York College Aviator Studies In Argentina

I was recently awarded the York College Study Abroad/Away Grant and the 2010-2011 Gloria Waldman Study Abroad Scholarship to participate in the City College – UNTREF (Universidad de Tres de Febrero) Buenos Aires Study Abroad Program from January 2nd to January 24th in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This is the second time in less than a year that I have studied abroad while being at York College. I studied abroad in Paris, France during the summer 2010. In Buenos Aires, I took two classes, one in Argentinean History and another one in human rights. These two classes enabled me to be more knowledgeable about world history and issues which will put me a step closer to my goal of becoming a diplomat in the transportation industry.

Besides taking the two classes, the program included visits to two different museums, monuments, and a ranch where students were doing horse riding, and interacting with Gauchos (Argentinean Cowboys). We also received tango lessons, and had the opportunity to watch a glamorous tango/theater perform at Tango Porteño Theater.

I also initiated a meeting with Oscar Gimenez who is in charge of flight and crew scheduling management for Aerolineas Argentinas (Argentinea Airlines). I not only learned about Aerolineas Argentinas; I also acquired a new perspective on the South American aviation market.

The trip also provided the opportunity to visit landmarks with painful historical significance; among them, Espacio de la Memoria, a repository of the history of the events during the turbulent era of the 1970s and 1980s, when terrorism was rampant in Argentina. The visit helped me to understand how Argentina was able to reestablish rule and law in order to promote the deepening of democracy, strengthening human rights and the prevalence of values supportive of life, liberty and human dignity.  During my visit, I had the chance to meet with one survivor of a concentration camp of the military dictatorship in Argentina during the 70’s and 80’s. He is now dedicated to fighting for justice leading to the prosecution of those who committed atrocities during the dictatorship.

He explained to me that indeed there is danger in what he is doing, but he believes there is danger even in crossing the street so one should not be afraid to stand up for a higher cause.  What I learned from my conversation with him is that if we have a goal in life, we need to put all our energy into it. Nothing is impossible in life even the most wonderful invention in history happened because someone had the motivation and took the initiative to do it. And as students we must follow our dreams and be politely persistent, and not let anyone trample our dreams.

We must always defend our rights -- especially as students -- to accomplish our goals in order to be outstanding individuals in society.  One of my goals now while at York, is to advocate for the establishment of a permanent study-abroad office, where more York College students could have the chance for an international academic experience.

By Jose Cuevas

Jose Cuevas is a senior majoring in Aviation Management major at York College 

and president of the student chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE),

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