IFSA: Argentine Universities Program

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Zoologico de Lujan.
IFSA: Argentine Universities Program in Buenoes Aires
IFSA: Argentine Universities Program in Buenoes Aires
IFSA: Argentine Universities Program in Buenoes Aires
IFSA: Argentine Universities Program in Buenoes Aires

About

Located in one of the world's most exciting and cosmopolitan cities, the Argentine Universities Program (AUP) offers students the opportunity to enroll in up to four prestigious universities in Buenos Aires. Between classes, enjoy theatre, music, films, sports and museums, or simply people-watch while sipping coffee at one of the numerous sidewalk cafes.

IFSA offers a semester and yearlong program for the advanced Argentine Universities Program (AUP) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. On the AUP, you can choose between two different program structures in order to meet your academic needs and interests. You can participate either in the general academic program or choose to focus your area of study in a specialized academic concentration. All students will enroll in the mandatory Advanced Spanish and Argentine Culture course offered only to IFSAparticipants. In addition to taking courses in Spanish, students participating on the program will live with a host family.

Scholarships

IFSA Scholarships
IFSA Scholarships and Financial Aid

We believe that study abroad should be within reach of every student, so we offer a wide range of scholarships and funding opportunities for all our participants.

Value
$500 - $2,500

Questions & Answers

Reviews

88%
based on 17 reviews
  • Academics 7.5
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 8.6
  • Housing 8.4
  • Safety 7.9
Showing 1 - 15 of 17
Default avatar
Lilian
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IFSA: Great program that allows you to do your own thing, but is also there to support you as much as you need.

My experience in Buenos Aires was so many things, and overall a great experience. Starting with the IFSA program, I believe I made the right choice. Already having done some solo traveling, I wanted a program that granted me the independence and flexibility of living alone in a city. That said, it was also great to have the staff to support me through the hectic class enrollment period, to provide travel tips, and teach a wonderful Advanced Spanish Language class. Mario and Dario were especially great supports for me.

The homestay worked out really well for me. IFSA has contacts with a number of host families (many of them single older women) whom they trust. There is an element of luck in whether you will click with your host family, and I was lucky. My host family was a single older woman who lived in a very central location in Recoleta. I had to walk only 30 seconds from the door to reach a great number of bus stops. My host mom herself was a beautiful person, so generous and kind and straight-forward in her communication. I miss her!! It took a while for us to get totally comfortable living together, which I think is normal, but by the end we were really close and both so sad to say goodbye. IFSA has certain standards they ask the host families to agree to, which I think are really well thought-out and provide really good boundaries and standards for the relationship. An example is that IFSA asks the host families to provide the student with breakfast and dinner every day (you're on your own for lunch). This arrangement worked really well. I loved my host mom's food. I was worried about my host family restricting my freedom and setting curfews or strict rules on me, but nothing like that happened. We treated each other with respect and she let me come and go as I wanted. While I had no issues with my host mom, it is important to know that things don't always work out so smoothly. I had a friend who decided to switch host families. The great thing is IFSA has a standard procedure for switching families, and they take the pressure off you. That being said, it can be a stressful experience if it comes to that. It's important to advocate for your needs- having an uncomfortable living situation could really color your experience negatively. My friend who switched was so much happier in the second family she lived with, and it made the second half of her semester much better.

The class selection process is stressful. I was grateful for the support IFSA gave, but ultimately you are somewhat on your own in figuring out your schedule. I ended up with good classes, and none of them were too much work, though I did learn a lot. I took classes at USAL and two IFSA classes.

One of the best parts about my experience was all the traveling I did! Some solo traveling, and some traveling with one other person (my aunt, my mom, and then my friend). I'd recommend traveling in smaller groups or alone if you feel comfortable, because you learn much more and don't come across as a loud group of English-speaking tourists. I travelled to Iguazú waterfalls; Colonia, Uruguay; Salta and Jujuy, Argentina; Chile; Patagonia. TRAVEL IF YOU CAN! It is so worth it, and very affordable especially if you stay in hostels.

