When people think of Argentina, the first thoughts that come to mind are usually Evita, beef, and tango. What most people don’t realize is that these three things are representative of Argentina as a whole: deep-rooted history, world-class food, and fiery passion. As the eighth largest country in the world, Argentina is home to the Paris of the South (Buenos Aires), the Andes, the best wine in South America, and millions of diverse, enthusiastic people. From a vibrant and even eccentric city life to stunning and adventurous experiences in the countryside, students in Argentina will never be bored.
Students who study Spanish in Argentina will learn that the country’s interpretation of the language is just as unique as the country itself. Argentine Spanish is called Castellano, which refers to its roots in Castilla, Spain. There are many major differences between Castellano and the Spanish most US schools teach, such as an accent and vocabulary that is only used in Argentina. However, Argentine Castellano is widely regarded as the and accents.
Read the guide on this page written by Go Overseas experts, just for you. Then choose a Spanish language program in Argentina from the list below. You'll be well on your way to Spanish fluency!
There are definite pros and cons to studying Spanish in Argentina. No matter how much Spanish you have studied before going to Argentina, you will be confused for the first few weeks. Argentine Castellano is among the most difficult Spanish dialects, and its vocabulary and grammar are unique to Argentina.
With that said, if you really want to become fluent in Spanish, studying Castellano is a surefire way to make that happen. After studying Castellano, most other Spanish dialects will be a piece of cake to understand.
One thing to keep in mind when looking into different programs in Argentina is that their seasons are the opposite of North America’s. Because of that, their university schedules are a bit different, with most typically running from March-July and August-November.
University classes are a great way to learn the language because you will be surrounded by students your age, so it is easy to make friends with locals and other international students. The highlights of taking university classes include being eligible for any extracurricular and outside activities that other university students get, such as discounted tickets to events and free cultural classes.
Living in a homestay is hands-down the best way to learn the language. You will learn more about the language just by having daily conversations with your host family than by studying Spanish for years. While homestay programs aren’t for everyone, anyone who has lived with a host family will agree that it is the fastest and easiest way to become fluent.
This type of program is ideal for a student with a less flexible schedule, as these don’t always follow the Argentine university schedule (ex: if you don’t want to wait until March to start classes).
Language Study & Volunteer Combination Programs
This type of program is ideal for any student who wants to learn as much about the Argentine language and culture as possible, all while helping others. Even though Argentina is among the richer countries in South America, there are still thousands of people who are impoverished and plenty of underdeveloped towns.
There are many different types of volunteer and language programs, such as conservation, medical care, and community development. Students who volunteer will have endless opportunities to really learn the language, as they will be constantly immersed.
Where to Go
As the capital of Argentina, there is nothing that Buenos Aires doesn’t have. With over 3 million inhabitants from hundreds of different places, it is the ideal city for a language student to study in. Because it is such a large city, there are a myriad of different programs and schools offering every course imaginable.
Several programs offer a choice of a few different universities or high schools, such as the API Buenos Aires program, which gives students the option of enrolling in Universidad de Belgrano or Universidad Torcuato di Tella. If you are looking for a beautiful, passionate, and exciting place that will be an adventure every day, Buenos Aires is the city for you.
Mendoza is the fourth largest city in Argentina with only 885,000 people. Despite its population, Mendoza does not feel like a city. It is situated right on the base of the Andes and just across the border from Chile, so outdoor activities and travel opportunities are everywhere.
Mendoza is also known as Wine Country and produces some of the finest wines in all of South America. This small city is ideal for any student who wants to experience a South American city, but does not want the sometimes overwhelming feel that Buenos Aires has. Students can get a great language education in Mendoza because of its smaller foreign population than Buenos Aires, so there is less temptation to speak English.
Commonly known as the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia rests at the very end of Argentina. With only 64,000 residents, it is very much a town compared to Buenos Aires. While Ushuaia may not have the bright lights and cosmopolitan feel of some of Argentina’s other areas, it has many unique factors that make it a great place to study.
As the capital of Tierra del Fuego and the heart of Patagonia, outdoor enthusiasts will never be bored. Because access to Ushuaia can be somewhat limited, language students will feel very immersed in the Argentine culture and language. If it sounds appealing to study Spanish in a town with as many penguin inhabitants as humans, then give Ushuaia a chance.
Cultural Immersions/Extracurricular Activities
The great thing about going abroad on a language program is that the majority incorporate social outings and activities. These are excellent opportunities for students to really learn how to communicate like natives and learn about the Argentine culture and history.
These activities can range from volunteering and working at fairs to cooking classes and horseback riding. A great way to further your learning in Argentina is to take an extracurricular class. Whether it’s Argentine tango or cooking empanadas, hearing and speaking Spanish outside of a traditional classroom setting will have you learning much faster than studying vocabulary and grammar.
Another great way to learn outside of a college class is to travel. Argentina has a great bus system that allows travelers to explore all of Argentina very inexpensively. There is no better way to learn about the language and culture than to experience it for yourself.
In order to take classes in Argentina, you must obtain a student visa. You can only apply for a visa once you are in Argentina, so don’t worry about having to have one before you enter the country. Most programs offer assistance for obtaining a visa, so check with your abroad advisor if you have questions. There are language programs in Argentina for every age and ability, so don’t fret about not being able to find a program that fits your needs. From beginner to practically fluent, any type of student will be able to find the perfect language program.
Costs & Funding
In general, Argentina is a fairly inexpensive country. It is very easy for students to study abroad there and not break their bank accounts. Abroad programs vary in cost, but usually the deciding factor is which area of Argentina you are studying in.
Cities such as Buenos Aires or remote areas such as Ushuaia are going to be more expensive than Mendoza or Cordoba, but most programs will be within $1,000-2,000 of each other. If you are in Argentina under a student visa, you typically cannot be employed at a real job.
However, Spanish learners can often make money babysitting, tutoring, or bartending (or working at a city pub crawl, such as The Official Buenos Aires Pub Crawl). There are also great opportunities to save money: take overnight buses to travel around South America instead of flying, shop at local produce stands instead of grocery stores, and take advantage of student tickets to performances, movies, museums/city tours, and tango shows.
API in Argentina offers several scholarships for students studying Spanish. These are usually about $1,000 each and have different requirements based on the scholarship. IES Abroad also gives many scholarships every year. These range from merit based to diversity based. Talk to your abroad advisor and check out both IES and API’s websites for more information!
Why Learn Spanish in Argentina?
So many people settle for studying Spanish in the U.S., which truly does not do the language justice. Instead of sitting in a boring language class learning the difference between “ser” and “estar” for the tenth time, why not pay the same amount of money and go to a whole new world? Argentina is one of the most enchanting and unique countries, and for a student who truly wants to learn Spanish and get outside of his or her comfort zone, Argentina is the obvious choice. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to eat massive amounts of dulce de leche, walk the same streets as Evita, and learn the most beautiful Spanish dialect. Study Spanish in Argentina today!