If you’re attending a language school in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, congratulations, you have made a great selection for a total immersion foreign language study experience. Buenos Aires is a large modern city of approximately 3 million people and is referred to as the “Paris of South America” for its intimate elegance and European architectural influences. A top destination for foreign study abroad students internationally, Buenos Aires is a city of great sights and once in a lifetime experiences.
Learning about the culture of this beautiful and gracious city is a key part to understanding some of the more intimate nuances present within Argentine Spanish. For the first-time foreign study student, the list of activities and historical sites to see may at first appear overwhelming. The following seven activities will go a long way in ensuring that your first visit to the Capital Federal is a truly fulfilling experience that touches on the best of what Buenos Aires and Argentine culture has to offer.
1. LEARN TO DANCE THE TANGO – Argentina and Buenos Aires are famous as the home of the sultry dance known as the tango. There are tango performances daily in the city, tango-themed restaurants, even private or group tango lessons so you can experience this Latin special folk dance for yourself. Each year on the 11th of December, the city holds its annual Tango day when the roots of the dance are celebrated by residents. The Tango is intimately Buenos Aires and its cadence is worth experiencing during any upcoming visit.
2. VISIT MUSEUMS – Many fine museums are located in the city. The Argentina National Museum of History celebrates the history of Argentina, particularly items related to the May Revolution and to the Argentine War of Independence. The Metropolitan National Cathedral is the main Catholic church in the city, originally constructed in 1753. A separate mausoleum contains the tomb of Jose de San Martin, Argentina’s greatest hero. The National Museum of Fine Arts contains one of the most substantial art collections in the entire continent. Currently on display is the renown 20th Century Latin American Art showcase, the Malba-Costantini Collection.
3. BOTANICAL GARDENS AND ZOO – Containing over 5,500 species of vegetables and almost 70,000 square meters of vegetation designed by French landscape architect Carlos Thays. Several garden styles, including a recreation of the garden of Pliny the Younger, a Japanese Garden and a symmetrical French designed garden are all available for viewing. Nearby Buenos Aires Zoo contains over 2,500 species of animals. The mission statement of the Buenos Aires Zoo is to encourage patrons not only to learn about the specific species represented in the enclave, but to view and understand man’s wider role as a custodian of the environment.
4. DINING & NIGHTLIFE – The Plaza de Mayo is an ideal place to start a restaurant tour of Buenos Aires. Situated among the old trees and architecture of Avendina de May, many bars, coffeehouses and restaurants lie to the west of the plaza waiting to be explored. Dozens of fine restaurants allow for dining equivalent to the ambiance you would see in most European capitols. Among them, the Cabana Las Lilas, a premier Argentine steakhouse located in the neighborhood of Puerto Madero. Their cuisine includes the presence of tender and succulent Argentine beef as well as a variety of native and ethnic dishes available for order. Like Paris, Buenos Aires has a large and thriving nightlife scene. The Casablanca, within the neighborhood of San Telmo, is a great Tango nightspot and should not be missed.
5. VISIT THE OPERA – The Opera house in Buenos Aires, the Teatro Colon, is one of the most famous in the world. The performances by the singers are second to none. Be sure you schedule time to spend an evening viewing one of there performances. The opera house was built in the 1908 after twenty years of construction by famed architect Fancesco Tamburini, and has been providing unparalleled music ever since. The quality of the music and the performances here compare favorably with those from the finest European opera houses.
6. ENJOY AN AFTERNOON OF SPORTS – Argentineans take their sports very seriously. Soccer is a sport played by children and adults alike and by those in every segment of society. While no one pretends to think that playing soccer will teach you the Spanish language, spending a Sunday afternoon with a group of friends playing an impromptu game will certainly give you a better understanding of the culture of Argentina as well as a grasp of the more “flavoral” words that make up the Argentine dialect.
Travel to Buenos Aires is a once in a lifetime event. Good food, intoxicating sights and sounds and a vibrant nightlife are just a few of the many benefits that await the foreign Spanish student in Argentina. With an extremely favorable 3:1 exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Argentine Peso, there has never been a more favorable time for foreign study students to make the trip, what are you waiting for?
Casey Markee is a consultant with GIC Argentina a study Spanish in Buenos Aires program provider. Visit them online for detailed information on Spanish language schools in Buenos Aires and plan your next trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina today.