Reflections
 
DC (Dickinson College) ; UB (Universität Bremen, Germany) ; UNPSJB (Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia "San Juan Bosco", Argentina)

 
 

Julia Bergen

  Patagonia - the name alone evokes a sentiment of mystique, of something exotic and totally other. When I heard that Dickinson was planning to send a group of  students to study there, I was immediately intrigued. Little did I know at that point, almost a year before the actual Mosaic, that I was going to be able to take part in this unique experience. As a Spanish major whose previous experience had been mainly focused on the Iberian Peninsula, I felt I was missing out on a huge percentage of the Spanish speaking world and was hoping to have a change to learn more about Latin America before graduating from Dickinson. I really wasn't sure what to expect from the Mosaic, I knew the main objectives was focused on oral history and immigration to Patagonia, but other than that, I was completely in the dark about what I would find once we arrived in Comodoro Rivadavia. And what I did discover and learn was more than anything I had imagined.

  First of all, I had the opportunity to live with a host family who had immigrated from Spain, most  specifically, my host father, José Antonio was from Andalusia - the region where I had studied the year before. This was fantastic because he understood all of the vocabulary I had picked up during my year in Spain, some of which differed greatly from Argentine words. Also, one of the high points of the entire  experience was getting to know my host mother, Maruja. She told me towards the end of my stay with them that at first she wasn't sure if she wanted an American to stay in her house, that she wasn't sure how they would be perceived or how an American student would behave towards an Argentine family; but that after getting to know me as a person, and not just as an American, she was extremely glad that I had come to stay with them. We talked about everything: from politics to the best way to live a happy life. She is one of the most vibrant people I have ever met and I would have gone to Argentina just to meet her. However, my experience in Argentina included so much more - from interviewing Spanish and Bulgarian women (one of whom was 80 years old and ran races) to working in the local archives researching housing in oil company towns to seeing penguins and guanacos to visiting Buenos Aires. The Patagonia Mosaic was an experience that I am proud to have been a part of and one that I will never forget.

[TOP]



Pictures


  This is my host family and me at the goodbye party on our last night in Comodoro Rivadavia. My host mother, Maruja, and my host father, José Antonio, were wonderful people who made me feel at home in a place very far away from my real family. I hope that I have the chance to meet them again someday.

 
  Jasmin, Lisa, Me and Kristin at the Bulgarian Association on our first day of class. I love this photo because it is very representative of the amount of time we spent there.

 
  Me and the girls sitting on the window sill at the hotel we stayed at during our trip to Puerto Madryn. That was a great trip - we got to see penguins, sea lions, and guanacos, which look like a cross between a deer and a llama.

[TOP]

Lisa Fiorentino

  What to do with my winter break? I could stay home, visit friends, sleep, eat, shop... or I could go to Argentina. So I made the decision to go to Argentina, since I am always looking for a new adventure and places where I have never been to. I had not yet journeyed to Latin America and I was also eager to test out my skills in Spanish. I also found myself taking an interest in learning about the immigrants themselves. At that point I had already some background experience on the topic of immigration and on Italian immigration to Argentina in particular. I was also excited to see Buenos Aires and spend my winter break in a country where it was summertime!

  The part of my experince that I will always recollect as the most memorable is the people. Our families welcomed us into their homes and cared for us as their own children. We never went hungry during our time in Argentina! When we ventured into the businesses around town everyone was excited to hear about the project we were working on. All of the people that we interviewed were eager to share their stories with us. They enjoyed teaching us about their country and their city of Comodoro Rivadavia. We quickly immersed ourselves into the culture and I took the challenge of improving my Spanish.

  It was the people and the culture that made this trip unique and fun. I often play the many CDs purchased in Argentina, all representing different kinds of music and bringing different memories to my mind and a smile to my face. The excitement of seeing penguins and sea lions up close in Puerto Madryn, going dancing at Gigante, and f watching tango danced in La Boca are unique experiences that I can only reflect upon now.

