Studying, studying!


This semester at Universidad de Buenos Aires, I am taking Economic Growth, Development Economics, and International Economics .  As you can see from the bibliographies –which contain some English article titles or at least some authors that should be known to folks with a cursory interest in economics – they are definitely challenging!  There is definitely a TREND in every course toward lots of reading and exploring the evolution of economic thought; I started the semester in every class reading about Ricardo, Smith, Hume, or all of the above.  THIS is why I haven’t been posting so much.

There is so much happening in the Economics College here of 40,000 students; it is an exciting place to study.  Because the public university here is considered dog eat dog and overall harder and more prestigious than the private universities by the Argentinean students, students seem really engaged in economics.  One of our professors organized international trade seminars hosting economists from all over the world, including the United States, as well as functionaries from the Argentina government that make day-to-day economic decisions, that he invited us to today.  I will see if I can at least attend part of one. 

The level of my Spanish language ability has certainly grown – that specifically is my ability to follow two hour long Economic Growth lectures explaining the various variables that made up Solow’s growth model and differentiating it from Harrod’s entirely in Spanish – calculus definitely not optional.  At least I don’t have to translate the math symbols!  Also, one of our readings for this part of the unit are two of Solow’s original paper published in 1956 “A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth” and “Technical Change and the Aggregate Production Function,” as well as Harrod and Domar’s original papers from the 30s and 40s, which are harder to follow than your average textbook to be sure.  Of course, some of the required readings are classic economic texts in English for which there are no translations; students graduating in this career are expected to know it.  This certainly serves me, though. This all may sound kind of boring to an outsider, but it’s really very exciting –and overwhelming – to be challenged at this level with my language as a barrier.  It’s one thing to go to a country and engage it at the level of turismo, but quite another to learn and go through a similar process of formation alongside young people from this country in one of its top universities.  I have never had an experience like this in my life.  It has been a challenge just learning how to study under a new and different academic system.  Being challenged like this, stepping into a native language classroom with some of the hardest classes I’ve taken in my life in any language, has already forced me to learn so much.  I am just taking it all paso a paso, step by step.  Of course, all those steps lead right to the library! – where I read alongside pigeons that enter through open windows and students drinking mate tea for hours while studying.

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