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Two Years in Time, a Future in Foreign Languages and Web Design: The Internet Initiative Scholarship

After college, I plan to continue helping people learn languages with a company called Verbling and design or program websites as a freelancer.

My fascination with foreign languages fabricated itself after my second year learning Spanish in high school. The idea of creating friendships with people from around the world through a foreign language simply amazed me. Even as I approach my seventh year studying Spanish, meeting a new person fills me with a profusion of positive energy. Consequently, my passion for foreign languages opened the doors to friendships across the globe and a job working with the friendliest international community online.

I began working as an online tutor for Verbling in February 2012 after sending a cold email to the company and Skyping with Jake, one of the co-founders. A few months after I started, they asked me to hire six people and lead the team of 7. I felt extremely grateful for the opportunity to tutor people online because the company was paying me to do something I was passionate about- practice and help people learn languages.

9 months later, Verbing started offering live online language classes and I moved up to  teach English. Since then, I have taught over 160 classes ranging in topics from how to cook pancakes to “show’n’tell.” Currently, I teach one to two classes per week, mostly focused on improving pronunciation.

This summer, I also participated in an unpaid month-long internship at Verbing headquarters in downtown San Francisco. I learned about social media management, programming, writing editorials, and customer support. However, above all, my internship taught me how the gears turn behind an internet-based startup company. After I graduate, I intend to remain a member of the Verbling team and support them in creating the best environment for learning a language online.

While my passion for languages is well-founded, my desire to design graphics and program websites as a career only recently blossomed after extensive online research and speaking to a few experts.  Up until these past four months, the only experience I had creating graphics and building websites was from my two years of graphic design in high school and teaching myself using online resources such as Codecademy and Hack Design. Working in the field of technology or art piqued my interest but my lack of knowledge made me feel uncertain about pursuing a career in either of the two. However, after multiple conversations with professionals in both design and computer programming, I now feel certain this is the career path I want to take.

Furthermore, I am seizing many opportunities to learn about design and coding such as taking classes in design-related subjects and interning as an front-end developer here in Argentina. While studying abroad in Buenos Aires this semester, I embraced the fortuity to take a photography and typography course at the University of Belgrano. About the same time as the start of the semester, I found an internship with a startup company called Proces Street that is building a web application to optimize efficiency by managing and organizing recurring tasks. I work on developing the front-end side of the website, or everything before the web application. Since I do not yet have a lot experience in the field, the internet is my greatest resource. With it, I have taught myself several skills such as customizing the layout of WordPress theme to adding a price comparison table to a web page. Thus, I will continue to grow and learn as a result of taking these courses and working as an intern, and use this knowledge and experience for my future career.

Hence once I graduate from the university, I aim to juggle two professions. In one hand, I will use my enthusiasm for foreign languages to help Verbling create the best online catalyst for language fluency. In the other hand, I will design and program websites as a freelancer. While the purpose of each differs, the internet will nonetheless serve me as the most useful tool in acquiring knowledge and in turn, achieving success in both occupations.

Argentine cuisine experience after one month

Since I’ve been here for about a month now, I’ve indulged a little in the Argentine cuisine and I’d like to share a few dishes with you. I won’t go into much detail only because words  are no match for the tastefulness of this kind of food.

Milanesa Napolitana

napolitana milanesa

One of my favorite entrées here by far, Milanesa Napolitana is a thinly-sliced breaded piece of meat(chicken or beef) with a slice of mozarella cheese and jam on top. There are other variations that have different toppings as well.

Asadoasado

The word stands for barbarque but the difference is the way the meat is cooked. Instead of using a gas or charcoal grill, they use wood and cook the meat for about two hours. This picture is off the asado that we bought at a restaurant to eat at home.

Empanadas

empandas argentinas

Empanadas exist all over Latin America but they’re basically made with a dough and a variety of ingredients such as beef, peppers and onions or cheese and jam and baked to serve as a delicious meal.

Pizza

pizza de argentina

The pizza here is extremely different than in the United States. They put eggs on their pizza(it’s actually not too bad) and they cook it in a way that makes it taste 10x more delicious than in any pizza place I’ve eaten at in Arizona.  At the top, you can they also put meat on the pizza-I think it was bacon.