  For now, Argentina and its people seem like worlds away. The people, places and things we have done are now only memories, but the experience never stops being a part of us. Those weeks spent struggling with my Spanish, learning how to perfom interviews, and adjusting to a different culture will remain as a lasting effect on the person that I am now. I know how important our final projects are to those who welcomed us into their homes and lives. It is the least we can do to thank them for their generosity.

[TOP]



Pictures


  There were many happy memories shared amongst our group as we made new friends and got to know old ones even better. Here is a picture of the group enyoying themselves at Dave's birthday celebration.

 
  All of our host families and the families of our friends welcomed us into their homes and lives with open arms. There was always someone to practice your Spanish on or share the events of the day with. Here I am pictured with my Argentine siblings!

 
  A part of Argentine culture that none of us will soon forget is the ice cream that we found we could not go a day without. Here the professors and my host sister dive into ice cream.

[TOP]

María José Garrido

  La experiencia en el Patagonia Mosaic fue el intercambio de dos mundos culturales acercados por el conocimiento, y nuevas amistades y afectos.
Conocer la diversidad, compartir con la gente sus historias de vida, ser testigos directos de los relatos que nos enseñan parte de la historia no sólo de la Patagonia Argentina sino de procesos y experiencias similares en Estados Unidos, no puede ser menos que una experiencia gratificante.

  El  trabajo del proyecto Patagonia Mosaic abarcó varias miradas sobre la realidad de la gente de la zona, sus formas de vida, sus experiencia. El grupo de trabajo intentó tomarlas a través de entrevistas orales. Esto permitió un acercamiento que fue mas allá de la recopilación de información y datos, ya que dió pie a compartir e intercambiar emociones y anécdotas.

  Una vez en Dickinson la experiencia se enriqueció aún mas, en contacto con el ámbito universitario y la diversidad de su gente, en la exposición y elaboración de los proyectos y  la ayuda del grupo y de profesores.

  Las vivencias con el grupo de trabajo, tanto en Comodoro Rivadavia como en Dickinson, elaborando proyectos, compartiendo conocimientos, enriqueciéndonos mutuamente a través de nuestros diferentes puntos de vista, y viendo los avances y resultados del trabajo en conjunto en contínuo apoyo mutuo, hacen que esta experiencia sea única y maravillosa.

[TOP]



Pictures


  Socializing in Carlisle with Patagonia Mosaic students Angela Reynolds and Jasmín Sánchez.

 
  Working hard in the Media Center during a beautiful, sunny day (as you can see through the window in the background...).

[TOP]

Colleen Heller

  My trip to Comodoro Rivadavia was something I will never forget! Everyday I learned and experienced new things about life in Argentina, and was exposed to a culture that previously I knew little about. My host parents were extremely generous and were key to making the most  my experience abroad - to them I am eternally greatful!

  I think that the most valuable part of my experience was not only learning about another way of life, but also learning more about other people's views of the United States. Seeing a new perspective on North Americans allowed me to ask important questions about my role as a United States citizen and how my country influences other countries around the world. This process, although challenging, was probably one of the most important learning experiences I have ever encountered, and has certainly impacted and in many ways changed my world view. My participation in the Patagonia Mosaic has changed me forever, and I will always have a special place in my heart or the people of Comodoro Rivadavia!

[TOP]



Pictures


  The view of Comodoro from the top of the Chenque was absolutely breathtaking! I didn't realize how big the city was until I saw it from here.

 
  Santa Bárbara Church (Diadema company town).
  This church was simple but very beautiful as well. Not only did we get to learn its history, we were able to climb the bell tower, too!

 
  Buenos Aires is beautiful at any time of day, but at dusk on the first day the sight was like nothing I'd seen before. The fishermen were friendly, too!.

[TOP]

Kirsten Korell

  When I read in Germany about the American Mosaic in the Dickinson homepage I was fascinated. I liked the thought of participating in field research and talking to real people about their life stories in order to record oral history, even though I did not know much about oral history. I had done some interviews already in Bremen, Germany for a research project in which I was particularly interested in multicultural studies and immigration. 

