Cayla Lopez, Political Science and International Studies Degrees, spent Summer 2009 on an IE3 internship for Rosario City Hall
After only a month in Rosario, Argentina, I already am planning my next trip back. At this point, I am even seriously considering a more permanent return. That is just how much I have grown to love Rosario and all its offerings.
My internship here at the International Relations Departament of the local city hall has been very dynamic and at times unpredictable. Most of my time in the office has been spent doing translation work for various international contracts binding the city of Rosario with other cities all over the world.
Rosario has really pushed forward in the last decade to promote the internationalization of its goverment, enterprise, and people. Apart from playing an important role in MERCOSUR, similar to North America´s NAFTA, Rosario has been acknowledged on numerous occasions for its success in the area of international relations.
MERCOSUR was initially founded by Argentina, Paraguay, Urugauy, and Brasil, but now includes Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, and Peru as associate members. The overall purpose of this network is to promote free trade and assist in the movement of goods and currency across South American borders. Over the past few years MERCOSUR has contracted various binding agreements to further stabalize its horizontal structure that links local South American governements with one another. As a result of this horizontal foundation, each signatory country is able to combine its resources and promote its activities with overall economic power of MERCOSUR.
I was fortunate enough to be present for the 14th Annual Summit of the Mercociudades, which was hosted by our department here in Rosario. This once in a lifetime opportunity provided me with first hand experience collaborating and networking with diplomats from all over the world. My role as an intern was to chaperon a group of the representatives around the city to each of the events. Needless to say, this included many perks on my part! Not only was I able to sit-in on many of the conference discussions and observe the various viewpoints from each city that was representated, but I was also permitted to attend the social outtings and planned activities.
Throughout the entire week of the conference, I attended several cultural shows, fancy catered dinners, and cocktail parties. I was even invited to go on a private yacht tour along the breathtaking river that borders the city of Rosario. This was by far the most memorable part of Rosario so far.
Outside of work, I have been keeping myself quite busy spending time with the close knit group of friends I have made. Typically our time is spent having an “asado” or going to a nearby park to drink “mate” and play fútbol. The time I spend at home is greatly cherished and quite relaxing. My host mom and her friend who also lives with us are both exceptional cooks and every dinner for me is like dining at a 5-star restaurant. By the way for any of you who decide to study in Argentina after reading this, the desserts are to die for here! Luckily I have joined a local gym and go nearly everyday to counter-balance my increased intake of sweets! This coming weekend I will be participating in a 15 km run so wish me luck! The rest of my down time I fill with attending my digital photography class, reading books in Spanish, and just having insightful conversations with random strangers and taxi-cab drivers.
One would expect that life in a city the size of Rosario would be a lot more fast-pace than it really is, but I am honestly glad that it is not. I have grown to love the long dinner conversations, walking aimlessly down the boulevards while window shopping, and just enjoying life here in my new paradise.