Together with Rotary International, Rotary District 6270 provides a one-year Ambassadorial Scholarship of up to $25,000 to scholars pursuing graduate study abroad. Recipients serve as ambassadors of international understanding and goodwill as part of their learning opportunity. This year, Rotary sent RCM’s candidate Nicole Thompson to Salta, Argentina to study language acquisition at the Universidad Nacional de Salta (UNSa). Nicole arrived in Salta in January and sent this update.
My graduate program here at UNSa is structured a little differently than most master’s degree programs in the United States. I read most of the week, then have class on Friday afternoons and all day on Saturday. Each class only lasts for 3 weekends, and a new class begins the next month. By doing this, I will be able to start on my thesis in July and get my master’s degree extremely quickly. I am studying language acquisition and linguistics and will be writing a thesis about second language acquisition.
In my program, all of the students in my classes are language teachers. Some teach Spanish (think of it like teaching English in the United States – literature, writing, etc). Others teach Latin, English, Portuguese, French, and German.
I have completely fallen in love with every aspect of Salta, a city about the same size as Milwaukee. When I first arrived, I was met with breezy summer weather, gorgeous green hills, and kind people who shockingly don't roll their rrs when speaking Spanish (all my time practicing and mastering that tricky rr sadly went to waste).
I have been attending Rotary meetings here in Salta, part of District 4835. The meetings are extremely different from those in Milwaukee -- there are 12 Rotarians in the Salta club and they meet at an Italian restaurant at 10 o'clock at night. There's no Rotary insignia posted, no name-tags, no flag, no bell, and informal dress. These are some of the most caring people I have ever met! The Rotarians have accepted me, helped me, and made me feel completely at home during the meetings. They've invited me out for coffee, to their homes for dinner, and always drive me home from the meetings.
My Rotary Club here is working to improve access to clean water for the Wichi indigenous communities that live about 7 hours northeast of here. They are some of the poorest communities in the country and I am so eager to work with the club here to address this important issue.
I am so thankful to be here and be representing Milwaukee as the Ambassadorial Scholar from the district. To stay up-to-date on my experiences, please feel free to visit my blog: http://nicolecthompson.wordpress.com.