¡Promocioné! At least in one class so far….

One down…two to go.  I completed International Economics yesterday with a high enough grade to skip out on the final; it’s called being promoted.  Prof Soltz – he goes by Hernán to his students – told me he had some doubts about me at the start but my level of Spanish saved me and surprised him – and that I helped soften his bias against international students taking his course since no others have ever finished.  Why he didn’t warn me from the start, I don’t understand.  (To be fair, most of his international students have been German, while I had the benefit of being able to obtain some of the original articles in English.)  I still have Economic Growth and Economic Development to go.

I am so happy and proud to have passed one “materia” so far!  I really am proud; this has been such a challenging experience personally and academically.  I worked so freaking hard.  This sounds ridiculous to my friends who know me as a very good student….but for me it has just-been-a-victory-to-survive in this university!  I am the only visiting American student here at UBA’s College of Economics, and there are 50 international students – mostly Colombian, German, French, and Austrian – out of 40,000 students in just the public College of Economic Sciences.  I feel proud to represent and contradict over and over some biases my fellow students have about Americans.  Only a couple or three weeks ago, I received the results of our midterms.  I survived my 3 midterms without needing a recuperatorio.  You can retake and makeup one exam here, which sounds great, until you realize that because of that, it is not too difficult to fail with 3 questions, open response, 2 hours.  In all of my classes, I was the only, that is ONLY international student, non-native speaker to not FAIL my exams (Um, culture alert: they read your test grades OUT LOUD.), except for one other in Desarrollo who barely passed with the lowest possible score.  What I mean is we get no hand-holding for not speaking Spanish as a first language.  Actually, at such a huge public university, Argentine students get no hand-holding either. This is the big difference between the public and private universities here.  While the atmosphere breeds responsibility; still, the serious lack of student development programs and academic support also has its definite negatives.  All the students who come here have to be independent and mature, do their work, or face failing; I would say at least 1/3 of the native Argentine students in my course, or more, failed their midterms. 

I am skipping family Christmas, and so I look forward to finally getting to travel after exams until next semester begins because I haven’t gotten to do that yet much.  I have gotten to know – a little too well – Harrod and Domar and Ramsey and Romer and Stiglitz and Krugman and Shell and Dosi and Solow because I directly enrolled at an Argentina university, instead of opting for a regular program which do factor in the importance of outside excursions.  But that’s the exciting thing about study abroad – is that you can opt to study in places you have only dreamed of visiting and in a program that meets YOU where you are as a student and as a person.  Because I live on my own with a group of gals from Chile and Argentina and Mexico and France and not with Argentina “parents,” last weekend, I connected into the local cultural scene (which is amazing) when some guys estrenaron in Buenos Aires independent Bolivian documentaries on our rooftop terrace to an audience of 50, while earlier in the evening I made homemade ceviche from scratch with my Peruvian friend and her daughter last weekend.  I don’t have much free time, but I take time for culture, just mostly I’m studying economics. 

I leave you with some photos of the documentary event 3 blocks from my house…note that Pizza Kentucky knows what color Kentucky is about – that’s RED!  ¡Besitos argentinos!

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