Alyssa Gregg studied the Spanish language for four weeks in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the classroom she learned the basics of the language, and outside the class she tackled her biggest challenge; developing the confidence to speak with others. Her host mother, Ivonne, stepped in as teacher and worked with Alyssa to develop the confidence that she lacked. Alyssa’s education was furthered with the help of ISA staff: Analia stepped in as tutor, Sabastian provided much knowledge on museums and other historical sights, and Guillermo aided in planning excursions to experience the country. Alyssa further developed her Spanish by conversing with the local taxi drivers, who were more than willing to speak with her on a variety of topics. Alyssa inquired of the locals their opinions of the politics of the nation, as the country heads into another presidential election, as well as the economics, as the country faced an economic collapse in 2001. The highlight of Alyssa’s time in Argentina was an independent excursion to Iguazú Falls. The excursion provided an opportunity to practice speaking the language, an insight into the wonders of local economy being driven by eco-tourism, and a look at one of the stunning natural wonders of the world - visiting as many as possible has before been a dream, and now a work in progress.
CEE Title: Cry Like a Man, Throw Like a Woman
Our CEE took place on the evening of November 12, and was titled “Cry Like a Man, Throw Like a Woman.” The evening centered on the topic of gender stereotypes in the media, as well as in a social context. Young women as well as young men were in attendance that evening. The event began with introductions of the participating members of the 2015 VIH Cohort, in which we described who we are and what we each took away from our study abroad experiences. Next, we introduced the Pitt Improvers, our campus improv club. The Improvers performed an impromptu skit on the stereotypes that men and women face. They took suggestions from the audience of typical stereotypes for men and women, and then acted them out, in reversed gender roles. Following the improv group, we moved into our main focus of the evening. Attendees were arranged at round tables with staff and faculty facilitators, and were given ten minutes for discussion following each of five videos with the topic of gender stereotypes. Each participating member of the 2015 Cohort also acted as facilitators. Discussions were thoughtful; attendees had time to reflect not only on biases in the media, but also experiences throughout their lives that contributed to their own biases.