  When I heard about the Patagonia Project I was very interested. Not only do I love traveling but also the whole project sounded like a great opportunity and experience! I planned to stay during the Christmas break and had to make travel arrangements. 

  Looking forward to going to Argentina, I became aware of my situation as an exchange student from Germany, participating in a field research abroad in Argentina. Our group consisted of a bunch of interesting and diverse people with different cultural and multilangual backgrounds. I felt like an experienced traveler but excited to go for the first time to the other side of the world, changing from winter to summer.

  Arriving in windy Comodoro Rivadavia we were welcomed by a line of cheek-kissing, friendly Argentines. My guest parents had prepared a late midnight-dinner for me. My guest father, Albert Mueller, spoke Spanish and German. He was born in Argentina to German immigrants. He is the president of the German Association of Comodoro Rivadavia. His wife, Naomi Mueller, spoke Spanish, Italian and a little bit of English. Because I did not want to be impolite I spoke my broken Spanish in order not to exclude one of my parents from the conservation. In the beginning my Spanish was especially poor but after a few days I was at least able to produce some kind of sentences. Speaking in three languages -German, English, and Spanish-, I became confused and often spoke to the wrong person in the wrong language. “That sounded really nice, Kirsten! But I have no clue what you were talking about – was this German?” I learned to communicate with hand and facial expressions. But even though I often did not understand what they were talking about, people seemed to like me. Calling me “Kris," Ernesto Allende of the Barrio San Martín showed me proudly his mother’s little garden. I filmed his mother’s collection of elephants and tried the redcurrant he offered me.

  Returning to Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, it took a while to process the overwhelming experiences we had in Patagonia. For sure it was a unique experience! It was wonderful to meet so many fascinating people and to see sides of Patagonia a normal tourist would never see.

[TOP]



Pictures


  Camera team in action. Interview in the field (Astra company town). Once people lived here but today there is nothing...

 
 Here was one of the housing complexes of Astra. People lived here. "Here was our kitchen, and there was my bedroom. When I looked out of the window, I saw our neighbor's house that was right there" --said Joaquim Guerreiro.
  Today there is nothing left but some stones. If stones could speak...

 
  Beautiful Rada Tilly.

[TOP]

Rosemary McGunnigle

  The Patagonia Mosaic gave us the opportunity to collect oral histories in Argentina, a nation that has been built upon immigration, just as the United States has. It was fascinating to me to reach an understanding as to the Argentine conception of national and cultural identification, as it is so distinct from the United States. 

  The Patagonia Mosaic was not only an immersion into another culture. Personally, since my homestay was with Paraguayan immigrants to Argentina, and their Argentine children, I was immersed into Argentine culture, as well as Paraguayan culture, something that I had not expected. Additionally, as students, we had the unique opportunity of learning about other ethnic groups through each others' stories about our host families: Croatians, Italians, Bulgarians. 

  Engaging in oral history interviewing is such a powerful experience, and gives one the opportunity of both interacting with the narrator and serving as a channel through which they can express their immigration and work experiences, as well as their feelings about their native country. Through interviewing my host parents, and triggering an expression of the love they feel for Paraguay and their language, Guaraní, I learned about their history, how it is connected to their home, and their family history as it has developed with the growth of their children in Argentina. 

  In addition, walking through Barrio San Martín, a marginalized barrio with most residents being of indigenous and/or Chilean descent, I was able to ask individuals about their connection to YPF and the privatization, as well as talk about migration and work. As we walked through the streets, and as we spent time in the Biblioteca Popular, we videotaped people's stories about labor, about housing, about mapuche and tehuelche roots, about the government and its connection with the people and response to their needs. 

