I started work at the Instituto de Formación Docente Continua (IFDC) in San Luis last week. It is an institute where students study to become teachers, so basically a teacher college. I am working in the Department of Foreign Languages with the professors who teach the students training to be English teachers. For the first month, I will be assisting in a Culture, Language, and Literature class as well as taking a Portuguese class. I am very excited to be working in a Culture class since this is my favorite subject by far. I sat in on the first class last week to get an idea about what the class will be discussing and this week I will get to teach a section of the lesson. I also started the Language class which encompasses all parts of English language - speaking, listening, writing, reading. The students were very interested in getting to know me and were very excited to share information about Argentina and San Luis. One thing I am extremely excited for in this class is that they will be doing an English play! I love theater so I'm looking forward to putting my past acting experience to use with my students. I have not started the Literature class since the professor is on leave, but I am sure I will love it as well! I decided to take the Portuguese class because it I have been wanting to learn Portuguese for the past 4 years. As of now I am just taking a comprehension course, but hopefully I will be able to take a Portuguese conversation course in the future while I am here.
|Instituto de Formación Docente Continua|
First ImpressionsMy first few weeks in Argentina has opened my eyes to some key differences between life in the USA and Argentina. Some of these cultural difference I was expecting whereas others I was somewhat surprised to find.
Siesta: Yes, siesta does exist here. I have experienced this phenomena before in my other travels, so I was expecting to encounter it here. Siesta happens everyday between 1pm-5pm depending on what city/region you live in. It is a time in the afternoon where people take a long lunch, relax at home with their families, and even nap. Most stores, banks, and businesses close during this time, making the city seem almost vacant in the streets at times. It is a cultural practice very different to that of the USA where most typically work from 7:30am-5pm with only an hour break in the middle. The institute that I work is still open during this time, but if I need to go to the store or do anything that day, I have to plan to do it before or after this time. It is a small inconvenience if you only have free time during the afternoon to run errands, however, it is a welcome change to the fast paced life I am used to in the US.
Food: Argentineans are very passionate about their food! You don't see people eating on the go because they prefer to converse and enjoy their food at their pleasure. They also have a very different meal schedule than the U.S., eating lunch as late as 3 p.m. and dinner usually after 9 p.m. I am doing my best to adjust my eating schedule to coincide with this, but I must admit that sometimes waiting past noon to eat lunch is a struggle for me! Asados and mate are a key part of Argentine life. Asados are amazing feasts of Argentine barbecue with beef, sausage, bread, chimichurri, vegetables, and more. I have not yet been to one, however, I hope to be invited to one in the near future. Herbal mate, which is a tea-like drink, is something Argentineans drink everyday, all day. It is drank out of a device called a mate with a straw by adding the herbal mate and hot water then sugar if you like it sweet. It is common to see people passing the mate around in groups at work, parks, home, or pretty much anywhere people are gathered.
Technology: Another difference at my institute here versus the university/college back home is technology. From my previous travels I knew not to expect computer labs or classrooms with brand new Apple/Microsoft computers, however, I was not prepared for how minimally technology is used here compared to the U.S. First off, there are only a few desktop computers in the shared professors' offices and they are at least from the early 2000s. Most professors have small laptops, but it is very different than walking into a college department in the U.S. Printers, copiers, fax machines, etc. are not found in the departments; there is a cafe in the building where one must go to make copies. I feel that technology in our schools, colleges, and universities is something we take for granted in the U.S. Here, students and professors make do with what they have and don't rely on technology constantly for support. I think this aspect will be a great learning experience for me because I am so used to having technology be accessible whenever/whenever I need it.
All though these first few weeks have been tough without my family, I feel that little by little I am starting to get accustomed to my new way of life here. My coworkers and the students at the IFDC have been very welcoming and I am finding ways to get more involved with the institute. For example, I am joining the institute's Book Club that meets once a month and I hope to start an English Music Club for students and professors in the near future. As to my living situation, I think I finally found a permanent residence in the city! I think having a place to call home in San Luis will help with my homesickness and make every day life much more comfortable!
|Plaza Pringles, Downtown San Luis|