This week, our intern Jess sits down with new Road2Argentina arrival, Mike Dash, who is enrolled in the teaching English TEFL course. After his first two weeks he reflects on his experiences and shares his feelings about life in Buenos Aires.
Jess: Why are you doing TEFL?
Mike: I wanted be able to use it as a tool to see the world. I recently traveled to Australia and had the opportunity to experience a new culture, which opened my eyes to the amount of the world that was still left to explore. I feel that through TEFL I will have the opportunity to have the freedom to travel while still earning an income. Also, I have always wondered if I would enjoy teaching so I am getting the chance to figure that out.
Jess: Why did you choose Buenos Aires?
Mike: There was an allure to go to South America, to a major city, and to be immersed in a Spanish-speaking location. Buenos Aires particularly caught my attention because of its reputation for delicious meats, wines, and music. It also is convenient that my dollar stretches farther here than it would in Madrid for example.
Jess: Is it hard to get to know the city?
Mike: For me, it has been so far. That is mainly due to the fact that my Spanish knowledge is not very strong, which goes along with the path I chose down here, the TEFL course. Being in an environment where I am learning to teach English and am only allowed to speak English really limits my immersion into the Spanish-speaking world. Because of this then I have been relying on other people too much to get me around the city and haven’t developed my own know-how.
Jess: So your Spanish has not really improved from being here?
Mike: Not really, but that again is due to the TEFL course.
Jess: What’s the most striking thing about Argentine people?
Mike: I have found them to have a very strong sense of self and of their country. There is a lot of pride for Argentina here. They also seem to have a very relaxed way of living, allowing them to focus less on the schedule and stress in life, and more on simply enjoying every day.
Jess: What’s the nightlife scene like?
Mike: It is absolute craziness. On a Sunday I went to possibly the biggest club of my life and stayed out until 4am. The Argentines are serious about their partying. I also enjoy the fact that I get to practice my dance moves while listening to Spanish music.
Jess: What’s been your best moment in the Roadhouse?
Mike: On Sunday we had a gnocchi night, which we learned is an Argentine tradition; the 29th of the month gnocchi is eaten and a peso is placed under each plate to ensure prosperity in the coming month. It was a great example of everybody coming together while incorporating Argentine culture.
Jess: How are the friendships you’ve made?
Mike: Amazing. In the Roadhouse there is a nice mixture of people; different ages with different backgrounds.
Jess: What was the biggest culture shock coming here?
Mike: The fact that I can only have basic conversations with people throughout the city. That lack of conversational ability that nothing can really go beyond superficiality has been the biggest shock to me. But hopefully that will change with time.