Alfajores

alfajores

By far, one of my favorite foods here in Argentina-ALFAJORES! They’re a delicious chocolaty candy that you can buy almost anywhere and they have tons of different flavors. The thin outer chocolate shell covers the layers of rich, crunchy, sweet deliciousness.

Jamón con huevo duro?

jamon

I don’t think I wrote the correct name in Spanish because I don’t know it but I bought this sandwich meat in a supermarket and thought it was a strange combination. It’s the only thing I haven’t liked thus far!

I only covered a few foods within the Argentine gastronomy but I will write another post about any other treasures I find before I leave the country in December. I most certainly recommend you try finding an Argentine restaurant in your area and tasting at least one of these amazing eats. Feel free to leave any thoughts below! 🙂

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First week in Buenos Aires: a few observations

a street in Buenos Aires

While it feels like 2 months have already passed, I’ve officially been in Buenos Aires, Argentina for only one whole week. So far, I have noticed a few things that are different here in Buenos Aires than in my hometown city Phoenix, Arizona.

Everyone is in a hurry-always.

Now I know that it’s the same way in all big cities around the world but one different thing is that everyone always seems to be walking the speed of light and lots of people cross the streets in front of cars because they don’t care to wait and they know the cars will stop. It’s normal to j-walk or cross the street if no cars are coming and the crosswalk sign is red-even on really wide streets.

You can’t trust anyone in the street

You never know who is going to pickpocket you or rob you on the streets, the bus, or the subway. You can’t trust anyone. I have to keep my backpack in front of me on the subway and my wallet hidden in the public. It’s sad to say this but you can’t assume that people will automatically help you if you’re being robbed in plain sight. It is that way though because you never know who actually needs assistance and who is an actor.

No one walks and eats

I didn’t even realize this today until my girlfriend Stacey told me but you will never see anyone walking and eating. I guess I wouldn’t know if people do that in Downtown Phoenix but at least I saw a few people doing it in San Francisco. I think the reason is because Argentinians eat three meals a day in appropriate proportions and set aside enough time to finish all of there meals before they start moving.

It’s really hard to get change(coins)

Of course the colectivo or city bus, only takes coins but for some reason, it’s extremely difficult to get coins. I believe it’s because almost all prices already include taxes so no one really needs change.

Car horns are used for communication

Maybe this is just Phoenix, Arizona or where I live but to me, it seems like the social norm for using your car horn is to beep at people if they do something wrong. Here in Argentina, the majority of the time, people honk their horns to say, “Hey, I’m letting you know that I’m right here.” They also use it if people do something wrong but for the majority, it’s a form of communication with other drivers or pedestrians.

 

Well, I think I’ve summed up most of the observations that I’ve noticed thus far. I will continue to be on the lookout for societal differences and share my observations with you here. Hope you enjoyed this post! Feel free to share any thoughts below! Chau! 🙂

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The start of a six-month long adventure in Argentina

a new global student book about international education

I first considered studying in Argentina after reading The New Global Student by Maya Frost and learning a little about her daughters’ experiences.

This was during junior year of high school and I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do for college or anything. After reading this book, I tried convincing my mom that I should graduate from high school early, study at community college for one semester and then move to Argentina to study at the University of Buenos Aires because it’s free for everyone, including foreigners.

Fortunately, my mom didn’t let me and I ended up graduating with everyone else and not going to Argentina right now. However, now that I’m in college, I will have the privilege of studying abroad in another country  for one semester starting in less than a week.

This time I chose Argentina for a two other reasons:

  • It’s one of the cheaper programs in South America for me because it’s direct enrollment
  • The accent various to an extreme extent compared to other countries and I wanted to challenge myself

I leave for Argentina on July 16th and will arrive on the 17th in Ezeiza International Airport. The semester begins on July 29th and ends around November 8th. I also plan to travel to Uruguay, Chile, and Brazil before I return on the 10th of December 10th.

I’m really excited for this trip because I’ve wanted to study abroad since my second year of Spanish in high school and I am finally making it happen! I plan to meet as many people , dive into the culture and make a difference by helping others.

