The Decision to Move

Vicente Lopez2

Vicente López, Buenos Aires, Argentina

There is a strong legacy of western European immigration to Argentina, beginning with Spanish colonialism.  It peaked early 20th century, though many more immigrants continued to move throughout the 1900’s, especially during the first and second world wars.  My grandparents immigrated from Italy, Spain, and France to Buenos Aires.  In this larger context, my own immigration doesn’t seem so out of the ordinary.  In Argentina, everyone knows of a some relative that has migrated, but you never know if you will be the one to continue that legacy.  In my family, it was a part of our experience through my grandparents but hadn’t occurred in recent memory.  When I first told my family I had been accepted to the graduate program and would be moving to the United States, their reaction surprised me.  It made both my parents really sad.  I think they were in denial that I was going to move and hoped it would be temporary.

However, the Argentinian situation was very bad and financial motivations drove my initial decision to move and later decision to stay.  The United States offered me an educational and economic opportunity for.  However, in retrospect I have realized that one of the greatest advantages of moving to the United States is the access to education, and it has influenced my decision to stay.  There are so many resources and opportunities at a research institution like the University of Michigan that are unavailable anywhere else.  For example, when I do my research on Paraguay or Brazil, here I get more work completed because of the impressive archive of research materials.  The resources and funding available to study and do research in the United States is impossible to compare with doing research in Latin America.

Ann Arbor, Michigan