We have finished our fourth week here in Buenos Aires. At work, after completing the spread sheets for Argentina, I single handily categorised all the suppliers for Chile and collated them into one spread sheet. After this had been done to the best of my knowledge, it was up to me to arrange a meeting with the Chilean Procurement director: Gonzalo Arcas. I enjoyed the responsibility of having to arrange meetings myself. I liked the independence of this, and how grown up I genuinely felt as it got me ready for the working world. I also learnt about the company’s intranet, something called ‘lync’ where communication throughout the whole Glaxo Smith Kline franchise could be done using this ‘MSN’ like structure.
Argentina is a very interesting place in general. After doing some free tours around the city we had learnt that 200 years ago, a lot of the people that live here were descendants of Spanish and Italians. Hence the Spanish language and the Italian mannerisms. We have also learnt that body language is a big part of communication in this country with people using their hands to talk. This is something that was very interesting to pick up.
The ability to speak English generally is very good in Argentina, and there are many social events where one can learn Spanish without it feeling like a chore. These places are bars where drinkers and non-drinkers can go, pizza is given and people very casually learn a language that they desire. This event is called Mundo Lingo. You turn up to the place, and it’s a non-profit organisation, hence is free with its sole purpose is to encourage the learning of languages. When you queue to go inside, there is somebody handing stickers as to what languages you know.
As I studied Russian with my A-levels, and am studying French with my degree I was given a Union Jack sticker, an Argentina sticker so that anyone who wanted to practice their language skills with me could do so given the stickers on me. I met some interesting people and people had different reasons for wanting to learn a language such as tour guide wannabes, to translators and people who were migrating to Montreal, Canada, so needed to practice their French and English.
It was from events such as these, we could make new friends outside of work and also be told where the best places to go were. It was also very refreshing meeting other Brits. Other exciting places we would go to outside of work was a religious theme park, where every half hour a ‘Jesus’ would be launched into the air; a boat ride in the very beautiful parks of Palermo. We also on Sunday caught a ferry to Uruguay. This was very exciting, as it meant that we had the opportunity to travel to a new country!
By Navneet Bal