I’d like to end this post with a quote that I hope to validate during my trip- “True happiness is knowing that the only thing you need is to give back to someone else.”

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Forgetting to explore the beautiful corral already around you

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Tomorrow will be two weeks since I blindfolded my girlfriend and brought her to the Sea Life Aquarium at Arizona Mills mall. A week before that I didn’t even know we had an aquarium here in Arizona. I found out about it on Tripadvisor while researching fun activities to do in Arizona.

I feel like this is normal. It’s normal for us locals to not know the touristic places of our home town or home city because we’re so set on the idea of “visiting the Eiffel Tower,” “eating pizza in Italy,” “snorkeling in Hawaii,” or “walking the streets of New York.” We never put on our tourist shoes or to explore our native places. We’re too obsessed with the idea of getting away. Going somewhere else. Somewhere that is as far away as possible.

I used to be the same way. I thought “Gosh, I REALLY want to visit Spain and Italy and backpack through Europe” and I did. But I have yet to visit the East Coast. Doesn’t that seem odd to you? I have traveled to a place over 5,000 miles away yet I’ve never traveled to one of the most popular places in my home country: New York City.

I never thought twice about this until I was talking to my friend Lenon one day while eating lunch and he asked me, “What is there to do in your home city? What should I do when I go visit there?” 

As a member of the Phoenix community for over 19 years, I couldn’t think of anything to tell him besides, “You should climb Camelback Mountain or hike the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.” I honestly couldn’t think of anything else that might be interesting to a college student from another country. That’s when the epiphany hit me and I thought to myself, “Wow. I don’t even know what I would visit in Phoenix if I were a tourist. That’s because I don’t even know Phoenix, or even Arizona, myself and I’ve lived here my whole life!” After that light bulb lit up in my head, I made it a goal to explore my home town more during the summer and doing the school year. And that’s exactly what I’ve started to do. The first place was the aquarium and the next places on my list include Havasupai Falls, Cathedral Rock, and many others.

I chose to share this story with you to make you stop and think: How well do I know the ins and outs of my hometown? What would I recommend to tourists looking for things to do?

Feel free to share your thoughts below and any places you recommend visiting in your hometown! 🙂

 

Fim dum capítulo e o começo de novo

Oi pessoal!

Não escrevi ontem porque me mudei desde meu cuarto na universidade. Hoje, vai ser o último blog que vou escrever em português. É muito triste, mas a razão por isso é que eu vou estdar na Argentina no próximo semestre e meu objetivo é falar espanhol fluentemente. Assim que, tenho que deixar praticar português :emporariamente para focar nesse objetivo.

Contudo, cuando regressa da Argentina em deciembre, vou volver a praticar o português! 😀

Então agora, posso falar sobre do que eu queria falar sobre e isso é o fim do capítulo no meu primer ano na universidad! 😀 Quasi não o posso crer mas estou muito animado para este verão porque vai ser novo capítulo na vida do Joe! 

Estarei no San Francisco fazendo meu estágio com Verbling para um mês e em julho, vou para Argentina! Durante esses tempos, vou escrever em inglês o espanhol. Acho que vou escrever a maior parte em espanhol mas vamos ver! Isso é tudo para hoje. Tomara que vocês tenham um dia ótimo! Ate a quarta-feira! 

O primeiro comentário do blog

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Olá gente!

Meu nome é Joe Previte e estou estudando português na universidade.

Quero usar esse blog para praticar meu português e escrever de minha vida. Oxalá que você goste de ler sobre a vida dos estudantes na universidade como eu. Vou tentar escrever uma nova comentária cada quarta-feira.

Algumas coisas sobre mim: estou estudando na universidade para conseguir uma carreira dos estudos generais(Bachelor of General Studies em inglês). Sei falar o espanhol e inglês e gosto dos idiomas. Ensino o inglês em um site ótimo que se chama Verbling. Acessem o site caso queiram aprender um outro idioma. Vou fazer um estágio em San Francisco Bay AreaSan Francisco com Verbling de maio a julho porque em julho vou para a Argentina para meus estudos em na universidade de Belgrano.

Vou escrever mais numa próxima vez mas vai ser um prazer fazer esse blog.

Qué tenha uma noite boa!