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Samuel Ritholtz

Organization: Ifsa-Butler Advanced Argentine Universities Program
Dates: 24-Feb-13 - 6-Jul-13

In Samuel's own words

How I contributed: Through my study abroad program IFSA-BUTLER, I began my internship working with AMUMRA or Mujeres Unidas, Migrantes, y Refugiadas en Argentina....or in English, United Women, Migrants, and Refugees in Argentina. The goal of the organization was to advocate the needs of migrant female populations to the Argentine government. AMUMRA was an advocacy organization that also offered resources to the women they represented, including legal services and guidance on navigating the immigration system of the country. My role in the organization was to conduct research on the violence refugee and migrant women faced in the Public Health system, in their work environments, and at home.

What I felt most challenged by: My entire internship, including my research, was conducted in Spanish and it was very difficult for me to engage in high-level dialogue in Spanish. It was also difficult to understand all the women, as they had accents from all over Latin America!

What I enjoyed most: I really enjoyed working with my boss, Natividad, and working with the women in general. Hearing their personal stories were so interesting and I was pleased to be able to help out in any way possible. I liked that there was a concrete goal of my research, which was to reveal to the local government the types of structural violence that migrant women face in Argentina.

Would I recommend this experience: Absolutely. As I found this internship through my study abroad experience, I had all my housing and living conditions figured out. AMUMRA will not be able to offer any accommodations on its own; however, if you find yourself in Buenos Aires- it's an incredible organization to work for. Natividad will put you to work and you will learn so much about language, international migration, and gender issues in Latin America.

Simone Passarelli

Organization: SIT Study Abroad
Dates: 1-Mar-11 - 11-Jun-11

In Simone's own words

How I contributed: Our trip highly enforced the concept of being a "global thinker". During my independent study and during classes, I always tried to keep an open mind. Sometimes we had group members who would insult or make fun of Argentinean culture or quirks, and, in the most light-hearted way possible, I would try to convince them not to think so rigidly. Also, I was very active in trying to mingle with local students rather than only our American group in order to gain a richer cultural experience.

What I felt most challenged by: One of the hardest personal challenges for me was my homestay experience. My homestay family had housed 12 international students before myself, and I struggled with how living with them felt more like a systematic business than a family. Most of their relatives lived close, and they often had huge family meals during which no one would talk to me and I felt entirely overwhelmed. I overcame this by being upfront with my family, being outgoing, involving myself in their family get-togethers, and feeling as comfortable as I could at home. By the last month of the trip, I didn't feel like a stranger in my own home anymore, and was sorry to leave.

What I enjoyed most: Conducting my independent study project was definitely the most enjoyable part of the trip for me. We had a month to live on our own schedule and visit with highly knowledgeable people in our fields of interest. We also had a fairly small, closely knit group in our program, and it was amazing to travel and experience the city with kids of similar interests. Lastly, the cultural visits were some of the most enriching and unique aspects of the program, when we were able to learn from and speak with people from all types of social contexts.

Would I recommend this experience: I would highly recommend my international experience program to other students. The professors for our classroom portion far exceeded my expectations, and acted as excellent resources for the independent study project. I think the size of the program (about 18 students) is the perfect for traveling and feeling comfortable with one another. This program also encourages students to have a very unique, well-rounded cultural experience and does so through traveling (to rural Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay or Uruguay) and cultural visits. Lastly, Buenos Aires is an amazing, artsy, culturally rich city full of fun and enriching activities.