TIES Argentina

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is developing an innovative program in immersive experiential learning known as Thematic Interdisciplinary Experiential Semester (TIES). The program seeks to provide participants with a truly transformative experience in a rigorous, challenging, interdisciplinary, project-based program designed to examine a central theme from a variety of scientific, cultural, economic and political perspectives. TIES Argentina is a pilot program launched in Spring 2011 involving a collaborative interdisciplinary effort by faculty in biology, economics, geology and Latin American studies focusing on the natural and cultural setting of Mendoza, Argentina. This pilot program involves a vibrant living-learning community of 17 students selected from across disciplines and across age groups. Courses are designed in 3.5 week concentrated blocks for project-based inquiry, with dedicated overlap between the blocks to provide interdisciplinary linkages.
This blog will chronicle the adventures, learning experiences and trials and tribulations of the participants in TIES Argentina. We will try to update on a weekly basis, and welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Buenos Aires Economics Trip

The economics portion of the TIES program began last week. Much of the week was spent studying and analyzing the different perspectives that are used when gauging and transforming economic development.  There will be a number of guest speakers throughout the economics course.  Valentine Maqueda, a political science student at the University of Cuyo, came and spoke on the structure and history of the government of Argentina.

 Thursday evening, we embarked on a 15 hour bus trip to the great port of Buenos Aires.  Upon arrival, were granted a tour of the Los Pibes community center in La Boca, one of the neighborhoods hit hardest by the economic crash of 2001. The center is a private organization that was founded to assist the poorest members of the community with educational opportunities, vocational training and food assistance.   Conditions in the neighborhood have been steadily improving, but the center still feels about 200 families a day through direct meals and home support. 

Valentin translating during a tour of the textile facility at Los Pibes
Following lunch at Los Pibes, we then took a tour of Buenos Aires, including both the old and new areas.  We started in La Boca, the first port of Buenos Aires, which was built by Italian immigrants that worked in the warehouses and meatpacking plants.  The neighborhood was transformed by the artist Benito Quinquela Marti, who convinced his neighbors to liven up the neighborhood with festive colors, making it one of the most famous neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. 

The center of the city hosts an impressive array of colonial architecture, including the Casa Rosado, the historic presidential residence, where many famous political speeches have been given, including Eva Peron’s famous Cabildo Abierto  dialogue with the people in 1951. The adjacent Plaza de Mayo is an icon of political activism in the nation of Argentina.  This is the home of the “Mothers of Plaza Mayo” which march around the plaza every Tuesday, seeking to know what happened to the children that disappeared in the Dirty War.

Casa Rosado, with the central balcony made famous by the Perons

Plaza de Mayo, with the famous protests signs seeking information on the "Disappeared Ones"

 The last part of the tour was to Palermo and Recolleta, where we say the Floralis Generica, a sculpture donated by architect Eduardo Catalano.  The pedals of the flower open in the morning and close in the evening.  Our final stop of the day was La Recoleta Cemetery, which is a cemetery for the wealthy and the revolutionary heroes.  Eva Peron, the first lady of Juan Peron and Julio Roca are among the dignitaries in the cemetery.

TIES crew touring the famous Recoleta cemetary

Floralis Generica

The following day was ushered in with a tour of the Teatro Colón.  Built in the late 19th century and into the 20th century, this theater is decorated in French and German styles. The theater recently went through a restoration process that took five years and 3,000 workers to perform.  The only flaw in the theater is that the acoustics are perfect because if someone hits a wrong note, everyone know it.  In the afternoon, we were able to choose any of the several museums to attend for the afternoon.  The most common choices of attendance were the MALBA, National Fine Arts Museum, and the Evita Peron museum.

Courtney dazzling the red carpet of Teatro Colon
The evening ended with a tango show, including lessons and a dinner show.  Tango has its roots in Argentina, and has a circular history whereby the tango rose through the social classes in Europe after migrating from the immigrant slums of Buenos Aires, where it was based on the hard times of trying to find work and make ends meet as an immigrant in the port.  The tango became an important symbol in Argentina after gaining immense popularity in Europe.

Alisha and Tom demonstrating the focus needed for the Tango












1 comment:

  1. The exchange rate in Buenos Aires is so convenient that once you get there, you don´t want to go back home. Favorable economic conditions are everywhere for somebody who wants to invest and comes from a different country. One profitable option is buy real state and then rent apartments in buenos aires . You will have an income that will be really advantageous. Last year I rented one and tried to explore a little bit more about the real estate market in Argentina and I relized that people are absolutely right, it is a good investment possibility.
    I am thinking of doing it myself!