Abroad to
Street parade in La Habana, Cuba Street parade in La Habana, Cuba

The average Argentinian can remember a time where human rights and a comfortable lifestyle were not a reality

The decision to travel is inspired by an urge to experience new cultures and experiences. By Alexandra Hurley.

At 19, fresh out of school, I was keen to experience something new. I traveled to Ecuador, and now at 23 my love of Hispanic culture continues to grow. I am about to embark on an internship in a an environmental/human rights law firm in Buenos Aires. Whilst away I hope to share with you my experiences, and to contrast the culture and lifestyle between Australia and Argentina.

But first, I will reflect on the life experiences that have brought me to this point. Why Ecuador at the start? Keen to learn more than just school Spanish, I narrowed down the countries of the world to those that spoke Spanish. I finally settled on Ecuador, as I was persuaded, due to the exotic flag,  it was palm treed paradise, full of toucans.  It is a naturally beautiful country, but the pollution and poverty in the country sit heavy among the landscape. Quito, located in a deep valley, is permanently caught in a cloud of smog. If you break into a sweat in the more commercial districts of Quito, your pores sting with the acidity hanging in the air. 'Black Quito' is an accurate visual recreation by national icon, painter Oswaldo Guyasamin. The relatively untouched tribes in the Amazon seemed to be the only ones left unaffected by the fast pace of modern living.

In a stark contrast, I was also lucky enough to visit Cuba in 2009. Cubans, seem to have simplified life to its purest pleasures. They are untouched by the modern need for possessions and are time rich. They have lived on a ration card system for food, and a trade embargo by the USA, since the 1960's. This only appears to have made them foster a tighter sense of community, which is ever present throughout the small island.

Finally in this trip, I visited Chile. The Museum of Memory and Human Rights, left a lasting impression on me, and opened my eyes to the recent history of both Chile and Argentina, and thier 'dirty wars'. Upon returning home I also watched the movie “Imaging Argentina” which is a wonderful film about the 'Dirty wars' from 1970-1983, which I highly recomend.

Last year I lived and worked in Spain, and developed an enduring love for eating late, sangria, Flamenco and olives. 

Now Argentina.

Argentina interested me as it is a country with a complex history. Comparable in landscape to Australia, and having roughly the same GDP at the turn of the 19th century, it seems to have had terrible luck with governments. The average Argentinian can remember a time where human rights and a comfortable lifestyle were not a reality. Still to this day mothers of 'los desaparecidos' or those who disappeared during the 'dirty war' march every Thursday at 3pm in the Plaza de Mayo.  It is a reminder to the public and the government that freedom and rights are not to be taken for granted or abused. In Australia, human rights are not tangible to the general public, as they have never truly been tested or taken away. It interests me to explore the framework of a country that has seen what it is like to live in fear under a corrupt government, and to bounce back.

I will share with you updates in my adventure in Argentina and explore the differences between Argentina and Australia. Working in a law firm I hope to be able to shed some light on political differences and concepts of justice in the two countries.

I hope you enjoy this adventure too!

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