What would you improve about this program?
The main orientation was done in basically one day, which felt really rushed, and it was difficult to take everything in. Spreading that out to a couple days would be better. Also, having more social events for the IFSA group to get together in non-academic settings would be nice. I felt it was difficult to get to know IFSA students after the orientation period.
Happy
Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Living in the "In-Between" in Buenos Aires, Argentina

My experience in the Argentine Universities program was unique because, being a crazy language enthusiast, I wasn't satisfied with just studying Spanish. Although the program doesn't include other language classes as part of the possible course pool and the on-site staff wasn't super familiar or knowledgeable about alternative institutions or programs that students could participate in, I was able to find and enroll in a class at a local language-learning center in order stay on track with my Italian studies and was even able to find an opportunity to continue practicing Chinese while abroad. Even though I didn't get any direct assistance in the process of finding these opportunities, I had so much support not only from my IFSA advisor, but also from the director of academic program and the overall resident director who were always will to sit and talk and laugh with me about all the totally random language things that my little heart desired.
The best people -- even if they didn't have all the answers.

Also, I can't even begin to describe my love for all things food.
Bad for my health, but (metaphorically) good for my heart.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising thing I did was make a deal with a Chinese professor from a local language learning center, meeting every week to teach him English in exchange for him to help me continue my study of Chinese. I certainly never expected that I would have the experience of being taught Chinese in Spanish by a Chinese immigrant in Argentina. Buenos Aires is just full of crazy unexpected opportunities sometimes.
Nadira
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Balanced experience in Buenos Aires

My experience in the Argentine Universities program was great because I felt that I had a good balance between venturing into the local culture as well as the safety and security of being in a program with other American students. We could choose between a variety of universities in the city, from large public schools to elite private schools, so we could tailor the experience to exactly what we wanted. In the same way, we could choose whether we wanted to make mostly American friends within the program of around 80 students, or surround ourselves with Argentine students in our classes. I liked that I had the opportunity to choose how I wanted my study abroad experience to be, socially and academically.

IFSA also provided a lot of support academically and professionally. My advisor made me feel very supported in my classes and I was also able to do both an internship and volunteer at a school because IFSA's volunteer coordinator set me up with those opportunities.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Llama meat in a small village in northwest Argentina.
Default avatar
Bethany
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

English Major in Argentina

I chose a program in a Spanish-speaking country for the language immersion, but the reason I specifically chose Argentina was the literary scene in Buenos Aires. A well-travelled aunt promised that I would love the urban atmosphere and the unbelievable literary culture of the city (there's an independent bookstore almost every two blocks in some barrios). The IFSA-Butler program offered an academic concentration through the massive, prestigious public school of Argentina (Universidad de Buenos Aires or UBA) and still left me several credits to take in classes of my choosing at any of the local universities. My study abroad was a deeply engaging and rewarding experience but the part I most want to champion is the IFSA-Butler literature concentration because I learned so much and so differently than I had ever experienced before in an academic setting. The concentration, freely offered to any interested IFSA students to help them shape their course schedule and engage with the local literary scene, is only three classes: Contemporary Argentine Literature, Castellano (essentially a Spanish language class), and Literary Methodology. Each course is taught completely in Spanish. The contemporary literature class was incredible: taught by local author Martín Kohan (whose work is available at many of the bookstores throughout the city), he gives both a sort of crash course on Argentine history and culture and unique, almost tender insights and in-depth analysis that could come only from lifelong study of the lives and work of cornerstone Argentine writers including Jorge Luis Borges, Rodolfo Walsh, Julio Cortázar, and Roberto Arlt. Some form of Castellano is a required course for all IFSA students, but in the literature concentration we read more extensively and had a smaller class size (only two students!) which gave us lots of opportunities for practice and direct tutoring on our pronunciation and grammar. Finally, the literary methodology course, taught by an IFSA professor who also teaches for UBA, was the first course of literary criticism that I have ever taken and will certainly not be my last. We investigated what it means to read critically and how one can and should, using Argentine hero (and famously voracious consumer of literature) Che Guevara as the prototypical reader for our studies. This guided track helped me to understand the context of Argentine literature as I browsed bookstores and poetry readings across the city, opening my eyes to an entire regional kingdom of literature that has never been offered in classes at my home university as anything other than "Latin literature" -- losing all of the regional, historical, and cultural richness of work that is the product of a specific people, time, and place. Thank you to Diego, Darío, and Martín (along with all the rest of the IFSA staff) for giving this English major so very much to think about.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I advise future travelers to relax and allow themselves to make mistakes. My first week was a disaster and I couldn't seem to get basic tasks done, like changing my cash, obtaining a subte card, getting a phone to work, etc. Obviously those are necessities but I encourage future travelers to be patient with themselves and their setting as they adjust, and to not try to compare themselves to other people's adjustment rates. Especially if this is a first time abroad or a first time in Latin America, just have patience with yourself and don't be afraid to ask IFSA staff for help. There's no judgment there.
Default avatar
Jamie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Semester at La FUC

