Welcome

Welcome to the Puentes Alumni Portal!  This is your opportunity to make the most of your post-internship Puentes experience in Argentina.  The Puentes team and this network are here to support your professional development by giving you tips on how to leverage the contacts you made and take advantage of the skills that you acquired during the program.  It also provides an chance to serve as an ambassador to Puentes future interns.

Returning Home

Reverse Culture Shock

After repatriating you may notice that you feel a little bit different about living in your home country.  Your eyes have been opened to a new culture and a new way of thinking that cannot be easily erased from your psyche.  Upon returning home, after the initial euphoria of seeing your loved ones and eating your favorite foods begins to wear off, you might feel a slight sense of dissonance or discomfort. Conversely, you aren’t the same person that you were when you left home, and this can leave some of your friends and family confused about how to relate to the new you.  This is totally normal and is known as Reverse Culture Shock. 

Tips to manage reverse culture shock

  • Understand and accept that you’re a different person after your experience abroad

    You’ve grown during your time away, and that’s a good thing.

  • Connect with fellow Puentes alumni

    Stay in touch with the friends you made during your summer internship together, and seek out others who have had the same experience

  • Keep your memories alive

    Share photos and continue to blog about the trip. Keep up with what’s going on in Argentina

  • Give back and encourage others to try the Puentes adventure

    Be an ambassador for Puentes on your campus, share your experience with others

  • Explore your home country

    Now that you’ve awoken your inner wanderlust, hit the road for some homegrown adventures.

For more on this topic, here is a great article explaining Reverse Culture Shock and how to cope with it.

How to Maintain Language Skills

One of the most important facets of your Puentes experience was, of course, the linguistic aspect.  After two months of using Spanish on a regular basis, you left Argentina with a whole new appreciation for the depth and complexity of the Spanish language.  It's important that you keep your skills sharp after returning home. Here are some tips to help keep your Spanish sharp:

  • Practice with native speakers whenever possible

    This is always the best option. A native speaker can provide immediate feedback, clearing up any doubts about pronunciation and colloquial usage.

  • Read or watch TV and movies in Spanish

    There is no substitute for frequent contact with the language. Reading is crucial for understanding form and grammar, and listening practice is essential for developing your ear. Here are some ideas to get you started:

    Books:

    A Brief History of Argentina, Jonathan Brown

    Dirty Secrets, Dirty War, David Cox

    Buenos Aires y El Pais, Felix Luna

    Rayuela, Julio Cortázar

    El Aleph, Jorge Luis Borges

    Movies:

    The Official History of Argentina

    El Secreto de Sus Ojos

    Nueve Reinas

    Esperando La Carroza

    La Noche de Los Lápices

    Articles:

    New York Times

    Washington Post

    BBC

  • Write letters to your host families and/or friends and co-workers from Argentina

    This is a great way to stay informed on what’s happening in Argentina and to nurture those relationships that started during your summer internship program.

  • Listen to music and podcasts in Spanish

    These are both convenient options to help hone your listening skills while you commute or perform other tasks.

  • Volunteer giving English as a Second Language (ESL) courses

    This is a great way to give back to the community while getting a little bit of Spanish practice at the same time.

  • Continue to study with a native professor

    We’re happy to put you in contact with an excellent Argentine Spanish teacher with whom you can have classes via Skype. 

Remembering Your Experience

Some great ways to keep your memories fresh are to share your experience with others upon returning home, and to keep in touch with those with whom you shared the adventures. A couple of good ways to do this are:

  • Journaling

    Keeping a journal upon your return is a good way to reflect on the changes going on as you reimmerse yourself into your society. With the memories of your trip and the culture you’ve left behind fresh in your mind, you will be able to see you ideas changing as the weeks go by during your reimmersion. It’s neat to look back and see how you thought when you first set foot back on home soil.

  • Organizing your photos

    Arranging your photos in an album, virtual or physical, is a great way to take a trip down memory lane. Sometimes a picture can stir up emotions that you might’ve forgotten about.

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