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In His Own Words: Darby’s Time in Argentina

1/29/2020

If I said mate (a traditional caffeine-rich infused drink), Argentine helado, and the best beef on earth made my study abroad experience in Buenos Aires worth it, you would think I was joking. Yet those things were the tip of the glacier that is Argentina.

Last summer I had the privilege of getting to know a nation of beautiful and talented human beings—and I couldn’t have done it alone. Thanks to the Gilman scholarship, the majority of my trip expenses were paid for.

I remember knocking on the door of my homestay on the day that I arrived and seeing Luciano come out of a balcony that seemed as if it was made for puppets, screaming, “I’ll be right there,” in Spanish. Maria gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek when she saw me.

Maria and Luciano are the most welcoming and loving people I have ever met. So much so, that when I left, I was sobbing like an emotional wreck.

In class, I was taught the history of Argentina through literature. We covered its history from the beginning as a Spanish viceroyalty to Peronism to modern-day Macrism, which we learned through Argentine writers like Borges, Hernández, and Echeverría.

I also had the opportunity to participate in service-learning. This involved going to villas—a type of shantytown found in Argentina—and giving underprivileged children English lessons. Tutoring these children was the most important part of the trip for me because it allowed me to see the social disparity that affects Argentina every day.

During my time abroad, I also connected to my Latin heritage and began to understand the more pressing issues that we Latinos face in the world—issues like the Spanish caste system and its perpetual effect on our society, neo-slavery, and other socioeconomic problems.

I was also able to visit Uruguay, which is Argentina’s Canada. It is a beautiful country that reminds me of Argentina—they even share the same accent. I enjoyed Montevideo’s quiet streets and humble presentation, it seemed like a retreat from the busy streets of Buenos Aires.

But Buenos Aires is a beautiful city. It’s a collage of old Spanish colonial houses, Italian architecture, and late 60s Brutalism. It’s the right amount of grey and gold, with accents of Argentina’s namesake silver.

I will remember my summer in Buenos Aires as one of the periods in my life when I learned the most—a summer that I would love to relive.

—Darby Martinez ’20

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of professional accomplishment, service, and leadership in the 21st century.