Ludiwien Cooreman ’13 has done her fair share of travelling. As an International Affairs and Philosophy double major, her education focuses on various disciplines. Gaining a new perspective was something that she was able to accomplish with the Butler Program in Argentina during the fall of 2011.
“Heading to my first class in Buenos Aires involved a ten minutes crawl to the third floor of a run down building involving a decent amount of shuffling and shoving past a bee-nest of politically active students that were sharing ‘mate’ (local drink), smoking a cigarette, discussing politics, singing political chants and discussing or selling books. It took me about two months to figure out the real colour of the wall since - without exaggeration – every single square inch was covered with political posters, graffiti and murals. Definitely not Gettysburg, but definitely a very enriching academic environment. The kind of discussions I had in class, in the hallways, tutoring sessions with my professor and in the bar of the faculty were almost exclusively of a kind and a perspective I could not easily repeat in Gettysburg. I learned about Marx from Marxists and about human rights from people that carry the mental and physical scars of torture with them. The beauty of studying abroad is that you learn to see your reality from a different angle.”
In order to help remember her experiences, she kept a physical record of them. “I kept a scrapbook in Argentina, which is a colourful combination of tickets and flyers for events, and little paragraphs on my giggles, frustrations and jaw-slacking shocks with my life in Buenos Aires. If I have children in euhm… fifteen-ish years I can show them that mom once upon a time was really not all that boring.”
As for advice to future Butler program students? “I kind of stole it from Nike but: Just Do It! If you want to make the most out of your experience: burn your mouth of mate, volunteer, play sports, dance tango, forro, salsa, cumbia, reggaeton,…, try weird food, date,… and try to do it all the Argentine way with Argentineans and in Argentine Spanish. After five months you will feel absolutely comfortable with Spanish, have some unforgettable friends, and a lifetime of memories to reminisce on.”
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