Friends of Fulbright Argentina Program

IUPUI hosts 21 of Argentina’s best and brightest undergraduate students for Friends of Fulbright exchange

February 22, 2018

Friends of Fulbright students meet with Mayor Joe Hogsett in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS -- From January 15 through March 3, 2018, 21 Argentinian Fulbright students are visiting campus participating in a seven-week exchange organized by the State Department’s Friends of Fulbright program, the undergraduate version of the prestigious international exchange scholarship.

The Program for Intensive English (PIE), housed in the School of Liberal Arts, is administering the program.

During the seven weeks, the students took courses in Interpersonal Communication and Advanced Academic English, a course designed to help non-native English speakers improve their academic writing. Students also audited a course in their field of study and participated in homestays with local families. The program is designed to help the students prepare to return to the U.S. in the future to successfully pursue graduate studies if they so choose.

One such student is Tomás Lopez Cajaraville, a student from the town of Cañuelas, Argentina, who studies Geology at Buenos Aires University.

“I am pleasantly surprised about the commitment showed at IUPUI to make our stay an unforgettable experience,” commented Cajaraville. He finds Indianapolis clean, welcoming and quiet—much quieter than major cities back home—but is surprised by its cultural and ethnic diversity. “One of the most impressive things at IUPUI is its cosmopolitan campus. I did not expect such an enormous amount of people from all around the world. This helps the university to have a cultural enrichment that is beneficial for all of us.”

Friends of Fulbright students present at a booth at the 2018 International FestivalDuring his time at IUPUI, Cajaraville audited the “very dynamic” Global Cycles class with Dr. Gabriel Filippelli in the Department of Earth Sciences. He was also able to connect in the community with his other passion—the arts. “I had the unmeasurable pleasure of being hosted by people who love arts and support it in every possible manner, giving me the opportunity to know about the Indianapolis artistic production in music, dance, sculpture, and many other disciplines.”

Each Friday during their time at IUPUI, students participated in cultural enrichment activities around the city. Trips to local museums (such as the Indiana State Museum, the Children’s Museum, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields) offered insight into Indiana’s rich cultural heritage, and other excursions such as bowling and darts at Punch Bowl Social Club gave students the chance to experience the social side of Indianapolis. During the International Festival on February 14, Friends of Fulbright students held a booth to share about Argentine culture with festival attendees, while a trio of students performed songs on guitar.

Another highlight of the program was a visit to the City-County building and Statehouse, during which the students had an opportunity to meet one-on-one with Mayor Joe Hogsett. Students and faculty in both the Latino Studies Program and the Spanish Program have graciously welcomed the Argentinian students and have been very helpful in serving as peer mentors during their time at IUPUI.

“I have been thrilled to see the wonderful connections that the students in the Friends of Fulbright – Argentina program have been making across campus,” said Dr. Thom Upton, Director of the Program for Intensive English and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at the School of Liberal Arts. “I have talked with several of the faculty who have graciously welcomed the Argentinians into their classes, and all of them have been impressed with the students’ contributions and the intercultural perspectives that they bring to the class.”

As he prepares to return to Buenos Aires, Cajaraville reflects on the lessons and insights he will bring back home.
“Beyond academic learning, I believe that the biggest learning was to share this experience with people from another culture, but also with people from my own country that have completely different points of view. Furthermore, the experience of an international exchange brought several challenges that I had to face. It was a good training to have the possibility to face these challenges completely alone, far away from my family and friends, who always supported me from a distance,” he shared.

“Now the task is basically to come back to my country, to tell my peers about this wonderful experience, but also to encourage more people to follow their dreams as I did.”

The Friends of Fulbright Argentinian group will present about Argentine culture at the International Club’s Culture Hour on Friday, February 23 at 4:30 PM in UC 104.

Student Tomás Lopez Cajaraville at the Indianapolis Museum of Art with the sculpture “Untitled (Mylar)” by Tara Donovan, which he describes as "one of the most fascinating contemporary sculptures I have ever seen."
Student Tomás Lopez Cajaraville at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields with the sculpture “Untitled (Mylar)” by Tara Donovan, which he describes as "one of the most fascinating contemporary sculptures I have ever seen."