This time last year I was finishing my first month of living and studying in Costa Rica; a decision that would prove to be one of the greatest of my life… and here I am a year later in Uruguay, doing it all over again!
The past month has seen me move into a beautiful apartment only 200 metres from university, which I am sharing with my wonderful Uruguayan roomie Agustín. I make almost all of my important life choices purely on the basis of intuition… and as soon as I met my roomie and set foot in my new home, I knew that it was the perfect fit.
I have also quickly fallen in love with the city of Montevideo and with the Uruguayans who live here. With its colonial architecture, pristine coastline (a warm reminder of my home in Manly beach), and its open and friendly culture, Montevideo is the perfect compilation of Latin charm that makes it so welcoming and so liveable.
I am studying this semester at the private and prestigious Universidad de Montevideo, where I am taking all of my classes in Spanish. Its amazing the difference between this year and last year, as both my knowledge and confidence in Spanish has grown so that I am able to participate in class and critically engage in my communications, business and philosophy courses in a second language. The university is tiny in comparison to both UTS and UCR, so much so that I frequently bump into friends and classmates in the hallways between classes. The buddy program has also been an amazing way to connect with the rest of the exchange group, as well as with other Uruguayan students who have been so supportive, and have welcomed us in like family.
The hot, herbal drink mate (pronounced mah-teh), is as Uruguayan as Vegemite is Aussie. Walking down the streets of Montevideo, every day I pass Uruguayans sipping mate, sharing the one drink between friends and sipping from the same straw, all the while gripping a 1L thermos of boiling water so they are caffeinated for the whole morning. Though I cannot yet say that I enjoy it, I am determined to learn to love it. Mate is designed to be shared and before the semester is out, I will be passing around my own mate like a true Uruguaya.
Bachelor of Communication and Bachelor of International Studies
Universidad de Montevideo
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au