I originally attended a small, liberal arts school in upstate New York, but for various reasons, I transferred to NYU. Though initially unsure whether I was taking a liking to a new, large university and city atmosphere, both of which were novel experiences to me, I began to fall in love with the fast paced, ever-stimulating metropolitan lifestyle. Having spent the past year getting to know New York City, I’ve encountered some of the wonderful treasures it holds: secret gardens like the enchanting one in the novel of the same name by Burnett, artwork by the masters, behemoth skyscrapers with the most mesmerizing of aesthetics, and local bodegas open 24-hours a day where I can get my favorite toasted-everything-bagel even in the wee hours of the morning. I have often said that my relationship with New York City will be the greatest love affair of my life. With New York’s cultural, economic, artistic, theatrical, and political prowess, how could any city compete?
And yet, upon my arrival this semester to study abroad in Buenos Aires, I am beginning to suspect that New York City has a serious contender vying for my affection. Without hesitation, upon arrival at Ezeiza airport, I could subtlety feel it’s soothing, yet electric character. Latin American culture is one of passion, acceptance, and pleasure, all of which to me are appealing aspects of a city. Throughout my first days in Buenos Aires, I can already envision a future here.
Learning the ins and outs of New York, I’ve noticed that it can sometimes seem haughty and pretentious. It is the type of lover about whom you always secretly wonder whether or not truly wants to be in a relationship with you. You feel as though you are the one putting in all the effort and are left feeling tired and lonely sometimes. However, Buenos Aires, though of course not without its flaws, is more like the type of lover who greets you when you walk in the door with dinner prepared. Though you may not particularly like their cooking, at least they put in the effort. New York makes you feel cool and chic and you sense everyone jealously sneaking glances at the two of you when you’re together. But Buenos Aires is comfortable, and happy, and enjoys your company above all else. So, in some ways, I feel as though I am cheating on New York. New York was my first experience living in a city. It was a whirlwind affair which from the beginning swept me off my feet. But Buenos Aires is beginning to open my eyes to new opportunities.
Though there are aspects of Buenos Aires I find disconcerting and intimidating, as the first week comes to a close, I can confidently say that I am very much looking forward to the rest of my semester in Argentina. The initial butterflies are fading. The nervousness, albeit slowly, is being replaced instead by excitement and anticipation. I’m sure I could not have chosen a better location to improve my Spanish skills and fully immerse myself within a culture that I am passionate to learn about. It’s the perfect place to bolster my knowledge on Latin American culture, among the many other things I am studying at NYU, which I am sure my fellow Gallatin students can relate to. Buena suerte to all of you other travelers this semester!