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I realized that my friend Claire Watne is bound to come home soon, so I sent her an email to see how her trip was wrapping up and what her plans were for after she came home. I’m sure being in another country for several months changes your perspective on how you want to live. Claire gave me quite a lengthy explanation and she has changed a lot about her future.
Claire started her email in Spanish, and though I didn’t understand it. I can tell already she is becoming more fluent, using it much more than English, as she often switches between the two. She told me she is still having a really great time, and is very reluctant to leave, but she won’t be gone from Venezuela for long. “I’m also still planning on coming back next year after I graduate, and have made plans to attend la Universidad de los Andes, which is a FREE public university here. It’s one of the best in Latin America. 🙂 I’ll probably go for Modern Languages and learn French and Italian, or something like that… I’m also hoping to get a job with them teaching English, which would include 100% benefits for free.”
Her semester ends this Thursday, and most students are leaving the day or two after their tests. but Claire has chosen to stay a couple weeks past her finals so she can explore Venezuela on her own time. “I’m going to be staying with a friend in el centro (downtown), and just chilling… we’re going to go to a beach called Chorroni for a few days during that time as well.”
Her plans for when she gets home? Visit friends, family, and of course, show off some new dance moves. “I’m definitely going salsa dancing at Famous Dave’s and showing off my Venezuelan salsa… which is very different from Mexican and Puerto Rican salsa that they dance in the states.”

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Italy may have offered up a smooth and creamy gelato, but it has nothing on Argentinean ice cream. Freddo, a family business that opened in 1969, changed the way ice cream is experienced in Argentina. Some of the ice creams are smooth and creamy, while others might be described as irresistible or dense, traditional or kosher. Freddo offers up a flavor for everyone. The variety is vast and it is divided into groups such as chocolates, creams, dulce de leches, and fruits.

This flavorful fiesta in your mouth usually contains more milk and less cream than the American counterpart. This means you can save a few calories (as long as you keep the quantity down!). This treat is super sweet too – perfect after a full entrée!

If you’re headed to Buenos Aires anytime soon, it’s a good idea to check out what the L.A. Times travel section says about ice cream shops in that beautiful city. Apparently those little shops are busy, busy all year round.

My friend Claire Watne, a 20-year-old junior at the U of M majoring in Linguistics and Spanish, just left for Venezuela. I zoomed an email her way to find out about her trip thus far.

Sherry: What program are you in right now?
Claire: I’m a part of the VENUSA program in Mérida, Venezuela. It’s a semester-long home stay program. I’m taking classes in different fields (like business, literature, culture, politics, etc.) in Spanish, but most of the people here are taking Spanish grammar classes.

Sherry: How was your flight?
Claire: My flight was as expected; getting through the Caracas airport was a challenge (as well as very nerve-wracking), but I was in a group of about 30 Americans, and we had a guide from the Miami airport to Mérida. It was three flights (Minneapolis-Miami, Miami-Caracas, Caracas-El Vigia) and a two-hour bus from El Vigia to Mérida.

Sherry: What were your first thoughts upon arriving?
Claire: There were a few things that stuck out to me at first; the biggest one is the drivers here. Everyone is crazy, there are no speed limits, and seatbelts are decorations.

Sherry: Was it difficult to find your way around at first?
Claire: It wasn’t really difficult because I didn’t try to do it alone; I had my Venezuelan friends take me on tours, and such. Now that I’ve been here for a month, it’s pretty easy; there are four major avenidas that run N/S, and all the calles are numbered. It’s pretty easy, especially because all the buses just go up and down the same street.

Sherry: Was there anything you saw that you expected, and is there anything that you didn’t expect?
Claire: I tried not to have expectations before I got here because Read the rest of this entry »

Since I’ve already promised you a good time in Buenos Aires, here are just a few pictures of beautiful sites that you may see when you go there!

Click on the pictures to learn more about these fantastic places!

Buenos Aires, Argentina is the hot spot for study-abroaders. I know at least six people who have been there in the past 18 months.  My good friend, Felyn, recently came back from studying in Argentina over winter break for two weeks. Felyn is a 19-year-old accounting major at the U of M who loves to travel, and decided to take a chance on a study abroad business trip.  When she got back, all she could do was talk and talk and talk about Argentina!  So from her to me to you, the following list consists of things to do that could make your trip to Buenos Aires a tad bit more exciting:

  1. Eat at Café Tortoni.  This restaurant, located centrally near the famous Plaza de Mayo, is actually the oldest coffee shop in the area, and it offers authentic Argentinean food at a reasonable American price—8-10 dollars per entré.
  2. Visit La Recoleta Cemetary.  Located in the older neighborhood of Recoleta, it’s a one-of-a-kind memorial to famous Argentineans.  A must see at the historic cemetery is the burial site of Eva Peròn, wife of President Juan Peròn and, as the Argentinean Congress puts it, the Spiritual Leader of the Nation.
  3. Watch street performers.  Some of the best entertainers will be dancing the tango at the Mercado de San Telmo, which is located just minutes south of central Buenos Aires.  This market is only open on Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm and sells purely antiques.
  4. Enjoy the nightlife of Plaza Cerrano.  This cul-de-sac, located near the neighborhood of Palermo, houses all the classiest bars and clubs, which most people enjoy from 10 pm to 6 am.
  5. Check out the Plaza Francia.  Every Saturday in the neighborhood of Recoleta, from 12 pm to 7 pm, you can find the artisan market.  All the artists in Buenos Aires who can’t find a studio to buy their artwork sell it at the plaza instead.