My name is Daniel Marion, and I’m Verto’s Enrollment Operations Manager. Once upon a time, I was a college study abroad student in Havana, Cuba. Through studying abroad, I experienced 3 of the most fun and impactful months of my life. I went from not understanding anyone in the streets to speaking fluent Spanish. I learned a ton about Latin American culture and history. I befriended students from Cuba and all over the continent. I fell so in love with the experience of studying abroad that I pursued it as a career after graduation and joined Verto three years ago. Since we work remotely at Verto, I now “work abroad” and have spent time in Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and now Argentina. I love it because I feel like I’m studying abroad as an adult! We grow in remarkable ways through travel and learn so much every day. Planning a trip to Argentina was an easy decision since it’s one of Verto’s locations and a beautiful, vibrant, culturally rich Latin American city. I arrived last week and have been loving every day since then!
The most exciting part about being in Buenos Aires is that it’s unlike any other place I’ve ever visited! Often described as the Paris of Latin America, I definitely see Latin and European influences here. As with other Latin cultures, the locals tend to be friendly, warm, social, vibrant, and fun – making it a fantastic place for students to study abroad and make international friends (which is the best way to improve your Spanish). Like many of us in the United States, many Argentinians trace their roots to great grandparents from Italy, Spain, or Germany who immigrated to this city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Like New York, it is a huge city with tons to see and do and a diverse city with present-day immigrants and ethnic groups from all over the world.
Buenos Aires feels like a place where everyone is welcomed. During my first week here, I attended a weekly language exchange event named Mundo Lingo. They gave me an American and Argentinian flag at the event because I speak English and Spanish. Immediately, people started chatting with me in both languages, and by the end of the night, I had made five new friends!
Beyond the people, there are endless delicious restaurants and cozy cafes to explore. For Americans, the cost of living is quite affordable – meals and everything else tend to cost between $5 and $10, so it’s easy to justify eating out a few times a week (it should be said that, on the flip side, things are more expensive for Argentinians). In terms of food, there are delicious steaks, empanadas, great pizza, tasty sweets, and tons of options for international cuisine since Buenos Aires is such a big city.
Each neighborhood has a distinct personality – so much so that you can feel like you are in different cities if you go from Palermo Soho to San Telmo. There are beautiful parks and monuments, excellent museums about interesting topics (such as former first lady Eva “Evita” Perón), and places that make you take out your camera, like the colorful streets of La Boca and Ateneo, a former musical theater that was converted into a stunning bookstore. I planned on spending a month here, but already I feel like there’s not enough time! Our students are going to love spending 14.5 weeks in this incredible place.