Studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned many things about culture, business, and even about myself. Argentina is a country that has a lot to offer with many growing business opportunities. Studying abroad offers experience to future employers that is beyond comparison to others. It prepares you in many ways that an internship or simply taking a class cannot.

As many people know, it is impossible to do business in another country without first learning about the culture and customs there. The other experiences that I had while in Argentina helped me to understand why Argentines do things a certain way. They are very family oriented people and it is evident in their work lives and environments. Employers are close with their employees and often know a lot about their families and home lives. Surprisingly, for many jobs employers will do a home visit to speak with neighbors and family members about a potential candidate before hiring them. Argentina is a very high context culture so people depend on small talk and getting to know someone very well before trusting them. It is a country where it is very important to put effort into building relationships, especially in the business world. We visited six different businesses in Buenos Aires and were able to learn about many of the benefits offered by each of the companies. Each speaker at the companies explained what their company did, some of the benefits they offered, their company’s history, how operations worked, and answered any questions that we had. We toured each business and were able to experience first-hand what it would be like working there. There are many cultural differences that many people do not realize, making it hard for a foreigner to live and work there without being culturally affluent. Argentines as well as many other Latin people are very family oriented and need a good balance between work and home life. Employees receive plenty of vacation time. While visiting a milk factory I learned that employees’ families can come to the factory on Christmas Day to enjoy a long lunch. Studying abroad will prepare you more for the upcoming challenges of the business world by experiencing them first hand rather than reading about them in a textbook.

Many experiences made my trip unforgettable. Although I learned a lot about business culture in South America and how it operates, I also got the chance to take a deeper look at the culture in Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires is well known for its Mate, Tango, and the famous asado. I was able to experience these things in the two weeks that I was there. I attended a tango show and dance lessons, where I learned the dance that was invented by Argentines. It is a dance that really explains the passion that the people of Argentina have. I was also able to experience an asado while at an estancia. We rode horses and saw a traditional Argentine gaucho performance and show while at the estancia that day. The gaucho show really highlighted the history of Argentina. The class spent one day at Tigre, where we all went kayaking down the river and enjoyed another asado. Toward the end of the trip I had the opportunity to participate on the extension to Iguazú Falls. Iguazú is located in the rainforest at the top of the country and borders both Brazil and Paraguay. It was one of the many gems that Argentina has in its vastly different climates throughout the country. While in Buenos Aires, we also got the opportunity to look at and do street art; specifically graffiti which is very popular there.

I would recommend that everyone should study abroad at least once. It opens new doors to potential jobs, impresses employers and prepares you for the unexpected. I also believe that it makes you more valuable and marketable in future positions. I had many amazing experiences on this trip that have taught me a lot about culture and business. The best way to learn is through experiences and this was the experience of a lifetime.

Kelsey Pearlman is a Marketing and Spanish double major. She participated in a College of Business faculty led trip to Argentina in December, 2017. 

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