By Lancaster Emery – Staffwriter
Georgina Barrios, a UMF teaching assistant will be traveling back to her home in Córdoba, Argentina once the UMF spring term is finished in May, and will resume classes at the University of Córdoba.
Córdoba is one of Argentina’s largest cities and there is a lot of “student life,” said Barrios, as there are “over 100,000 students from all over the country.” The city of Córdoba is much larger than Farmington, and because of the amount of students it has a vibrant nightlife atmosphere.
There are “lots of opportunities for entertainment,” she said. Barrios had an obvious smile of excitement to be returning home, although, after the UMF spring term ends in May, the semester at the University of Córdoba will only be half over.
“[The] academic year is totally different,” she said, “it starts in March.” This is due to the difference in seasons, when it is summer here, it is winter there and vice versa which means summer break in Argentina will not start until January.
Barrios came to UMF in August of 2011 and stayed for the academic year where she has been a Spanish teaching assistant. She seized the opportunity to study at UMF by taking advantage of the University of Córdoba’s exchange plan which is in conjunction with the University of Maine System.
“One student comes over as a TA [teaching assistant],” she said, and some students from the University of Maine System travel to Argentina.
Barrios, who has studied to be an English teacher, came to UMF to be a Spanish teaching assistant because she wanted to become a Spanish teacher, she said. As a teaching assistant at UMF she has helped teach all of the Spanish classes, taught by Linda Britt and Marisela Funes, as well as taking one mandatory class a semester.
Barrios has enjoyed her time at UMF but admitted that, at times, she has felt a little homesick. It “was really hard at first,” she said, and “especially during Winter break.”
Staying busy with classes, usually helped keep her from getting homesick. “During class times, I’m so busy,” she said, which made it easier for her to be away from home and her family.
Besides being so far from home, one of the hardest things to adjust to in Maine was “the cold weather of course,” she said with clear surprise of the winter weather, the “snow is too much.” Although the snow was hard to get used to, as it doesn’t snow in Córdoba, she still appreciated the class cancellations. “When we didn’t have to go to classes that was great,” she said with a smile.
Apart from the change in weather, the meal schedule was also different from what she was accustomed to. In America, people generally have dinner around 5-6 p.m. In Argentina, Barrios was accustomed to eating dinner around 9-10 p.m. “Days are usually longer there,” she said, the sun sets later there all year round, and the “working day finishes at 8 p.m.”