Adventures in Argentina
I just got back Sunday from spending two weeks in beautiful Argentina for my MFA graduation residency. I enjoyed meeting all of my classmates for the first time in person, though it sucks that it occurred just as I was leaving the program!
We attended several seminars, both craft and cultural, so there was a nice mix to our education. I also attended a tango show and took lessons. Unfortunately, this occurred after my unfortunate incident of falling off a horse. But more on that later!
The Latin America side of Queens University of Charlotte's MFA program came about thanks, in large part, to the program coordinator, Gisele's, vision. Each year, the program rotates between Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; and Rio, Brazil. Well, at least, it did until Covid. This was the first year we've been able to go since the pandemic started. A small group went to Italy last fall, but I was unable to attend due to work and family constraints.
I've done study abroad before in undergrad when I took a class called Dinner and Theatre in London. It was a 10 day trip and I enjoyed it immensely, so I was very much looking forward to Buenos Aires. Of course, the biggest difference between these trips, beyond the schools and timeframes, was the language barrier. I, unfortunately, took French in high school and my Spanish is limited to about 20 words. I can somewhat read it, using context clues, but speaking is a whole other story. Still, I made do thanks to classmates who do speak it and Buenos Aires residents who took pity on me!
While many of my fellow classmates preferred to explore the city on their own, I liked the various group activities the program had planned. We toured various parts of the city, the Recoleta cemetery, visited an estancia (ranch), and enjoyed several local restaurants for the welcome and farewell dinners as well as a wine tasting.
The estancia was the location of my ill-fated horseback riding accident, where my horse decided to take a detour into a tree. I got a lot of engagement on Twitter with others who had similar experiences, so I definitely don't feel alone. For the many who asked, I did not get right back on the horse due to the fact that I was bleeding. It turned out to be a superficial cut, but better safe than sorry! I did get a free ear piercing though, thanks to a random thorn. I have to give a shout out to one of the faculty, Maxine, for jumping off her horse and coming to my rescue! Aside from the cut and several bruises, I am okay.
Some of my other favorite events involved participation in the program itself. We had three different reading nights: one for faculty, one for my fellow graduates and I, and one for students in the program. It was wonderful to listen to everyone reading their work. There's so much talent in this program!
One of my classmates invited everyone to wander the city and do a writing marathon, something she does often for the National Writing Project. It was a small group of us, but it was fun to find new places in the city and see how they inspired our work. After we wrote for 20 minutes, we could share our work if we wanted to. That was probably one of my favorite afternoons in Argentina. I'd love to do it again in other cities in the future!
Part of my graduation requirements included presenting a capstone project, which I did on Twitter pitch events. I coupled it with creating an elevator pitch for a book to make it more relevant for people who don't use social media. There was a lot of interest, so hopefully soon I will see some of my classmates participating!
All in all, it was a great trip, but I am very happy to be back home with my family. Next summer, the program will be going to Rio. If you're interested in pursuing an MFA and want more information on this particular program, please feel free to reach out to me or check out the program's website.
In other news, I received a draft cover for A Home for Christmas, and hope to share it soon! Stay tuned!
Book reviews, random thoughts, and writing samples from an aspiring author.