Why Study Spanish in Buenos Aires with Mente Argentina – Carlo, Philippines | Mente Argentina Blog
Carlo from the Philippines joined us for our University Spanish Program. Here is his story…
I am Carlo, who is currently studying literature at the University of the Philippines. My paternal grandparents who were successful in their days as barristers spoke and taught Spanish in the province of Nueva Ecija. My father was the youngest among his siblings, and so, I was introduced to my abuela at a young age. My fondest memories of her were not ones where she displayed vigor and youthful beauty, but rather ones that mostly involved convincing her that I was not my other cousin Paolo, just because our names sounded alike. In spite of her struggles with memory and the frailty of old age, I noticed a glinting semblance of the vigor she was known for when she told me to study Spanish and to keep reading.
To this day, I have kept her advice close to my heart, and from simpler childhood stories I have now ventured towards tackling the world’s literary treasures, Julio Cortazár’s Rayuelo or Hopscotch included. This avant-garde novel of the Latin American Boom described the sophistication of Buenos Aires, almost a tacit call for me to visit the elegant city. As such I’ve decided to study Spanish through Mente Argentina, a programme that caters towards university students in particular.
Studying a foreign language is essential in a literature programme in my university, where twelve units of a language depending on the choice of concentration are compulsory for all comparative literature students. I elected to take Spanish because I had already taken lessons previously with a private tutor from Madrid. Taking an intensive programme in the summer allows me to hone my skills and be better equipped at understanding Latin American and other Hispanic texts. Additionally, immersion in a country that speaks the language allows me to practice what I have learned even through mundane conversations at cafés, stores, beyond the four walls of the classroom.
The most invaluable experience I have gained in participating in this programme would be the cosmopolitan privilege of acquainting myself with a rich culture that vastly differs from mine. I know of people here who are quick to stereotype less-visited countries, perhaps those in South America, as not as worthwhile to tour unlike bigger countries such as the U.S. or European countries. This stubborn admiration comes from a colonial mentality that has been ingrained in my countrymen and one that can only be cured by allowing ourselves to be displaced from a comfortable fixation at home and into an entirely unfamiliar environment of its own unparalleled beauty.
This content was originally published here.