Immersion by Denis Healy

| July 1, 2013

by Denis Healy ’15


The Brophy Argentina 2013 group

After spending an entire month in Argentina, I now realize the affect the whole experience of immersion and exchange had on me. While life in Argentina was only different by a small margin, the effect of the trip as a whole was much more than just a “small margin.” I learnt much more than just a foreign language; I learnt about the world (mundo), and I learnt about myself (yo mismo).

Having gone to Argentina with just my 13 fellow schoolmates and my two school chaperones, I almost forced or obligated to be independent and self-sufficient on this trip. Having traveled internationally before I was used to such independence, and this came with ease. However, I did learn that independence and “doing it yourself” was harder than I thought. Nevertheless, it was doable, and I enjoyed my streak of independence on this trip.
I also learned that the world was more than helpful when one needs to get by. Shopkeepers, taxi drivers, gym trainers and even your average pedestrian would all make efforts to speak or at least understand English when I was around. Now, as I am from another country I realize that various traits among people vary wildly. However, in Argentina I noticed the great accommodating nature of the people there. Never did I feel pushed out or needing help while in Argentina.

Human pyramid; us having fun in Argentina

Having learnt much Spanish in Argentina I now feel more comfortable using the language. I can talk and more importantly understand almost full conversations in Spanish. The main point regarding Spanish on this trip, for me, was when it clicked that I had built up my vocabulary enough so that other words I did not know were still understandable because I understood the context. It was as if I had finally built the key to unlocking the language. In the U.S. humor (bromas) is a tool I often use to break the ice, or just to get to know people. Luckily, humor does not always need words or dialogue, and this helped me in Argentina. I learned that while I may not know or understand someone very well I can still have a fun and enjoyable time with them.
Now that I am returning to Arizona, I will be able to use many of the things I learnt on this trip in Arizona. My Spanish will help me in classes and if I ever need it in public. My independence will help for future trips, day to day wellbeing and will most certainly help in college, which is a short 24 months away for me.
Overall, I learnt a lot while in Argentina and had a lot of fun (diversión) doing it.

Category: 2013

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