moving to the US, I am not nearly as confident in my Spanish.

I chose to study in Universidad Torcuato di Tella and take all my classes in Spanish to step out of my comfort-zone and ensure that I make the most out of my opportunity to perfect my Spanish. I am sure that within a month I will have a solid understanding of what is going on, but this doesn’t prevent me from worrying about what will happen during the first month or so of my studies. Additionally, as I will be taking all my classes with Argentine students, I am nervous about being able to communicate with them and befriending them.

Another big worry of mine is living in a big city.

My only experience living in a city has been my time in college, living in a city of approximately 30,000 people. This is of course not even close to the astonishing 2.89 million people who live in Buenos Aires. While I am excited to master public transport, take the metro to the university every day, and be able to explore the different features of Buenos Aires (markets, parks, restaurants, and historic buildings), I am intimidated by the quick pace of city life which I worry may be too hectic for me. I have also never stayed with a host family; while I am really excited to have the opportunity to live like an Argentinian, I am really not sure what I should expect from this experience. 

All in all, although I am worried about almost everything, I think it is only natural to feel this way as my start date is approaching. The worries occupy a small section of my mind and are usually overruled by my excitement. I am sure that I will be able to find my place and adapt to my new environment and as I will be spending almost 5 months in Buenos Aires, I plan on taking my own pace in adjusting an easing into the semester. Stay tuned to hear about my first experiences in Buenos Aires!

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