Meandering Through Montevideo – Week 1

Montevideo has been so inviting! I have been here for a little over a week now and have loved every second of it! It’s crazy how fast time is flying by. Seems like just yesterday I was getting off the plane after around 17 hours of traveling, and finally getting a stamp in my passport 😀

After landing at the Carrasco International Airport, a few other Pitt students and I met our “buddy,” Juan, a student at the University of Montevideo. He had been communicating with us prior to our arrival with important information we needed to know and was also a source for answers on any questions we had. Juan arranged for a bus to pick the Pitt group up from the airport which was very convenient, especially not knowing my way around in a foreign country. Juan helped us check into our hotel and then showed us around this beautiful city!

While here, I am staying at Mercosur Universitas, an apartment-style hotel. Its location is centrally located on Avenida Ocho de Octubre and close to many restaurants, grocery stores, and the Tres Cruses mall for any shopping runs (and the occasional Mcdonald’s Dulce de Leche ice cream cone). The hotel is also about a 30-minute walk to campus; these daily walks to and from the school have helped me see the various neighborhoods and small restaurants all over the city!

The Engineering School campus is located in the Poscitos area of Montevideo, similar to Pitt’s campus located in the city. The University of Montevideo has its own gated entrance and lots of greenery that make it feel like a charming college campus. At the university, I’m in a class of about 30 students from all over the world; Germany, New Zealand, Greece, United States, and Uruguay. About half of the class are international students and the other half are Uruguayan students. Everyone is super nice and friendly and I love getting to learn more about their background and interests. I was expecting it to take longer to feel comfortable and fit in with my classmates, but it’s quite the opposite. Going to class each day doesn’t feel like I’m actually going to class; it feels more like I’m going to socialize with my peers.

I’ve gone on three company site visits; El Pais, the largest newspaper and printing company, Nodus, a logistics company on the pier in Montevideo, and Darnel, a packaging company. I really enjoyed seeing how each of these companies run their logistics and supply chain divisions trying to meet customer demands and having the products out at the right time. Specifically, at Nodus, it was really neat seeing the planning that goes into the layout and placement of containers on a ship and being able to go to the pier and see that idea in person. And it was also super cool having to dress up in hard hats and bright orange vests! Quite the look!

This past weekend, Juan arranged for the international students and a few of the Uruguayan students to take a trip to visit Colonia del Sacramento, a small and quaint little town about two hours west of Montevideo. It has old cobble stone roads and scenic views all around. One of those views came from this old lighthouse close to the middle of town that you can climb up. From the very top, looking across the water, you can even see the city outline of Buenos Aires if you look very closely! It also allows you to see how small Colonia is from the coast and into the mainland. I also ate my first Chivito here, one of the main dishes that Uruguay is known for! It’s this big sandwich with ham, bacon, hamburger, a fried egg, and cheese piled up. So good!  

Next week, I’ll be visiting Punta del Este, about two hours to the east of Montevideo! I can’t wait to see what other adventures this week has in store for me!

Til next week!

Nikki Jones