Friday, November 16, 2018

Sara in Uruguay!

Oh well, hi, hey there, hello!

My name is Sara Silika and I am a third-year biology/pre-vet student with a Spanish minor at good ol’ UNCG. However, since the end of July, I have been studying in the wonderful country of Uruguay where the summers are hot and the maté is hotter. I live in the country’s capital city, Montevideo, and attend Universidad Católica del Uruguay. There is a lot to say about my adventures here, but I’ll try to make this short and sweet. Sweet like dulce de leche? I think so.

A few quick facts about Uruguay:
  • Around a third of the country’s population (a little over 1 million) live in Montevideo, Uruguay’s biggest city.
  • Cows outnumber people here. The ratio is about 3.7 cows for every 1 person. So, if you have a thing for cow-tipping, this is the country for you! *
  • The first Men’s World Cup was played here in 1930. Uruguay won, beating Argentina.
  • There is a power dynamic between Uruguayans and Argentinians. You can definitely get Uruguayans worked up about who has the better tango, dulce de leche, etc.

Now, I would like to list some advice for your study abroad experience (or for life because, you know, my advice is liquid gold):
  • Don’t be afraid to get lost. That is the best way that I learned how to get around the city. Of course, please do not do this at night or in a sketchy part of town!
  • Ask questions! If you didn’t hear something, if you need clarification, if you need suggestions for the best bars to go to, just ask!
  • Do as many things as you can. Whether that be trying new foods (I ate kidney, intestine, and something else that I still don’t know the name of), going on trips with friends, getting involved in the community (I have been volunteering with a few different organizations), or simply walking around downtown, do all the things!
  • Make a bucket list of things you want to do in your host country (or continent). They can be completely random (I definitely want to get in an argument in Spanish) or be things that you’ve wanted to do for a while (like go to Patagonia)!
  •  It’s okay to experience culture shock. I thought I was above the thing that practically everyone experiences, but I was wrong. Of course, please do not go around yelling that your host country is stupid, but also don’t beat yourself up for getting frustrated at some cultural differences.
  • Take advantage of the opportunities you are given while abroad but don't take the experience for granted. Just email me if you want me to expand on this!

I could write for days, but like I said, short and sweet! If you have any questions about Uruguay, study abroad in general, or just want to chat, just type my name into the handy little address bar on your UNCG email. I’m the only Sara Silika that you’ll find! Thanks for reading, skimming, or simply looking at the pictures. Adventure awaits, people. Get out there and explore!

Nos vemos,

*Please do not go around tipping over cows. That was my attempt at a joke…

A view from the Rambla of the beach and Barrio Pocitos

My dragon (Mateo, or "Maté", so named after the beverage that 85.4% of Uruguayans drink) ready for the first day of school!

Palacio Salvo and one of the many statues of General Artigas (he's kind of a big deal here)

The Intendencia on the night of the Marcha por la Diversidad. The theme this year was "Ley Trans Ya" which promoted a law that guarantees more rights for transgender individuals.

My friends and I at the Fortaleza de Santa Teresa

 Being a nature freak (or freak of nature?), this mural spoke to me: "The life of all on the planet depends on the health of the oceans"

A buddy we found on our trip to Punta del Diablo. Who says you can't hug stray dogs?

These little nuggets are called "carpinchos" here, but we commonly know them as "capybaras"