Zumbro Reflects on Summer in South America

Junior pitcher/infielder Mari Zumbro of the Harvard softball team recaps her summer study abroad experience in Argentina (David Silverman).

I spent two months this past summer in Argentina studying Spanish.  I had never left the country and I had always wanted to achieve some level of fluency in another language so I jumped at a chance to go to South America this summer.  I lived in Buenos Aires with a really sweet older Argentinean woman and signed a contract saying that I would only speak Spanish.  It was really tough for a while without being able to express myself the way I wanted to, but by the end my Spanish had improved so much.  We had class on weekdays where we learned grammar and a lot of Argentinean culture.  After class we took trips to different parts of the city and different museums.  I really didn’t know much about Argentina before going but I realized that there are actually more similarities to the U.S. than I expected.

Buenos Aires is a huge city of immigrants with a lot of European influence.  I lived in the barrio Palermo that was within walking distance of the school.  There were restaurants, ice cream shops, pastry shops, and cafés everywhere.  I was surrounded by yummy and cheap food.  Luckily I was able to join a gym in my neighborhood and could go there after class.  Buenos Aires was great, but some of my favorite parts of the summer were parts of the other traveling we did.  Along with the field trips to museums and different areas around Buenos Aires, we got to visit other cities and states of Argentina, which had a different feel.  We also took a boat and stayed in Uruguay for a weekend.  My favorite trip was when we took a week and traveled up to the north of the country.  We flew there and throughout the trip there was a lot of bus riding involved, but in the end it was totally worth it.  We ate empanadas and had a sing-a-long with some families in Mercedes.  Then we visited a wetland where I got to see the largest rodent in the world (they are like giant guinea pig dogs) and finally finished the trip with the waterfalls in Iguazu.  The waterfalls in Iguazu are the widest in the world and when I told my sister about them she immediately recognized them from the TV series Planet Earth.  There were waterfalls and rainbows everywhere.

I left the country for the first time, I learned a lot of Spanish and got to do some awesome things, but now summer is coming to its end.  I’m ready to head back to Cambridge, start classes, and get back on that Harvard softball field.