So, let’s paint a word portrait here: it’s a typical Monday in Taller de Radio en Universidad de Buenos Aires Ciencias Sociales. I’m sitting with my radio group in the classroom, after we were led to believe it would be a day in the studio to practice our boletín informatorio. We start talking about our final project as usual, along with individual assignments coming up. Class then transitions to our weekly homework assignment of analyzing the three hours+ of radio we listened to.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of listening to radio; because there’s nothing like listening to Guy Raz or Meghna Chakrabarti on NPR. Bedtime magic has also been known to lull me to sleep. But when Radio Mitre or 750 do a run-down of the news, after what I can only assume is a Red Bull-induced microphone miracle, I am left to make sense of the pieces. Which is exactly the mindset I was in once called out on that misleading Monday to explain my examination of the interviews I heard. Miniscule details aside, I got an embarrassingly pity pass from my professor. I felt shameful and lost, to say the least.
It was only after class that a friendly face came up to me, and offered support. Sofía was kind enough to reach out and make sure I message her if I do not understand something. Which, to me, I almost believed I did not even deserve such generosity. However, she kept to her word and wanted to hear what I was going to do for our street reporter assignment the following week. I was able to interview an anthropological writer in the espacio cultural next door to my host mother, in a night that ultimately led to a rooftop bar/city view by Teatro Colón and a KFC-fueled Virtual Reality dance off (but that’s a story for a different blog).
Sofía did a grammar check before class and found my anthropological author piece to be intriguing. However, the real test was whether it would fly in the sound booth. Over the next two hours I patiently waited until I was the last student to walk in and recite my report with the interview audio clip, only one week after that embarrassing slip up in class. Seeing the impressed look on my professor’s face and compliments afterward made it all the more rewarding! As did stepping out and being surrounded by friends who were genuinely pleased with how my situation turned around 🙂
Perhaps there is a bi-fold lesson in all this. One side being the interpretation that I should have hunkered down and tried to relentlessly understand the radio hosts I listened to, and I do encourage you to do your UBA homework properly. But there is the other side in which “eh, stuff happens.” You can do your best when it comes to preparing for a class, but if you fail: GOOD! It makes the highs and redemption oh so sweeter, as well as providing a motivational kick. Anyway, in either situation I believe you should seek help sooner than I received it. You will make some great friends along the way, and feel more confident in class!
I only hope you can learn from my low that gave way to a high, because earlier today my group recorded our final project, and while we rocked it and had a grand ol’ time, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of regret for not reaching out more and getting to know them better earlier on.
Arriving to a study abroad experience like that in Buenos Aires can feel inundating at first, but make time for local friends, and try not to say no to a hangout or empanada run. Who knows, you might just wind up with a beautiful tapestry of far-flung friends (and an itching to play VR Beat Saber again (look it up)).