What a way to start out summer! My two-week exchange to Buenos Aires, Argentina through Colorado Academy’s Foreign Travel and Exchange Program could not have gone any better. The people, the culture, the “futbol,” the city, the classes — everything exceeded my expectations.

In the two weeks we were there, I learned so much about myself. Being in another country and experiencing the language was thrilling; I loved every second of it. My time there showed me just how deeply I care about language and how much I want to pursue it in the future. Connecting with people is one of the most important things in my life, and if you can communicate with them in another language, it’s that much more important. While in Argentina, I tried my best to lean in to those awkward situations and speak their language. I can’t wait to return and actually be fluent.

Here’s what happens when you are not: Four of us Colorado Academy girls were sitting in a year 10 English class discussing the book To Kill a Mockingbird. Near the end of class, one of the boys asked how good our Spanish was. When we said it was decent, he wondered if he could ask us a question in Spanish and have us reply in the language. Embracing the challenge, we all agreed. The boy said something to the effect of, “Que piensan sobre su ecomomia.” What do you think about your economy? Despite my four years of Spanish classes, to me that sounded like “Que piensan sobre la comida.” What do you think about our food? Then I made a grand mistake. I replied confidently, “Me gustan los pasteles.” I like your pastries.

You can imagine the roaring laughter that followed it. I don’t embarrass easily, but I’m pretty sure I turned redder than the River futbol jerseys.

Living with my host family, the Augspaches, was easy and comfortable. Before we arrived, I was worried about living with a family I didn’t really know; we had talked over Skype for a few minutes ahead of time. Yet, I couldn’t have felt more at home. Every night at their family dinners, I felt like I belonged there. The family was so patient with me. It inspired me to learn more and work harder. I promised them and many of my newfound friends that I would go home, study Spanish, become more fluent, and return to their country. I hope to be able to go back to Buenos Aires in the near future.

Now, I can hardly wait until I can share my culture with them as students from Argentina come to Colorado for an exchange. It still amazes me how close I grew to that group in such a short amount of time. You are all so welcoming and friendly! I love Buenos Aires and can’t wait to come back!

By Sophie Sileo