Author Archives: swkly

Calle Florida – A Different Side of Shopping

By Ryan Riley

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA –  Shopping at Calle Florida takes shopping to a whole new level.

Scarves, futbol jerseys, jewelery, hats and art are just a few of the items that can be purchased here. Most Americans may be able to relate or feel a sense of familiarity with this area as if they where like shopping in New York City.  I feel it’s quite the contrary.

Calle Florida has a much more elegant feel to it.  The merchants are not nagging you like in Rome or New York but instead they appear to be quite calm and relaxed, maybe because they know tourists will bite on just about anything that appears to be considered “ different” or a unique “ souvenir.”

Leather, leather and more leather.  Calle  Florida boasts some of the top leather shops in the world for boots, hats, coats and purses.

For Americans the value of a dollar is about four Argentine pesos. This goes a long way on Calle Florida for shoppers, as once unaffordable jewelry, purses or even custom horse riding boots instantly become affordable.

Basically, (ladies) if you go there and know what you are looking for and stick to your plan you will score a great deal and come home a happy camper.

For men, I realize that shopping is not numero uno on most men’s favorite thing to-do list. but at Calle Florida it is a whole new ball game.  You may even find yourself wanting to stay and telling your spouse to go on ahead without you.

Sorry men but I must admit, it truly is that intriguing.

The people around you make the experience worthwhile in and of itself.  Mannequin of different sorts,  mega sports stores on nearly every corner, and great places to eat and drink to your heart’s desire are just a few of attractions that make it so unique and worthwhile.

Calle  Florida is a well-kept secret around the world but  anyone who ventures into Buenos Aires must experience just a little taste of Florida Street for themselves.

Trust me, you will not want to leave.


The Beautiful Game-The Argentine Way

By Ryan Riley

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA –  Futbol is not just a game in Argentina, it is a way of life.

For fans in Buenos Aires and throughout Argentina “soccer,”  more widely known around the world as futbol, means more than just simply winning or losing.  It is a strong passion that can not be put into words, one that breathes life into the hearts and souls of Argentines year round.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup has given Argentines a feeling of great joy and a sense of hope and belief that there former hero on the pitch, Diego Maradona, can now lead the new squad to victory as the manager of the now ‘Messi lead team.’  Is Maradona the right man for the job? The Chosen One?

The fact of the matter is that many Argentines have doubts as to whether Maradona can lead this club to a World Cup title.  The key points here are whether Maradona can manage the big personalities and superstars of Argentina along with integrating tactics that fit the roles of his players.  Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez are two of the main players who will need to shine for Maradona’s squad in order for them to make a deep run into the World Cup.

Buenos Aires local Dario Cipolloni sat down with me to discuss his favorite players and the challenges that Maradona faces entering into the World Cup.

The feeling behind the team is  positive as Argentines sit anxiously at the edge of their seats with every minute that goes by in the Cup praying that they may once again raise the beloved trophy that their boss Maradona raised once himself as a player in 1986. Anything less than a World Cup title is a disappointment for this highly-skilled and star studded squad.

We shall wait and see what the soccer gods decide.

The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires Argentina Implements Social Networking

by Ryan Riley

The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires Argentina capitalizes on the new age of media by using social networking.’

The Embassy features more than 17,000 fans on their Facebook page alone.

Facebook and other online social networks act as a merger between the new media outlets and older forms of news. Along with Facebook, the U.S. Embassy offers valuable information on websites such as Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

“Our mission is to inform the Argentine people of the U.S. Embassy’s goal to inform and assist in foreign and domestic affairs,”   Robert Howes, a U.S. Embassy employee in the Argentine capital, said.

It is evident that the Embassy has taken a new approach toward informing not only local Argentines, but as well as the rest of the world. Other than being a source of entertainment, Facebook and others stimulate a new found curiosity for political participation on and off the web.This system of social networking reaches out to potential patrons and allows for future employment opportunities.

Recent technologies allow the past generation’s efforts to correspond with the new generation of media in Argentina.

So You Think Your Education is Expensive?


photo by Andy Billmeyer

Students in Buenos Aires spend, on average, nearly a fourth of their annual income on tuition.

By: Andy Billmeyer, Jessica Byrd, Mary Coker, Ben Dobbs, Hillary Houston and Ryan Riley

A desire for a good education and a respect for customs, family and national pride outweigh the negative aspects of severe inflation and low average income on many university students in Argentina.

Three students majoring in psychology at the Universidad del Salvador in the Recoleta barrio in Buenos Aires (, Paula Kolosuarg, 30, Karina Pizarro, 31, and Martina Harubout, 18, said that their decisions to go to college were based on a multitude of things including opinions of family members and family income.  But when it came down to it, Hartubout, a Buenos Aires resident, or porteña, said the reason she is there is because she liked staying close to home.

“We prefer to stay in Buenos Aires; our family and friends are here,” the first year student said.

photo by Andy Billmeyer

Although annual tuition of 7,200 Argentine pesos (about USD $1,800) may sound like a bargain to many Americans, the cost of higher education is steep for the average Argentine.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Argentina (, the average annual income for Argentine residents in 2008 was USD $8,219. Therefore, the cost of tuition alone at the Universidad del Salvador is about 22 percent of an average citizen’s yearly income.

Besides the cost, another influential factor in the students’ decision whether to pursue a college degree was their personal feelings and desire for an education. As in the U.S., they had the liberty to choose to continue their studies at a college, or begin their careers. But a college education in Argentina is not as imperative to success in the workplace as it is in the United States. Job availability without a degree is not a major issue and income is not as highly affected by education levels as in the U.S.

Even though a college degree isn’t required, Argentine’s do value education and boast a literacy rate of 95 percent.  The country has over 20 national universities in addition to many state and private schools.

Hartubout said the Universidad del Salvador was the first school to implement a psychology program in all of Argentina. The program is also one of the most preferred majors within the university.

photo by Andy Billmeyer

Students are subject to a more structured yet nonspecific schedule. Unlike in the United States, students don’t have a choice of what classes they take or what time they begin.

“It is all different,” Hartubout said. “I arrive at eight but it ends differently [each day]. On Wednesday we ended at eleven but today we ended at one.”

Rather than having a set time for the classes to end, there is only a specified beginning. It is up to the professor to decide when each class ends.

After class each day, Hartubout waits for a family friend to pick her up and drive her 40 minutes to her home. Hartubout has to commute each day since there is no student housing or commuter parking available on the campus located on Avenida Marcelo T. de Alvear, a busy street in a crowded city.

But despite the challenges in an Argentine economy that finds many families struggling to survive, Hartubout and the other women have still found a way to earn a degree in an atmosphere many North American university students are not required to face. These women said they are determined to advance in their chosen profession so they can help others in their community.


The City of Angels

The Cementerio de la Recoleta in Buenos Aires is a city of the well-heeled–even in death. Monuments to Argentina’s movers and shakers, politicians, athletes and even Evita try to out-do each other with marble crypts shrouded in stained glass, statues and silver-laden caskets.   

Six Ole Miss journalism students and one instructor are headed to Buenos Aires for two weeks of intensive multi-media reporting.

Andy Billmeyer, Jessica Byrd, Mary Coker, Ben Dobbs, Hillary Houston and Ryan Riley will spend two weeks in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with instructor Sue Weakley.  Stories of seeing new places, meeting new people, eating new foods and dancing new dances will follow.