  Mostly, I had the opportunity to be part of a wonderful research team of students with varoius skills and experience: language, filming, oral history. The professors brought with them the backgrounds of Sociology, History, Oral History and the making of documentaries. It is with this diverse group, that I travelled to Argentina, and with whom I discovered the diversity in Comodoro Rivadavia, Patagonia, Argentina. Truthfully, upon returning and now, I have the feeling that I took part in something on the edge, something new and exciting at Dickinson College.

[TOP]



Pictures


  This picture of Karla and I is one of my favorites. It is so profound; we are standing in front of the history of Comodoro Rivadavia!!  Petroleum, the economic growth it spurred, and the diverse ethnic groups it attracted as workers is the foundation of the city, the stories of which we sought out during our two weeks there. Karla and I are standing in front of history and it was captured in a photograph forever -a new history.

 
  The Biblioteca Popular, which took us an hour to walk to the first time we went there, is on Calle San Martín in Barrio San Martín, a marginal neighborhood mostly populated by Chilean immigrants and individuals with native roots -either mapuche or tehuelche. We first arrived at this library, part of Ernesto Allende and Rosa Pincol's house that they have dedicated to community use, in search of a photo exhibit of the barrio's history. Our research and videotaped interviews both inside as well as done while walking on the streets of the barrio, are all based on the connections made through this library.

 
  I love this picture--I took it while we walked through the Barrio San Martín. The fact that Señor Allende is waving is both a welcome to the barrio-an invitation to follow and discover, as well as a despedida-a goodbye to us since our intense research experience inevitably had to end. The photograph gives a good impression of the landscape of the barrio and shows Dickinson students and residents walking together.
 

[TOP]


Kristin McLane

  Being a part of Dickinson's first Patagonia Mosaic was a wonderful honor and learning experience that I will carry wit me forever. I think that one of the things that made the trip so enjoyable and memorable for me was the fact that we were the first group to travel to Comodoro Rivadavia from Dickinson College. This was such a wonderful experience because everything we did was novel for us as well as for those helping to coordinate and facilitate the program. For example, we were the first students to stay with many of our host families and we were the first to interview many of the women and men in the town about their life experiences. This was great because it added a certain amount of excitement and enthusiasm to the experience. I also think that being part of a pilot program was fun becuase we got to help work out all the quarks in the program for the next students. 

  As a historian, I also valued the wonderful field experience we had the opportunity to participate in. I especially enjoyed working in the archives and having the ability to sift through pictures and documents that told the stories of so many lives. Something else that I found unique about this program was that it facilitated students with a variety of interests and backgrounds, giving everyone the opportunity to participate in something new that was interesting to them. For example, not being a fluent Spanish speaker, I found that I could work in the archives, do photographic work, or even assist in interviewing, etc. 

  I was also pleasantly surprised by the town's enthusiasm for our work in the city and pleased by their willingness to help accommodate us in any way possible. I found that the program provided us with a lot of hard, challenging work, and we often went to bed well fed and exhausted! I think that there was also time allotted for having fun on the program and getting to know the people from the area. I think that some of my most memorable experiences came from talking and meeting with people in the streets, or in restaurants or clubs. 

[TOP]


Pictures


  A picture of me with my "family" during our goodby dinner at the Bulgarian Association. I picked this picture because it shows me with those I spent the most time with on our trip (besides the Dickinson group) and they were especially kind to me during our stay.

 
  A picture of a group of Dickinson students enjoying lunch at  "Maria's" home. We were all  eating carrots that she had picked from her garden especially for us. 

 
  A picture of the "girls" enjoying the warm weather in Buenos Aires. I picked this picture because I really enjoyed our stay in BA. One of my favorite things about the city was the beautiful architecture, and this was one of my favorite buildings (especially since it has the windmill on it which I thought was very unusual but beautiful)!
 

