What Else Should I Know Before Studying Abroad in Buenos Aires?
Congratulations! You’re weighing the decision to pursue study abroad in Buenos Aires, South America’s Paris. The cost won’t be nearly as high, you’ll be in good company with plenty of other international students, and your calendar will remain full with all of the excursions, trips, restaurants, and activities that Evita’s hometown has to offer. Whether you want to study in Spanish or English, there are plenty of elective and general education courses to choose from with CISabroad’s programs in Argentina. However, you’ve done your research and want to know a little bit more before submitting your application. Read on…
EDUCATION SYSTEM–PLAN AHEAD!
While the typical U.S. semesters begin end of August, early September and late January, Argentina is a bit different. Their fall semesters begin late June and end early November, while spring semesters begin early February and end mid June. It’s worth noting the difference for planning purposes as the deadline to apply for CISabroad’s Argentina program is November 1 (to prepare you for an early February in-country arrival). Spring semester tends to be more popular for students because:
- The weather is nicer, you’ll be in Argentina’s summer-fall months
- It fits in easily with your regular semester schedule
- You can still take a January term class before heading out on your study abroad to Buenos Aires
- You’ll be back in time to enjoy summer in the U.S.!
ADJUSTING TO THE CLIMATE/TEMPERATURE
Since Argentina is in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are opposite of the United States. October through April are the mildest, and November through February are the warmest. Summer begins during the United States’ winter, and our spring is their winter. It tends to be humid because of its location near the Atlantic and the Río de la Plata. On a typical day in Buenos Aires, you can get a smorgasbord of weather…rain, bright sunshine, a light snowfall, or even a brief storm. Bringing a variety of clothing will help keep you comfortable and happy during your study abroad experience.
While Buenos Aires is known for its mild climate, it’s important to pack layered clothing. Because it has a longer warm season, most of the buildings are built to accommodate the heat and humidity. As a result, it’s crucial to pack layers upon layers to stay warm inside during the colder months. Central heating systems aren’t the norm, and there’s usually only one radiator per floor (but this varies, so use it as a rule of thumb, not a generalization). Don’t be afraid to wear the same sweater a few days in a row! Ladies, pack pashmina scarves to vary your style, and gentleman, scarves are common in men and women alike in Argentina! Gortex layers underneath your t-shirts, sweaters, and zip-ups will keep you toasty in the classroom, and don’t hesitate to bring gloves (especially if you want to go skiing or snowboarding in the mountains!).
CRASH COURSE TO RIOPLATENSE SPANISH
Argentina is known for its distinct accent, pronunciation style, and verb tenses, called Rioplatense due to the Río de la Plata. Compared to the Italian of Spanish speaking countries, it has a rhythmic pace and seemingly romantic pronunciation. From beginners to advanced Spanish speakers, knowing what tenses and words to use is important as you navigate around Buenos Aires.
The first thing you’ll notice is that Argentineans use vos instead of tú, and do not use the Spain vosotros and instead use ustedes. Words with double ll are pronounced as if they were ys (for example, ¿Cómo se llama?, amarillo, or lluvia), which emphasize the Italian influence on the Spanish language in Argentina. At first you may be thinking you’re learning a completely different language, but knowing the basics of the dialect will help as you adjust to the accent and words.
To get you started, here’s a basic chart of the some distinct verb tenses, helpful words, and useful phrases:
|English||Textbook Spanish||Rioplatense Spanish|
|You are||Tú eres||Vos sos|
|You have||Tú tienes||Vos tenés|
|You run||Tú corres||Vos corrés|
|You love||Tú amas||Vos amás|
|You lose||Tú pierdes||Vos perdés|
|You leave||Tú partes||Vos partís|
|You sing||Tú cantas||Vos cantás|
|You say||Tú dices||Vos decís|
|Whatever you want.||Lo que tú quieras.||Lo que vos querás.|
|How are you?||¿Cómo estás?||¿Cómo andas?|
|What a mess!||¡Qué desorden!||¡Qué quilombo!|
With this list to begin, you’ll catch on quickly to other nuances in Rioplatense Spanish (there are many!). Adding che + cómo andas (roughly hey man, how are ya?) together will make you look like an old pro at Rioplatense Spanish. If you’re unsure about a word or a tense, ask your host family, language partner, or Spanish professors! It’s a great way to break the ice and build relationships.
Among the education system, weather/climate, and distinct dialect, Argentina is wonderful and affordable option to study Spanish. Beyond tango, Evita, and the widest avenue in the world, Buenos Aires is a progressive player in the global economy that will surely pique any interviewer’s interest seeing it on your resume. Keeping these three areas in mind while you prepare for your study abroad in Argentina will help you be happier and more successful in your study abroad experience.