Studying in Buenos Aires marked the first time I had lived in a big city. It took me quite a while to get used to the city, on top of Porteño Spanish. Familiarizing myself with the relevant buses and subway lines made navigating and seeing Buenos Aires much easier. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my time there was a bit tumultuous. I chose IFSA's Cinema Concentration, meaning I took classes at La Fundación Universidad de Cine. All of my professors were engaging and easy to work with. For better or worse, the Cinema Concentration is small, meaning that the other international students I got to interact and take classes with was correspondingly small. It also gave us the chance to do some film and entertainment-centered cultural excursions: live performances, going to the movies, as well as traveling to a film festival on the coast. On-site staff were always amiable and able to help me with whatever I brought to them, whether it be housing, travel tips, or places to inquire for playing tennis. Hitting at the Club Ciudad de BsAs gave me great chances to talk with a variety of people from the area. As an aside, Mario, the program director, is particularly wonderful.

What would you improve about this program?
This change would probably necessitate some shifts in the agreement between the on-site office and La FUC, so I don't know how feasible my suggestions would be to implement. However, as a student with academic film experience, I wish I had been directed to more challenging courses or a wider variety of film/communications/media studies type classes. The Cinema Concentration is the only one that allows IFSA students to take classes at La FUC, and two of them are catered more to those without as much background in film or film studies.
Default avatar
Rachel
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spend an amazing semester abroad through IFSA Bulter

The Argentine Universities Program was unique in that it was a great balance between guidance and independence. The staff is amazing and so caring about each and every student. The Argentine universities can be difficult to navigate at times, but you get the hang of it after a while. We were offered the chance to engage in cultural activities such as tango, cooking, polo matches, etc. I loved my time in Argentina because of this program. I'd recommend to anyone who does not mind a large degree of autonomy in their experiences (which I found refreshing in a college program).

What would you improve about this program?
Perhaps I would recommend that the program tells each student to get an international cell phone before and come with a few Argentine pesos.
Default avatar
Taylor
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A helping hand

Before, during, and after my abroad experience in Buenos Aires, Argentina, IFSA-Butler supported me in every way I needed. They helped me to organize all of my medications for travel, as well as counseling and psychiatry appointments once I arrived in the city. I was nervous that my mental health would prevent me from having a fulfilling abroad experience, but IFSA-Butler was there for me the whole way. My program advisors were incredibly understanding when I was having a difficult time finishing my final research paper and made sure that I was given all of the resources I could need. Not to mention the extraordinary excursion to Uruguay that we all went on together, bringing us together as close friends early on in the program. Even though IFSA-Butler was so instrumental to my success in Argentina, I still felt extremely independent - receiving guidance in every aspect of life abroad, yet making my own friends to travel around and explore with. The office staff was composed of many kind, funny, and helpful mentors that I miss seeing and interacting with, a year later. IFSA-Butler is a truly excellent program that supported me so I could have my own personal growth experience coming back from abroad. I learned that I am capable of so much more than I once thought and that is largely thanks to IFSA-Butler.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly, it was pretty great. I guess a little more information about phones and money beforehand would be helpful, but you never really understand it until you're there.
Default avatar
Allison
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ideal Semester Abroad

This program was the perfect balance between creating your own semester and receiving support in order to guide your decision making. The most unique part of this study abroad experience was balancing big city life with exploring the culture. I miss the city beyond anything, but I know I’ll be able to return and resume my experience if I were to go back. I was able to become comfortable, but I could also find challenges if I wanted to test my skills.