[TOP]

Karla Nieves

 Cuando fui aceptada en el primer Mosaico Internacional de Dickinson la emoción fue muy grande porque significaba que iba a poder ir a Argentina. Aunque no sabía cómo iba a ser la experiencia, esas dos semanas que estuve en Comodoro me ayudaron a definir muchas cosas de mi vida que no tenía muy claras al llegar allí. Primero, que siempre quiero estar en contacto con los países de Latinoamérica, su cultura y su historia. Cuando me gradue de Dickinon el año que viene quiero conseguir un trabajo que esté relacionado a  Latinoamérica.

  Esta experiencia no hubiera sido la misma sin el gran apoyo y trabajo de los profesores que nos acompañaron en el viaje. También tuve mucha suerte de poderme hospedar con la familia Ivanoff que me acogió como si fuera su hija y me hizo sentir muy a gusto y querida mientras estuve allí -y estando acá también. Esta maravillosa experiencia la llevaré muy cerca del corazón hoy y siempre.

[TOP]



Pictures


 Yo y mis papás. Escogí esta foto porque quiero que todo el mundo vea y conozca a mis papás argentinos. Gracias a ellos mi estadía allá fue maravillosa porque no fui una invitada mientras estuve allá; de verdad que
me adpotaron como su hija y hasta el día de hoy me siguen llamando nuestra hija.

 
  No sólo fue mi familia la que hizo esta experiencia maravillosa sino todos los comodorenses que estuvieron involucrados en el programa y que estuvieron con nosotros desde el primer día que llegamos. Aquí estamos en un asado en la Asociación Búlgara.

 
 Si no hubiera habido una buena química entre nosotros, los estudiantes, este viaje no hubiera sido tan exitoso como lo fue. Esta foto tomada en el cerro demuestra la buena química que hay entre nosotros y también a lo lejos podemos ver la ciudad.
 

[TOP]

María Laura Olivares

  ¿Qué decir de la experiencia de intercambio con Dickinson College?. ¿Qué decir de una situación donde se mezclan sentimientos y opiniones intelectuales? Sin duda una experiencia enriquecedora.

  En primer lugar, porque el hecho de que estudiantes de otro país, se interesen en investigar Comodoro Rivadavia, me llevó, en el camino de acompañarlos a entrevistas y paseos de observación,  a descubrir cosas de mi propia ciudad de las que antes no me había percatado, al mismo tiempo de poder contribuir a mostrar las ricas historias de vida de los inmigrantes que forjaron esta ciudad.

  Una vez en Carlisle, las experiencias de aprendizaje personales continuaron aún más allá del salón de clases, ya que aún luego de terminadas éstas, las discusiones y los debates continuaban, ya sea acerca de cuál era la visión de la realidad comodorense que habían captado, o cuál era mi visión de su país. ¿Era la misma visión?. Seguramente no, lo que enriqueció el debate y  las conclusiones arribadas.

  El contacto durante mi estadía en los Estados Unidos con algunos de los familiares de mis compañeros en el programa Patagonia Mosaic, me hizo sentir orgullosa de representar a mi país, Argentina, ya que todos me preguntaban lo mismo: ¿Qué pasa en tu ciudad que nuestros hijos volvieron tan apegados ella, tan apegados a su gente?. ¿Qué tiene de mágica la Patagonia Argentina?. Sin duda mucho, y cuando se tiene la oportunidad de compartirlo con extranjeros, mucho más. 

  Es mi deseo que este programa continúe y se amplíe en el tiempo, ya que ambas partes tienen mucho por ofrecer e intercambiar, lo que sin duda fomenta el crecimiento intelectual y personal. 

  Por último no me queda más que agradecer a quienes hicieron posible este encuentro,  los profesores, compañeros y luego  amigos de Dickinson College, ya que los lazos formados son para toda la vida. Gracias por todo y esperemos encontrarnos nuevamente. Hasta siempre.

[TOP]



Pictures


  Experiencia multicultural en Dickinson.

  En las fotos: Karla (Puerto Rico), Rosemary (USA), María Paz (México),  Kirsten (Alemania), Darío (República Dominicana) y Carlos (Guatemala).


