Did you know that in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, there is a solar-powered metal flower statue that opens during the day and closes at night? Most guests and members of International Relations Club didn’t either, until last Friday night. With host for the evening, Marianna “Mary” Urdaneta, about 30 students participated in a 50-minute gathering about the fascinating South American country of Argentina. With snacks provided at the end and fellow Argentinian student Gonzalo Moya answering some questions, the most recent entry in the “Country Series” went over swimmingly.
After students congregated in the international student lounge, a brief game of telephone roused some giggles and helped settle people into the mood. A quick statement was made about the importance of submitting your name to the email list for the group, as well as an announcement that the club was seeking a new treasurer for fall 2019. This transitioned swiftly into a quick quiz put together by Urdaneta, with questions such as “What continent is Argentina in? (South America),” “Who is the president of Argentina? (Mauricio Macri)” and “What dance is Argentina famous for? (the tango).” A half-hour presentation then served to increase the audience’s knowledge of the country.
One of the most interesting topics was that, although Argentina shares the Iguazu waterfalls with its northwest neighbor Chile, it’s not all tropical forests and warm beaches. In fact, the country has a surprising amount of glaciers in the city of Calafate (although Urdaneta sadly noted that the number is unnaturally decreasing due to climate change.) The world-famous “Glacio Bar” also resides in the city, where Urdaneta once had soda pop as a child. She talked about the dog-sledding and mountains of Mendoza, more winter attractions that one wouldn’t presume to be in the warm continent of South America. Urdaneta also talked about the culture and food of the region, adding that the event wasn’t simply a history class.
According to her, “My approach for the Argentinian night was not to give a lecture on the history or geography of Argentina. I wanted to spread the knowledge of the wonders found in this country, because that is the first step toward future interest. If anything, I know some will eventually want to visit, and others will even study abroad there, and that is all I was aiming to achieve yesterday night.” For those who appreciated the brief dive into the world of a different culture, the next event in the Country Series is approaching within the coming months, rhyming with… “Blonduras.”