What would you improve about this program?
A little more distance from program. The program was a little too supportive, but it was easy to choose how involved you wanted to be.
Default avatar
Alexis
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IFSA-Butler Argentine Universities Program

This program is a good balance of independence and support. You have the freedom to take the classes you want and travel during your free time, but the staff is there for you if you need anything. The IFSA professors are super caring and friendly, and I had a good experience in my class at Universidad del Salvador too. The class registration process was a little overwhelming on top of being in a new place and having to figure out transportation, but I did enjoy having so many options to choose from.

What would you improve about this program?
Better host family matching- there is a question on the housing form about whether you want an "independent" or "interactive" relationship with your host family but it seems like some of my friends and I ended up with the opposite of what we checked on the form.
Default avatar
Avery
5/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Buenos Aires: Independent Life in the Big City

I grew up in a teeny-tiny town in the middle of Idaho, which made the transition to life into Buenos Aires, one of the largest cities in the world, pretty challenging and overwhelming. I was excited about the prospect of living in such a fun and culturally stimulating city, however I was surprised by all of the difficulties I encountered. Adjusting to the Buenos Aires bus system and public transportation overall is probably my greatest accomplishment to date. The hour-long commutes were a challenge, fearing pick-pocketers and taxi drivers, constantly being cautious and being surrounded by crowds 24/7, and getting cat-called aggressively 1-10 times a day, were among the things I struggled to adjust to.

IFSA-Butler's Argentine Universities Program has phenomenal resident staff and directors -- I absolutely loved working with them, and they all proved to be super helpful (especially when it came to health issues, homestay problems, and travel tips!) However, my biggest complaint about IFSA is that, if you aren't a fairly self-sufficient, independent, and honestly social person, you might have a tough time adjusting and enjoying life in Buenos Aires. The IFSA AU Program provides a few small excursions and trips (ex: kayaking, biking, rugby games, etc.), however beyond that, you won't see the other IFSA students aside from your classes, if you're even taking classes in the IFSA office. I was lucky to meet an amazing group of friends through IFSA, whom I was able to spend a lot of time with exploring the city, which was really great and super helpful. However, I see how it can be challenging for some to find those friends right in the beginning, during orientation. Outside of IFSA, the only way to socialize and meet people is to convince yourself to wander out into the city alone, and go to some of the many free social events around the city. This might be easy for some, but it definitely wasn't for me. My language skills weren't great, so trying to meet and socialize with Argentines especially was no easy task, and alcohol almost always had to be involved. I had poor host moms who were never around, or who did not talk to me, which made things lonely and challenging. And, due to rules prohibiting us to have friends over to our homestays, and due to the distance between homestays (15-45 minute commutes), I oftentimes felt quite lonely and homesick.

Overall I do recommend this program because I think it's a good program, it's fairly organized, the staff is phenomenal, there are fun excursions (especially for Thanksgiving the Uruguay trip is INCREDIBLE), and I felt supported for the most part throughout my experience. I had a challenging time personally because life in the big city was really hard for me to adapt to, and I had a really negative and lonely homestay experience. Buenos Aires is a wonderful city, full of unique opportunities, delicious restaurants (try the Japanese-Peruvian fusion, or the late night shawarma), fun street markets (like San Telmo on a Sunday), interesting people, super fun nightlife, and overall an out-of-this-world experience. My time abroad had its ups and downs, but I think looking back on it it just didn't suit me very well as an individual.

