The End

As this semester draws to a close, it’s hard to imagine that five months have already passed. As cliché as it sounds, it really does feel like yesterday that I arrived in Mendoza for the first time. I have had an incredible time in Argentina, but as I think about leaving, I have realized that as eye-opening as this semester has been, not everything was smooth-sailing and some of my expectations were not met.

I genuinely like everyone on my program (there were only 13 of us, so it’s not that crazy). We are all low-maintenance individuals with a sense of adventure, and I have enjoyed getting to know them. That being said, there is no one I can see myself making a big effort to stay in touch with. I knew that there were only two people, including myself, from DU in this program, so I thought that I would definitely meet new people that would later become my close friends. The other students are my friends, but there is no one I would consider myself particularly close to.

Academics were not very serious. Of the two universities we could take classes at, I ended up at the easier one, for that was the place where I could take courses that would apply toward my major. There was so much downtime. Coming from the quarter system, it was already an adjustment getting used to 16 weeks of classes, but I did not factor how little coursework there was. In one class, my only grade was participation and the final; in the other, there was a little more work, which included three take-home assignments, two midterms, and a final, yet there was still a lot of free time. It made me realize how much I like the quarter system, for I love to be kept busy.

I spent many weekends in Mendoza. This was an unexpected, but pleasant surprise. There was probably a total of six weekends I was not home and that was okay with me. I got to know the city really well, I spent time with my host family and their family and friends, and I felt like I was able to immerse in the culture. Travel in South America, especially from a less metropolitan area like Mendoza, is expensive, which is the main reason why I did not travel as much as my European counterparts. There are other places in South America that I would love to visit, but there will be time in the future. I am grateful for what I was able to see, and I look forward to my next trip.

As with any new experience, there were times that I did not always enjoy myself; however, the good times definitely outweighed the bad. These past few months have taught me so much, and I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to study here.

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How to Attend a Wine Tasting

If you are going to study abroad in Argentine wine country, it helps when your family friends work in the wine industry. Between the beautiful Bodegas (where the wine is made) and the eclectic wine bars, I spent my weekend enjoying everything Mendoza is known for.

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I did not know much about wine. My knowledge is still woefully incomplete, but I did learn something. For example, the altitude, amount of sunlight and soil composition all affect how the grape grows, thus affecting the taste of the wine. I also find it interesting that one vineyard can contain multiple types of soil. Mendoza is famous for its Malbec, so unsurprisingly, this was the one we drank the most. There are sweet, spicy and bitter Malbecs and then there are Malbec blends. There are other red wines or “vino tintos” like Cabernet or there are white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. If I am being completely honest, I can’t always tell the difference between them.

I have attended four wine tastings now and this is what occurs. Typical wine tastings will have you sample around five types of wine that the Bodega produces. You usually start with the whites and then move on to the reds. The wine maker or sommelier will pour a quarter of a glass, he/she will explain the composition of the wine and then you are free to sip. Each wine has a distinguishing smell, so you typically smell the wine first then mix the wine to oxygenate it. Then you drink the wine. It’s common to only take one sip then pour the rest into a spittoon. Many will also sip the wine to taste it, then spit it out. The various wines will often go with different foods, but the most I can remember is that white wine goes well with fish where as red goes well with meat.

Maybe I will learn more about wine in my future, but for now, I have some excellent recommendations on Bodegas.

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Zoe Kaldor

 ARGENTINA – IFSA: MENDOZA UNIVERSITIES PROGRAM, 2018 FALL

Zoe Kaldor is an International Studies and Strategic Communication double major. She is studying abroad with IFSA-Butler in Mendoza, Argentina. Originally from New York, DU’s study abroad program was one of the reasons Zoe chose to attend DU. She specifically chose to study abroad in Argentina because she wants to improve her Spanish skills and experience a new culture, for she believes it is so important in an increasingly global society to be able to communicate in languages besides English as well as experience different ways of life. Zoe is an avid traveler and loves to explore new places; she is excited she gets to do both.

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