Bailey Adkison, English Teaching Assistant 2015 in Misiones, Argentina
Receiving the ETA Fulbright to teach in Eldorado, Misiones has, from my perspective, meant living in the most dynamic province in the country of Argentina. Misiones shares borders with Paraguay, which recognizes the indigenous Guaraní language as an official language alongside Spanish, and Portuguese-speaking Brazil. Many cities in this region were founded by Germans and other European immigrants, thereby creating an exciting blend of languages and cultures that far exceeds interesting. I work at the Instituto Superior Antonio Ruiz de Montoya teacher training college, which offers afternoon and night classes that are held in a local high school building. I teach not only English but also about US culture, history and study skills. I’ve made many visits to smaller towns and Guaraní villages to teach as well as within Montoya. However, I am certainly not always the teacher in Misiones. The students of Montoya are teaching me Portuguese, regional dances like Chamamé and how to cook local foods like “chipa”, which is a ball of bread full of cheese eaten day and night by Misioneros. Time has slowed down for me here. For example, Eldorado still makes good use of the siesta, a nap in which the whole city participates. All the local businesses close from noon to 4pm, then open back up in the evening. I’ve learned to make sure that I have everything I need before siesta starts. The relaxed Misioneros are more likely to stay in with their friends and family and talk while sharing a “mate”, the famous, communal Argentinian drink consisting of hot tea”, or its cold counterpart “tereré”, than to go out. People are in less of a rush to get things done here and this doesn’t exclude professors. My attempts to plan my teaching schedule more than a week ahead of time were unsuccessful and I’ve had to learn how to go with the flow and be spontaneous, which has taught me so much! It is refreshing to live in a community where the type of person you are seems to hold more importance than what you have achieved materialistically in life. Misiones’ warm people with their relaxed attitude and the beautiful subtropical environment filled with hidden «arroyos» have made it an ideal place to live on my own for the first time. I’m enjoying every mosquito-filled minute of it.
English Teaching Assistant 2015 in Misiones, Argentina