What would you improve about this program?
More coordination and cooperation between the program/ staff and the students, and between the students and other students. I also think there should be a much more rigorous process for selecting host families; probably 90% of my friends were not happy in their homestays.
Response from Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)

Dear Avery,
Thank you so much for taking the time to review your experience on the IFSA Argentine Universities program. I'm sorry to hear that your semester abroad wasn't quite what you hoped it would be. We would love to hear more about your concerns and how we can do better moving forward, so please don't hesitate to email us at [email protected] to start a conversation.
Best wishes,
Katherine

Default avatar
Maddie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best 6 weeks of my life :)

So I went to Sri Lanka being in such a bad place and being soo nervous going alone! The first couple of days was all about nerves as expected but I made friends for life as soon as we all settled in. I class these girls as some of my best friends even though we won't see eachother again for a long time! All the staff were amazing - we all became really close like a little family no doubt about it. I haven't felt that happy in my life ever! Ash and Manoj really cannot do much more to make you feel at home. Doing this programme made me realise how lucky I am to have what I have. The orphanage was just incredible - the girls are the most beautiful children inside and out. They will hold a place in my heart forever and I'm 100% going back. I felt safe and secure knowing Ash and Manoj were always looking after us. The sisters were a real blessing to have also, They made us breakfast, lunch and tea every day!! The love we received there was just amazing everything was so humble and just a beautiful experience. Colby joined right when I was leaving but she managed to make such a strong bond with me and always wanted to help us have the best experience we could aka fun games and activites to do in our spare time! I cannot recommend this programme enough!

Default avatar
India
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great introduction to Buenos Aires

IFSA Butler did an amazing job helping my peers and I get acclimated to live in not just Buenos Aires, but to Argentina in general. From informal culture classes to free tango lessons, Mario and his team really go above and beyond to make sure all participants are maximizing their time in the city. We learned valuable safety tips within our first few days, and I always felt fully supported. This program also allows for flexibility within one's schedule. I chose to study abroad with the Argentine Universities program because I wanted maximum immersion, but the program also has IFSA concentrations students can take, in which they are only studying with other IFSA students. It was nice to have the flexibility to choose how much we wanted to interact with the local community.

What would you improve about this program?
I think the program could be improved by more thoroughly screening host families. It appeared that some families had not been reexamined in a while. While this never resulted in anyone feeling unsafe, it did allow for there to be a major disparity between some students' host family situations in regard to access to resources and facilities.
Default avatar
Cirkine
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Go to Buenos Aires with IFSA- Butler!

This is a really great program which allows you to feel independent while still having access to help and support along the way. The IFSA-Bulter staff are an amazing group of people. They are all very caring and involved. This program allows you to take courses in different universities throughout Buenos Aires and thus offers an unlimited number of course options and potential experiences. I was able to take an art class, something I never would have done in the US!

What would you improve about this program?
The class selection processes is overwhelming and very disorganized. It is hard to recommend a way to improve this process though because it would be a shame to reduce the variety of university options provided.
Default avatar
Elena
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Six Weeks!

This program is great if you really want to immerse yourself in the culture. The second day you are there you'll be riding the 'colectivo' and the 'subte' like a 'porteño' and going home to a home-cooked meal.

Default avatar
Alexandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Went by in the blink of the eye...

Loved the program coordinator, Mario. At the beginning of the semester he invited us all to his amazing house in Uruguay, on a lemon farm, where he cooked us delicious food and we hung by the pool for a day. It was unreal.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have benefitted from a week or two of intensive spanish before classes begun.

Location

Location:
Buenos Aires
Currency:
Argentina Peso
Weather:
Jan-Mar
86 F / 63 F
Apr-Jun
73 F / 46 F
Jul-Sep
66 F / 45 F
Oct-Dec
82 F / 55 F
Airports:
Aeroparque Jorge Newbery
( AEP )
Ministro Pistarini International
( EZE )
El Palomar
( EPA )

There is no better place to take up a new hobby (or two) than Buenos Aires, Argentina. If you are looking to try tango, cooking, photography, or painting; this vibrant city is a thriving community for creators.

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About Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)

The Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988. Our primary goal is to provide quality study abroad opportunities, plus academic and personal support services, for qualified North American undergraduates seeking to...