So I have officially been here three weeks now, and I can honestly say that I’m starting to feel comfortable living down here. I’m starting to develop my own little routine, and life is slowly starting to speed up. Nothing crazily exciting happened this week because most of the week was spent preparing for the CELU, but I’ll talk about that later in my blog. Tuesday I had my first oral presentation for my intensive Spanish course, and our topic was the environment in Argentina. With a little help from CNN.com, I found an article about sheep herders in Patagonia, the region in southern Argentina. Apparently, they are facing some difficulties right now because the fields are being overgrazed. To be completely honest, I was fascinated by what I learned about raising sheep and the developments that are being made in the sheep rearing industry. Did you know that a field for grazing can capture as much carbon from the air to reduce the greenhouse effect as a forest? That’s pretty neat! I talked to my host family to gather more information, and apparently it is a popular topic for discussion down in these parts because my family had lots to say.
After class on Wednesday, we decided to go to an art museum near campus because museums are free on Wednesdays for students. The museum was called Museo Emilio Caraffa and it had a bunch of different modern art pieces. Here’s a pic of the museum, it’s much smaller than it looks haha: It was definitely worth the price, seeing as the price was free, although I have to admit I’m not the biggest fan of modern art. I love paintings of nature or abstract people and scenes, but geometry is not really my cup of tea. It’s difficult for me to look at a picture of two squares and a circle and find a deeper meaning, but hey, whatever floats your boat! Next to the museum is the Plaza de Bicentaurio, which is a plaza that was constructed to commemorate 200 years of Argentine history. Here’s a pic of what it looks like: There are 200 different circles in the plaza, each with a year and a fun fact/important memory from the year. Personally, I think it looks more like a plaza for the Olympics with all the rings, but I’m sure there was a reason for choosing the circles.
Thursday was the big day for us all; the day we had the CELU. Essentially, the CELU evaluates your ability to write and speak the Spanish language to provide schools and employers with an assessment of your abilities. The CELU is a standardized assessment that you can put on your resume to prove to an employer that you actually can speak Spanish. Although, I’m pretty sure if they interviewed you in Spanish, they could find out pretty quickly. For us, we had to take this exam so we’d be able to take classes at the University of Cordoba this fall. No pressure right? The first part of the exam is a listening activity where you have to listen to a radio announcement and then respond to a question about the announcement. Following this, there are three more writing assignments, each about a page in length. You have three hours to complete all of the written assignments, but I would say most people finished in about two to two and a half hours. After we finished the writing portion, we had a solid chunk of time before our oral examination so we decided to treat ourselves to a nice lunch at a restaurant called Betos. Sarah and I shared a Lomito Mex, which is a lomito with a little Mexican kick. Boy oh boy was it tasty! Most of the food here lacks any kind of zest or kick whatsoever, but this Lomito was loaded with peppers so it definitely had a little zing to it. For the oral examination, we had to choose between two posters and speak about one of them for around three minutes. My options were data on how unemployment affects the cerebrum of future generations or a news announcement about a new whale sanctuary off of the coast of Chile. Can you guess which one I chose??? Seeing as I couldn’t tell you much about the cerebrum in English, I thought it wise to go with the whale sanctuary. After my little presentation was the role playing. It is very hard for me to act serious in a different role in English, so I knew this was going to be a challenge for me. I got so lucky with my situation because it didn’t require me to be serious at all. My situation was that I wanted to by a turtle for my son, but they are on the endangered species list in Argentina so I couldn’t. The examiner tried to talk me out of buying the turtle, but I was persistent. I’m not sure if turtles are actually endangered here or not, but it didn’t really matter for the exam. After the exam, I met my speaking partner, Marcos, and we went out to a bar to just chat and get to know each other. I was expecting a student from the university, but he is actually a 30 year old dude who works for Intel. He’s super nice and we get along really well. I’m excited to meet with him more so I can practice my Spanish as well as get some advice on international business because he’s been to the US twice for work and speaks perfect English.
This pretty much concludes everything that happened this week. I’m looking forward to the weekend but not at the same time because there’s a bunch of people from the previous semester that will be leaving this weekend so it’s going to be a sad one. I hope all is well back in the US and I’ll talk to you soon