Some facts about Buenos Aires and Argentina:
- 12.5 million people in the metro area in 2007, about 41 million in country
- 20% of Argentineans who are practicing Roman Catholics, though 92% identify as such
- Famous for beef and wine (my favorite of which is Malbec, which, interestingly enough, is the house wine at the Middlebury Inn!). Few knew about Argentinean wine until the last 10 years because although Argentina has always produced a lot, Argentineans have typically consumed it all before it was ever exported. lolz.
- And tango. Very famous for inventing and/or popularizing tango.
- 14,000 dissidents disappeared during Argentina’s famed “Dirty War” from 1976-1983. The mothers who stand on the plaza wearing white scarves are relatives of the disappeared.
- 2001 economic crisis, crazy inflation. Thrust 40% of the population under the poverty line, a hole out of which the country is still climbing
- 2003: Same sex marriage legalized in Buenos Aires
- Che Guevara, Diego Maradona and Jorge Luis Borges are all Argentine
The first leg: 2 weeks living with a retired woman named Carmen in the Belgrano neighborhood of Buenos Aires (gray above the green on the map). Carmen “enjoys gardening and volleyball” according to my info packet. I had a one-year volleyball team experience back in high school and have a garden in my backyard, so Carmen and I will probably be best friends.
- Then, 3 weeks living in dorm-style housing with other students in the schmancy Recoleta neighborhood (pink on the map; south of Belgrano).
- Finally, spending the rest of my time as part of the Middlebury study abroad program living with a family in Recoleta (don’t know too much about them yet). I’ll be attending the University of Buenos Aires’ school of social sciences.