Monday, September 14, 2009

Introduction and Background Info

Who: Danny Zipse ’10

Majors: International Relations, Spanish

Where: Since February I have been living in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina – whose greater area is home to about 13 million people. I have had the opportunity to see a wide variety of Argentine lifestyles within the federal capital. Between February and July, I lived in a neighborhood called Once (eleven), home of the city’s wholesale and imitation goods, as well as many prostitution and other illicit trades. It is regarded as a middle and lower middle-class neighborhood. Its notable residents include Orthodox Jews and (primarily Bolivian) immigrants. Opting for a more tranquil area, I now live in Núñez, a residential upper middle-class neighborhood near the border with La Provincia de Buenos Aires.

Studies: Through my program with CIEE, I have the opportunity to take classes in four different universities in the city. I have taken advantage of this opportunity and enrolled in three of them. They include FLACSO, a private Pan-Latin American university, in which I take classes with other Americans. In my other two universities I participate in direct enrollment classes with Argentines. They include UBA (La Universidad de Buenos Aires), the free and public university which has about 310,000 students (not a typo) and UCA, a private Catholic university with about 18,000 students. Oddly, UBA – whose buildings are in deplorable condition and covered in extreme leftist graffiti – is actually the more challenging and respected university in the country. La UCA is a more organized and cleaner system, yet less challenging.


  1. So I have been kind of keeping up with the news in Argentina and had a question about whether you have seen any student strikes there regarding a reduction in becas, the student scholarships, and in teachers' salary. Last fall I remember reading the students and teachers alike were striking and that it got to a point where the government didn't even know how to make up all the missed days of school. Students argued that they should have their scholarships given back and should also have better cafeteria food and buildings; they said buildings were unsafe and practically had crumbling walls -- no idea if the newspaper was exaggerating. I believe I read this in La Razon. Also, are farmers still burning tires and stuff in the streets to protest the export tax? And how are people responding to the Kirchners these days?

  2. The students issues have received very little press lately. Earlier in the year, around June and July, many professors helped stage student protests based on the deplorable conditions of the school buildings and the poor wages of Docentes (TAs). In all honesty, strikes/protests are a never ending saga, and as recently as last week there was a protest in from of the grade school several blocks from my house because it does not have bathrooms.

    The burning tires have stopped because the Vice President (Cabos) vetoed the bill, so the original one which you mention was never passed.

    As for the Kirchners, I haven't heard a positive thing about them in print or speech in at least three months. Check my comments back on other articles as well as the one I am about to post on corruption.

  3. thanks danny! it's so exciting that you're there! I appreciate it responding to my comments. it's really interesting getting to know all of this stuff!