After two weeks of challenging client work, immersing in the Mendoza culture, and plenty of new experiences, it’s hard to believe that it’s coming to an end. Today, we said our sweet goodbyes to our brief home. We woke up in the morning, scrambling to pack away clothes, souvenirs, and wine from our respective wineries. Luckily, check out was early so we had a few hours to kill in the city.
After consolidating our luggage, many of us decided to take the last few hours to make some last-minute rounds for lunch and more souvenirs. Some ended up getting a fast lunch at the Subway around the block before picking up chocolates and leather key chains to bring back home. Others went out for brunch or purchased Messi jerseys. After this, it was time to head back to the hotel and prep for departure. Many students were headed on to new adventures in South America, taking advantage of the free days before classes resume. Whether leaving for the Chilean beaches, the Andes or the good ol’ USA, we were all anxious to get where we were going.
At the airport, the group rested from the lengthy check-in process and played cards at the gate, discussing the different routes of the day-long flight sequence that would bring us home. Although many of us were seated together on the first couple of flights, our group slowly dwindled and diverted, making way for nostalgia and some much needed rest. For many of us, our last group activity was a delicious welcome home meal at the most American place we could find in Santiago airport: Ruby Tuesday’s. Enjoying salads and burgers and endless fried foods, we shared memories and goodbyes.
I (Shannon) however, was lucky enough to once again ride all the way back to DC alongside Professor Bailey. Hearing some of his final thoughts about the course and the students that surprised and impressed him was a great way to conclude my trip. When we were thinking back to the first day where we all didn’t even know each other’s names, it hit me how quickly we had all become so close. A group of 30 students I likely would never have met, and certainly never known as well, has now shared one of the best traveling and academic experiences of our lives together. I strongly believe we will continue to cherish the memories of this culturally and academically intense study abroad program, despite us having referred to it as “vacation” most of the time.
Meanwhile, as I (Grant Z.) boarded the plane to cross the Andes and played my newly discovered Spanish Spotify playlist, I began to think about the unique experiences of the trip. From zip lining to rafting; from late night work sessions to sparkling wine and asado, it truly was an unforgettable experience. I finally broke out of my train of thought long enough to capture a picture of the Andes, a spectacular last view of our time here in Argentina. Salud to amazing experiences, amazing people, and a wonderful new culture. Ciao Argentina, we will see you next time.