 
  El contacto con gente de orígenes tan diversos me hizo empezar a ver las cosas de manera diferente y tener ganas de conocer otros países y culturas que no se encontraban entre mis objetivos primordiales.
  Los lazos de amistad y el afán por aprender cambiaron de alguna manera mis rumbos y marcaron para siempre mi corazón.

[TOP]

Angela Reynolds

   To be honest the image of Patagonia, prior to my arrival on the plains of Chubut, consisted of penguins and a clothing label growing out of the diverse terrain in the area.  I was accompanying ten other students – some I hardly knew – and three professors on the maiden expedition of a new program for Dickinson College.  Studying abroad independently my junior year, it was also the first time I was traveling and working with a group under the auspices of Dickinson College itself.  Fifteen days later I left with a wealth of warm memories and five very successful interviews.

  In one way or another the unifying thread of the whole program was people – the people we are, the people that live in Chubut now, and the people whose stories came alive through the memory of friends and family.  Whether we were staying with families or meeting new friends out on the street, the people of Comodoro Rivadavia and Rada Tilly treated the students with kindness, compassion, and intrigue; we wanted their stories as much as they wanted to know ours.

  Day after day the threshold of learning increased, spreading our own learning curve long and wide.  For many people the language was a very important portion of the program, learning to interact in another language and find the patience to understand and work with those that are less adapt the language itself.  I thought the oral interviews were going to be a disaster at first with only a few in the group speaking fluent Spanish.  Gladly, I was never more happy to be completely wrong.  The words of the people appeared to come alive and take on wild and exciting shapes in the stories captured on film – language no longer mattered.  Personally, my interviews were conducted in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. 

  On an academic note, it is funny to admit I never thought research could be so much fun adding incisive thoughts from the lives of others to my own life as an American immigrant.  Many times the nostalgia interwoven in the stories of people was akin to my own experience as an American immigrant.  Secondly, it was wonderful to work with a truly diverse group – professors from two countries, women, men, underclassmen, upperclassmen, Americans and international students, -- it was a dynamic combination. 

  While I wish I could delineate each and every memory I retain from the experience, I will limit my comments to a word of thanks.  I learned more than I ever thought was possible on this trip from each and every person I interacted with.  I would like to thank the people for sharing their stories, my family for welcoming me as a second daughter, and my colleagues for their diligent work and effort to capture the length and breath of immigrant experiences.

 Thank you.

[TOP]


Pictures


  Traveling opens up new opportunities to meet new people and share different point of views.

  In this picture: University of Patagonia student María José Garrido.


 
  Patagonia opened my eyes to new ways of seeing.

[TOP]


 
Jasmin Sánchez Cordero

  With no prior knowledge of the area, I was to arrive at “the end of the world,” Patagonia, Argentina, along with ten other students and three professors all from Dickinson College.  Everything about this trip seemed a bit ambiguous from the start, but what could we expect!  Being the pioneers of Dickinson College’s first Global Mosaic, we had to learn to be patient, flexible, and explore some skills that would soon begin to unfold as the trip revealed itself. These skills were exposed as we unpacked our luggage. Everybody’s luggage contained different tools necessary to make this trip a success. Among some of the tools, we discovered a range of experiences with foreign languages and interviewing techniques. As the journey continued, teamwork and collaboration became essential in establishing our roles within the host society and ourselves.

  Our first encounter with this host society occurred at the Italian Association. Arriving late Saturday night, I was disoriented and had no idea of what was going on. When we arrived at the Italian Association, many unfamiliar faces embraced us with a friendly kiss and hug.  Their warm greeting made me feel comfortable and as if I knew them. Minutes later it was revealed that these people were our host families. Even though everyday was full of new endeavors, most of my learning experiences occurred with my host family. The late night dinners were filled with lessons about Argentine politics and culture to Portuguese lifestyle and language. Thus, the impact that my host family had on my experience in Argentina was significant. I never thought it would be possible to get attached to people in such short span of time. It became apparent that this host society was willing to share all that they had to offer.

