Interning in Buenos Aires: A Lesson in Communication

Internship Argentina: A Lesson in Communication, Travel Information

foreign-correspondent badge finalSince beginning my internship at a local, small-scale media company in Buenos Aires, I’ve learned a lot about communication, or maybe more specifically, a lack thereof.

To say my Spanish skills are rocky at best would be an understatement and my bosses Dani and Paula are in the same boat with their English capabilities. For the most part we speak in hand gestures, broken Spanish and high fives (a habit Dani has developed since my arrival).

However, our limited ability to talk to one another has taught me a lot of things, very few of which have to do with language.

Internship Argentina: A Lesson in Communication, Travel Information
Torie in Buenos Aires

Primarily, I’ve learned to be more vocal. I share a habit with many young professionals in that I don’t usually like admitting when I’m confused or don’t understand an assignment completely. I feel guilty about constantly bothering bosses or editors with questions, and I tend to implement the “figure it out as you go” strategy.

It’s a reality not only in Buenos Aires, but everywhere, that I, shockingly, do not know everything, and coming to terms with this has been a professional godsend.

However, with Dani and Paula, I’ve had to get used to asking a million questions or asking them to repeat themselves when I don’t understand what they’ve just told me.

It’s a reality not only in Buenos Aires, but everywhere, that I, shockingly, do not know everything, and coming to terms with this has been a professional godsend.

Secondly, I’ve learned not to over-complicate matters. When trying to find the right thing to say in Spanish, I often find myself flustered with my inability to find the words that will translate properly. Then I realize I’m working with the vocabulary of an eight-year-old and I might need to dumb it down a bit.

Dani spent a good majority of my first few days saying “Tranquilo! Tranquilo!” (a nice way of saying calm the heck down) when I would look completely lost and overwhelmed. When I find myself struggling in the workplace I’ve learned to remind myself to take a deep breath, take my time and keep it simple. Whether at work or on the road, there is no need to make life more difficult than it needs to be.

They even bought me a case of Coca-Cola to have at the office “because all Americans love Coke”

Which leads me to my final lesson: patience. Although Dani and Paula do everything in their power to make me feel comfortable and not like a complete nincompoop (they even bought me a case of Coca-Cola to have at the office “because all Americans love Coke”) there are still times when I have no idea what is going on around me.

However, this internship has allowed me to develop patience within myself. In a world where we have access to information and goods and people within a matter of minutes, if not seconds, it can be frustrating to allow things to develop slowly.

Internship Argentina: A Lesson in Communication, Travel Information

With each passing day I feel myself gaining more knowledge of the language and customs of Argentina, I know that I’m becoming more self-sufficient in this monster of a city and I pride myself in what I have accomplished since I’ve been here. Would I prefer that I could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in Spanish and know everything about Buenos Aires, of course, but then that wouldn’t be much fun.

The second best thing is having the patience and the fortitude to let it happen gradually and then looking back and seeing how far I’ve come.

Internship Argentina: A Lesson in Communication 

About Torie Ross

Torie RossTorie Ross is a senior journalism student from the University of Missouri. Originally from San Diego, CA, Torie’s emphasis in school centers on multimedia and international journalism. A lover of all things adventurous, Torie recently moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina to study and intern at two local media companies. Follow her on Twitter @torkatross.

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