Dear Pepperdine Buenos Aires,
I would first and foremost want to start off with a great thank you every single human being that had anything to do with time abroad in Argentina, whether it be my closest friends or even the cashier at Coto, everyone has contributed in some way. I will make this all about me for a second and say that this has been the biggest growth period for me. Although I didn't add on any extra inches to my 6-foot height, I have expanded my horizons insanely to the point in which I think I can finally see the exact point where heaven and Earth meet on that horizon line. If it weren't for the program and the people I have met here, I wouldn't have become the person I am today.
I will be completely honest and say that I came in with a different mindset. When I first came in, I put myself on a pedestal because I simply have traveled around before but the one thing that I didn't realize that traveling the way I have in the past is nothing compared to a year abroad in Argentina with people I didn't really know very well. I have learned that I am no better nor worse than anyone else. We are all equal; we just have different motives.That is the one of the major things that abroad has taught me. Not everyone is going to agree on everything because not all personalities click, but the most important lesson that abroad has taught me is that lesson of tolerance.
Tolerance is defined by Merriam Webster as such, "willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own." The most important word here is "willingness." In order to be tolerant is to be willing to accept certain things that are different than what you are accustomed to which could make you feel uncomfortable. As humans, we often look for the easy way out, whatever is comfortable is what we are always gravitating towards. Tolerance is also defined as, "the ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant." The word that stands out to me the most in that sentence is "unpleasant." I think all of us could say that being here in Argentina we have learned to accept the unpleasant language barrier but also the unpleasant Subte delays, unpleasant "water" drips from the balconies, and do not even get me started on the endless and especially unpleasant mounds of dog crap that you have to slalom past on your way to school in the morning.
But as we all struggled through all of those unpleasant experiences, we also grew together. Abroad is a growing experience but Buenos Aires is truly an unlike any other program that Pepperdine has. Through the bareness of Bahia Bustamante to the mountains of Calafate and El Chalten, we were all brought so much closer together. They say that it isn't the house that makes a home but rather it's the family in it. All of those obstacles ultimately brought me comfort because I had all of you with me. Whether it be Chase's witty remarks, Taylor and Amber's adventures, Chris's stories of his badminton successes as well as him correcting me saying it's actually "baDmiNTon", Diane's PROverbs or even Adam's long talks on Catholicism –– I can honestly go on for days and name a moment that every single one of you have had with me. I will truly miss this dynamic because as amazing as this experience was, it'll never be like this again. We will go on with our lives but we will always have those memories.
I would also like to especially thank the faculty here in B.A. I wish I had the words to express my gratitude for all that you have done. From Rafa's enthusiasm and bullying to the man of little, but unbelievably thought provoking, words of Professor Sassot, everyone has made an impact on me and I know I will never be able to have this again in Malibu.
So simply said to everyone here, gracias por todo,
Bella "Polaca" Grabowski