  Another example of the effective teamwork and collaboration became evident on our typical workday. It is disturbing, but I was always anxious to be doing some kind of work, preferably interviews. Yet, I now realize that it would be impossible to even get so many interviews for myself, besides that would be rather selfish on my part not to share with others considering that my host family was definitely the best (hahaha). Through interviews I gained insight on women immigrants and their portrayal of themselves. I felt a connection with these women due to my own immigration experience as a child emigrating from Puerto Rico to Pennsylvania. Many of the identity issues they have struggled with I have also encountered in my own struggle. Consequently, an interest in immigrants and their identity issues began to grow in me.

  IIt became apparent that flexibility was integral in making the Patagonia Mosaic work. We had to be willing to go beyond our assigned groups, to wait, and to explore. As a result, through the Patagonia Mosaic I have gained many memorable experiences. I will never forget the interviews, the boliches, the potros, the walks in Rada Tilly, YPF, and my host family, just to mention a few. 

[TOP]



Pictures


 Top row: Karla Nieves, Rosemary McGunnigle, and Jasmin Sánchez. Bottom row: David Stein, Elizabeth Cardillo, Colleen Heller, and Kirsten Korell.
  Excited to get our first class started which was held at the Asociación Búlgara just a flew blocks away from La Anónima, my favorite grocery store.

 
  Puerto Pirámides. Not only did we work, but we also found time to appreciate the scenery.

 

  Angela and I climbed to the top of a hill in Rada Tilly barefooted and in skirts on our very last day in Patagonia to never be forgotten. The arrangement of the rocks spell, "USA ROCKS." We would have never been able to accomplish this without the help of our tour guides, Gustavo and Javier. Now, that's dedication!!!

[TOP]

David Stein

  Originally, I applied for the Patagonia Mosaic for the experience to travel.  I heard the word Patagonia and thought of mountains, snow, and beautiful wintry scenes.  Well, to my surprise, that region of South America is more than just mountains and spans from the eastern coast of Argentina to the western shores of Chile. As this was my first experience studying abroad, the different culture, foods, and especially the language overwhelmed me.  For the entire two weeks, there was constantly something surprising me, whether it be the immense numbers of different ethnic groups that comprise the population of the area we studied, or just the amazing landscapes and beaches, which of course I hadn't expected. Living a block off the beach, my wintry preconceptions were proven extremely inaccurate. I certainly appreciated my host family's help in learning the language and in adjusting to everything, as well as our friendship. These elements, though, are not directly the purpose of a research trip, are unquestionably welcomed by-products.

  After a "debriefing" period, we went out to practice the techniques we had learned in recording oral histories with immigrants. Their narratives, perhaps the most lasting memory of the trip, ranged from stories of suffering, loss, freedom, separation, and unification. While practicing recording their stories, we really got the chance to know members of the community, who although live on a different half of the planet, share some similarities with us. We even got to hang out with some friends we made in Comodoro Rivadavia dancing the entire night at its famous discos. Being the only male student, I felt somewhat outnumbered at first but after meeting the wonderful group of about 15 students, of whom I only knew several beforehand, I appreciate the friends that I met during the two weeks. If I were to change one aspect of the trip, I would only make it longer than two weeks. Hopefully next time I go down there (keeping my fingers crossed), i'll go for a longer stay.

TOP



Pictures


  We visited a penguin colony during a weekend excursion and they were as curious of us as we were of them

 
  María, Fabián, and Mariela. This is a picture of my host brother, his wife to his left and his aunt to his right. Not only were they family and friends, but they were my Spanish teachers and corrected my "improving" Spanish language skills.

 
  Juan and Fanny Levang. My host parents shown here at the beach that is literally right out their front yard.  They were taking León for a walk.  He was their dog who I wanted to take home with me by the end of the trip. They were so nice, they -robably would have let me take him if I'd have asked. They definitely give me a reason to return to Comodoro.
 

[TOP]
 

[Main Page]