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Emma Cantrell - Social Marketing in Argentina

Published: Monday, 05 Feb 2018
Author: Cheryl Ann Benner
Department: Office for Education Abroad

Name: Emma Cantrell

Status: Senior

Major: Communication

Hometown: DeWitt, Michigan

Program: Social Marketing in Argentina. (Buenos Aires and Córdoba), 2017

Studying abroad in Argentina was definitely one of the greatest experiences of my life. It's so hard to pick a favorite activity from all the things I did, but one of them would definitely have to be horseback riding on a ranch in Córdoba. One of my instructors had family that owned the property and the horses and they took us out riding. We rode up and down hills that provided for a breathtaking view of luscious forest as far as the eye could see. Far away from civilization, riding out there made it easy to imagine yourself transported back in time to a simpler age. The air was incredibly clear and fresh as well, inviting me to become one with nature.

I went on my study abroad because I wanted to see and learn more about the world, but what I learned is that I don't know very much. Beyond the obvious differences between countries, such as currency or languages spoken, there are much more complex and subtle differences that I hadn't been aware of before. It's one thing to read about and consciously know that other cultures do things differently than we do, but it's something else entirely to experience it firsthand. For example, in Argentina dinner is typically eaten much later at night and what they call breakfast is much lighter and simpler than what we would eat in the United States.

There were a couple times in the beginning of the program that I found myself frustrated that the locals I encountered didn't speak English, which made it difficult to communicate. It hit me suddenly a few days in – I'm the visitor. I'm the one who is unable to speak the common language. It was an extremely humbling moment and it gave me a new perspective on how difficult it must be for international students that are studying at Michigan State. It gave me a new appreciation and admiration for people who leave their home countries to a place where they will need to speak a new language.