Stories from my 14-month study abroad in Buenos Aires, my 16-month post-college move to Miami, and my get-me-the-hell-out-of-Miami move to Denver

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Here Goes Nothing: Finals Week

Finals week is almost here!!!

Unlike the US college system, where you have a midterm, a bunch of homework, attendance/participation, and a final...all of which are factored into your final grade, here, it's different.

I have oral finals and presentations. Here's what next week looks like.

Monday = Logísticas y Transporte (Logistics and Transportation)
Tuesday AM= Spanish 350
Tuesday PM= Administración del Personal (Human Resources)
Wednesday= Envases y Embalajes (The Marketing of Packaging and Shipping)
Thursday= Investigación de Mercado (Market Investigations)

I need to walk into the classroom, sit down with my professor(s), and they're going to question me on all the information that I've learned in the last four months. It's going to be intense.

However, on the bright side, once I finish my presentation on Thursday night, I begin four months of beautiful Argentine summer. I'm super excited. I'll let you all know how the job hunt goes.

If there is anyone from BsAs reading this that needs a BellBoy/Server/Caterer/Tour Guide/Promoter or anything similar, shoot me an email!

Si hay alguien en Capital Federal que busca un BellBoy/Camarero(Mozo)/Guía de Turísmo/Promotador o algo similar, que me mande un email.

I'll let you know how everything goes.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Friday, November 14, 2008

Human Resources...Argentine Style

In the US, especially corporate America, job discrimination is a huge deal. If you even give the interviewee a peculiar look, you're going to get sued for discrimination of some type or another.

Not so in Argentina.

In my human resources class, we recently talked about the hiring process and all that other jazz. The professor was talking about the hiring of different positions and we eventually got the secretaries. The conversation went something like this:

P for professor and M for me.

P- So, what are you looking for when you hire a secretary? You want a nice young lady who can get the job done. I'd say somewhere between 20 to 30 years old.

M- What, so you're saying that you can hire based on age and sex?

P- (Confused) Of course, everyone knows that women make the best secretaries. It's obvious.

M- But what if you have a guy who really wants to be a secretary?

P- Honestly, what guy wants to be a secretary?

M- But that's not the point, if you want to be a secretary, you're a guy, and you're qualified, you should get the job.

P- Yes, but no guys want to be secretaries. Also, what kind of boss wants a male secretary.

M- But isn't that discrimination?

P- Yeah, but it's not a big deal.

He just honestly didn't understand where I was coming from, so I eventually just quit trying.

On ALL the job posing websites here, directly after the requirements for education and experience, they have an age limit and whether it's a job for a male or female. Also, the majority of positions in the service industry require that you attach a photo to your resume. They hire based on looks too.

Another crazy thing they do here during the hiring process is come to your house to meet your family and have a look at the environment you're coming from. They'll talk with your family, have a look around your house and room, ask your neighbors questions about you, all to "make sure you're not about to hire some crazy guy with a communist flag hanging on the wall in his room."

Once again, I couldn't believe my ears when he was saying this. I raised my hand, and in disbelief asked if he was serious. Everyone in the class turned around and was shocked to find out that in the US, your future employer can't send an inspector to your house.

Pretty crazy if you ask me.

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nice and Sharp!!!

Got a package from Mumsy the other day, and I just bite into a nice thick slice of Wiconsin Sharp Cheddar. I've never been more happy in my life. After 9 months of horribly bland cheese here, eating some quality Wisconsin cheese put a smile on my face. The homemade cookie bars were great too. Thanks mumsy for the package!!!

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Summer Here I Come!!!

Just got this e-mail from my academic adviser at school! Woo-Hoo!!!


Hi Patrick,

Just a quick note to confirm receipt of your Leave of Absence form. I've entered it into the system, effective Spring 2009.

When you're ready to return to school, please email me again and I'll have you complete the Readmission form. Also, as an FYI, registration for both summer and fall courses typically takes place in April, so March would be a good month to take care of your readmission paperwork.

Enjoy your extra time in Argentina!



Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Monday, November 10, 2008

Spring and the traffic system

As you´ve all noticed, the blogs have been coming at a much slower rater lately. As I continally say, I´ve quit being a traveler in the city, and I´ve started becoming a citizen. I´m no longer amazed by the weekly protests by unions, student groups, teachers, inmigrants, etc. It´s just the same old same old. I still enjoy the sight of a huge group of citizens marching down main streets with flags and drums, and I still jump whenever they launch M80 fireworks into the air, but now it´s normal. I just keep on doing what I´m doing.

The weather has really taken a turn for the better lately. Spring came about nice and slowly, the days slowly got warmer and the sun started to stay out a bit longer. However, from one week to the next, it became summer. It´s just a heat wave, they say, but it has gotten REALLY hot and humid down here. 85 degree days and blue skies are what I´m waking up to every morning. I think it must be cloudy once every two weeks here. However, with the heat and humidity, comes the increase in air density. All the pollution in the city hangs a lot lower in the air, and I can definitely see significant increases in the smog levels, etc. I´ve never had allergies before, but i´m pretty sure all the smog has given me a consistent runny nose.

School is coming to a close. All in all, it has been a good experience, but I really enjoy the US school system a lot more. It´s much more organized and rigourous, and you know what you´re supposed to learn. Here, classes don´t always have a very defined structure, and you just kind of listen to what the professor says, and hope you can remember it when you have your test. Speaking of tests, almost all of my classes have just one, oral, final exam. We sit down with the professor and we tell them what we know. They decide if we pass or not. It´s pretty intimidating, especially when students have up to three chances to pass the final with the professor. I know I´ll get through them decently, but it´s definitely more relaxing to have a USA-style final exam, and know exactly what kind of grade you need to pass the class. It´s just another one of those efficiency things. I love living here, but efficiency just doesn´t exist. Lines in super markets can last 45 minutes, and no one seems to take notice. Any US citizen here IMMEDIATELY learns the times when you can go to the super market and not spend an ungodly amount of time waiting. Whatever people say, we have efficiency and working rules in the USA, and I miss it.

Speaking of these rules, I´ll give you a little taste. Throughout the entire city of Buenos Aires, you might be able to count a handful of stopsigns. If the street isnt a main thoroughfare(which has a stoplight), there is no way to metering traffic. Cars, at night time, will drive towards unprotected intersections, flash their lights(because they don´t find it necessary to use headlights) and bomb through the intersection. They expect the other cars to stop. If two cars meet at the same time, they both creep along until someone gives some gas, and goes. You can ALWAYS here tires screeching on the pavement because someone expected the other guy to stop. It the heart of downtown, in probably the most congested are of the city, there are no stop signs. Cars, buses, and motorbikes beep and honk their way through the traffic. The simple placement of two stopsigns at every intersection would make like ridiculously more easy. However, they wouldn´t respect the sign. Red lights don´t really matter if its nighttime, and cops are too busy cat-calling girls to pull people over for breaking traffic laws. If you get a traffic ticket, you either bribe your way out of it, or, after you get it, you drive away and throw it out the window. There is no way of enforcing the rules, so no one gives a shit.

That´s my only real rant about Buenos Aires. The system of transportation monitoring is absolutely horrible, but people have gotten used to car accidents being a common thing. Stop signs, simple metal objects that could change the entire way this city drives. Motorbikes fly between cars, and no one follows the speed limit. If teh cops started busting people like they do in the states, or had speed traps, and actually ENFORCED the fines, maybe take away driving privledges for months at a time, this city could really turn itself around.

Hope you enjoyed that little gem. I´ll write more on the positive side sometime soon...maybe tonight.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina