Jyra Jones ‘19
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentine Universities Program: Human Rights: Diversity, Gender, and Minority Studies (IFSA-Butler)
Studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been more complex and intriguing than I initially anticipated. My plan was to immerse myself into a more diverse culture and a place where I could interact with the people of color in Latin America. So when I came across a Human Rights program in Argentina with a concentration in Diversity, Gender, and Minority Studies, I was ecstatic. I fell in love with the program immediately.
Fast forward to now, four weeks into my program, and it has been an eye-opening experience. First, Argentina is considered the “Europe” of Latin America. I didn’t know this beforehand, but it has become evident why. The majority of people here are white. I noticed this during my first week as I was traveling to and from the center of the city. I could count the number of darker skinned people I saw every day. I think for most people here the concept of black people is interesting, and I am met with curious eyes that always want to know where I’m from.
Though this is a very homogenous city, the people here seem to be very nice and don’t view me as a threat, like some do African-Americans in the U.S. For me, this has been extremely refreshing, but also a bit weird to be one of the few black people here. In addition to the demographics of the population here, their cars, some of their foods, their habits and way of life are similar to those of Europeans. It is interesting to be a minority in a city that is extremely proud of their European heritage and has a history of racial discrimination and genocide against ethnic minorities.
In addition, it has been intriguing to be in Buenos Aires while important topics, such as legalizing abortion, have been debated by the local government. It’s been inspiring to see people marching for their rights and voicing their opinions, but also disheartening that women continue to have to fight for the rights of their own bodies. In my human rights class, which focuses on sexual diversity, ethnic minorities, and gender studies, I hope that I will learn more about Argentine history, as well as gain a deeper understanding of the underlying race and gender equality issues in Argentina.
My class will be taught on multiple occasions by Dora Barrancos, a well-known scholar and activist who won an award for her contribution to the feminist and gender equality movement in Latin America. I’m honored to be able to learn from Dora, who is an inspiration to many women and who has served as a leader in the feminist movement in Latin America for decades. Being in Buenos Aires has definitely made me more aware of my privilege, and with this experience, I hope to share the knowledge that I’ve learned to help make a difference in my own community once I return to the states.
"Being in Buenos Aires has definitely made me more aware of my privilege, and with this experience, I hope to share the knowledge that I’ve learned to help make a difference in my own community once I return to the states."